Saturday, 30 June 2012

A lot of firsts

I recently had my first parent-teacher-student interviews, which were primarily a meet and greet but also a great opportunity to detail to parents what we will be studying in term three. I grasped at the opportunity to ask them what they think I should be focusing on with their child. That question proved extremely informative in terms of the parents' views on their child's key areas of need and, from my own observations of my students so far, the parents' opinions were notably accurate.

I also recently set up my class blog which we will be posting to from the first week of the term. I introduced the idea of a class blog during my interviews and the concept was well-received, which encouraged me to proceed. A few of the topics that really resounded with me from a number of parents were their appreciation of home work and also their desire to be able to support their child in areas of need by knowing how they can help and what learning is occurring in the classroom. I think these two desires are well-satisfied by the blog template which I have created at www.meltonwest.blogspot.com. In addition to posting about our learning on this platform, I have set up a few right-hand side tab gadgets with headings which I will be updating weekly regarding home work and suggested home learning activities.

I think (and hope) I made a good impression on parents. Most of all, I tried to emphasise in the interviews that I would keep in contact throughout the term and that the interview was not the once-and-for-all contact point for the semester. I made a point of collecting their personal mobiles and/or emails and asking about their preferred contact method. The blog will be a great way to keep in touch but I also plan to write emails, make calls and write diary notes when a student displays extraordinary work effort in class or plays up. Witnessing the interactions between parents and their children during interviews was a powerful confirmation for me that they are key authority figures and, therefore, for me they are invaluable allies.

Usually, teachers release their class blog websites after there has been a fair few posts and so it can look really intimidating for mere beginners, like myself. I thought I would take a different approach and release my class blog before I commence using it with students, so my visitors have the opportunity to watch it grow from a blank template into a centre of learning and collaboration between a teacher, students and parents.

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