Email — A Teacher’s Best Friend

This week I gave my kiddos a break from writing. It was actually a bit unintentional but between life, and delays/schedule changes, and well, there ya go. Between said delays, and missing days myself, I feel like I’ve barely seen my kids this week, but that of course does not mean I have thought about them any less. When writing my reflection of a student’s piece of writing, I feel like I got this whole new sense of pride about the awesome things my students are doing with writing this semester. I’ve wrote several times about how impressed I am with their ability to pick up this strategy I’ve thrown at them, and have completely blown the roof off my expectations. As teachers, we all, unfortunately know how it goes with students: we seem to be in constant contact when there are behavior/grade issues, but tend to let the others slip by. While I am sure the parents of these students know how awesome their kid is, I wanted to take the opportunity to write a few emails and show them the work their kids are doing.

Email has definitely changed our world, and say what you will about the dying art of conversation, as a teacher, it sure is a time-saver. It’s much simpler and quicker to send an email (even a somewhat lengthy one!) to a parent than it is to try to get a hold of them on the phone, then end up playing phone tag, etc. So! I constructed a few emails and sent them out to parents about the awesome things their kids are doing in my class, and even sent along some writing examples highlighting their creativity. While it was a labor of love, what I didn’t expect were the overwhelmingly appreciative responses that made it absolutely, 110% worth the 20 minutes out of my day. Parents were so excited to see the writing (I could tell by the large usage of exclamation marks) and I hope that it was nice to hear positive feedback about their student.

I was an overachiever good student myself and wonder if my mom ever heard anything from teachers about the neat things I was doing in class. It sure would’ve brightened her day to get a call/email from a teacher and it not be about my rotten younger brother. All in all, to toot my own horn just a smidge,  I was proud of myself for reaching out to parents, something I definitely do not do enough of, and has really encouraged me to seek out bright spots about these awesome kids, and then let their parents feel the same pride in them that I do daily!!

 

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2 thoughts on “Email — A Teacher’s Best Friend

  1. bethabuchholz says:

    What a powerful example of how our writing MATTERS as teachers–to ourselves, to students, and to families. Your writing about your writing about your students’ writing (how very meta!) offers a glimpse of what engaging students in generative writing (across the curriculum) brings into the classroom: moments where we actually see students as more than vessels to be filled with content, and instead get to see them as these funny, creative, unique, passionate, irreverent, opinionated, poetic *individuals* with something to say to the world.

    I also think the fact that it was through *writing* about students’ writing that you got this “whole new sense of pride” in them is significant. It suggests that by engaging in writing that teachers come to have a deeper understanding of their own classroom practice as well as their students. In other words, writing is a form of discovery/learning not simply a way to represent thinking. Writing actually led you to see things differently! This is such a critical lesson in terms of thinking about what small steps teachers can do improve their own practice. I see this as a form of “teacher-research” on a small scale. 🙂

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  2. brandireedy says:

    This post was inspiring to me for many reasons!! I think we know that most of the communication that goes home is not good because “we do not have time” to communicate good things with parents. We are often afraid of being stuck on the other end of the phone for several minutes and then miss lunch or a bathroom break.

    Hannah I am certain that you changed how at least one of those parents view education and the teachers in our school system. Over the weekend I found myself reading this post from a parent on facebook about how crummy the teachers were in our school system are. They had several parents ranting and raving about the teachers and how they never had anything good to say to the students let alone their parents. I didn’t engage in this conversation because it made me very upset but also because I knew it wasn’t true. It is these small moments from the desk of a caring teacher that change the view of parents.

    Your conversations with these parents also probably not only gave them an insight to the great things their child is doing but also a view into the importance writing has in our world. What a great example of cross content teaching. I think when students are exposed to things in multiple settings it only strengthens their ability to be successful in the skill. I hope you are learning some strategies that you can carry on into your future teaching. I know you are a great writer yourself, and were before this program began, but I can see a growth in you as a teacher of writing. You are a wonderful teacher, I always love reading about and hearing about your classroom as it is a different experience than mine.

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