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Previous Entry parent contact Sep. 26th, 2006 @ 11:17 pm Next Entry
HI everyone, I'm hoping someone out there can help me.

In my high school, I have about 182 kids. There are only three phones in the building that are available to teachers, and they're in inconvenient places--teacher workrooms with loud copiers and the soda machine, or the teachers' lunch area where everyone is busy talking when I've a free moment to use the phone.

My administrator insists that we call EVERY parent at some point, but as a second year teacher, all of my time is already taken up by creating lessons and trying to grade all the work for my 182 kids (and I'm an English teacher...it's a LOT of essays). The principal told me to take lists of phone numbers home with me and call parents at night and on the weekends...I live with my parents, and told him I didn't want kids to have my home number out of respect for my folks. He told me that HE has never had a problem with that, but he is not a reasonably hot 25 year old woman as I am. (I figure it just wouldn't be good for those kids to have my number...even though they're rather respectful this year--a vast improvement over my first year!) The principal told me to just hit *67 before calling everyone, but I don't want to sacrifice all of my weekends and nights and my LIFE to keep in touch with these parents...I vowed that this year I would try not to work so much, except for when I was on the clock, because I was MISERABLE last year.

I live in a very rural district where most parents do not have computers, much less email access, so that also rules out Teacherease.

How can I possibly keep in touch with this many parents? Do you guys have any tips, tricks, secrets--ANYTHING that would facilitate parent contact, yet not make too much extra work for me? I'm not sure about sending notes home with students, because I know they would read them (of course) and those notes would probably never find their way to the parents. I'm thinking of mailing form letters to parents, though postage will get expensive...does anyone have any good form letters for "Your kid is failing for the following reasons"? Or do you think that is too impersonal? I tried calling a few parents, but we were on the phone for 20 minutes at a time, and I simply don't have time for that.

Please help! I'm x-posting this in desperation!
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From:litgoddess
Date:September 27th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
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Have you asked other teachers how they resolve this challenge?

How will your administrator know that you didn't call every parent?

Not sure where you are, but you cannot be required to do anything outside of your regular work day without compensation, unless specifically stipulated in your contract. Now, we all do work above and beyond our contract day -- not sure anyone can get the job done we need to do without doing this -- however, I don't think anyone can legally require this, especially since it is impossible for you to accomplish such calls during your regular work day.

If it's a positive comment, consider leaving it on the answering machine at home; that will be a message that is saved! Also, our school provides us with postcards we can send home -- the postage is paid.

Good luck!
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From:roxyprincess820
Date:October 6th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC)
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i try to do a lot of things through email with my parents. tyr being the operative word. i dont see anything wrong with sending notes home (folded and stapled) just saying "i am concerned about your child's progress for the following reasons...can you please tell me when we can discuss this..."

but as a 2nd year teacher do not feel pressured to do anything outside the norm. as long as you've made contact in some way, and documented that, there is nothing that anyone can say.

this is only my fourth year...i understand the stress...good luck! :o)
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From:andreya
Date:June 21st, 2008 09:53 am (UTC)
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I know it's an old post, but it's an interesting one :)

I read it's good to contact parents not only when the kid does something bad/is failing, but also when they do something good!! (easier contact next time, better rapport...)

Also, that when you state the negative, you also state something positive... +-+ maybe... (something good about the kid, ways of concern/improvement, end up on a positive note...)
/Basically general rules of giving helpful/constructive criticism apply...)

I'm interested in this all myself... Wonder if Skype or something like that where they don't have your number would be an option? (You could maybe have a separate account just for teaching, & log in just for calling the parents? Haven't tried it yet, so no idea how/if this would work, just maybe something to look at & explore further...-?)
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From:velcrobandit
Date:June 22nd, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
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Heh, while I appreciate the insight, I stopped teaching about a year ago. :D
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