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Scholastic Teacher Express

Helping your child to make a difference!

All of us have had the experience of going to a restaurant, hotel, supermarket, bank or somewhere else and been giving less than the best customer service. Some people, regardless of what they’re getting paid, do the minimum. Their attitude is “good enough is good enough”.

On the other hand, we’ve all experienced super customer service, at hotels, banks, auto dealerships or whatever else. We can appreciate this special attention to detail, making us feel special and doing their job very well.

So what makes the difference between great customer service and average customer service. It comes from two different areas: it comes from those companies and organizations that have a philosophy of great customer service. They train their people from top to bottom to provide the best customer service possible. I believe it also comes from parents and teachers who expected the best from children and taught them to never give less than their best effort. This starts in schools with teachers and at home with parents. Many students have the attitude of “what is the minimum expected of me to get the best grade possible”. Their only concern is getting that A or B that will help them get into the college or university of their choice.

It’s not about learning….. it is more about promotion. It is sad, but too many teachers and parents allow this behavior by accepting less than the best from students. Students will copy and paste from the Internet, to do a report, not caring about why the report is important or what they can learn from it. This same attitude can be found in the home where parents can ask children to clean up their room or finish a specific chores and accepting less than the best effort from the child. For many parents it is easier to go behind the child and pick up the room or finish the chores then to fight with them over the issue. In my opinion this is a big mistake! It sets the stage for teaching children that it is okay to give less than your best.

So here’s why parents need to take charge. It’s your child, it is their future and you can make a difference with them. Don’t accept homework that is less than their best effort. When doing weekly spelling assignments often they are asked to write a sentence using the word. Many students will write the shortest possible sentence that barely meets the requirements of using the word in an effective way. Don’t accept that! Talk with your child’s teacher and explain to them that you want to be supportive and get the best from your child’s effort. This should be a goal that every teacher will embrace and support. Together you can make a difference.

My Summer with Edmodo

For those that don’t know Edmodo is a Learning Management System (LMS) that looks like Facebook. In my opinion Edmodo is a LMS that is geared more towards a K-12 audience than a higher education audience. In a lot of aspects Edmodo seems more like a social media tool than a Learning Management System due to its interactive setup and visual appearance. Make no mistake though, Edmodo is one powerful educational tool.

Prior to 2014 I had periodically played around with Edmodo, using it sporadically inside my classroom. Then, EdmodoCon 2014 happened and I grew more and more involved with Edmodo after hearing about all the wonderful things students and teachers can do with Edmodo.

Then I received an e-mail earlier this year asking me to become an ambassador for Edmodo. I agreed and have been very happy with my decision. I am now actively helping my peers within the Edmodo community with any questions they may have and vice versa. I’m providing resources to my peers and offering feedback to those resources my peers post within the Spotlight section of Edmodo. My involvement with helping out on Edmodo has also made me a Luminary, which according to information at EdmodoCon 2015 will result in me receiving a cape [to show off my Super Edmodo Skills I’m sure].

Additionally, this opportunity has allowed me to connect with even more of my peers on Edmodo through the various challenges Edmodo has for its ambassadors to complete, through its Teacher Leader Network. We can connect on Facebook, Twitter, etc. due to setting up our Edmodo accounts to link to our social media.

I can’t wait to turn my enjoyable summer with Edmodo into continued and prolonged usage of the amazing Learning Management System and encourage you to do so as well.

Three ideas to give your child a fighting chance at career success

The world is changing rapidly. More of our manufacturing jobs are heading overseas. We are seeing. for the first time, white-collar jobs consumed by technology and other innovative cost-saving ideas. So when your child graduates from high school or college what will they do? In 2012, 36% of the nation’s young adults ages 18 to 31—the so-called Millennial generation—were living in their parents’ home, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Not a very exciting option for parents or for young people. Job hunting is tough and your kids better be ready to go up against the BEST and win.

Preparation starts early and at home.

So what can you do to give your child the best opportunity for future success in the world of work. First of all you need to know that preparation starts early and at home. Not in school, not in college but it starts right in the home with you as the teacher. You have heard this many times but it’s worth repeating: parents are the first and best teachers a child will ever have. There are many outstanding teachers who play a significant role in a child’s life….. but what you do is a parent every day can have much more impact than any teacher.

 A Simple Test

Here’s a simple test that you can give your children to see if they are moving in the right direction to be employable in the 21st century world of work. You can administer this test as early as five years old but the lessons for work preparation start much earlier. Here we go!

1) Watch how your children greet another adult. Do they look them in the eye? Do they shake hands with a firm but pleasant handshake? Can they respond appropriately to a question or statement from the greeting adult? For example: adult:“how are you today?” a good answer might be : ”fine thank you how are you?”. Can they talk with another person and engage with appropriate conversation ?

2) When talking with your child do they look at you and engage you with more than a one word answer. For example: if you asked the question”what would you like to do today?” Can they answer you in a sentence of more than 10 words? This is a skill that starts early and is essential if they are going to be effective in a job interview.

3) Attitude matters. When they are around friends and other people do they demonstrated a positive attitude about themselves and others? Skills can be taught but attitude is very difficult to change. Employers will hire someone with a good attitude and less skilled than someone who has a questionable attitude and better skills.

So what can you do?

Help your child to acquire the skill of greeting people with a pleasant and firm handshake. Looking at people when they talk to them is extremely important. Have them put down their PDAs when they are having a conversation with you or others. You would be surprise at the number of college graduates who cannot look at the interviewer when answering questions. Chances are they’re not going to get the job.
Help your child work on building a strong and positive self-esteem. Talk with them about what went well in school, on the athletic field or with friends each day. Help them learn to verbalize and have a positive expression. This may not come easy but it does come with practice. Help them understand the importance of being a team player. Job candidates under estimate how much hiring managers care about interpersonal and communication skills. They will need to communicate with others and be part of the team if they are going to be successful. Hope this helps and gives you something to think about.

I would love to hear your feedback and any ideas or suggestions you might have.