It’s June. As teachers look into the rearview mirror at the year that was, there’s also excitement brewing about next year, and planning is well underway for a fresh start in September. For some, this may mean a new grade, new teaching partners, or even a new school, but for most, it will mean new students. Behind each fresh face, there is also a new parent or guardian counting on effective communication between home and school. However, how much time do teachers spend reflecting on the effectiveness of the tools they’ve selected to communicate with parents and guardians?
Teachers don’t intentionally select ineffective communication tools, but they continue to stick with what is familiar and comfortable, and unfortunately, administrators don’t seem to pushing for the transition to far more effective communication tools. Why aren’t these conversations happening in schools, especially when we understand the coloration between communication and student success? If the goal is to contribute to student success by providing a platform that facilitates strong communication, then we need to ditch the student agenda. In fact, it’s long past its expiry date. Arguably, the student agenda is the least effective form of communication right after no communication at all.
So what’s the alternative? I don’t want to endorse a single platform. There are several great choices available to teachers, all of which lend themselves to enhancing communication because they leverage what nearly every individual checks more than 100 times per day, their smartphone. Additionally, these communication platforms go far beyond simple text messages, they metaphorically put the parent or guardian into their child’s learning environment. As a parent, I can personally attest to this transformative experience. Did I mention that there’s no cost to teacher or parent?
Admittedly, if you’re ready this on my blog, you’re probably not my target audience for this post, so I have a favour to ask. Be vocal about the need to ditch the student agenda in favour of much more effective communication platforms. Talk to your colleagues and administrators about alternatives. Most importantly, talk about why the student agenda serves no purpose, and imposes unnecessary responsibility on busy parents and guardians.
In closing, I can hear teachers say: “But what about teaching our students to be responsible and organized”? Response: I’m very confident we can find more meaningful and relevant ways to teach our students responsibility and organization. Honestly, how many of our students see their parents, or others out there in the “real world”, walking around with an agenda to keep their life in check?