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Good Advice From A Teacher: Establish Relationships

Relationships are central to teaching and learning. Establishing a real relationship with every student, their parents, your colleagues and supervisor is the foundation for a successful learning partnership that will make teaching a joy.

Do you remember a teacher who connected with you as an individual? Maybe they took the time to listen, fi nd out about your interests and give you opportunities to incorporate your passions into your learning. I bet those teachers were your favorite people and that because of it you worked harder to succeed in school.

To establish yourself as an important learning leader to your students take the time to get to know them. Since you’re the adult be a “roll” model and get the ball rolling by sending out introductory letters or postcards to students before the year begins. Tell them who you are, what your interests are and how exciting it is that you will be working together. Gear your communications appropriately for your grade level. Do a quick welcome to school postcard for Kindergarten, adding information as you move up in grades and even moving to cards or a letter for upper grades. Be prepared to get mail back and when you do, answer it!

Writing back and forth is a great way to have a private dialogue that lets students know they are valued. This can be carried on throughout the year in different forms such as continued correspondence, e-mail, student learning reflections and teacher validation or two-way journals.

Although you may feel like you have a lot of students remember each of them is the most important person in your classroom to their parents. As you are getting to know students and their parents make sure you are sharing who you are with them. Be visible and available before and after school and use every opportunity to share your commitment and vision for learning. Unless you are in a job share situation, each of your students only has one teacher and they want to know who you are, what you stand for and what to expect from you. If you start out letting everyone get to know you, you can’t fail to succeed with students and get their parents to support you.

I experienced a master at work one year when I went to my son Chase’s Back to School Night. The teacher, Anita Sanchez met each parent at the door with a gracious handshake and welcome. Her beautiful classroom was set up for each of us to sign in and fi nd our child’s desk which had the 1st grade standards, class policies and procedures and a note from each child on it.

Mrs. Sanchez got up in front of the class, smiled at everyone and began a power point presentation by saying:

“I’d like to share the twenty reasons I love getting up and coming in to teach each day.”

The slides showing every child in the class experiencing their fi rst week of fi rst grade made every parent sigh and fall in love with Mrs. Sanchez. With one graceful action she conveyed how she felt about our kids, shared what their activities and learning looked like in action and she showed us that she valued each and every one of them.

As you’re connecting with students and parents make sure you also spend quality time with your teaching partners and talk with your supervisor regularly. Ask for feedback and be prepared to actually listen to it and use it. Offer your opinion when asked and practice diplomacy.

It’s easy to get super involved in your classroom and forget that you are part of a larger learning community. Tend to each part of your learning community by making sure you know and understand your students, parents, colleagues and supervisor. Your work to create relationships will result in positive relationships that sustain and enrich you and your teaching.

© 2009, Susan Guerrero.

Susan Guerrero is passionate about teaching and learning. A K-12 teacher, specialist, staff developer, university instructor, principal, and education al ambassador, Susan is an advocate for parents, students, and teachers. She is the Executive Director of The Heart of Learning Foundation and lives in Pleasanton, California with her son and daughter.

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Writing and Publishing News Blog

Patricia Fry offers a frequently updated blog about publishing and writing that is a great resource for writers of all genres.  You’ll find lots of great tips on how to sell more books. Take a look and let us know what you think!

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What is the future of publishing?

Nick Morgan contributor to Forbes has written an article about the not so fun roller coaster that is the world of publishing.  You can read the entire article here.

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Amazon Picks the 20 Best Books of 2012 So Far

Amazon.com editors have picked the top 20 best books for 2012 (through June). You can read the list at Amazon.com.  It’s interesting to note that the top ten books on the list are from traditional publishers.  Amazon is also holding a sweepstakes:   “Customers can also enter the Best Books of the Year So Far Sweepstakes on the Amazon.com Books Facebook page through July 23 for a chance to win one of 10 Kindle Fire devices, each accompanied by a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card. There is no purchase necessary to enter. Must be a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C., 18 or over. Learn more [here] and enter for a chance to win.”

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Keep Track Of New Books In One Place

The New York Times book section is a great online resource for readers and authors.  They cover book news, have book reviews, best seller lists, podcasts and more.  If you love books as much as we do bookmark The New York Times Books.

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The HuffPost Book Club

If you are an avid reader like all of us at 42Rules then take a look at the HuffPost Book Club.  Started in December of 2011, the book club introduction says:

“Just like other book clubs, it’s a way for us to invite you to read books that you otherwise might not, and to be part of a larger community discussing their narratives and themes.

Unlike any other book club, we also want to hear about how your reading intersects with your experiences, your memories, your everyday life and with current events.”

If you’d like to join the club visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/book-club

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Facebook Fan Page No No’s

Let’s face it.  You need a Facebook Fan Page for your book and perhaps one for your company too.  Some authors are promoting their books and keeping in touch with readers using their Fan Page and other authors let their page languish into oblivion.  But you must have a Fan Page for your book.  Your readers expect and your publisher may require it.

No matter how you use the page you must make a conscious effort not to break the rules created and put in place by Facebook for Fan Page administrators.  There are many rules and you swore to uphold them when you signed on the dotted line before creating your Fan Page.  Break even one of these rules and you can wave bye bye to your Fan Page and all of the fans you worked so hard to get.

Facebook is offering you a free service so they get to call the shots so it’s important to know the rules.  Facebook reserves the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason and they can do so without warning.  Marketing Gum has a great article about these rules and the consequences of breaking them.  Did you know, for example, that your Fan Page cover photo cannot include your contact information or pimp your most recent coupon or sale?  If you didn’t know that and if you haven’t read the rules you must read the article by Marketing Gum.  To read the story of one company that broke the rules read “Social Media : To Facebook Hell & Back” and start taking these rules seriously.

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What Is The First Thing You Need To Do To Get Book Sales?

Get reviews.  It’s that simple.  The incredible success of Amazon.com has largely been driven by user generated reviews.  Books with no or few reviews don’t sell.  Even books with negative reviews sell better than books with no reviews because potential buyers know a book won’t please everyone.  If you have a book you need to give away copies to reviewers and ask them to post their reviews on Amazon.com and every other book review site they can find.  It’s that simple.

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Our Newest Release: 42 Rules for Applying Google Analytics

42 Rules is proud to announce the release of “42 Rules for Applying Google Analytics“.  If you are an author or publisher you already have a website and you may use Google Analytics.  42 Rules for Applying Google Analytics is understanding a visitor’s journey through your website then applying that measurement, collection and analysis of data for the main purpose of adequately optimizing and improving website performance. This includes learning where your visitors come from and how they interact with your site or measuring key drivers and conversions such as which web pages encourage people to react by calling, emailing or purchasing a product.  You can learn more here.

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My Shelf Looking For 2012 Books To Review

My Shelf is a popular book review site looking for current books to review. Submit your favorite 42Rules title Your review request will be circulated to volunteer reviewers and if someone is interested they will contact you. You can find out more at My Shelf.

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