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Our first Parent / Teacher Conferences are next week. In my school district, teachers try to contact as many parents as we can to make appointments. We email, we send notes home with students, and we call. We stay at school until 8 pm a couple of nights to accommodate parents' work schedules. We provide translators for parents who aren't fluent English speakers.
Still, some parents don't come in for a conference. For me, the hardest part of this process is reaching the parents who just won't come into the school. Most parents do. But how do we reach those who, for whatever reason, don't?
Right now, I've contacted most of my homeroom's parents. Most of them have appointments and most of those will show up. One boy's folks are out of town; maybe they'll call back next week when they return. One girl's folks are in jail. Another boy's mom told me that she was too busy and that I should "just fax it" to her. Ouch. Maybe parents who don't have good memories of their own school experiences are less likely to come in and talk with teachers. Maybe in this fast-paced world, parents think that they can get the information they need without actually coming in and talking.
I'm a believer in a good old fashioned face-to-face, with eye contact and a handshake and a smile. I believe that parents want success for their child, at school and in life. Parents should experience the school's climate in the hallways and in the classrooms. Students should be able to show them around and explain their route from one class to another. When a student brings home a story about a teacher, I'd like the parent to know which teacher the kid's talking about.
On our school's website, parents and students can access each day's assignments and check current grades. Most of our parents have internet and email. Some use email to reach teachers with questions or concerns. We find email much more reliable than telephoning, but nothing replaces that face-to-face meeting.
We're trying. Parents are welcome in our classrooms anytime. There are numerous volunteer opportunities, ways to really get involved and chances to impact the quality of your child's experience. If a parent works odd hours, two jobs, or late nights, we understand. Really, teachers understand. Contact us. Let us know when it would be convenient to meet you. Let us know how we can help your student and how we can get information to you. A simple outreach to your child's school sends a positive message to your child, the message that we're all on the same team.
Social Studies teacher, Colorado
Its a problem in modern society, parents are occupied with so many things they forget that they need to participate in their child's education.
Its a problem in modern society,
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