Communicating with Management

By Maripaz Berlin, Grievance Chair

How do you inform and communicate to management effectively or succinctly and get results? As educators we want to be effective agents for our  students, our colleagues and ourselves. Here are some ways to get your message across.

Documenting Incidents Dos and Don’ts


Student Referrals

Weak Example:

Johnny just keeps acting like a real turd. He is always interrupting. He never shuts up.

Stronger Example:

Johnny interrupted the class with an inappropriate comment at 11:00 A.M. After a warning, he did it again at 11:10 A.M.


Maintenance Request

Weak Example:

Hey, John Q,, it’s really cold in my class.

Stronger Example:

Dear John Q, Principal,

The heater is still not functioning in room 1 after a week. It has not worked since January 21, when I first emailed you. The students are very cold. I’m cc’ing Maripaz Berlin, our Grievance Chair. 


Jane Doe


Classroom Fight

Weak Example:

Tyler and Gabriel just started fighting when I was on the phone. You know how important it is to me to return parent voicemails, so I was distracted for only one minute, I don’t know what those horrible boys were thinking. And then, he spit in my face! He should be suspended forever!! The fact that he left my room  is unacceptable and insulting. He has been a pain in the butt all school year and the other students are sick of it. You should kick them out for a week.

Stronger Example:

While students were working quietly at their desks, I took a moment to listen to a new voicemail. As I was on the phone, an altercation broke out between Tyler and Gabriel. I immediately put down the phone, walked over to the boys and directed them to stop. Gabriel complied and sat down, while Tyler spit in my face and left the classroom. 



-Be factual and specific (What happened? When did it happen? Who was involved?)

-Keep it brief

-Let the behavior or problem speak for itself

-Be explicit when requesting when you’re asking for something (e.g., maintenance request)

-Ask a union rep or veteran teacher to review your incident report, if you’re angry or upset before you turn it in

-Double check for accuracy

-Treat all students the same (If you’d document one document all students)




-Use an emotional or unprofessional treatment language

-Be subjective

-Focus on the student’s personality

-Wait too long to write your first draft

-Forget to document and build a record