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Tips for Beginning Teachers
  • ADPRIMA.
  • Inspiring Teachers.
  • Jane Bluestein.
  • U.S. Department of Education.

  • PHILOSOPHY
    PROFESSIONALISM
    PREPARATION
    CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
    STUDENTS
    PARENTS
    PHILOSOPHY:

      Tip #1: Education Is A Continuum:

      • Always keep in mind that the time spent in your classroom is just a single event in a student's life-long education. The time spent with you should make a very important contribution to each student's life; however, education is a cradle-to-grave continuum, and it is important to maintain a realistic perspective or your role on that continuum.

      Tip #2: The Role of Schooling in Education:

      • Schooling is an important and necessary part of each person's education; however, the vast majority of each person's true education takes place outside of the school. The time spent in your classroom does not in and of itself make your students educated people. For the most part, schools provide the basic skills that will prepare students to become educated.

      Tip #3 The Teacher As Coach:

      • It is a teacher's job to place students on a path that, if they make a reasonable effort, will lead to success. In sports, it is the coach's responsbility to put players in positions where they can be successful, but it is each player's responsibility to put forth the effort required to be successful. The same relationship exists between teachers and students. Teachers must show the way, but students must do the work.

      Tip #4: Preapring Students for the Next Step:

      • Because learning is a life-long process, your true mission as a teacher is to prepare your students for further learning. Your success comes in knowing that your students will leave your classroom prepared to move on to the next step in their education.

    PREPARATION:

      Tip #1: Starting A New Career Is Always Difficult:

      • Regardless of the profession, starting a new career is always difficult. You don't know what you don't know and the "newness" of everything can be overwhleming. Adrenaline will carry you through the first few days, but soon the reality of how much there is to know sets in and the daily demands of just trying to keep up are sure to be stressful. It may take days, weeks or even months, but eventually the stress of being new will be replaced by routines that become familiar and manageable; giving you the opportunity to begin to actually enjoy the world's most rewarding profession..

      Tip #2: Don't Be Dejected By How Much You Don't Know:

      • If you are new to teaching or to a subject area, one of the first disappointments you will experience is how much you don't know. You thought you learned what you need to know in your coursework, but once you have to teach a subject yourself it becomes immediately apparent just how little you really know. This is a universal truth, so don't let it get you down. Knowing something is one thing. Knowing something well enough to teach it to a classroom full of students is a whole different ball game.

      Tip #3: If You Are New, You May Have the Toughest Assignment in School:

      • Keep in mind that you may very well have one of the thoughest assignments in school. The veteran teachers in your building have probably taken the best positions, leaving the less desirable assignments to the "new guy." Keep this in mind. On your toughest days, your struggles may well be inherent to the assignment and not of your own making. Not only are your learning on the job, but you may well be experiencing some of the most difficult situations in the entire school.

      Tip #4: Support Is Essential:

      • You MUST have support. If you try to start teaching completely on your own, you are almost certain to fail. Your administration should provide you a support program without you asking, but, if no support is provided, find it yourself. A colleague who teaches what you teach is the best support you can have, but, if that isn't practical, find one or more other people you can go to with your questions, issues, problems and concerns. Don't be too proud to ask for help, and DO NOT TRY TO GO IT ALONE.

      Tip #5: Develop a Vision:

      • What will your successful classroom look and feel like? How do you want your students to behave and respond? How do you want to feel when you are in the classroom? Write down your vision, edit it, add to it over time, and refer to it when you think things aren't going just right. It can be your road map to help you identify problems and come up with solutions to get a student, a class or yourself back on track.

      Tip #6: Sample Goals:

      • Be competent, creative, energetic, flexible, fun and interesting in the classroom.
      • Encourage students to be inquiring, inquisitive and on task.
      • Be respected by parents and valued by fellow staff members.
      • Enjoy what you do.

      Tip #7: Classroom Environment: Setting the Tone:

      • Your classroom sets the tone for everything that takes place in it. For example: Do you want a stimulating environment or a subdued enviornment for your students? Do you have information your students need to use on a daily basis and do you want to post it for their convenience? Do you have daily sayings, quotations and/or news items you want to post for your students? Visualize the mood you want to set for your class and set up your classroom accordingly.
      • .

      Tip #8: Classroom Environment: Physical Arrangement:

      • The physical arrangement of your classroom governs the interactions that will take place within your classroom. Where do you want your desk and why? How do you want to arrange the student desks? What do you want the students to see? Do you have students who need to be separated from each other? Do you need to allow space for special activities?
      • .

      Tip #9: Classroom Environment: Color and Light:

      • Color and light set the mood within a classroom. Some teachers want lots of light and bright colors to stimulate students. Other teachers want low light and subdued colors to help keep students focused. What sort of lighting do you have in your classroom, where does the outside light come into the classroom, how much light is there and at what at what times of the day will you have the most outside light?
      • .

      Tip #10: Classroom Environment: Temperature:

      • Classroom temperature can be a big factor in student alertness, as well as your own. You don't want to make anyone sick, but, in general, a cooler classroom is a more productive classroom. Not so cold that students are more focused on the temperature than their work, but cool enough that students are awake and alert. Classrooms are often too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. Who controls the temperature in the classroom and what do you have to do to get it set at the desired level?
      • .

      Tip #11: Classroom Environment: Sound:

      • How is the sound in your classroom and what do you need to do to make it right? Can students hear you without you having to shout? Do you have carpeted or hard floors and is "routine" noise a problem? Any background noise problems from the heating system or lighting fixtures? Any outisde noise problems from passing traffic, other classrooms or the hallways? Are there times of the day when noise is a special problem? Do you have an intercom in your classroom and can you hear it?
      • .

      Tip #12: Classroom Environment: Visuals:

      • What do you want your students to see and think about while they are in your classroom? Do you have rules or guidance information that you want to post in your classroom? Do you have inspirational or motivational information you want to share with your students? Do you have formulae, charts, or diagrams that should be posted for the students? In many ways, the visuals that you provide your students will influence what they think about and how they will behave while in your classroom.
      • .

      Tip #13: No Substitute for Preparation:

      • There simply is no substitute for preparation. Teaching is fun and enjoyable when you are confident, and confidence in a classroom comes from knowing you are prepared. The classroom is your stage and you are the only actor appearing without a safety net. There is no one else there to pick you up if you fall, so it is imperative that you are 100% prepared for everything. Your success in the classroom will correlate directly with the time and effort you put into your preparation outside the classroom.
      • .

      Tip #14: Practice, Practice, Practice:

      • A professional in any field excels when they make their job look easy, even though it may be far from it; and making a job look easy is the product of extensive preparation. An actor on the screen is believable because they have rehearsed their lines and their presentation over and over. An effective teacher must do the same. Practice your presentation and visualize yourself in the classoom until you become comfortable enough that in the classroom you can focus on the students and not your presentation. If a teacher struggles with their presentation, students will lose confidence in both the teacher and their own ability to grasp the concept.

      Tip #15: Quality v. Quantity:

      • Strive for teaching quality v. quantity. The effective teacher finds the best way to present a concept clearly and concisely so that students grasp the concept the first time and it will not be necessary to repeat the same concept over and over. If your students don't "catch on," look to yourself and your methods. Your students' failure to grasp a concept is almost certainly your fault and not theirs.

      Tip #15: Making the Complex Understandable:

      • Good teaching is the ability to make the complex understandable. If you present a concept and your students don't understand, it is because you have done a poor job of explaining it. When preparing, always think of a presentation from the perspective of the student. Would you understand your presentation if you were a student and hearing this concept for the first time? Whenever possible, practice your explanation on a friend or family member before initially trying it with a class.

      Tip #15: Keeping It Simple:

      • Effective teachers make even the most complicated concepts understandable. New concepts can be presented to students in any number of ways, and it is your job to find the way that will make a new concept most understandable to your students. The planning and preparation you put into presenting critical content the right way the first time can literally mean the difference between spending a few minutes or many hours on the concept - and can make the difference between your success and failure as a teacher.

      Tip #16: Ask a Colleague:

      • Don't know the most effective way to present a concept? Ask a colleague. You are not the first person to ever teach this concept, so don't try to reinvent the wheel. If you are stuck, ask a colleague for ideas. You don't have to copy what they are doing, but listening to them will help you know if you are on the right track, and their ideas can provide a nice starting point from which to develop your own approach.

      Tip #17: Keep Detailed Notes:

      • Keep detailed notes so that the next time you teach a topic you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it can be an entire calendar year before you revisit a topic, and it is too much to expect yourself to remember what worked and what didn't work the previous year. Take the time to annotate every lesson after the fact. It will save you tons of time in the future and will help to insure a successful presentation the next time around.

    CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT:

      Tip #1: When Teaching Matters:

      • What the teacher says and does is relevant only when students learn. Students can learn without a teacher, but a teacher is irrelevant without their students. Teaching only matters when learning takes place.

      Tip #2: Being Friendly and In Charge At the Same Time:

      • Students need and want to know you are in charge; but you can be friendly, warm and personal, and still be in charge as long as students know you are placing their needs and interests ahead of your own.

      Tip #3: Give Students Choices:

      • You ARE in charge, but avoid being dictatorial. Whenever possible, provide students options and choices so that they develop a sense that they are "building" their education and it is not something being forced upon them.

      Tip #4: Always Have a Backup Plan:

      • Classroom success depends upon having actively engaged students. Idle uninterested students are a prescription for classroom disaster. Always have a backup plan for those times when things do not go as expected. You may have the world's greatest activity or lesson plan, but always ask: "What if this does not work, or what if this does not take as long as I expect?" and have a Plan B that will keep students engaged.

      Tip #5: Student Behavior Reflects Teacher Behavior:

      • Behave as you want your students to behave. The angry impatient teacher will get anger and impatience back from their students. The patient understanding teacher will get patience and understanding back from their students.

      Tip #6: Save Your Good Ideas:

      • Don't use all of your best ideas in the first week of school. There is a limit to how much students can absorb at any one time, so spread out your ideas and save them until they can serve you and your students best.

      Tip #7: Create a Routine:

      • Without some variety, routines can become stale, mundane and boring; however, students welcome routine. Students need to feel secure within a classroom, and they perform best when they know what to expect. Wrap your creativity around a consistent core routine that will provide balance to each day's activities.

      Tip #8: Expect the Unexpected:

      • Chaos is a teacher's enemy; however, a certain amount of chaos creeps into every day, and you need to be able to handle the unexpected with confidence, professionalism and humor. Last minute schedule changes, student issues, personal crises and things that don't work are among the daily unforeseen interruptions that continually require you to be flexible and innovative. Be able to adjust so that you can address the problems without distracting your class.

      Tip #9: Use The Calendar To Keep Your Class Relevant And Coherent:

      • Incorporating special days and events into your classroom can help make your content more relevant for your students. Using the calendar and professional resources to identify special opportunities will also help you to develop instructional themes that can stitch the days together into a more coherent year-long approach to your instruction, rather than a collection of disjointed individual lessons.

      Tip #10: Teach What Matters:

      • For a good writer every word matters and contributes to the story the writer is telling. The same should be true in your classroom. Don't have your students do something because it is the "next thing on the list." Don't waste your students' time with information or assignments that don't "move them forward." Everything you and your students do in your classroom should have meaning and purpose.

      Tip #11: Have Clear Goals for Each Lesson:

      • Know precisely what you want to achieve with every lesson. Stating clear goals for each lesson will help you frame that lesson, it will guide your planning of the lesson and it will help you evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson once it is completed.

      Tip #12: Share Your Goals with Your Students:

      • Before you start a lesson, share your goals for the lesson with your students. Knowing in advance what is expected of them will help your students understand why they are doing what they are doing and will help them evaluate themselves.

      Tip #13: Keeping Pace:

      • If you aren't covering material as quickly as a respected colleague, figure out why. Here are three possible reasons: 1. You simply are presenting material in a different sequence and you will eventually get to the same place at the same time. 2. You are spending too much time on trivial content. 3. Your presentation of important content is not as efficient or as effective as it should be, and your students are not catching on as quickly as they should. If your students are not progressing as qucikly as they need to, there is a reason, and you need to address it.

      Tip #14: Moving Too Fast:

      • If you are covering material much faster than a respected colleague, figure out why. Here are three possible reasons: 1. You simply are presenting material in a different sequence and you will eventually get to the same place at the same time. 2. You are not being thorough enough and your students are not really catching on. 3. You are jumping from concept to concept too quickly without reinforcing concepts and tying them together. It is important that you do keep pace and cover the required material, but be cautious if it appears you are moving too quickly. Be sure to give material time to sink in so that your students don't have to 're-learn' a concept later.

      Tip #15: Test/Quiz Construction Is a Skill:

      • Tests and quizzes can be easy, moderate or difficult, but most importantly they must be fair. Constructing fair tests and quizzes is difficult and time consuming, but it is a skill all good teachers must master. Are your questions understandable? Are your questions relevant? Do your questions truly test student knowledge and will they help separate students by their abilities?

      Tip #16: Know When to Test:

      • Before testing your students ask "Is this test necessary and is this the right time?" Have your reached a point in your curriculum where it makes sense to assess your students' progress? Testing student progress is important and can provide valuable information for both you and the students, but each assessment should serve a specific purpose. Don't waste time with irrelevant tests and quizzes.

      Tip #17: Tests As Teaching Tools:

      • If you review with your students before a test, then test your students and then review the test after it has been graded, you will have established a solid benchmark for your students that identifies for them that these key concepts covered by the test are important and by shwoing them the information required to master these concepts. Test results also provide talking points that will enable you to discuss specific strengths and weaknesses with individual students.

      Tip #18: Create Tests That Are Easy To Grade:

      • Too often teachers judge a test on how hard it is to grade. Some think that the more difficult a test is to grade, the better the test. Nothing could be further from the truth. An easy-to-grade multiple choice test can be just as high a quality assessment as a test requiring long essays or detailed mathermatical manipulations. The quality of the test comes from its construction, not from its format. Students appreciate receiving their test results as quickly as possible, and easy-to-grade tests can help you get their grades back to thewithout undue delay. Use past tests you have taken as examples and learn from them (both good and bad).

      Tip #19: Grade What Matters:

      • Are you assessing what matters? Don't use your grading system to penalize students, maintain discipline or control your classroom. Make sure the grades you give students are true assessments of their abilities. Discipline, motivation and punishment are other issues to be addressed by other means. Grades should not be used as weapons.

      Tip #20: Grading: Simple and Transparent:

      • Keep your grading simple and transparent. Students have a right to know exactly how they are being assessed, and they should be able to keep track of their own progress.

      Tip #21: Grading: Don't Play Favorites:

      • A grade should be a true assessment of a student's abilities, not how you feel about the student. Don't grade any student any differently than you would grade any other student.

      Tip #22: Grading: Grades Should Be Earned:

      • Students want to earn their grades. If grades don't need to be earned, students will not apply themselves. Grades should abe fair, but demadning.

      Tip #23: Grading: Grading Curves:

      • A straight scale can make sense if you are teaching a programmed course with standardized assessment. However, if you are creating your own classroom presentations, assignments, quizzes and tests, it may be fairer to the students to use a grading curve. Perhaps there is a perfect teacher somewhere who can create perfect materials that provide results that align exactly with a straight scale, but you probably are not that teacher.

      Tip #24: Grading: Bell Curves Make Sense.....Sometimes:

      • If you are teaching an "average" subject with an average cross-section of all students, a bell-shaped grade distribution may make sense. However, take the level of the course being taught and the qualifications of the students in the class into consideration when developing your grading scale.

      Tip #25: Grading: Try To Avoid Failing Students:

      • Failing a student should be the last and least desirable option for a teacher, and should be avoided whenever possible. If a student fails, the teacher fails. Try to provide every student a pathway to success.

    PROFESSIONALISM:

      Tip #1: Teaching is a Sacred Trust:

      • Aside possibly from the ministry, teaching is the world's most selfless occupation. The successful teacher is a person totally dedicated to their students and personal reward comes from the success of their students. Parents treasure their children more than life itself, and they place their children in your care with the expectation that you will do the same.

      Tip #2 Teaching: The Essential Profession:

      • Teaching is the profession that makes all professions possible. Without teaching there would be no professionals.

      Tip #3 Teaching Is the Essence of Education:

      • New schools, new curricula, new assessments, new standards - nothing else matters unless you have well-qualified, caring, and committed teachers.

      Tip #4 Teaching Shapes the Future:

      • Teaching is the profession that shapes the future--molding the skills of the future workforce, laying the foundation for good citizenship and full participation in community and civic life.

      Tip #5: Self Confidence:

      • Believe in yourself, your skills and your knowledge. Your classroom will be uniquely different from those of your colleagues because every teacher is different and every class is different. There is no one perfect teacher and no one perfect classroom. Find what works for you and your students, and have confidence in your abilities. The only judgment that matters is the success or failure of your students.

      Tip #6: Be Yourself:

      • It is tempting to try to emulate a favorite teacher or colleague. Don't do it. Learn from others, but always be yourself. It never works to try and copy someone else.

      Tip #7: Sharing with Colleagues:

      • You teach because you are a "master learner." You enjoy learning and you enjoy sharing what you know, so learn from your colleagues and share your successes with them. Don't shut yourself off from your colleagues. Get to know them, find out what works for them and share with them what works for you. Visit their classrooms, watch what they do and invite them into your classroom.

      Tip #8: Know Your School's Rules and Policies:

      • Rules and policies can be hassles, but they also provide sanity and consistency in a world that can otherwise fall into chaos. If you disagree with a rule or policy, fight to change it, but don't disobey it. The rule or policy that creates today's headache can provide you needed support and direction tomorrow. It is important for students, parents, faculty and administrators to be on the same page, so know your school's rules and policies; and stick to them.

      Tip #9: Get Along with Your Colleagues:

      • Much of your professional happiness will depend upon your ability to get along with your colleagues and to feel as if you are a welcomed member of your faculty. Look for opportunities to talk with your fellow teachers and to get to know them. Find common interests that will allow you to bond with your colleagues.

      Tip #10: Respect Your Colleagues:

      • You work hard and you take pride in what you do, but remember that you are just one piece of a much larger puzzle. Many of your colleagues work hard too and they take just as much pride in their accomplishments as you do in yours. Give them a chance to shine. Learn about their achievements and let them know you respect their work.

      Tip #11: Avoid Negative Colleagues:

      • Every profession has its downside and its problems, and you just have to learn how to deal with them. However, you are certain to encounter negative colleagues who find the dark side of just about everything. Avoid these people and don't allow them to dampen your enthusiasm. Being naive and avoiding problems is not a plan for success, but neither is a compulsive focus on the negative. Deal with the problems and stay positive.

      Tip #12: Stay Positive:

      • Good teaching is hard work and it is easy to feel under-appreciated. You're right if you believe no one truly knows how hard you are working, but then that's true for everyone. You don't truly know how much effort your colleagues are putting into their classrooms, so in all honesty you can't truly appreciate how hard your colleagues are working. This is just the way things are, so stay positive, keep doing your very best at all times, and never allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself. Your gratification comes from your students, not from collegial pats on the back.

      Tip #13: Best Practices:

      • Don't settle for mediocrity. Even though what you are doing seems to be working; is it the best you can do? Always be alert for a better way. Remain curious, open to new ideas and willing to try something new.

    STUDENTS:

      Tip #1: Never Give Up On a Student:

      • If a student fails, you fail. Failure is inevitable, but never give up on a student. Failing students in particular need to know someone still cares. You may never connect with that student and you may never succeed with that student, but the failing student still needs to know you have not given up on them.

      Tip #2: Being a Teacher Is Forever:

      • Once you are a student's teacher you are their teacher forever. Adults remember their teachers with the same respect they had for them as students. You will see your students again, so treat them now with the respect you want them to give you in the years ahead.

      Tip #3: Students Are Adults in Waiting:

      • You may see your students as children, but they soon will have their own jobs, their own families and their own children. Treat your students as children, but give them the same respect you would give an adult.

      Tip #4: Every Student Is Different:

      • If you take the position that it is your job to throw out the material and it is your students' job to catch it, you are sadly mistaken and doomed to failure as an educator. If you are simply a content provider, you can easily be replaced by many different media that will be far more cost effective. What separates a true teacher from a machine is caring. You simply must care about your students. Their successes are your successes and their failures are your failures.
      • Students are people and every person is different. Students grow, mature and learn differently at different rates. Every student's past, present and future is different. The more the teacher knows about each student the better equipped the teacher is to meet each student's needs.
      • Not only is it important for you to get to know your students and to understand what makes each and every student tick, it is your job. If you do not take the time to know your students as individuals you will never reach your potential as a teacher, and you simply are not doing the job you were hired to do.
      • It is important that students learn, not how they learn. Some students learn best visually, some learn best by reading, some learn best on their own, some learn best with partners. Offer different pathways, so that students can find a way to learn that fits them. A student's job is to learn. It is your job to put them on a path where they are most likely to be successful.

      Tip #5: Reinforce Students' Basic Skills:

      • Basic skills, such as reading writing, computation, and study habits are fundamental to all learning. If a student is not catching on, look for an underlying reason such as their basic skills. If a student's basic skills are deficient, they may not even realize it or they may be ashamed to admit they have a problem.

      Tip #6: The Bottom Half:

      • It is easy for successful students to be enthusiastic about any class; however, keep in mind that 50% of your students are in the bottom half of your class, and likely in the bottom half of many of their classes. Your ability to generate real interest among your lowest-achieving students is a true measure of your talent as a teacher.

      Tip #6: Is the Student Ready?:

      • Before you present a new concept to your students, ask youself: Are the students ready? Have you prepared them adequately for this concept. If your students haven't grasped the prerequisite material, it makes no sense to move forward just because a new concept is the next thing on the agenda. If students are not catching on, it is easy to blame them and forge ahead, but doing so just deepens the problems and can fuel student animosity toward you and the material.

      Tip #6: Student Developmental Levels:

      • Children mature at different rates emotionally, as well as physically. Student emotional readiness comes in all sizes, just as does their physical development. It is possible that a student just may not have reached a level of maturation to do the work required in your classroom. If so, be patient with the student, work with the student, the parents/family and your school counselor to provide the guidance they need; and avoid puttng the student in a position of almost certain failure that is beyond their control.

      Tip #6: All Students Are Teachable:

      • With only a few rare exceptions, all students are teachable. If only your "best students" are catching on, it is your fault and not the fault of the students you are leaving behind. Teaching is your job and you must find a way to reach all of your students. To do otherwise is simply unacceptable.

      Tip #7: A Student Pathway to Success:

      • All students need to have the expectation that success is possible. Without the possibility of success, a student's future is hopeless and they will quit trying. If a student fails the teacher has failed, so you must find a way for each and every student to have a realistic path to success.

      Tip #8: Helping the Struggling Student:

      • A hole in which the struggling student finds himself can seem insurmountable. It is up to the teacher to help the student identify how they got into the hole, and to provide incremental steps that will give the student hope that recovery is possible. Success must be earned by every student, but it is the teacher's obligation to provide every student with a reasonable path to success.

      Tip #9: The Student For Whom Success Is Impossible:

      • When it becomes apparent that success is impossible for a student, the teacher needs to counsel the student and act in the student's best interest in helping direct that student toward a different more realistic goal. It may not mean abandoning the current goals, but rather reinforcing their preparation so that they can return later with reasonable expectations for success.

      Tip #10 The Problem Child:

      • Have a student you just can't reach? Find out as much about that student as you can, so that you can learn why they are who they are. Ask your counselors. Ask fellow teachers who have taught the child before, or who are also teaching the child now. Getting as much background as possible may help you find the key to their problems and may completely change your relationship with them.

      Tip #11: Student Support Is A Three-Legged Stool:

      • The role of a student's parents/family is to serve as an advocate for the student and a supporter of the teacher. Parents, teachers and students form a three-legged stool. Each is a neceesary component of the educational process, and all three must work together toward the same goals to be successful.

      Tip #13 Students As Independent Learners:

      • Teaching students how to learn is more important than teaching facts and figures. Students must learn certain factual content, but more importantly they must learn how to learn on their own without the aid of a teacher. Learning is a life-long endeavor and a student's time in classrooms will be just a start of their life's education.

      Tip #14 Sharing Your Love of Learning:

      • You teach because you love learning. Learning fills you up and makes you who you are. Instilling a similar love for learning in each of your students will be far more important that any skills or facts you may share with them. Giving your students a love for learning is the greatest gift of all.

    PARENTS:

      Tip #1: Know the Parents/Family:

      • Knowing s tudent's parents/family provides tremendous insight into who the student is and why they are the person they are. Parents can be part of the solution or they can be part of the problem. Regardless they are equal partners in the educaiton of their children and you should know them.

      Tip #2: Parents As Partners:

      • You need to earn the respect and support of your students' parents/family, and they need to acknowledge you as the expert in the classroom. You and a students' parents/family should share common realistic goals for the student, and should work together to help the student achieve those goals.

      Tip #3: Parents Who Don't Know How to Be Parents:

      • Unfortunately, you will encounter parents who don't know how to be parents. Most parents want to be good parents, but sometimes they just don't know how. In such cases, there is little you can do personally; however, if the parents are oepn to receiving help, you can refer them to your school counselor or local social services. If they are not open to help, you have an obligation to act in the best interest of the student and alert your school counselor or school administrator to the problem.

      Tip #4: Parents Who Don't Respect You or Your School:

      • Always remember that 50% of your parents were in the bottom half of their class when they were in school. For them, school probably was not an enjoyable experrience and contact with their child's teachers may not be something they welcome. This is not your fault, and you can only do your best to win them over by treating them with respect and kindness. Hopefully they will come to relaize that you are not the enemy.

      Tip #5: Abusive or Belligerent Parents:

      • Never ever allow a parent or family member to speak to you or treat you in any way that is disrespectful. If this occurs, walk away and only return if accompanied by a colleague or administrator. Do not allow a conversation with a parent or family member to become confrontational. Disagreements between you and a parent/family member should be discussed with your superior and resolved peacefully.

      Tip #6: Parents As Friends:

      • Many many parents are kind, considerate and very appreciative of their children's teachers. It is always wonderful when you are able to befirend a parent and form friendships that will last for years after their children have left your classroom. However, don't forget that while their child is still in your classroom, your relationship with your parents should remain a partnership rather than a friendship. Parents as friends can bring complication that you should avoid. Build partneships with parents and families now, and perhaps they will blossom into friendships sometime in the future.

      Tip #7: Sharing with Parents:

      • You have an obligation to talk in detail with parents about their own children, but NEVER tell a parent anything about another child, teacher or your school that you would not tell all parents. You must consider that anything you tell one parent will be public knowledge from that point on. Often the children in your class have grown up together and their families have known each other for years. Don't underestimate the power of communications between parents and families.

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This guide last edited 03/18/2012
This guide last revised 08/19/2008