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Archive for the ‘Parent Involvement’ Category

How to blow your first parent teacher conference?

The idea of preparing for a parent teacher conference or any new birth of parent relationships should begin long before actual face-to-face contact with a child’s teacher is established. Parents in concept are the first and primary teacher in a student’s life so don’t become one of my colleagues that two-steps without their key cohort on the dance floor.

One of the most valuable tips for engaging your student’s parent(s) before conference is to establish a non-biased relationship and well-prepared conference prior to meeting them on cookie and juice night. I set a goal each semester to contact each parent or guardian with positive reports at least twice before dropping the F bomb let alone before meeting them in person.

You will do everyone a big service by researching the family and community [if unfamiliar] prior to what I call the interview. There’s nothing worst than getting a name wrong or assuming we all share the same cultural beliefs. So do your homework, do your homework, do your homework.

One thing I learned early on was to maintain high expectations for my students and their parents. Regardless to how things appear and develop, staying focused on high expectations trumps all other methods of taking point on the war against apathy.

For your convenience I have listed a few post to help with successful parent teacher conferences:

7 Steps to Becoming an Effective Teacher

Why is it so difficult to contact my student’s parents?

Five Simple Steps to Making That Call Home to Parents

Create a floor plan that flows from your classroom door.

Actions to take for having your best year teaching in 2010

Stay focused. Stay confident and you’ll blow wind in your sails!

Your Best Year Teaching: If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to http://laroncarter.com to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.

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Teaching Basics | CS Connects Power Sources

Photo Credit by Marcin Wichary

Photo Credit by Marcin Wichary


“Joining together, linking with others creates an unified bond. It’s a powerful source.”

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 1.1

Attentive Observation Can Record Volumes
A long time ago there was an elementary school age student that had made it to the end of his tolerance rope for being tardy and was being threatened with an expulsion.

The interesting thing about witnessing the principal’s hallway rants was that this kids demeanor remained remarkably calm, almost detached. I saw his body language speaking loudest of all involved. So I advocated for the nine year old by asking to buy some time. I wanted to investigate the back-story. Didn’t know if there was one, but his posturing was just plain curious to me.

Interview as a Practice
After pulling the young guy off to the side of his opened classroom door I confirmed, “Things just don’t go the way we planned sometimes, huh?” His eyes gave him away. I hadn’t noticed them before. There wasn’t much there. His stare was part detached and part sleepy. I could tell by the crusty corners. A sign he hadn’t been monitored before leaving for school.

Not really sure why I asked if he had any older brothers or sisters there at school. But asking that question became standard customer service (CS) inquiry for the rest of my K – 12 teaching career. Jeremy responded, “My older brother comes by to pick me up after school.” So I asked, “Where is he coming from when he meets you here?” Jeremy said, “He gets out early from middle school.” Aha! (Joseph A. Almeida)

Acceptable Solicitation
“What does everyone call him,” I asked. Jeremy perked up and said with a giggle, “He’s JR.”

Now it’s on. I’ll surprise JR by calling him by his name of endearment and inspire him to rise to the occasion with a little flattery. 3:23 rolled around and JR was posted right where Jeremy said he’d be. (Dakarai I. Aarons)

Mr. C: “Whatup JR? You know this kid? I’ve been impressed with the way he carries himself around here. Now I see it’s pretty obvious where he gets it.”

By now JR was acceptably solicited for me to be on his team and I needed him to post up in the paint while I drove the ball up the court.

“I need a favor from you.”

JR: “What’s good?”

Mr. C: “I need for you to suit up with this big brother thing and start getting little man up in the morning. Can you handle that?”

JR: “For sure.”

Mr. C: “I also need for you to bring him with you and drop him off here on you way to school. I figure he can get his eat on and chill in my classroom, maybe do some of that pass due homework from all those tardies he’s been getting.”

JR:“No problem, Mr. C. I got you.”

Expect to Win!
As it turns out the boys where living with a widowed grandfather who had gone back to working third shift to provide for the boys. I guess he was making it home between JR leaving for school and Jeremy waking up. Pops was elderly and often exhausted from working at the plant. Most often he didn’t realize that his grandson was still in bed until long after school started.

The whole thing was driving a wedge between the student, the teacher, and administration. A basic case of missed communication, primarily the school’s for not connecting with Jeremy’s family. Look for opportunities to service the customer throughout the day. Discover the areas needing CS and connect the power sources before getting all stressed out over low power levels. Flip it. Get your Mac on. You are a Customer Service Super Star. (The National Council on Teacher Quality)

This is a new series called Stressed Out K – 12 Education. Over the next several weeks we will explore classroom issues surrounding special needs, at-risk behaviors, student – teacher and teacher – parent relationships, and much more as it relates to reducing stress created from educational systems, narrow minded thinking of difficult colleagues, and the headaches of some one else’s undisciplined kids.

Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher

Best Year Teaching: If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to http://laroncarter.com to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.

Teaching Basics | Smart Classroom Management

Photo Credit by Tiffany Silva

Photo Credit by Tiffany Silva


“Smart classroom management, like managing relationships, begins with engaging the idea and thinking it through.”

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 1.0

Re: An elementary student teacher stated that “educating” parents was like walking a fine line. When asked to elaborate she said, “Well, you never want them to feel like you know more than them.”

My Teacher is Smarter Than Your Teacher
Well. Well. Well. Aren’t we feeling sensitive today? In all of the two decades in front of the classroom as a highly qualified teacher I have been accused of mmma –a few things (I even had a student call me a brainiac mutha focker one time – Well you get the idea). Ouch. But I have never been accused of making a parent feel like I knew more than them. It was a given . No, seriously though, I didn’t come up through the education ranks with 4.0 GPA transcripts in the beginning. Hell, I didn’t read above a sixth grade level until I was twenty-nine. But don’t get it twisted my parents and I have always placed high demands on academic excellence. That reading thing is another story.

Meet the Fockers
Since the beginning of my tenure I have understood which set of keys could unlock the art of teaching. The Pro’s know beyond a doubt that secretaries, janitors, guardians (and sometimes security) are star players for hitting a few less road bumps than your knuckle-head colleague across the hall – If that’s you just keep reading. Of those mentioned, my money is on the caring parent to win MVP at the end of the day. Note: If she’s a Single Lady – Just like Beyoncé Giselle Carter was at the time of recording. . . She’s in a league of her own. You will be less stressed having the support of an active parent on your team. Just ask for help.

Play in the Majors
Trust me, if you are serious about knocking the ball out of the park at least half of the time you are up at bat. You will take time to connect with the student’s parents or guardian at least 2 – 3 times a marking period. That’s an average of about once a month, right? The key here with new students is to make your first two phone calls home CS calls. That’s right, Customer Service your accounts. I didn’t say sales calls. You have nothing to sell. You are being encouraged to make those calls service calls. Otherwise you headed down a road of unnecessary stress filled days guided by students without a license to drive you there. Do you feel me? Bite your lip if you have to, but don’t call with a bad report until you connect with your team mates. You can win this round amenities, but you have to be strategic. I’ll share more tomorrow.

Check Your Purpose Clause
What is your purpose behind trying to mange a classroom full of someone else’s kids without evoking the persuasive authority of parent power? That’s just stupid. Don’t sleep on Granny being there for you, praying for you, and spanking that butt when she needs to. Better theirs than yours. Right? When Michelle Obama met with the Department of Education staffers yesterday she met with them as a former student, a teacher, and a parent. She was in tune with the purpose behind the tasks we struggle to perform. Michelle opened with, “I am a product of your work. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the public schools that nurtured me.” In the words of our First Lady, “Roll up your sleeves, you have a lot of work to do.” From me personally, thank you for doing what you do. I appreciate you holding it down.

This is a new series called Stressed Out K – 12 Education. Over the next several weeks we will explore classroom issues surrounding special needs, at-risk behaviors, student – teacher and teacher – parent relationships, and much more as it relates to reducing stress created from educational systems, narrow minded thinking of difficult colleagues, and the headaches of some one else’s undisciplined kids.

Copyright © 2009 | LaRon A. Carter “The Guest Teacher

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