How do you start? "First, we have to absolutely believe in our souls that families want to support their children and that their support can make a significant difference in a child's educational experience. Second, we need to prioritize reaching out to families."
I had the privilege of hearing Angela Maiers along with others present at ISTE on the power of the words "You Matter". As I was thinking about the book study, I thought about the power of the words "you matter" and the connection that parents and teachers could make if only we entered every interaction with that thought foremost in their minds. No longer would we be on the defense in a parent- teacher conference or assume that we knew more about someone
I love that the book, along with the participants in the study offer practical suggestions. All of the ideas focus on developing relationships. If I truly believe that people matter like I say I do, then it only makes sense for me to invest in people. How? Honor them with my time, my words and my talents.
- Visit the homes of students.
- Invite them into my home or at least the classroom and not just on Back to School night!
- Make positive phone calls to parents monthly to keep them in the loop on overall student progress.
- Go outside of the building to greet and talk with parents.
- Create a warm, friendly environment by ensuring that the number of student projects and celebrations of student accomplishments outnumber warning posters about alcohol, drug abuse and dropping out.
- Host a class meeting, grade-level social or book club.