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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tips for Teachers from Ron Clark

Ron Clark is a former Disney "Teacher of the Year" and the author of an outstanding book, The Essential 55. The following tips for teachers are taken from his writing:

  1. Make sure the initial contact with parents is positive is a positive one with no negativity at all.
  2. Any time you talk with parents, make sure the first comment about their child's performance in the classroom is a positive one. (John might have failed every class, but if he did a good job on an art project, talk about that first.)
  3. Wear professional attire. I have found that when I dress in a suit and tie the students and parents treat me with more respect. During class, I have far fewer discipline problems, and when talking with parents, their overall tone is more respectful and cooperative. Besides, teachers who want to be treated like professionals should dress and act like professionals.
  4. Send notes home or call out of the blue to tell them something good their child did. (When I have done that, parents always comment on how no teacher ever did that before. Parents love to hear good things about their kids, and it will go a long way toward building a good relationship between you and the parents.)
  5. Take every possible opportunity to thank parents. If they donate supplies to the class, help with a party, chaperone a trip, or make any other contribution to the class, send them a thank-you note. It will make them feel appreciated, and they will be far more likely to help out in the future.
  6. If a parent is extremely difficult to get along with, don't be afraid to schedule a meeting with the principal where you can express your concerns. If that doesn't work, avoid that parent like the plague. Any contact with him or her should be made through written notes. Don't put yourself through the torture.

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