The author Avi once told a group of teachers, “If you are going to teach me to read and to write, first you need to love me.” I love that thought! Our students are human beings first and one of their most basic needs is to feel loved. Lucy Calkins says that our first job as teachers is to fall in love with each and every child—right away. One of the best ways for me to do that is to use a few tools that help my students and their parents teach me about themselves. One of my favorites is this parent survey:
I have found that this simple survey, with just a few open-ended questions, gives my students’ parents the opportunity to tell me anything they feel I should know. I have filled out many of these types of surveys over the years for my own three children, but I like this one the best. It is not overwhelming, parents can tell me as little or as much as they want, and it gives me exactly the kind of information I need as I begin to fall in love with each child in my room.
If you don’t already have a parent survey, consider using this one. You can send it home before school starts with your welcome letter or distribute it at Open House. I think you will appreciate the information you receive about your students, and I think your students’ parents will appreciate the opportunity to tell you about their children.