This year has been a little rough. I have quite a few kids that are more than usually immature and have been giving me a rough time and I have had to contact a few parents several times. But recently one of those kids had a pretty good day, and before emailing the other nine parents I had bad news for, I dropped an email to this student’s mom just to tell her that things went well. It was a two line email, nothing special, but two minutes later my phone rang. That mom was almost in tears as she told me that no one ever had good things to say about her son and she was making him a special dinner that night to celebrate. She emailed the next day to say that when she showed him that email, his face lit up and he couldn’t stop smiling. Things have improved since that day, and while that student has bad days from time to time, they have become farther and farther apart and he has started making wiser decisions about his education on his own.

It is easy to get upset and email the bad stuff, but sometimes the biggest difference can come from a compliment. It’s not magic and it’s not going to fix all your discipline issues, but sometimes positive parent contact can make a major impact in your classroom. In addition, getting the parents “on your side” can have tremendous impact down the road when you truly need them. When they know that you will go out of your way to tell them the positive, they will be more likely to back you up on the negative.

And sometimes, giving a compliment makes you feel better too.