Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Write A Letter...

At the beginning of the year, I hand out a parent "handbook" which explains the ins and outs of my classroom and the year ahead. I also give them a brief letter which introduces myself and asks them to write me a letter that tells me about their child.

Yes, I know there is a deluge of paperwork that comes home the first day of school that has to be completed (remember I have to do it for four kids myself), but this is really the most important part for me.

I ask them to tell me what they enjoy about their child, their temperaments, what works and doesn't work with them. Mention strengths and a goal or two. Brothers and sisters, after school activities, anything interesting they may want me to know.

I love these letters, especially the part where they tell me what they enjoy about their little one. In reading them, the tone exudes the basic love they have for the person their child is becoming. That is priceless. So often we as teachers just talk in terms of behavior or academics...I love talking with parents about the unique and special treasure they have brought into this world.

It helps me know situations I otherwise might not know, and it saves us from trying to have a conference as I am dismissing class and the rest of the 20 are running in all directions. I always ask in my letter for them to contact me asap if they want to have a special beginning of the year time to chat.

Some teachers may not ask for this. They may have a parent questionaire for you to fill out. I think whether or not they have something for you, you should go ahead and write them a letter.


While you have the time, while you have brainpower...and while you don't know who the teacher is. I think that makes a difference. I know that teachers have reputations "We loved her" "She's strict," etc... Yet I want you to write the letter without the slant of what you want this or that specific teacher to know. Keep the letter about your child.

So write the letter now, focusing on your child. You can be specific to a subject area, or just general. Think about expectations you have for the year.

Here's an idea...hadn't thought of this until right now. Have your child write one too...they can just tell the teacher their favorite subjects, things they enjoy, things they hope to learn. I have the kids write me a letter the first day of school, but this would be way more fun and they would have more time to think about it. Plus, the first day of school they are always nervous (as am I) so it is harder to really get things down on paper.

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! I might get mine ready these week just to have available and ready to turn in, even if teachers don't ask for them. Look forward to meeting you once the school year begins!