Face-to-face? No thanks

http://www.teachhub.com/teaching-strategies-deal-disrespectful-parents

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The halls are crowded as parents, and occasionally students, clomp closer and closer to teachers’ doors. These teachers brace themselves for screaming, whining, complaining, and other forms of verbal discouragement.

Every year, this is the dreaded scene of Parent-Teacher Conferences (PTCs). Parents occasionally get violent or just don’t show up, leaving teachers either defenseless or bored, respectively.

As the February PTCs have drawn to a close, one question remains: Does Hillcrest still need to conduct PTCs, where teachers have to stay at school to handle the verbal garbage?

One of the supposed benefits of PTCs is that it alerts parents of what their child is missing or otherwise failing in when it comes to their classes.

However, with the spread of emails and the Internet altogether, new and improved ways have been opened up for parent-teacher communication. In particular, all Canyons District teachers have email addresses for parents to contact them and all students in the district have Skyward and Canvas accounts.

First, the email addresses allow for quick communication at any time, day or night. Most teachers don’t stay up until 2 a.m. playing video games and waiting for emails, but they will likely check their inbox once they arrive at school.

Then, there are the Skyward and Canvas websites. Skyward allows parents to view a student’s attendance and grades with convenience, while Canvas reports mostly online assignments.

These technologies allow for parents to talk about school with their child, which usually will prove less dangerous than with the added pressure of a teacher. These parents can also try to change the home environment  to help the child complete homework, something that teachers can’t necessarily do.

Some teachers who personally know students struggling financially may ask, “What about impoverished parents? They can’t access the Internet at home.”

The situation of lower-income families is certainly not an enjoyable one to be in. Still, perhaps these parents can visit a library for computer access when necessary or have weekly reports sent to them from the school. Additionally, most families have Internet access on their phones.

Printing weekly reports may sound expensive, but at the same time, Hillcrest has those who qualify for free and reduced lunches and fee waivers. In other words, Hillcrest already spends money on the poor by not collecting certain fees from them. In addition, Hillcrest also prints out planners for each student on a quarterly basis and provides weekly “mini-schedules,” as the planners themselves call them.

No matter rich or needy, communication with teachers can transition to the Internet side rather than the personal face-to-face side, both for teacher safety and parent convenience.

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