15. Supporting Parents- The Conversations To Be Had #Edblogaday

I have never felt like this was something I was especially good at. I am not that great advisor that is in constant contact with my students. I also have a number of parents, who after two years have still never met and to my best knowledge have not ever come into school.

I have three families who I text, call, email pretty consistently, there are a couple more who are in between lots of communication and none at all. When there is none, it's because I never get a response and their kid is not failing, so I have let it slide. There are bigger advisory fish to fry.

The Chancellor built in, with our new contract, time for parent outreach. It's the time for midday phone calls that often are bad news. It sucks and doesn't really feel constructive. I often wonder what it's like for K-8 teachers who have 32 families they have to keep abreast of everything and not just 10 to 15.   While I think parent outreach is a great idea, the current structures don't work that well.

I also think a lot about better ways to communicate. I was reading through the informal parent survey from the last PTA meeting and while most of the feedback is positive, frustrations do center around communication. In the digital age people have come to expect instant information and access and in many ways parents and students do with things like online grade books, parents and students can track their progress.  If teacher doesn't grade fast enough, parents are frustrated.  My school sends home weekly progress reports on top of parents and students having access to the same information- putting even more weight on traditional grades and I worry that the weekly reminders about failure don't inspire change but just degrade and oppress students who in many cases are already struggling.

How do we shift the conversations that we are having with parents?  Especially around things like grades and learning?

I have watched kids fall apart this year because of the pressure from home around grades.  I am not a parent and I make no attempt to pretend that I am or that I understand what a parent deals with.  I am a teacher though and I see the correlation of messaging from home coupled with messaging from schools and the impact it has on students.  I know some of this is huge and systemic, but this is where my brain is right now.


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