Over at Kitchen Table Math, the Sequel there is a post about parental involvement. People are posting in the comments section about ways that parents can get involved. Some of the comments are pretty snarky (but I think they are said somewhat in jest and probably out of frustration) as is par for the course from people who have complaints against public education.
So, I propose that teachers make your own comments. What say you about parental involvement? I will update your comments as they are received.
1. Please understand that my schedule is set in stone, and is very structured. I cannot leave thirty students in a classroom to call you on your time. I cannot receive phone calls during class. I do not have a private area to make phonecalls, so the only time I can do so is when my classroom is empty, which means my conference period or before or after school, if I'm not tutoring.
2. If my scheduling is a problem, communicate with me by email. Although I will rarely email during class time, I might be able to between classes or over lunch or in the morning, or in the evening. It is always quicker to email me.
3. Come to a meeting with questions. Make those questions your own, not your student's. The student's question will always be "Why am I failing?" and my answer will always be "Becuase you're not doing your work" or "Because you're not coming to class" or something similar. As a teacher, I always greatly appreciate when parents come with this single question: "What does child-o-mine need to do differently?" Because then we can get somewhere and really work together.
3. Keep in mind this little ditty: I promise not to believe everything they say happens at home, if you'll promise not to believe everything they say happens at school. And know that teenagers will work it both ways if they can. Yes, even yours. :)
4. I'd love for you to help out in the classroom, under one condition. Please understand that what happens here is confidential. You may not tell other parents about the struggling reader that you sat with or the student who can't add 2+2. Would you like other parents talking about your child's behavior during the Valentine's Day party?
5. I wish that parents would simply encourage their kids to do their school work and to be more responsible.
6. Also, because I have 150 students and 10 other school duties, I can not call everytime your child misses a homework assignment or fails a test.
7. Be more proactive, ask to see their notebook & progress reports. Check the online system regularly. Send me emails.
8. I really want to echo the emailing one. It's so frustrating when parents call on the phone, because I won't see my messages til my planning period, which may be tomorrow, and when I return the call, they almost never answer. Phone tag is such a time waster. PLEASE EMAIL.