By Mark Winegar on Wed, 10/10/2012
"The single biggest problem with communications is the illusion that it has taken place." - George Bernard Shaw
Believe it or not even the best kids get tempted to give messages from school the deep-six when they bear bad news. It's only human nature!
Years ago I had a young woman in my class who suffered a total lack of focus on her work. The noties I mailed notes to her parents were unanswered. The pleas I left on their answering machine failed to compel a response. At the end of the marking period she had earned an "F". The Principal convinced me to gift her a "D".
You might assume her parents didn't care about her education but you would be mistaken. They never got my messages but the story doesn't end here.
The mother paid me an upleasant visit me one afternoon. She accused me of personally destroying her daughter's future. When she finished verbally sending me to my eternal doom I shared my log of notes sent and unanswered calls. I also spoke of my personal admiration for the child, my hopes for her future, and expectations for her behavior. I was calm, polite, and assertive.
Problem solved! The young lady became motivated and passed my course with a good grade. The parents and I became good friends. But still I wish we could have resolved the issue sooner.
Fortunately smartphones and email are ubiquitous in our society today. So here's a winning strategy.
First, get the email address(es) and phone number(s) of your students' parents. If they have a mobile phone be sure to record it's number too! Be sure to get them from the parents just to be safe and enter them into your Contacts app.
Your Contacts app automatically synchs data between your Mac, iPad, and iPhone so your contacts will always be at your fingers. Then if you ever need to recruit parental involvement you have a direct pieline.
Try recording a memo using Voice Memos and sending it directly to the parent(s). Your voice conveys a sense of urgency much better then text alone. You can send your message as an email attachment or a phone memo with confidence.
With any luck you will turn potentially disgruntled parents into allies.
Sent from my iPad