Dear Mother of...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by JustMe, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I know, I know...life is busy and parenting is hard. And I mean that. But come on, people!

    I am so sick of parents complaining about a lack of communication when what they really mean is, "I ignored your three attempts at communication and missed out of something because of it, and now I'm ticked so I shall direct my anger toward the school."

    A parent took to our school's FB page and wrote that she was highly upset because she didn't know about a certain something. Notice of said something is ON THE VERY SAME FB PAGE, on the school's website, on the school calender sent home, in the newsletter sent home, and an auto call was sent about it as well. Her response to this "reminder" was that, well, everyone just ignores those phone calls. Are you freaking kidding me?!

    This. All. The. Time. :|
     
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  3. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Us too! Pictures were last Thursday. The forms went home Monday, it was in the school newsletter, kindergarten newsletter, class email sent Monday afternoon, on the school marquee, reminder paper Wednesday and a school email Wednesday. We still had a ton of parents that just didn't know.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It is frustrating. I can see why you are upset.

    Thinking about why this happens....

    I wonder if in the push to communicate with parents and doing so by newsletters each week and other group communication methods that the important things get lost in the volume.

    I know that at the elementary level kids receive at least 4-5 additional forms of communication home in addition to a pile of weekly graded or checked work. In addition to that some teachers have websites, some send e-mails, the school sends e-mails, the computer robo calls about other things, some of which are very important some of which are a nuisance. Do this with multiple kids, inundation of paperwork and information of the essential and non-essential is extreme.

    Too much communication and information, people tune out because it is hard to see the relevant among the irrelevant.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    It is a lot of information. But it's part of that "it's hard being a parent" thing. And it's classic darned if you and darned if your don't for teachers and schools. But I feel one's complaints are unwarranted if she chose to not pay attention to one of several forms of communication. As an adult, you can't decide that a newsletter, phone call, and email are just too much and then decide to ignore them all instead of sorting through the "fun extra" from the important.
     
  6. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    We have a special Friday folder that only contains important communication- school newsletter, progress reports/report cards, weekly behavior card (stapled on one side), and few other items.
     
  7. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    That may be true, but if a parent knows that the school uses 5 different types of reminders just to ensure everyone has an opportunity to know important school information, then they don't have the right to complain because they were to busy, preoccupied, lazy, etc., to check one of those sources. Her "Nobody pays attention to that" retort is ridiculous. I think I would have just deleted my original complaint and retreated with my tail between my legs if I was that mom.

    There was nothing more the school could have done in that situation, short of sending a singing telegram, but they still got blamed.
     
  8. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Tasha...when I taught we had a folder like yours. I would tell students put your work on one side and all notes, newsletters from the school on the other, 1 so it didn't get mixed and 2 the parents see it's from the school.

    I know this doesn't help in your case, but I would always do a newsletter every Friday...even if there wasn't much in it (usually was though). That way parents knew when to expect it.

    As far as this mom...it makes her look like the silly one posting I didn't know and it's like 3 posts from the Whatever was going on.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I didn't say the parent was right, but I know in my life I am inundated with papers from everywhere and e-mails and phone calls. I was just wanted to start a dialogue about how maybe, just maybe, we might be overwhelming people. We do have a role to play in all of this.
     
  10. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    This happened to me twice yesterday. I had two parents complain about not knowing something. I announced it to every class myself, emailed the teachers 3 times to tell them and remind them, posted it on my blog, posted it outside my door (which is outside so everyone can see), and on the bulletin board outside my room. I don't know what else they expect from me!
     
  11. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Some parents, unless you tell them directly, will not get the information. Years ago I had a couple of parents that I had to personally tell them the information, otherwise, they just wouldn't get it.

    I now tell parents at the beginning of the year that it is their responsibility to read my weekly newsletter as it will give them important information & dates. I also tell them to be sure that they have a copy of the school calendar and to keep their phone number up to date in the office & for school reach. I tell them that the principal will call them with important reminders and notifications if the school is closed for some reason.

    It's their responsibility to be informed.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Definitely frustrating! I know how you feel!
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I accept no blame. Honestly, I don't. It's life. Read the notes, open the emails, and answer the phone. Suck it up or shut up.

    Again, I do understand it can be a lot of information and being human people are bound to miss something every now and then, but getting upset at the lack of communication? Uh, no.
     
  14. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I understand the teacher's frustration. My GS never gets home with any of those letters. I think there is a black hole between here and school filled with school handouts.
     
  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I think parents make a lot of excuses when they drop the ball and have to find someone to blame. Take some interest in your kid! And not just the fun stuff like baseball games and birthday parties.
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Absolutetly! Which is one reason there are websites, emails, and phone calls.
     
  17. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    True story. I had parents complain to me and blaming me at a PTO meeting because they weren't getting the school e-mails. I told them to make sure their e-mail address was correct with the front office. They said they were never asked by the office for their e-mail address. I told them that the office used the e-mail address from the emergency card that they fill out at the beginning of the year. They said, "Oh, we never fill that part out because we don't want to get a bunch of e-mails." :huh:
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    That's ridiculous.
     
  19. dave1mo

    dave1mo Comrade

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    Teacher vs. parents threads (and vice versa) just fuel the acrimonious blame game that gets in the way of collaboration, unfortunately.
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Dave, seriously...maybe you should just block me if you have issues with everything I share.
     
  21. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Well, their plan worked! They didn't get a bunch of stupid emails!! Didn't get the important ones either! :dizzy:
     
  22. dave1mo

    dave1mo Comrade

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    Twas a general statement.
     
  23. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Ugh, I hate that, too!

    I'm constantly getting emails. Where can I find homework/test/quiz dates/project information? Answer is always the same: in your kid's planner and on the online grade book. Same as I told you at Open House. And in the parent letter I sent home. Which is also published on the online grade book. Same place you can find their current grade.

    I know everyone feels like everything is too busy and there's too much stuff... I personally hate the direct connect calls... But seriously, ignoring everything doesn't solve the problem, either.
     
  24. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Does your classroom have a website? If so those who don't want the paper trail or email barrage can simply go to the class site and read the announcements and calendar. My school specifically has a "parent portal" that allows parents to see all reading, assignments, and grades for their kids. We've removed the excuses as best we could.
     
  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I feel like parents who would ignore all the other means of information dispersal wouldn't take the time to actually type in a URL and visit a website.
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oh, this didn't have anything to do directly with me. I was just shocked by the parent's outrage on the school's FB page. That said, it has happened to me before. I may have phrased things incorrectly.

    But yes, I have a fairly extensive website. Parents still email me all the time about X, Y, Z which is on the website.
     
  27. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Then there are the parents who can be told something, with witnesses, and they will still say they don't know.

    :lol:
     
  28. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Yes, and in the interest of being completely fair to these parents, they did seem to look a bit sheepish a moment after those words came out of their mouth and they realized the situation. Other parents in the room did have some WTF?? looks on their faces.
     
  29. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I find the situation you explained interesting because our district would never use Emergency Contact Information for regular communication. All parents are asked separately for information pertaining to their class and the district has a different registration system for district or school level communication where the parent actually chooses how they want to be notified. The least control is over classroom communication.
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I just can't believe the parent didn't fill out the emergency card completely. I would want to know by every method possible if the school goes on lockdown and so forth.
     
  31. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I don't have a smartphone. IN the event of an emergency during school time an e-mail won't do a darn thing for me. If as a parent I knew I would be inundated by a variety of district/school e-mails that were not emergencies and I didn't want them, I wouldn't put that either.

    Should we shame those parents that actually don't have e-mails or only have one at work but can't use them for anything personal? The result is the same. They won't get any e-mails from the school and don't fill out the entire form.

    If you give a home phone and work phone and emergency contact phones, that should be sufficient. It isn't as if in a real emergency that a child won't be take care of because a family member doesn't answer an e-mail.
     
  32. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Remind 101 has been great for that. I find that parents will read a text message and neglect my newsletter routinely.;)
     
  33. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Our student information system is fully-computerized across the district. If the teacher wants to pull up parent contact information, they pull it up from the same student information system that the front office or district office does. Parents can go online and edit their address/phone number/contact preferences, etc. This way, if there is a change in their contact info, they only have to change it in one place.

    We don't need to shame parents who don't want to receive e-mails. We can, however, roll our eyes at parents who don't provide their e-mail address on purpose and then complain that they are not receiving e-mails from the school. Especially when the same information is sent home on a piece of paper, posted to the school website, and sometimes even autodialed out.
     
  34. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Doesn't that depend on how many e-mails the schools send? If the parents are receiving or have received in the past numerous frivolous e-mails, many of which don't pertain at all to most families, then I can see a parent saying no way. Automated systems have a way of being over used and mass mailing people that have no need to know.

    I'd be annoyed if as a junior parent I kept getting robo calls or e-mails about freshman, sophomore, and senior events.
     
  35. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Nope, getting mad about not receiving e-mails when you have not provided your e-mail address is a different issue. Doesn't depend on how many e-mails the school sends...they are not getting them. Just complaining about not getting them.

    I run the autodial at our school, and if there is a message that pertains to one particular grade level, I can filter it for that particular grade level.
     
  36. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I get calls about every play, fundraiser, wellness day, etc for every school in the district, as well as everything going on at my school. I get why some parents hate the automated calls. I hate them.

    But there has to be at least one thing they are willing to check/read/listen to. Tuning everything out isn't working. But then again... we have to offer a print version because some families don't have Internet at home. Bah. I say save the automated calls for emergencies only.
     
  37. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Let me say once again incase it isn't clear. The parent the OP mentioned WAS NOT RIGHT. The parent was no more right than the teacher that drops the ball on something because he or she gets overwhelmed with the amount of information he or she must wade through or deal with on a daily basis. Neither is right for dropping the ball. Neither should ever claim they didn't know, even if it is something that slips through the cracks. :rolleyes:
     
  38. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I have to say we are very selective with autodial and all school emails. There are maybe 10 emails a year and 5 autodial calls. I personally email a class newsletter on Mondays. It has 3-5 headings with a sentence or two under it. I don't mind if parents opt out of it, but read something.
     
  39. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't have a smart phone either. My phone doesn't even text! As I said, I would want to know every method possible of an emergency. I'm thinking schoolwide emergencies, as I also said. If the school doesn't have an auto-call system, they won't be calling every parent individually. They'll rely on email, the Internet, and a news station to spread the word.

    You're REALLY reaching by asking if we should shame parents without emails...
     
  40. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    My P can filter who gets the school reach calls.

    My son's district we can opt out of certain emails, that is after we opt into the emails. They sent an email to everyone reminding us to update our preferences this fall. We can get every email or just for our building. By looking at the subject line, I can just delete a lot of them without opening it as it will not pertain to my family or I know about it already.
     
  41. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I don't disagree with you. Schools generally see it as their role to be accomodating and in trying to meet the needs of everyone there probably are some notices that get sent out 3 or 4 different times in as many different ways. In this case a parent needs to use their common sense. I get tons of emails on my work and personal emails daily that go straight into the trash. I look at the subject line and can delete them quickly. Parents can do the same in that case. If they are feeling overwhelmed by paper then look at the topic and choose which ones can go to the trash and which ones need to be looked at. We sort the mail we get every day, how is that any different. It's a price we have to pay for having so many forms of communication.
     

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