I think my school does a lot with climate and trying to develop an attitude of gratitude already. We are a traditional middle school, so that means a lot of our time is spent on developing social skills and relationships with our students. Kids send out Boostergrams to each other for positives, and teachers regularly send positive emails and postcards to kids when they've done something well. I'm fairly consistent with that, and since I comment on student work all the time, I also use that as a way to spread positives. My goal for this part of the blogging challenge is to develop how I extend that positivity toward parents. Because honestly, I don't do it very often aside from conferences.
I sent an email last week to a parent after I read her son's paper. His paper was about how much he loved his family, and it reminded me that at the beginning of the year we had some issues with his work and behavior. His mom was great with communication and the issues were solved pretty quickly after making contact with home. It just struck me that now it's November, and that the kid has not had any issues since then. After reading his paper, I thought how his mom hadn't heard anything from me since the original problem and its resolution. So I sent her a quick email, just to drop in and say that the reason she hasn't heard anything from me lately is because her son has been great, and that I wanted her to hear something good so that teacher emails weren't always bearing bad news.
Her response was immediate. She said my simple, three sentence email "made her heart happy" and that she was a "proud mama" after reading it. That made me feel good about doing something simple that brought her some unexpected joy. Yes, like all teachers, I am constantly strapped for time. But that email took less than two minutes to write, and it made his mom happy and proud, which in turn probably impacted the family in some positive way that evening. They heard something good from school!
Kids can hear positives during the day, but that doesn't mean they communicate them to their parents all the time. As a teacher, I want to make the conscious effort to communicate more small positives to parents on a regular basis. It's too easy now that most of our families have email and prefer that communication anyway. So that's my goal: I'm going to try to send at least a few positive emails directly to parents each week. It's a small gesture that can spread one more small, positive narrative about our school and my classroom.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.