Time to head back to school…again. Ugh.
Your stomach is in absolute knots already. Just thinking about it makes you feel slightly sick to your stomach. No matter what you’ve tried, it’s just not going well. Every single day feels like an absolute knock-down, drag-out fight to the death.
Instead of dreading the daily school battles, find your confidence and get empowered.
Let’s fix your school year with this one tip.
It almost seems crazy, but one great way to really fix your school struggles is with leveled-up communication. You’re already sending those emails and asking for meetings, I know. That’s already a step in the right direction.
It’s not how often you’re communicating that could use a refresh. It’s the actual content of your emails that can totally transform your school year.
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Think back to your most recent emails to the teacher. Pull them up in your email account. Do you have them? As you re-read them, take a peek at the tone of each email.
Over email, it is almost too easy to be super short and to the point.
You have a question about homework, so you dash a quick note off:
We don’t understand the homework. Did you explain this to the class?”
A grade seems super low:
Why did my child get that grade? Didn’t he learn the content?”
There is an IEP issue:
Did you read her IEP? See the highlighted attachment.”
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All of these emails get your point across pretty quickly, but also in a potentially blunt way.
In emails, there is no “tone of voice” function yet. So as things are read on the other end, everything can seem a little harsher. Your short and sweet email now could read as abrasive.
It’s not what you meant, but it’s how it’s being read. Short and to the point does not read as sweet in many cases.
Sometimes, your super brief emails can seem to point the blame for failure squarely on the teacher. You meant to simply ask what had happened, but it can seem like an accusation that the teacher is not doing her job. Now, that teacher is upset, belittled, and grouchy.
This is not what you wanted to happen at all. And I bet you didn’t even realize it was happening!
Use the sandwich method instead.
Think of your emails like a sandwich: positive – focus question/comment – positive. This is the exact method I share, in lots more detail, in Talk to the Teacher.
You should open with something positive. This could be related to your core message or just something you’ve noticed that you like.
“I really liked hearing about your recent science project!”
Then move to the heart of the matter.
“I’m concerned that my child isn’t understanding the new science unit. Are there resources that we can use to review at home? Could we chat about how he’s doing in the classroom?”
Then follow up with something positive again.
“He’s really excited about your science class and I want to make sure that we work together to build his success!”
Structuring your emails this way does take more time and more words. But the extra effort will pay off in a huge way.
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The teacher will feel supported and validated by your words: “he loves your class”; “liked hearing about the recent science project”; “work together.”
You’ve created a home-school team dynamic where you are both working to support your child.
This is exactly what you want to happen! When you and the teacher have the team mindset, they are more willing to go the extra step to help you. This could mean extra resources, tips, willingness to work before or after school, and advocating for your child with the administration.
It’s a super simple little switch in how you are writing your emails. Give it a try this month!
Email me to share if your struggles ease up after you try using this email formula!
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