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I have been getting ready for Parent Orientation for the past week. Our orientation consists of meeting with the parents to go over the school handbook, school contract, school calendar and answer any questions that the adults may have. Then the adults meet with the teacher that their child will have and the teacher will go over his or her classroom expectations, projects, due dates and overall classroom information for the year. And answer a ton more questions.
It’s an exhausting day for everyone involved, but necessary in order for everyone to be on the same page and understand that we are a team: student, adult and teacher.
This is a very stressful time for me, as I must make sure that all of my projects line up with my lesson plans and that my due dates are correct. I also must make sure that I go over all of the school-to-home activities we do so that the adults understand what needs to happen. There are a ton of activities in my classroom that will need a grown ups assistance, and this is my opportunity to give the adults a year-at-a-glance into their child’s classroom.
And it never fails that a month or so into the school year a new student shows up. Even though it’s only been a month, it can be difficult to bring the adult up to speed on what we are currently doing, what we will be doing and what activities are already in place.
So instead of scurrying around and trying to re-print off all of my handouts, and some of them getting lost in the shuffle, I’ve started making three extra copies of everything. As I put all of my handouts together for parent orientation, I slip them into a folder labeled with the family’s name. I place my extra sets in a different colored folder, and place the folder with all of the handouts into a ziplock baggy and label it “New Student” on the outside of the baggy, along with the year. This way I know that it isn’t a folder I need for parent orientation and it allows me to place it in my student file so it’s immediately handy for the grown up when a new student arrives. It also allows me to add to the baggy if another important note comes along. I am able to remove the folder from the baggy, place all of the additional papers into the folder, then go over the information with the adult.
Usually I have at least one baggy at the end of the year that doesn’t get used. So now I automatically have a set of parent orientation handouts that I can rework for the next year, along with any new information that may have been overlooked, newly implemented or school handbook policy changes. Keeping these types of handouts organized can sometimes be difficult in the paper shuffle of the year, so keeping all of it together makes starting off the next year quite a bit easier.
How do you keep up with making sure your adults are up to speed on what their child’s class is doing?