Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘Child’

Fabulous Phone Call!A Positive Message!

While attending the 2011 PLC summit, one of the presenters told us about an experience he  had while watching Family Feud. The question was, “What is the reason your child’s teacher is calling your house?” Not one of the “right” answers were positive, not one! An example of some of the answers were, “Your kid is failing” or “Your kid skipped school”. It reinforced the stereotype of parent/teacher communication; we’re the bearers of bad news. About a year ago, we had an idea forced on us by our principal, and it’s an idea I actually grew to like. We were forced, every Friday, to call a parent or two, and let them know something fabulous about their child. It’s called a Fabulous Phone Call. It’s not time-consuming, and there’s no out-of pocket expense. It’s exactly what it says, a phone call to a parent, telling them how wonderful their child has been. I try to choose a child who is always fabulous, they deserve praise too, and a child who was struggling to be fabulous. It’s not all about academics either. Maybe the student showed improvement in behavior, grasped a concept, or helped a friend. There are so many benefits to the Fabulous Phone call, the most important being that it provides teachers a chance to create positive communication with our parents. I usually begin my phone calls like this, “Hello, this is Mrs.M; your child is not in trouble.” I try to get that in before, “What did he/she do?”  Afterwards, we have an enjoyable conversation about their child, and it usually ends with many, many, thanks from the parent. I keep the phone call positive at all times. Monday Morning, I place a “Fabulous Phone Call” coupon on the child’s desk, which says, “Congratulations, you have received a fabulous phone call!” I also ask whether they were notified about the phone call. Who knew a simple phone call could bring such joy?Pick a day, any day, and make a Fabulous phone call to one of your students’ parents, and destroy those negative stereotypes!

Power of Positivity: The Friday 5 – A principal documents the power of a positive phone call!

fabulous phone call coupon

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“Today Was One of Those Days!” Woosah!

Today was one of those days!  I had to take a deep breath, and  exhale, “Woosah.” (For those who don’t know, I got that from the movie  “Bad Boys” with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith.)  It works for me, because it stops me from saying something I have no business saying to someone else’s child!  My students were so crazy today with the level of “it’s all about me”.   All the “this is what I want to do, and who cares  what you say!” No, they didn’t actually say those words, but the body language, attitude, lips poked out, made me stop during Math.

I said,” I have to stop for a Public Service announcement.”  This is not meant for all of you, as a matter of fact, it’s not meant for most of you.” Seriously.  And yes, I know, I was not using my class time wisely, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  I proceeded to explain to them that when they get home, they can Tweet, Facebook, text, or call each other and vent about me all they want, but while they were sitting  in our classroom, they would keep their negative  attitudes to themselves, especially since it was intefering with me teaching and them learning!”  Yes, they took me there!  I didn’t have any other problems for the remainder of the day, thank goodness!

Sometimes, they do that to you. I love them all, but sometimes I just want to shake them, and let them know, that I  have too many bodies in the room to cater to each and every one of their idiosyncrasies. Especially when it’s more than two or three of them at a time. Well, they’re 5th graders, and I know puberty is rearing its ugly head, and the hormones are beating each other up inside those little bodies.  So, I’ll just continue to take a deep breath, inhale, extend my arms to the sky, arm down, and exhale, “Woosah!”:)

“They Did Not Choose Their Parents”

These words were spoken at the 2011 PLC Summit I attended in Arizona last week.  “They didn’t choose their genetic pool”. “They couldn’t say I want two college-educated parents who love me, care for me, and make education my priority.”  

 I realized after hearing this statement,  that many times, I get frustrated with my students  about things over which they have no control.  When they come to school without school supplies,  their parent doesn’t sign a form,or  misses a scheduled appointment, or has made the child stay home to babysit, again.  These are things that the student can not control, but yet, year after year, my frustration is placed on a  child, who is probably just as frustrated as I am!  How many times has the child walked in the day after parent-teacher conferences, and I’ve said, “Your mother scheduled an appointment and didn’t come”  The child stands there wide-eyed, not knowing how to reply. Maybe they know why, maybe they don’t,but  that’s not the issue.

We need to work around the parents who are not supportive, the ones who just don’t have the time.  We need to tell our children, “You do you.”  “You do what you need to do to succeed.”  Let’s not hold them accountable for the mistakes, or neglect, of their parents and guardians.  Let’s not make them bear the weight of their parents’ transgressions.  Why say to a child who is late every day, “You’re late again.” Knowing  the only way the child can get to school is if their parent drives them.

So, I’m taking a new outlook, and it began yesterday.  I have a student who is out every Monday.   I would fuss at him every Tuesday about the work he had to make up or didn’t understand.

 “Well”, I would say sternly, you need to be here on Mondays.”

 He was in school yesterday and instead of a  “Glad you could make it”, I smiled and said, “I am so glad that you are able to be here today.”  A smile lit up his face and he said, sincerely, “So, am I.” The next time he’s out, I will work with him and help him catch up. Am I a” bad” teacher? I don’t think so, but I’m certainly not the best I can be. I’m learning though, and I’m willing to take a good, hard, look in the mirror, and correct my mistakes.

Top 10 Things a Parent Can “Give” a Teacher for Christmas!

10.  A notebook, pencil, and paper for your child. If they have a Wii, I’m sure you can spare some change for these items.

9.   Dress your young  ladies, like young ladies. I don’t need to see your child’s cleavage or half of her butt.

8.    Make sure your child is on time for school. You are setting up bad habits for life when they are consistently late.

7.    Make sure your child is in school every day!  A 1 week  family vacation during the school year is not recommended for a failing student.

6.     Discipline your child.  If they do something wrong, there should be consequences.

5.     Be the parent!  You are not your child’s best friend! And no, you do not have to be the “cool” Mom or Dad.

4.     Have your child READ at home.  I do not have a magic wand, if they don’t read beyond the classroom, how will they become better readers?

3.     RESPECT the teacher.  If you call me a ” “b$#%&” at home, how do you think your child will treat me?

2.    Stop blaming the teacher!  Sometimes events are beyond the control of the teacher, but can be controlled by you and /or your child. 

1.    Make your child’s education a priority! Trust me, it will all pay off in the end.

Youtube version – Enjoy my video version! 🙂

Praise! The Power of Positive Reinforcement!

I have a mousepad on my desk that lists  “101 Ways to Praise a Child”, it’s a wonderful tool. More than anything, I’ve found praise works wonders. Does it always work? Of course not, some children, you praise, and they get worse! But this year, I have a group of students who respond well to praise. I am in my third week of school, and all the behaviors are gone, they have magically disappeared! What magic is this, you ask?  The magic of praise! A few double high-fives, a dozen, “Wow, you’ve done a great job today”, and “It’s been a pleasure having you in my class today”, along with some self-rewarding pats on the back, has given me a roomful of children who glow in the warmth of my praise. I am loving it!  No rewards, no incentives, just a good old, “Yes, you’ve had a good day” that brings a smile that’s akin to a thousand suns on the face of a child who had originally irked me.So yes, my mousepad sits beneath my mouse, and with a quick glance, I bestow upon an unsuspecting child a word of praise.   If only it could be that simple every year. 🙂

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