Be sure to take time to tell parents exactly how your classroom will work. Make a list of all topics you need to discuss with them. Cover each briefly. I recommend an email or letter mailed at least two weeks before school begins. Be especially sure to include the top two or three most important ways for students to be successful in your class. For example:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Parents,
My name is Mr. Mendler. I am writing to welcome you and your child to my class this year. I am excited to let you know some of the more important procedures I use in our classroom to help each child be successful. Please discuss this letter with your child before school begins.
Perhaps the most important thing to know about me is that I try every day to be fair to each child. My primary goal in being fair is to give each student what he/she needs to be successful. Since there are differences in skills and work habits among my students, I might give different tests, different quizzes, different homework assignments and different consequences to different students. Every decision I make will be made because I believe it is the best one for your child. Some students might get extended time or an opportunity to take a test more than once.
Others may require special interventions to help them better concentrate or cooperate. If you ever have a question, concern or suggestion that can help me do my best for your child, please let me know. At the same time, unless there is a special exception, I don’t share details about why I might be doing something different with another student for reasons of privacy and respect.
If you want to contact me by e-mail I will be at my computer every Wednesday afternoon from 3-4pm. Barring an emergency or something unexpected, I will answer your email then at the latest. I appreciate an email at least 24 hours in advance with an idea of what you would like to discuss. If you prefer to talk by phone, Thursday between 3-4pm is best.
Late work / homework policy:
Your kids are in 4th grade, 7th grade, 11th grade. The expectation is to hand in work when it is due. If it is not on time I need to understand why it is late. Sometimes points will be deducted. Other times they will not. Each situation will be handled individually. If you notice your child excessively stressed or struggling when doing homework, please let me know.
I look forward to meeting your child and having a great year.
It is much easier to prevent problem behavior from kids and their parents when expectations are clear before the year begins. I wish you best of luck on the upcoming school year and please follow me on Twitter for more teaching tips!