For those who don’t know, my blog is on the Teach100 List, which attempts to collate a list of educational blogs and rank them by various factors – activity, views and so forth. Recently, the Teach100 Team sent out an online questionnaire asking about communication between parents and teacher and what the most effective method was.
It was apt timing as this week I was to experience the first time that I would have ever come into contact with a large amount of parents – Parents Evening. As I had been away for two weeks on paternity leave I was to conduct my first Parents Evening on my own in the school, under a casual eye by the Heads and my mentor who popped in occasionally to make sure I was not cowering in the corner surrounded by a multitude of older looking versions of the children in my class.
Although, this was what I imagined. As the evening begun, I found that this experience that I had been having a little anxiety over was not unpleasant; in fact, it was quite enjoyable! To have 30 odd adults come to you, with at least half asking how my newborn daughter was doing and a quarter or so stating that their child had really missed me whilst I was away, was extremely fulfilling! Not only that but when discussions about their darling child began and I highlighted areas that they as parents could help with, they were more than willing to accept!
Thus, I was a little nervous come the evening. However there was no need for the nervousness. All the parents were extremely easy to get along with. The only slightly ‘scary’ occurrence was a father asking why his daughter’s handwriting was so bad and then got better later on… So all in all not bad 😉
It got me thinking however: what IS most effective way of working with parents. It was really good to get some face time with the parents so little plans could be put in place. However, 5mins really isn’t enough time to effectively impact a pupils entire year of learning at home and school. I have initiated a class blog with my class which is starting to become effective at providing more learning opportunities at home – i now need to encourage parents to comment and see children’s work. I’ve still note had to attempt a call home yet… I hate phone calls with friends so imagine my reluctance to call parents!! However that will be one I imagine I’ll have to overcome at some point! We tried an Open Day after school once – I had one parent come!
The aforementioned questionnaire mentioned several ways schools can interact with parents and I will probably base next week’s Teacher Voice Weekly Poll on that. It must be vital to build at least some sort of connection with adults at home. After the Parents Evening I had, I feel even more confident teaching in the knowledge that most parents are phased with what is happening at school. Now I look forward to spotting parents in the playground rather than dreading their approach! Of course, I recognise I was probably lucky, but it has certainly helped!