What do I tell parents

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MissFroggy, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I basically took the first grade position as a martyr for our school, which is struggling with enrollment right now and had to have a teacher leave on sabbatical for a year. He was a teacher w/ 20 + years in first grade. The other first grade teacher on campus also has probably 25 + years... what do I tell parents to reassure them???

    I have been teaching 5 years, but third is really the lowest I have taught. I have had 3rd, 4th, 5th grade students, and 3 second graders who were gifted over the last 2 years.

    We have a real focus on child development, and I really know nothing except what I read in Chip Wood's book the other day. I am getting worried that parents won't trust my authority as a new teacher at a new level. I want to do what's best for the school (I love, love my school and am an alumna) I am worried that parents will not like my class and leave the school.... sigh. I often make quick decisions and then feel bad later. I know I'm a good teacher and am excited about the younger age... but also have a lot of doubt! :help:
     
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  3. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I am worried about the advanced parents, too, though I know one (a teacher at my school) is excited. This is the first year we've had the advanced program, and though I know I can do it, it's still very much a challenge. I hope to remain at my peak all year. I have the same exact experience as you- five years.

    As for you, you're very intelligent, and that can get you very far. Literacy will be very different, but you can challenge them, seeing you have had the older kids. At least you are not going in the other direction- from very young to intermediate, though I've known many who have and done a tremendous job. You have to figure out a baseline from the beginning of the year and build from that. You also have to make sure you have the books for them, which I am sure you are working on just fine.

    Just do your best, too, to work with the other first grade teacher there. I remember when my friend moved down to first from second and at first was displeased, yet now she feels she's in her niche. I wish you the best.
     
  4. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    Aug 9, 2008

    First of all I think you will be just fine! With that said, you don't need to explain yourself to parents at an open house if that is what you are worried about. If you are confronted by a parent reassure them that you are an experienced teacher, that you have the proper certification and that you can react and handle any situation. Trust me, you learn a lot more in the classroom than you can from a book. You WILL be fine!
     
  5. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I wouldn't say anything upfront, though I personally get very nervous and blurt things out without exactly thinking first. I am probably not the best to give advice here, but you just have to remain very positive and search for resources through different places.
     
  6. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Aug 9, 2008

    You are an experienced and certified teacher. Having taught older grades, you also have the benefit of knowing what you are preparing your young students for.

    I've always taught K (starting my 9th year) and, while I feel like an "authority" on K, I feel that having never taught another grade level is a bit of a weakness.
     
  7. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I was never even formally trained as an elementary teacher. I started out teaching 7th and 8th grade English and history. After four years, I move to high school social studies. A year later, having passed the MSAT and now having a multiple subject credential, I began teaching elementary. First 6th, then 5th.

    After 7 years of teaching kids with at least two digits in their age, I moved to first grade.

    The parents had no problem with it even though we had two very highly experienced first grade teachers on our team.

    Sevenplus is absolutely correct. Your years of teaching higher grades give you a valuable insight on what will be expected of your students in a few years. You also have a strong repertoire of lessons and ideas that will serve to challenge your advanced students.

    Parents should understand this, even without your explanation.
     
  8. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Aug 9, 2008

    I don't think that you should have to explain anything to your parents. You are a veteran and parents should recognize your experience. Sometimes we offer too much information. I remember when I first started teaching, I told parents that I only had 1 semester of experience and they could not believe it. I went into the classroom very confident and that helped. This year I elected to have my daughter in a new teacher's class as opposed to our veteran teacher. I feel that I had to have a first class and everyone deserves a chance
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Aug 9, 2008

    When I've switched grades at my school, I just told the parents that I was happy to go where there was a need. They were fine with that.
     
  10. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    True, it is good to say you are pleased to go where there is a need. Especially at a private school, I bet there are more "needs". At my school, there's 7 teachers on my team, so we're in a different predicament when we change teams. There's so many other teachers on a team compared to just yourself or a few (at most) other teachers at your school.
     
  11. chinamom

    chinamom Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Miss Froggy, I just wanted to let you know that there's someone else out here w/ similar concerns as yours! I'm returning to the private school where I was a few years back-- a school that I love and truly believe in. But, we too are struggling with enrollment and were recently bought by a company that has a group of independent schools. I know the "buyout" is a good thing-- the school had some weak management from the previous owners, which I think contributed to the enrollment drop. But I'm worried that if parents don't like the way I'm doing things, they'll take kids out and enrollment will drop further! And I have a 3rd grade class now-- I've never taught 3rd before, only 4th-9th.

    I guess we both need to trust that we ARE experienced teachers and we DO know what we are doing!

    Just wanted you to know you're not alone!

    Chinamom
     
  12. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Aug 10, 2008

    Thanks Chinamom!
     
  13. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I agree with many of the people who have said your years at other grade levels is only a plus. You know where your students are going, and this will help you challenge your students and give them opportunities that perhaps a "primary-only" teacher may not. Let them know that you are looking forward to the privilege of working with their children, and tke it from there.
     
  14. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Aug 10, 2008

    I agree with Emma35.

    If a parent is rude enough to challenge your credentials, let him or her know that the school admin has enough confidence in you and that is why you are in that position (your being a martyr is none of their beeswax).
     

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