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           The weekly devotional just for teachers!
Welcome to my weekly devotional site. These devotions were written over the past twenty years to be  used in my teacher devotion meetings as teacher training tools to help build a team working toward a positive school culture. I pray they are a blessing to you as you seek to find God's best for you and your students. 

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      Teacher Devotion for the week of February 7, 2016

    James 1:19 ... be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
    James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 

    At the beginning of my teaching career, I dreaded those times when parents called the office and wanted a conference with me.  The meetings with parents were often instigated by trouble, complaints, or frustrations. However, I eventually came to understand that these meetings could be both productive, insightful, and useful in helping me work with specific students. No matter how much I dreaded an unpleasant confrontation, I determined to try my best to use it as a stepping stone toward building a parent/teacher team.

    First, assume there is a misunderstanding or miscommunication at the base of every complaint. Students often carry home incomplete messages to their parents.  This will help you deal with confrontation more calmly. Begin by welcoming the parents and offering them something to drink if you have it available. Let them know you are glad they came.

    Next, invite the parents to explain their need for a conference. Listen without interruption or explanation. Make a note of things you need to address.  Ask questions for clarification, but don't defend yourself until they have had their say.  People cannot listen to what you have to say until they first feel that you received their message. In fact, parents will repeat themselves again and again, until they feel you understand the reasons they came to the meeting. No matter how emotional or loud the parents may be, your quiet, listening, and caring demeanor will help them to gain more control. It is important to summarize their message before you continue to explain yourself.  You want to make sure you heard them right, and they know that you understand their message.

    Don't just act like you are listening.  Really listen.  Your goal is to understand your student better so you can be more successful in your educational efforts.  Calmly explain your perspective of the issue including any school policies you are required to follow.  Be gentle in your explanation. Try to empathize with the parent. Don't worry about who is right or wrong or who wins--look for solutions to the problem.  Allow the parent to offer suggestions on how the issue can be rectified.  Be quick to apologize for any oversight or unthoughtful thing you might have done.  Apologize even if you did not intend to be thoughtless.  Apologize for their offense even if you didn't feel what you did should have caused offense. You are trying to rectify the situation. Choose to be a peacemaker.  Try to understand the parent's or student's perspective and why they took offense.   

    If possible, come into agreement with the parents to be a co-worker with them in educating their child.  The parent has years of experience with their child compared to your few months.  Glean from their experiences in past school years. Try to understand the pressures at home. Seek a solution that will work for you and the parent.  Present yourself as an advocate for the child.  Let the parent know you want to work with them and their child to see them succeed.

    Lastly, when the conference is over, be discrete about the things discussed in the conference.  Too often teachers share their frustrations in the teachers' lounge afterwards.  I encourage you to only speak words that edify and build up in the lounge.  You can bring feelings of defeat and anger to others if you speak negatively about leaders, parents, teachers or students.

    Dear God, Help me to willingly listen and respond to parents. Give me wisdom to hear their concerns and the creativity to find solutions that work for parents, students, and teachers.  Give us the courage to build a team that can live together and work toward common goals.  

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    Single copies of this devotion may be used in ministry if the source is adequately cited.  Copies of the devotion book can be purchased from Amazon.com.  Multiple copies of the devotion book can be purchased directly from Mrs. Wyrick by contacting her at her email:: mawyrick@sbcglobal.net  

    All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scriptures marked KJV are from the King James or Authorized Version of the Bible.

    For more great teacher devotions websites, check  out these sties:

    https://www.facebook.com/servantleadersineducation and https://theteachersdevotional.wordpress.com