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Too Terrified To Talk To Teacher, really would appreciate help.

(18 Posts)
GameHub Thu 03-Oct-13 01:28:21

Are there any (Head)teachers on here who can give me some advice and guidance- I'd really appreciate it!

I'm trying to get in contact with local secondary schools in my area. I'm trying to write emails to the Headmistress/Headmaster but I am so nervous about doing it that I'm not actually getting them done, just sat staring at the screen in terror! sad
I'm really stuck. There are two things I would like to do. I'd like to run some focus groups with parents, and I'd also like to trial a workshop with the teenagers and their teachers, so I can measure its effectiveness. But the important part is to get to talk to the parents.

I can't work out the best way to broach this in the email at all!

I'm finding it really difficult to communicate that very British problem of:
"I really believe in this and would like to share it with you
-but I don't want to be too pushy and rude
-but I also want you to understand that I'm really passionate about this
-but I also don't want you to think that I'm some kind of over-jealous freaky obsessive
-so I'm going to be casual
-BUT NOT TOO CASUAL I want to be taken seriously
-I'm not trying to waste your time, I know you are very busy and important
-and I know your curriculum is already stuffed to bursting
-and I don't have any qualifications in this field, but you do, so please don't think I'm trying to undermine your job, that's not the intention at all
-and I'm not trying to sell you anything
-but I'm not some terrifying evangelical do-gooder either!!
-so maybe I just won't ever write this email, bye bye!" blush

and round and round we go. sad

Is there anybody on here who could give me some advice as to how to word a short, polite, "here is a thing I'd love to discuss with you" kind of email which would actually be of interest to a Headteacher that doesn't make me sound like a creep/salesperson/weirdo? This idea communicates so much better in person, over coffee, because I can read the person's face and adjust the "pitch" accordingly. Over an impersonal email, all I'm imagining is the Head screwing up her face in offended disgust and putting the folder straight in the trash bin.

SavoyCabbage Thu 03-Oct-13 02:14:59

Hello, when I was working as a supply teacher in australia I had to hawk myself round the schools. Its the way it is done here and I found it excruciating.

Would it not be better to just turn up and ask if you can see the head? They might say yeas but not for two hours and you could go away and come back but I know what you mean about it being easier in person. You are less likely to be dismissed for a start.

BetsyBidwell Thu 03-Oct-13 02:26:33

Well call them a headteacher first of all. Not head master or whatever

BetsyBidwell Thu 03-Oct-13 02:27:11

What are you trying to do in school?

claraschu Thu 03-Oct-13 02:55:50

So you want to ask for an appointment without saying why? This seems strange to me. Why don't you tell us what your idea is, and maybe someone can help you phrase the request to the head.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 03-Oct-13 03:06:40

Not contacted schools before <helpful> but I think you need to focus what is in it for them. Your OP focuses a lot on what you need/want.
So maybe structure the email:

- Why should they listen/help etc?
- What the big idea is (eg the product/service you are developing)
- What they need to do (can you offer to help make it as easy as possible for them eg you could draft the emails to parents)
- Your credentials
- What the next steps are

Send a couple of emails out and follow up. I am guessing you'll have to go through the 'gatekeepers' in the office.

You can always refine your message following feedback.

Good luck.

GameHub Thu 03-Oct-13 04:13:17

The idea is to run a series of workshops and sessions with different sections of the school community, parents, teachers and students, levering my knowledge of video games to help with learning objectives.
Some, some sample things would be:
(why doesn't Mumsnet have bullet points?! Rarr.)

Parents Information Evenings (eg) on PEGI: (the board that puts the age ratings on video games) explaining what it is, how it works, why you should care about it, as well as techniques to deal with children, particularly teenagers, who are demanding games far above their age rating.
Benefit: parents and schools work together to reduce inappropriate influences from games such as language, behaviour, bullying (from not having the "in" game) and sleep-deprivation (from playing all night).

Game Design Club: a lot of teenagers want careers in the games industry, but employers are complaining that they lack the skills to do so. Game Design Theory is actually incredibly complex and demanding, but I believe that I can teach it using a mixture of materials that I have created.
Benefit: kids that have an interest in games are set up with a solid foundation in ludographic (game design) principles, and can go on to Higher Education, apprenticeships in studios, or even, if they have flair in other areas like programming, set up their own studios and become self-employed entrepreneurs. (I believe) Kids with a clear future in a career field they love are more motivated to work hard at other subjects to get to that end goal, hence overall attainment should go up.

Gamifying Techniques In the Classroom: Demotivated students often turn to video games instead of focussing on their schoolwork, because the short reward loops of "try, fail, try again, WIN!!" are easier on their self-esteem than school, where they often feel like they are constantly failing. By using game techniques, which they are familiar with and like anyway, we can re-engage them with learning in non-gimmicky, tangible way, playing to their natural curiosity and familiarity with game systems.
Benefits: This works. I want see if I can improve test results by implementing it in small classes, across a range of subjects.

I think that's the main gist of the offering. And all for free, I just want the access to do it. I just need a room, and if I'm feeling very extravagant, a notebook for each of them.

NotDead Thu 03-Oct-13 04:29:40

Sounds bloody excellent.

NotDead Thu 03-Oct-13 04:31:01

Where are you based?

GameHub Thu 03-Oct-13 04:43:47


Oxford, with very limited travel options.

gintastic Thu 03-Oct-13 05:11:53

I love the ideas. Oxfordshire has pretty good bus services, have you looked into those?

Eg the S1 is a 15min service from the centre of Oxford and passes 4 secondary schools - Bartholmew, Wood Green, Henry Box and Carterton Community College.

Your options might not be as limited as you think.

WillColbert Thu 03-Oct-13 09:49:32

That sounds great. Just a thought - would it be better to contact the IT teacher rather than the Head for the first approach? I've never worked in a school but in the area I do work a lot of people try to go directly to the FD and are rarely successful. Seems to work better if they go via someone who has a natural affinity/understanding of the subject first who can then push their cause.
Good luck with it - I would love it there was a similar scheme in my son's school.

lainiekazan Thu 03-Oct-13 09:50:36

It's a good idea. I for one would like to know how to effectively prise my ds off Grand Theft Auto! Gaming is addictive, and parents and schools would (or should) be gagging to try to direct that "enthusiasm" more appropriately.

That being said, I think schools are quite wary of "lone operators" offering services. I know dd's school get several phone calls a day from authors, language/dance/sports teachers etc etc and the school prefers to go through approved county people. For a start, you would need enhanced police checking to be able to go into a school (or any other setting, come to that) and interact with pupils.

I think you need expert advice, as you have a very good idea. Perhaps you could contact the education department of the county council as a first step?

GameHub Thu 03-Oct-13 11:37:51

Really thrilled by the positive response on here! smile Glad to know that, in principle at least, you think its an idea work pursuing. And thankyou, Gintastic , for that hint about the buses. I've never quite twigged how the heck Oxford's buses are meant to work, so knowing that there are schools along the S1 is really helpful.

I'm so chuffed that you like the ideas! smile And I think the objection about "lone operators" is a valid one. Would it help to have some proof that parents are interested? I think it might.
I've turned the post into a survey. Its just the premises above repeated, and you click to say "yes I'd like this" or "no, its horrible."

4 questions, I reckon it will take about 90 seconds:
If you do like the ideas, please fill in the survey so that I can present it to Headteachers as proof of interest.

TheLeftovermonster Thu 03-Oct-13 19:21:11

Just did your survey. Hopefully you'll soon be offering workshops at ds' school (we're local to you)grin
By the way, schools will probably want information about your background and your aims - as in why are you doing this?

gintastic Thu 03-Oct-13 20:43:04

Did it as well. My DC's are not old enough yet, but hopefully they would be into something like this at secondary school (also local to you!)

acebaby Thu 03-Oct-13 23:37:16

We are in the Oxford area and if my dc's were a little older, I'd sign them up in a flash! You could offer to run a free 'taster session', or even a school club. Would you consider older primary? I think 9-11 is an ideal age to start coding! Build on the Minecraft mania... I will fill in your survey and pm you the name of my dcs' school. It has a senior school attached

noblegiraffe Fri 04-Oct-13 10:11:47

It's trialled, not trailed, btw.

As a teacher I'm interested in the last one. A lot has been written about the gamification of education, so what you're suggesting isn't new. It's not clear what your background is? I'd be reluctant to listen to someone try to tell me how to teach if they didn't have some background in education or who couldn't quote studies that have already been done IYSWIM. Selling techniques to teachers would be harder than selling information to parents, I think.

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