I stumbled across a tweet from a high school classmate that resonated with me for a couple of reasons. First, this was something I emphasized to my teachers. Yes, we take the culture of our school seriously, and we do want to hold firm to our strict discipline policy; however, we are in the business of educating kids, and that should always come first. I am also glad parents want to hear more about how their children are doing academically along with behaviorally.
When I read the tweet,
Teachers be quick to use all sources of getting in contact w you to tell you that your child is misbehaving in class, but lack that same effort to tell you that your child didn’t score well on a quiz/test or not comprehending the learning material
I got excited and instantly had to reply:
I have a saying for my teachers “Keep that same energy” with a kid learning as you do for their behavior
At my school, I must remind my teachers about the importance of academics. First, my school has a lot of new teachers, and one of the first concepts they learn is the importance of the Tindley culture. During the first year, classroom culture has to be a priority. When teachers call parents, it tends to be about misbehavior. Teachers know that misbehavior can lead to poor academic performance and low grades. Normally, the conversation with parents is about the misbehavior and academics is not mentioned. What does not help is some parents do not think about their child’s grades until report card times come, but every so often, you run across the parents that will check you and want that same energy the teacher put into calling them about behavior put into calling about academic performance.
It is a healthy balance that I try, as a principal, to model for my teachers. Any conversation that I have with parents I tie in academics. No matter what a parent comes to meet with me about, the first action I take is to pull up their scholar’s grades. I do this because I want to show the parent that we take the academics seriously. The other reason is I want the parent to be aware of where their child is academically.
My blog colleague, Shawnta Barnes, hit on this topic as well a week ago in her piece “Teachers Should Bring the Same Energy of Informing Parents about Academics as They Do about Discipline.” She told the story about her twin sons, who would get in trouble in school, and the teachers and school would call her and her husband. Then when she would call about academics, the school and the teacher went ghost. I get this sometimes as a principal. A parent will call me looking for the teacher because they sent an email to the teacher inquiring about their child’s grade. The teacher would not respond but would send a message on Class Dojo saying the child was not listening while transitioning down the hallway. Our scholars must follow directions, but it is also important that parents are aware of the spelling words for the week, so they can help their child study.
#KeepThatSameEnergy should be a hashtag and motto. This is what I want and expect from my teachers when it comes to academics and behavior.