Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thank Goodness for Unlimited Text Messaging!!!

A "NOT SO WIMPY" teacher has to have with-itness! You have to be able to think on your toes and tackle challenging behavior head on! Well, technology certainly makes this task easier. I use a variety of behavior modifications and management tools in my class (I will start posting them soon). But sometimes parents just want that good ol' fashioned daily behavior chart........#UGH!!! Well, this is what I do. I make sure I have every parents cell phone number at the beginning of the year. I share with parents that I am a texter and this usually is the beginning of our teacher-parent texting relationship! For those parents who request a daily report, I let them know that I actually have something better! I will give them a daily text. Why is this better? #1: Save a tree, send a text! #2: You ensure that the parent received a daily report. No more, "she said you didnt give it to her today." or, "it got lost on the way home." #3: You have a record of parent contact and can email it to yourself to be saved to your computer.

It's not that hard to do. My students go to their special at 2:15. I have an alert remind me to send the texts at about 2:30. In three seconds I can send a text, sometimes answer a question, and BAM everyone's happy (well... maybe, the student may not be too happy if it was a not so great report). It definitely helps with managing behaviors because the student knows that I will communicate with their parent on a daily basis.

Also, when a child is acting up, I can just shoot a text to mom, dad or the caretaker. I share with my parents that I have an open door policy. With some parents when I send them a text, they show up at the classroom door! I love it. Talk about managing challenging behaviors! After the second time the students pretty much realize that I can communicate with their parents and they have no idea when. This helps with challenging behavior because some students never know when their parent/guardian may make a visit! No more spending my entire prep contacting parents. Or, spendng the last 20 minutes of the day signing daily reports. The texting doesn't replace verbal/in-person communication, but it certainly helps me to communicate with parents on a regular basis. **Of course this is only succesful when you have paren buy-in and support.

Parents also like to send me messages/questions from time to time asking me questions about an assignment or their child's behavior. I've always had good parent communication, texting has just helped me to make it even better.

Do you have other tips for communicating with parents? If so, share with us. I would love to read about them : )

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