A few things I do to keep from getting into a lose/lose situation with parents:
- Talk to the student (their child) about the low grade/missing work before it becomes a huge deal. Be up-front and straightforward.
- Send a letter home after 2 things missing (here’s mine you can use)
- Collect email addresses from parents at the beginning of the year. This sends an early message that you welcome communication and are friendly. For extra credit I have students go home and have a parent send me a short “hello”. I reply back with a cordial “Thanks….”. *Note- be careful about when you reply back. If you always reply immediately and during evenings they’ll expect it. You’re the one in charge of setting the expectations, so be fair to yourself.
- Greet the student in the hall or talk to them about something normal besides their low performance. That shows them you’re not a monster.
- Have a purposeful day planned out. If kids are going home telling their parents that they haven’t done anything in my class for days and it’s true, then I need to be more professional and do a better job.
- Bite my tongue when I feel a smart remark coming on. The truth gets twisted enough. Don’t make it worse by doing or saying something impulsive.
I’d call that a decent list, but not anywhere near complete. What do you do at the first sign of a student starting to slip?