Tuesday, October 1, 2019

10 Things You Want Parents to Take Away from Open House

On the eve of my 50th open house (24 as a parent and 26 as an educator) I wanted to reflect on what exactly it is that teachers hope to convey at these yearly events and what is it that parents need to hear.  For some reason open house is the one event that still gives me butterflies, but not as much as it did when I was a twenty-three year old first year teacher. Of course it is important to provide parents with information about routines and policies, dates, schedules, and information about homework, and you should.  However those details can most likely be found on a website, but there are plenty of things a teacher can share with parents that can only be captured in person.

10 Things You Want Parents to Take Away from Open House

  • That you have a passion for teaching
  • That you will report just as many (if not more!) positives than negatives

  • That you have taken the time to get to know their child
  • That you are human
  • That you are a professional
  • That you care about their child
  • That you have the support of your peers and supervisors
  • That you know where you students need to be and you have a plan to get them there
  • That you will answer their questions and listen to their concerns
  • That you will be a positive role model for their child

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Just Say No... to No Talking

One of the most vivid memories of my own early schooling was from third grade. Like most teachers, Mrs. Cohen would often and routinely move seats to create new groups. On one particular day I recall her saying to me, "It doesn't matter if I put you next to a paper bag you're going to talk to it". No, I was not traumatized by this and it did not mean that Mrs. Cohen was a bad teacher or an awful person. With this list I will attempt to look at and make a case that it was actually a compliment and perhaps even something I should wear it as badge of honor. Over the past decade I have had the opportunity to observe teachers and students in hundreds of classrooms from preschool to grade 12 as a coach and as an evaluator. I have noticed that too many times teachers correlate the success of a lesson or the behavior of students to how much talking is going on. Lots of talking = bad, no talking = good. Although I encourage discussion and debate of controversial topics, it should go without saying that there is no place for hurtful or hateful language in any classroom. With that said, lots of talking can be a great thing and here are 10 reasons why.

  • Talking helps increase vocabulary

  • If someone is talking, that means someone is practicing listening

  • Conversation helps build relationships

  • Encouraging students to speak will help them find their voice

  • Discussion is a great way to review and better understand concepts

  • Sharing ideas out loud is a way to test out theories and gather feedback from others

  • When your class is talking it is an opportunity for you to gather information about what they know

  • Talking leads to collaboration

  • If learners are in an environment that encourages the sharing of ideas they are more likely to take risks and contribute to the discussion

  • When we communicate we feel more connected to those around us