The Impersonality of Text

We have our 6 senses involved when we have verbal dialog with parents. If we use a colloquial phrase or say something we regret, we are more likely to be understood and forgiven because of non-verbal cues. Unfortunately, we can’t have impromptu face to face conversations with our parents every day or all the time. It’s important to be aware of the limitation of text. When you write a letter to a parent or to the whole class it is always risky. So much can be misunderstood. It always helps to do something called a “love sandwich.” This is where you give a compliment and then state the purpose of the corrective letter and then close with another compliment. Ie; “I am so pleased with Johnny’s progress in reading, he is far ahead all the students on his team in AR points. I wanted to let you know he is lining up a little late however after the whistle blows. I’m sure this is just a hiccup and Johnny is performing excellently in his math and other subjects.” It’s hard to have a way with words on these things but keeping the love sandwich theme in mind goes a long way.

Parents also seem to appreciate specifics. For example: send a notehome that says “the whole class was noisy, please talk to your child” will not be received as wellas one that lists 5 tips on how to stay quiet during the teaching part of the lesson. Then the parent can review the list with their child. Teaching is not their profession and they may not be able tocome up with this totalk abouton the spot upon getting the note. The last tip I’ll give about letters home is brevity. Parents work in the day and some in the night and they may be tired and not ready to process a long letter. Notes home work the best and come back the quickest when they’re brief in scope and concept. It’s a commenly used aphorism in teaching when we say, “Rome wasn’t buiilt in a day.” This is very true witth students. You might say, “Rome wasn’t built with one note.” I hope these observations will help you have more success in your textual correspondence with the home.

Author: Damien Riley

Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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