- *Reflection: The Parents are coming! As parent conferences approach, initiate a discussion with your Cooperating or Mentor teacher about parent communication. This is a time to give parents feedback concerning their child. While areas of challenge and improvement are discussed, it is equally important to share areas of strength and positive feedback about children. Remember that parents know their child best and are a good resource – ask them questions about their child! Refrain from using ‘ed. speak’, keep in mind some parents may harbor trauma memories from their own school years and are primed for a negative experience. How can you help them feel welcomed and at ease? Also, important to note: consider these conferences in a confidential nature. You share only information about their child with parents.
*Tip: Sit on the same side of the table as the parent. *Tip: Invite the student to participate and share their own work, successes, and ideas for resolving any issues! *Tip: This is a good opportunity to review your behavior plan with parents and students.
- *Reflection: What are your technology boundaries? While there are many wonderful and useful tech tools that enhance teaching, the boundary lines can get blurred in this brave new world of media technology. Carefully consider how you will use technology in the classroom to expand learning and engage students, while creating appropriate boundaries. *Tip: Never ‘friend’ students or post about them on your personal social media.
- *Reflection: What about motivation (part 1)? How can you motivate the reluctant learner? And how can you tap into a student’s intrinsic motivation? Are you employing Motivation 3.0 strategies?
*Tip: Occasionally let it go off-topic! In the words of Jonathan Kozol from Letters to a Young Teacher (paraphrased): “As a child is traveling down the trail of tangent… through the blissful kingdom of irrelevance… sometimes, at the end there’s a hidden treasure where the child tells us something we never knew about him up to now. Good teachers use that piece of hidden treasure as a key to unlock motivation and bring the child back into the classroom work that must be done… but now with a sense of purpose.”
“… it has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussions about education so little stress is ever laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up in the world of thought–that is to be educated.” ~ Edith Hamilton, American translator, classical scholar, writer