This summer I will be doing home visits for the incoming freshmen. Our school is starting something new, where certain teachers are dedicated to be sponsors of the freshman class. I like to think of us as 'freshman mommas'. We will be doing home visits at the beginning of the year, homerooms with freshmen only, class sponsors for freshman activities, and forming a PLC just for freshmen. The PLC's will meet once a week to discuss any needed interventions, to collaborate, to work together, etc. We basically want a built-in support system for students new to high school.
In the last post on this topic, I asked other teachers what questions I should ask parents face-to-face. A lot of good answers came out of that and gave me a lot to think about.
Now, I'd like to hear a parent's perspective.
Two female teachers come to your house loaded with free school supplies for your child. They want to talk.
What do you want to hear?
In general, we will cover the following topics:
- School Supply List
- School Rules
- School Schedule
- Schedule of Standardized Testing Dates
I don't want to be cheesy or lame. I want to be professional, polite, and well...helpful.
I'm not a parent. I'm not sure what would be comforting or scary to hear from a teacher. I don't know what the parents are expecting from us. I don't know what the parents need to know.
Real mommas (and daddies) what shows that your child's teachers really care about the success of your baby?
Parents please comment below and give feedback for this one-question poll.
Your answers help me help other parents just like you!
I would want to know things like what texts are being used; who to talk to if the placement into courses is inappropriate; whether there is a math team, a computer club, and other academic extra-curriculars; what process is there for pairing students with mentors for science fair; does the high school provide *any* support for science fair; what is the daily/weekly schedule; what are the e-mail addresses for my kid's teachers; where is the lost and found; what anti-bullying system is in place; how difficult is it to change teachers or schedules if courses are not working out; how do students get access to reasonably secure bike parking; what is the theft rate for text books, jackets, and other items at the school; is there a web site that records what homework has been assigned by each teacher; ...ReplyDelete
Hope you don't mind...but I will push you a bit in this comment...if it is too much please push back ;)ReplyDelete
I have a list of things parents want to hear when they come to conferences...adjust for your meeting. This would be for 90% of parents.
Parents want to know four things:
1-Do you love my kid?
2-Is my kid happy?
3-Does my kid have friends?
4-Do you trust me?
The things that you mentioned can just be written down and handed to them. Instead of 20 minutes of supply lists and rules, 10 minutes of how your school sets-up an environment of love and respect, independence and curiosity, joy and trust.
After you are done talking, why would that kid want to come to your school? Why should they be excited? This is your first impression...you get 7 seconds...what you present dictates how the students react to teachers and controls their attitude for the first 30 days. Do you want to be know as the supply list, schedule, rules, standardized testing teacher? Will that draw kids to you? Is that the "pick-up" line you want to use on your first "date?"
Paul, couldn't agree more. Where I teach I always talk about the student's safety too. I make sure to explain that how student's feel, how happy they are and how safe they are is my number one concern.ReplyDelete
That said, I also find parents want to know what to DO. 99% of parents want their children to do well and they are terrified that they are terrible parents (after all, kids don't come with manuals). Giving a few specifics (like the schedules and supply lists) can help ease this pressure and mean that parents know what their side of the bargain is too.
From your tweet...of course I wil probably answer you question with questions...ReplyDelete
Do you love my kid?
What are the things you do in the school/class that show you care about the kid and not just content? What kid of development do you do besides academic?
Will my kid be happy?
Same as above, plus what examples of activities can you give from past years that are exciting, challenging, and fun.
Does my kid have friends?
Don't think this one can be done at your meeting;) You can talk about collaborative work, and how you intro and run coll work. Most parents HATE (at least around here) coll work b/c of how it is done in my school. I have to tell them how it is different in my class.
Do you trust me?
Just simply tell them. Throw in a "you are the expert on your child" sort of thingy. Tell them you want to hear what they have to say. I think most teachers forget just how powerless it is to be a parent, even if they are parents. You basically give up your kid to the school and they do what THEY think is best. After unschooling my kids and then having them enter into school at age 10, I still can't get over how no one at the school cares what I have to say about my kids education. They are the EXPERTs and I am just feed and house them.
Thank you so much, everyone, for your input. I have enough information to use for home visits and parent surveys throughout the year. Very helpful. Will definitely post about the home visits and how it all goes down.ReplyDelete