Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Importance of Parents

Parents. To me they are some of the most over looked resources in education. I started my teaching career in Torrington, WY. If you ever want to feel like you are in Torrington simply grab some beets and cows, close your eyes and take a deep breath. As a young teacher in a small community I quickly realized that word can travel fast. Whether good or bad, your reputation and relationship with your students can depend a TON on your relationship with the parents. Since, then I have done several things to make sure I work to make my classroom more transparent for my parents.

I use https://www.remind.com/  This allows me to communicate with parents through text message. And thanks to the great chat feature parents and students can reach me out of school hours. But, you can set office hours so you aren't getting texts at all hours of the day and night.

I make sure to call EVERY 108 of my students' parents with a positive phone call home within the first month of school. Yes, this is a lot of work, but it makes the rest of the year so much easier. They know you care about their scientist (that is what I call my students) and it makes tough conversations down the road so much easier!

We have a school twitter account, #spearfishms. This allows us to share out all of the great activities that our school does!

Respond to parents' emails and inquires in a timely manner. You would think that would be common sense, right?? But, it is not. So, often if you respond right away, the parents are so appreciative it makes the conversation much easier.

Go to all the events in your community you can! That is where relationships are built. You can talk about topics outside of school and build a great community for yourself! If you have a relationship with the parents, then it is easier to work together for what is best for your students. It builds trust.

My new adventure is having my students blog. We then are asking parents to comment on those blogs. This will allow parents with a 9-5 job to become more involved in the classroom. I believe @traceykracht calls them digital volunteers.

If you take the time to bring your parents into the classroom, I guarantee that you will notice the difference. We are all working so hard to make sure that their scientist turns out to be the best versions of themselves! Why would we keep parents out of our classrooms? One of my favorite quotes is, "It takes a village to raise a child." Make sure to utilize your village! Don't believe me? Just listen to one of my amazing parents:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxU4nq8Njvmua2VYUXA1dGZ4T0U/view?usp=sharing




Monday, April 18, 2016

Open Letter to My Classes

Dear Scientists,

Teaching is hard. There are moments when you just want to curl up in a corner and cry. However, I would never do anything else! It is the best job in the world. I am in my 4th year of teaching, and it has not gotten easier. Everyday, I have 90 minutes to help young scientists become the best versions of themselves every other day. Which is a lot of pressure. But, the young scientists that I see are worth every minute of my hard work.

Things I have learned from my scientists this year:

  • Teacher's can talk too much and it is better to let the student's do the talking
  • It is better to let the student's teach each other, than for me to teach them
  • That sometimes I may need to slow down and talk slower in class
  • If I am excited, then the scientist's will be excited
  • Being goofy and myself in front of you is good!
  • It is not always easy to be brave, have integrity and be kind. But many of you do it everyday! And sometimes, I do not give you enough credit for that. 
  • Just because you are talking in class, does not mean you are off topic.
Sometimes I do get frustrated with you. That is because you are not showing your PRIDE. I know that a lot of times you think, what do you know Mrs. Wangeman you are just a teacher. But, if you only knew how many nights I lose sleep over you.. Yes, you! The one reading this post! I lose sleep because I want to help you be better, show your PRIDE and give your best. I have come to realize that the only person who can change you is you. That is right. Not your parents,  and not me. You are the only one that can chose your path. I want the best for you, but more importantly you need to want what is best for you!  That is the one lesson I hope you take away from my class this year. Just because you will leave my classroom, all too soon, does not mean I will not be there for you. If you ever need anything you know where to find me!