How can families be partners who we work with to get through this together?
This question, as a fourth-grade teacher, is a hard one.
I spend quite some of my leisure time scrolling through Reddit. I follow a subreddit called “Teachers” and I have read through so many stories of teachers spreading themselves too thin, getting urgent emails from parents and students asking how to improve their grades after the grading period has concluded, and plenty of concerned posts regarding hybrid instructional models and in-person models.
COVID has come with unprecedented levels of worry and frustration. There are no clear guidelines or procedures for how to move forward. It’s almost up to every teacher to choose how to embrace it. How to tackle it. How to move forward.
In thinking of how can families be partners who we work with to get through this together, I think the most important thing is communication. Students are being asked to be responsible for their assignments, for studying, and for attending class. They’ve never had to handle this much responsibility and it’s all being done while equipping them with a number of distractions.
Many students may not have had a device at home before COVID. Now they do. They’re gaming, chatting with friends, and watching YouTube. School for some is the least of their worries.
In communicating with families, it is important for them to know when students should be where and what they should be doing. It takes time, but I’ve chosen to send out a personal email twice a week letting both the parent and student know what missing work they have, so they don’t fall behind. I make myself available on Class Dojo and respond to messages as immediately as I can.
I’ve invited students and their families into my personal time because school has encroached on theirs.