Congratulations on completing your fourth month of teaching. You are becoming more polished and confident as each month passes, and your enthusiasm and work ethic are evident as you continue to develop creative lessons and activities with opportunities for all of your students to succeed. I know that you enjoyed a short break for Thanksgiving with a chance to get away from school matters for a while, and now you have returned, refreshed for the challenges that await you. I hope that you had a chance to tell some interesting stories to your family about your first few months of teaching.
You have noted that you are participating in several parent conferences lately, sometimes with other teachers and sometimes only with the parents of the student. I hope that you will look at parent conferences as opportunities for problem solving and growth and not as disruptions or inconveniences as you might hear from a cynical colleague.
It is important to establish some perspective on the situation of each conference and understand why the event is taking place. In most cases, achievement is not taking place or behavior is off-task, and frustration levels are building, especially in the student’s home. Remember to understand the perspective of the family, and do your best be encouraging with realistic suggestions for solutions to help the student and the family. Be prepared with data and notes that are appropriate to the concern. Be professional, smile, and thank the family members for meeting with you, and establish methods and timelines for checkpoints and follow-up. In time, with an added goal to strengthen the relationship with the student and perhaps the family, you are likely to see improvement and growth.
Now, you might find this next topic unusual coming from your mentor. However, I feel obligated to encourage you to consider expanding your knowledge of finances in consideration of retirement planning. I know that you are balancing many phases of your life – graduate school, the after-school activity that you agreed to sponsor, your planning/grading/reporting workload, and a social life. You are also dealing with many expenses for the first time as you begin your career. However, it is important that you establish a plan for your future and develop sound financial practices that will alleviate stress and provide for financial comfort later in life.
Most large financial organizations will provide assistance and information for financial planning, and our human resources department can explain what programs are available to you as an employee. Also, many of the veteran teachers in our school would be willing to assist with advice and information. When you have gathered some specifics from these sources, you should be ready to begin a salary reduction program. Of course, at first, you will be limited in contributing, but in time you will be able to increase your contributions as your investments grow. You will rarely find an older person who regrets participating in a program; you will find many who will say they started too late or regrettably never started to save.
On to month #4!
You’re doing great so far.
Best wishes, Tom