Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What I Should Have Said: Classroom Information Evening

I struggled with whether I should write this post.

I left the school Thursday before last pleased that parents had come to see me, but disappointed in myself. I was uneasy about my presentation, and on the drive home I figured out why.

 While planning for a half-hour information session I worked hard to convey the information I thought was important. The MELS exams and the weighting of these exams, as well as the transition to high school for the students, topped the list of information parents needed to know. As both situations are particular to sixth grade, I spent quite a bit of time discussing them.

Too much time, I think, because I left out other things I wanted you to know. And I am not really sure how I missed this, but somehow I forgot what has been my guiding principle in parent meetings:
What would I want to know if I were the parent?

As a parent, I want to know that the person who is with my child all day is a good person. Kind, warm, and caring. I want to know if she is bright, if she is interesting, and if she has life experiences to share. I want to know that she will listen and try to understand my child, that she will learn what makes him or her 'tick,' that she will try to cement a connection so that my child's days are pleasant and productive.

Did any of that come across? I am not sure. Perhaps because I knew so many of the parents from outside school, I worked to hard to be 'professional' and didn't let me personality come through. Whether it should is perhaps debatable, but as a parent, I want to get a sense of who my kid's teacher is as a person.

As a teacher, there are a few things I want you to know.

As a teacher I try really hard to make learning relevant. I know that engaged learners make the most progress. I want you to know I am planning interesting projects for the year, using technology and seeking to foster skills that will transfer to other situations.  I try to construct projects that help develop civic responsibility and and understanding of the world in which we live. I want you to know that I see myself as an educator, not just a teacher, as someone who is helping forge character as well as teach skills.

I want you to know that I will do my best for your child. I will do my best to stimulate their intellect, pique their curiosity, and feed their imaginations. I will listen to them. I will make them work hard, but I will also make them laugh.

I want you to know that I am fallible, but try to be approachable. If you have concerns, I am here and happy to address them.

Though I have not written a post like this before, I felt I had left important things unsaid. I wanted you know all this and be satisfied that the person spending so much time with your child works hard to do her best to help each child succeed. So though it is late, here it is.

Here's to hoping we all have a wonderful year.

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