Reflecting on my 25 years in teaching I still feel the most valued skill is being able to communicate with and listen to all stakeholders.
Of course, talking and listening to students is a major part of my teaching day, and talking with staff is also a daily requirement. However, we as educators have less opportunity to communicate with parents – something that is a key challenge for us to overcome.
In the last academic year I was fortunate enough to attend a Middle Leaders course. This course is run on island, over six days, and you work with primary and secondary teachers on school issues and managing changes. Taking my learnings back to my school, Beaulieu, our team discussed how we might communicate better with parents and we decided to devise a curriculum booklet specifically for Year 7 and a separate one for Year 8, for whom I am the Academic Head.
Our intention is to circulate this booklet, full of valuable information on subjects, keywords and useful websites and online resources, to all parents. This will give them a clearer understanding of their child’s education and more importantly, the role they will play in it. It will also stress the importance of engagement between teachers and parents to a child’s education.
My plan for the future is to develop this further and work with our primary school to evolve the booklet into a clear suite of tools that empower a parent to help their child.
At Beaulieu we are involving staff and parents in our strategic plan because having clear structures and taking the time to listen, communicate and share ideas is paramount in every school.
Caroline Heaven is a teacher and academic head of Beaulieu School. Caroline’s chosen charity is the Beaulieu Foundation. This charity works to raise funds for the development of the school’s campus and facilities and to provide financial support for students through bursaries and scholarships. The money donated by Orchard will go towards equipment for Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.