One of the best things about teaching is making nice phone calls to parents, or sending home nice progress reports to parents, or emailing nice notes to parents.
One of the downsides of teaching is making bad phone calls to parents, or sending home bad progress reports to parents, or emailing bad notes to parents.
I try my hardest to make positive contact with parents over the course of each semester. I love sending home positive reports to parents because I know it makes the parent's day and I know the student feels good knowing that his/her teacher thinks highly of them.
Unfortunately, I often spend more time making negative contact with parents. I try to make the phone call, or progress report, or email as pleasant as possible, because I know that NO parent wants to have to deal with a child that isn't doing his/her work or is misbehaving in class.
Fortunately, there have been positive outcomes from the negative contact with parents. Last semester, with two parents, I had regular email contact. At first the contact was negative, but it soon became positive. The students then knew that both their parents and I were a team that was rooting for their success, and I think that this communication gave the students greater incentive to complete their work at a higher level, rather than just getting it done to get it done.
So far this year, I have sent home six progress reports informing parents that their children need to improve their behaviour in order to be successful. I have only made five "happy" emails. My goal is to change that balance.