As teachers, one our largest stakeholders are parents. As a mom of three, I know. Moms have a lot on our shoulders, and our time is limited. We need answers and fast.
This fact has brought four C’s to the front of my mind as I prepare for the upcoming school year as a teacher. What do moms want?
#1 Competency: This word came to mind as I sat in line at my daughter’s ballet studio waiting for answers for an upcoming recital. As I asked the questions, the administrator shook her head, shrugged her shoulders and stated, “I don’t know. I’m new here, and I’m learning along with you.” I took a breathe and thought, “Really?” I am the one paying the tuition. This is a business, and you should know what you are doing. I’m the parent, you are the employee.” We all know these stories, and have a few ourselves. Bottom line, parents trust and want to trust that teachers know what they are doing. With all the changes in technology and Google taking a hold in all that we do as teachers, we must ensure that we are prepared and demonstrating our own competency. Currently, I’m trying to get Google Certified, but funny enough, I’m tied up right now with a technical problem, and waiting for Google to respond to my e-mail. However, going through the tutorials is a great place to start, also following Alice Keeler on Twitter @alicekeeler, setting up your Google Classroom this summer, building your own Google website, go to county trainings, and just go for it. Learning builds competency and confidence for you, as a teacher, and effectiveness with parents.
#2 Communication: Effective communication cannot be underestimated. It’s just good business and it makes things happen. Recently, I worked to secure some fantastic guest hosts for #CowetaEdChat next year, but this could not have happened without both ends working together to make it happen. Communication takes two. We all mess up at times, but we must strive to keep this at the forefront and find ways to simplify so we can be successful. With all the parents I speak with, they say, “Pick one.” Meaning too many teachers pick several ways to communicate, and parents have to sift through too many avenues. This past year I used Remind to post anything related to the classroom and assignments. I posted my weekly newsletters, test reminders, announcements all to Remind, and that seemed to work the best. I used Twitter as a bonus, but not my main form of communication. So, pick one and be consistent.
#3 Consistency: Next to competency, consistency is a big one. Most people do not like change. Develop systems over the summer that can be used successfully throughout the school year, and stick with it. After a while, habits will develop such as where to write down homework, or how to best communicate (Remind), rules and guidelines for the classroom. I still love rereading the First Days of School by Wong every summer. The emphasis on procedures is the truth. Take the guessing out of being a teacher. Be consistent in all that you do.
#4 Caring: Years ago, as a parent I was speaking with a my child’s teacher and she exclaimed how tired she was of being at school after 4:00, because she needed to get to her daughter’s practices. Her job was just taking too much of her time. At the time, I stood there a bit and thought, “You know I’m a parent, right?” We all have those moments, but I would advise not expressing those thoughts to the parents of the children you teach. Go above and beyond to demonstrate that you care for each and every child coming through the doors of your classroom. Parents are entrusting their most precious treasures to us, we must demonstrate that there is no other place we would rather be than teaching the children in front of us.
Final Thoughts: Think of yourself as a business. How can you create a better experience for parents and students? The awesome part of teaching is that you are the leader of your classroom. What are you going to create? Have fun with it, but know that parents will trust those who demonstrate competency, communication, consistency, and caring.