It’s no secret that having open ones of communication with parents or guardians in high school is more than a little difficult. I always send a letter home to parents with students on the first day of school to open the lines of communication. I try to email 2 parents/guardians a week to give them an update on how things are going for their kid in my class. I always focus on something good, such as “Sarah” asked such an insightful question today and it led to a great class discussion or I was very happy when “David” was proactive after getting his test back and asked me what he could do to make up some lost points.
I have two versions of the letter: the one in my head and the one I actually send home. In my head, the letter goes something like this:
Dear Parents, I regret to inform you that I will be your son or daughter’s history teacher this year. I am going to push your child to their academic limits. I will not let them settle for what they think is their best because I always see the potential in my students that they do not see in themselves. They might not always enjoy my class because they are going to work harder than they have in other history classes, but they WILL learn more about history and their place in the world than they thought they would. I will make them appreciate the value in thinking outside the box, we will study every event from multiple points of view, and I will hopefully open their eyes to the wider world. I am not just their history teacher…I am helping them prepare to be responsible world citizens. I will play devil’s advocate and I will make them work to prove a point or justify an opinion. They might break out in an academic sweat but at the end of the day I will make learning fun for them. History can make us laugh, cry, shriek, fear, wonder, admire, sigh, lament, applaud, cheer, and more. Your child will do all of that in my class.
In reality, I write a much more PC version of that letter and you can find it with other back to school materials by clicking HERE.