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Letter to parents to introduce myself from a PGCE student

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by lousie, May 3, 2010.

  1. lousie

    lousie New commenter

    I am trying to write a letter to the parents Introducing myself. I am in a reception class, so I will be working closely with the parents. However I have no idea what to put. I am on school placement
    So far I have my name, and Uni and how much I am looking forward teaching, how to contact me if they have any problems.
    My letter is 3 lines! If more.
    What else do I need to include? How long should it be?

  2. Whose initiative is it to write to parents?
    Has your mentor or uni told you so?
    Or you think it's a good idea?
    First, you shouldn't communicate directly to parents. Any communication should come from your class teacher.
    Secondly, you don't present yourself as PGCE student, trainee teacher etc, but simply as teacher. OK, reception children aren't going to understand the difference, but once you are in a classroom, you are a teacher, you should conduct yourself as a teacher and other adults should treat you as a teacher. It's none of the business of the parents to know who you are, or what status you have - you are just another teacher teaching their children. What if some parents take exception to their children being taught by a novice, unqualified staff, and complain to the school?
    Writing to parents is a bad idea and you shouldn't do it.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Agreed, I am in secondary and we never tell the kids they are having a student. We always refer to anyone taking the class as a teacher! Sometimes we might use the term visiting teacher.
  4. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I'd strongly advise against doing this. You do not owe the parents any explanation as to who you are and why you are there. Everyone has to train and has a right to train. Parents think they know better the majority of the time anyway without giving them the ammunition of telling them you are not qualified.
    If parents ask who you are, the class teacher can explain and inform them that you are being closely supervised and doing an excellent job.
    I repeat, I STRONGLY advise you not to do this. If you do, you are inviting complaints from parents who will not want their child being taught by a student teacher (they just don't understand enough about how teaching works).
  5. The HT of my school routinely puts a note in school newsletters to intro the student teachers who are working in school.(I read some past newsletters on the website before going to the school). I'm not wild about the idea... but it is difficult to object!
    My class teacher also introduced me at the start of TP as a trainee teacher. Wasn't wild about that either ... but It wasn't my decision to make. Just have to smile and get on with things. If the parents have a problem with having a trainee teach their children... then it is the HT who is going to have to placate, not me.
    My own line... to bright Y1 children who read my visitor badge (that said i was a trainee teacher)... was that I was already a teacher, but was doing some extra work at the university to make me a superduper extra qualified teacher.... Which I felt was quite truthful as I have taught in other settings.

  6. Hiya, I don't think you should send a letter to the parents. As others have said you don't need to explain yourself to anyone. On my placements I have been introduced to the whole school in an assembly. On my second teaching practice I was mentioned in the newsletter but it just said that I would be working in the class till Easter.
  7. I agree with the others. You should NOT be writing a letter under any circumstances. I would advise you not to.
  8. Hi lousie
    I don't have a comment on whether or not you should be writing to parents (it seems extremely clear from the other posts what the concensus is anyway) but just wanted to say something positive!!!!
    I imagine you are very enthusiastic and well intentioned, which would be where your idea to write a letter to the parents will no doubt have come from. It sounds like you want to show willing and have an open and professional line of communication with the parents, and you thought this is was a good way to do that. I just want to say well done on your keenness and enthusiasm, and there will be plenty of opportunities for that to be channelled appropriately during your training.
    I hope this doesn't patronise you, just wanted to say good luck and keep it up!
  9. Agree with Ruby! I'm hoping to be in Louise's place soon and I'd be really discouraged at the tone of the other responses if they had come to me! Is this how teachers "encourage" their own pupils?!
  10. If you want to survive your teacher training, and in the teaching profession afterwards, you need to know how to take advice from people who have a lot more experience than you have. Teaching can at times be a brutal profession and shows little mercy to those who disagree with experienced practitioners. Yes, we all had to start at the bottom and had to learn the hard way. We know what works and what doesn't, and while it's good to experiment and try your own ideas, there are certain things, like teachers' professionalism, which is non-negotiable and you just have to toe the line. It's for your benefit and protection. We sometimes have to intervene when a trainee is making a serious mistake and getting themsleves, and the school, into trouble.
  11. Agreed alec, as someone who has trained student teachers my whole career, I would definitely advise against this. It is not a lack of encouragement, clarelwebber, but actually looking out for someone who could put themselves in an awkward situation. All universities should be advising students to avoid advertising the fact that they are training to pupils and especially parents. I know from my own experience the amount of problems this has caused me and my student teachers in the past. If one thing goes slightly wrong, if a child falls and bumps their head, if another child doesn't enjoy the student teachers lessons, goes home moaning to their Mum and then doing badly in assessments/tests/exams, there could be HELL to pay from the school's point of view if the parents knows it is a student teacher.
    On the other hand, there is no need to lie. If a parent asks you directly you would of course tell them but otherwise you are simpy a teacher working with the class for a while and aren't they LUCKY to have you.
    El x
  12. Apologies for the DREADFUL spelling and grammar there, was typing whilst on the phone to my mother!
  13. DM

    DM New commenter

    Listen to Alec.
  14. Hi I'm just coming to the end of my PGCE. It's a difficult one because I do believe parents have a right to know who is working with their children but on the other hand maintaining children's respect is also key to a successful tp.

    My teacher introduced me to the class as a "this is mrs xxxx, she's going to be teaching you some of the time, instead of me, for xx weeks/months.

    The children know I sometimes 'work' in other schools and that I do special 'research projects' which I sometimes need volunteers for (e.g assignments for pgce).

    As for parents. I talk to them a lot and would, of course, tell them if they asked that I was doing my pgce. However I just say "I was teaching xxx today and this happened" and no-one has ever asked any more.

    I don't feel that this is being untruthful and if a parent questioned me I would say that I have a degree, I have taught in xxx setting before and that now I'm doing on the job training for my pgce.
  15. Speaking as someone who is currently a parent, but as of September will be a student teacher, I'm slightly confused by all this.
    My son's school has PGCE students in on a regular basis, as everyone KNOWS they're students. It's not really broadcast by the school, but everyone knows that the teachers who replace the usual class teachers from time to time are from the local uni. No-one has a problem with this and I'm quite frankly baffled by the suggestion that parents might not notice.
  16. You hit the nail on the head Lintilla, "it's not broadcast by the school". There's the difference. Would you expect to get a letter from a student teacher explaining who they were and that they were looking forward to training at the school?! No of course you wouldn't because it is pointing out that this person is in some way different to the rest of us. You will be no different to the rest of us and therefore it does not need pointing out to everyone that you "may make a few mistakes along the way" but that "you're going to do your best" etc! As a student teacher you should simply come into a school, teach, get QTS and leave! Not advertise that you're new to it!
  17. I agree. If you advertise the fact that you are a student or trainee teacher, a novice still learning the trade, I guarantee that it will have a bad effect on your placement, because everyone will know, including your pupils, that you aren't a 'proper' teacher and they can get away with murder. If something goes wrong, it will be the fault of 'the student', and if a parent has a complaint to make, it's because of having a 'trainee' in the classroom, whatever the truth may be. So don't explain, behave as a proper teacher, expect others to treat you as such, and move on!

  18. Nobody should post a question asking for advice and expect only to hear answers that they want to hear.

    As a new entrant to the profession, I LOVE advice, whether it agrees with my plans or not. That's the point of asking for advice.
  19. Hey louise

    Firstly, well done for getting to your final placement! I'm just coming to the end of my course and have experienced lots of blood, sweat and tears! Can't believe we are almost there!

    In relation to the whole letter thing, I can see where you are coming from. I started my final placement keen to get involved with parents, tell them who I was and take on the whole open door policy thing. My classteacher advised me not too and insisted that I took a back seat on the parent front and at home time etc - the parents knew me, they knew I was present but didn't know the specific details of why I was there. Anyway, cut forward a few months and i'm now preparing to take the class over in September for my NQT year! (never thought i'd get a job there, least of all with the same class! so happy!) and I can honestly say that the classteacher was 100% right. Although the parents don't know next years arrangements as of yet, i'm forseeing it will be a lot smoother transition than if the parents still knew me as the student. I think that the parents would of been a lot more sceptical about me taking over the class had they known I was just finished training - rightly or wrongly of course. Basically, what i'm trying to say is that if you set yourself up as a fully qualified teacher from the onset then the parents will respond - and continue to respond - to you in this way (or at least thats what i'm hoping!!!)

    Good luck with your final placement :)
  20. I'm still only a trainee myself, but that's what I would have thought would be the risk in the OP's position, and for that reason it's why I was a bit miffed when introduced as a trainee in the school newsletter (similar to a previous poster). However, I think the newsletter is hardly ever read by the kids, and the parents only give it a flying glance, so it's not caused me too much bother yet. A couple of kids have twigged I'm a student but they're not the troublemaking types anyway, and this was a good time after the start of my placement so I'd managed to establish some authority anyway.

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