Relationships. Whether they are with co-workers or with our students' parents, they are essential to our job. It is on our must-do to build those relationships.
So I have 3 tips for building relationships with co-workers and 3 tips for building relationships with your students' parents.
If you are supposed to sit down for a meeting at 7:30 a.m. and you roll in at 7:38, people are going to notice!! (AND be annoyed!) Be respectful! You are an educated professional! ALSO--just because you and your fellow teammate have the same planning time doesn't mean he/she wants to spend all 45 minutes listening to you and your wedding plans!
We are all at different stages in our lives--no matter what profession you are in. Some people are single, and spend many hours working in their classroom. Some people have young children and spend all their time with them carting them around to baseball practice, piano lessons, or play dates. Some people have sick or elderly people they are responsible for. Whatever phase of life your co-workers are in---they need to be respected, and their time needs to be respected.
I know when I am talking, I can tell the difference with someone who is pre-occupied with their cell-phone or something else, and who is listening to me.
One time at a meeting after school, a fellow educator started talking about using technology in the classroom. The other teachers within the group started to have a conversation to the side, while I was the only one listening and engaged in this teachers conversation. Afterwards, she thanked me for listening to her and said "It's nice to feel like someone is hearing what I'm saying." LISTEN to your co-workers!!
There may be a teacher at your school really knowledgeable about math fact strategies, someone else may be really good with classroom management. Reach outside of your comfort zone. Go to those specialists! See what makes them that way--learn from them!!
My first year teaching, I had a defiant student that oftentimes acted out violently. When I found out who he had the following year after he left me, I went to that teacher. I tried to offer her what worked for me advice for this student, but she was quick to tell me she's been teaching for 7 years and would be able to handle him. OKKKKKKKKK I thought..... Flash forward to the spring, after this teacher had had this student for 3/4 of the year....they finally came to me and asked, "what worked for you again?" It was so frustrating for me, seeing that student struggle and fail, and that teacher not take my advice and could have avoided the issues with the student. LEARN from your co-workers!!
Ok so as you read this, you will notice that the tips to build relationships with parents is very similar to my list on building relationships with co-workers. This relationship is very important, the parents are their first teacher after all.
I teach at a school with a very wide range of families from different socio-economic backgrounds. Whether my students' parent is a hair dresser, chef, doctor, stay at home mom, or WHATEVER I talk to them the same way. I care about all their kids the same way. They are all my kids!
I will never forget when my youngest son started Kindergarten. I was an un-wed mother of a bi-racial son in a rural school. I was in the process of going back to school, and working full time. I had volunteered to bring cupcakes in for a holiday party around Halloween. When I arrived, the students were at library, so it was just the teacher and I. She was about the same age as me, having taught about 3 years. We had some small talk, and then she asked me if I went to college. I told her I had gone up until my junior year, when I dropped out because I had my son. She gave me a look of disgust and didn't say another word to me while I was there. I remember feeling embarrassed and ashamed of myself and my life. When I finished my teaching degree and got a job, I VOWED to never make any parent feel that way.
OK, so we have all had that one parent. You know that one. You check your mailbox at the end of the day only to find ANOTHER message from this parent to call them. Then upon calling them, they inform you that little Johnny may be acting out today because he got up 7 minutes earlier this morning (OK I'm so exaggerating, but you know what I'm talking about!)
Some parents need you to reassure them. ALL parents need you to listen. So whether you are calling that parent back for the 18th time this month, or meeting that parent for the first time, it is important that you listen to their concerns.
Call that parent, find out what works or doesn't work for their child. You are in this together, to get their child to succeed! Build that relationship with your students' parents!
Hopefully you have learned some tips when building relationships with co-workers and parents of your students. Make sure to check out the other bloggers' posts about this same topic!!