"Reverse" Home Visits?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Rockguykev, Jul 10, 2013.

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  1. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Home visits have become the new rage in my area. They help to build rapport with families and help to give teachers a deeper understanding of a student's particular background.

    I find it intrusive and awkward, though I like the desired outcomes.

    I'm wondering if anyone has done them in reverse and invited families to visit your home? It certainly seems far less awkward for everyone involved though. We have back to school night at school but, honestly, its a joke. We get 7 minutes per class with 25ish parents. I feel like doing a few "home visits" with 5 or 6 families invited each time would be must more effective. I feel like doing so would better help with the rapport though perhaps not quite as much with the understanding.

    Has anyone tried, or heard of, doing this before? I'd like some guidance before I offer the idea up to my new principal.
     
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  3. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Hi Rockguykev. :)

    Before I respond, I just want to make sure I'm understanding your idea, please:

    Are you suggesting that families of your students would visit YOUR home (the home of the teacher)?

    If so, I can't speak for others, but I would feel quite uncomfortable having my students and their families come to my home. I would feel like I'd be blurring the professional line way too much.

    Hehe, my home is my sanctuary and I guess I'd want to keep it off-limits. :)

    Again, that's just my opinion. I'll look forward to hearing others'.
     
  4. Preschool0929

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    Teachers in my district are required to do 2 home visits per year. One before school starts and one before school ends. I would not advocate for "reverse" home visits. The last thing I would want is some of my families to know where I live. You never know which parent might get upset over a grade or a disagreement and take it out on you. With that being said, if your goal is to meet with more than 1 family at a time (which sort of goes against the theory of seeing the child in their natural environment), you can set up meetings at a local park, community center, or restaurant. Some of the teachers at my school this year are doing visits with families in the park for the families they don't feel safe meeting at their homes.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Is your school requiring you to visit family homes? Truthfully, I wouldn't be giving up my personal, uncontracted time to go to kids' homes...it feels intrusive and I'm sorry, I work really hard all day at school and bring work home...I'm not going uninvited to student homes just because it's 'the rage'. As it is, many teachers feel they don't have enough time with their REAL families...
    And as far as having student families to my house? No. Heck no. I have good relationships with my students' families. I've become friendly with some, and have even gone to dinner with some who have become friends once their kids are no longer my students...but I personally like to keep my home private, welcoming to friends and family, but I don't want to entertain school families or invite them into my personal life.
    As an alternate,MAYBE, consider family picnic day at a local park...everyone brings their own food, you could bring dessert for everyone...that would be about as intimate as I would get outside of school with the general family population of my class.:sorry:
     
  6. kpa1b2

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    I agree with Ted. I don't want my parents knowing where I live. Plus I have a dog & a cat. The cat's not the problem, the dog is. She doesn't do well with strangers.

    As a parent of a high schooler, I don't want to go to 5 different homes, some of which can be an hour away. I know off of the top of my head that 1 of my son's teachers lives an hour away, another at least 30 min. I get the basic information I need in those 7 min.
     
  7. Preschool0929

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    I agree with cza, they are very time consuming and we aren't paid any extra, except for the mileage to and from homes. The hardest visits are the end of the year. As I'm trying to get everything in my classroom wrapped up, I'm also spending from 3-7 every evening for up to 2 weeks doing home visits. I typically schedule my home visits, but I just give families a time range and say ill be there between 3-4 on Tuesday, or something like that. But then, you always have families who don't get home until 5, so I have to kill time at school, then go to someone's home who just walked in the door. We're required to provide documentation to our principal that we've completed every home visit, or have attempted to at least 2 times.

    Ugh, just thinking about all this makes me dread back to school visits.
     
  8. a2z

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    Schools already have "reverse" home visits. It is called parent-teacher conference where the parent is supposed to come to the teacher's domain (the classroom) to meet and discuss the progress of the child. However, parents aren't doing this so the school decided to go to the student's domain.
     
  9. HistoryVA

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    Home visits sound absolutely insane! Firstly, I'm assuming this is only required of elementary teachers? I'm having a hard time picturing high school teachers making 180 home visits and families having 7 teachers drop by.

    Secondly, teaching where I teach, the last thing in the world I would want is a student knowing where I live. I won't even tell them what kind of car I drive because 2-3 teachers get keyed/smashed every year. I wouldn't even be willing to do home visits with the elementary students around here.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

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    if the parents don't attend back to school nights or conferences throughout the year, they don't WANT to meet with the teachers. Home visits are intrusive (and dangerous). If a parent truly wants to meet but cannot due to extreme circumstances, other arrangements can be made. Definitely not in my house.
     
  11. TamiJ

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    I know some teachers do home visits and some might enjoy doing them. The whole idea just seems awkward to me, but even more so if parents are going to your home due to reasons already mentioned. I find it crazy that some schools require teachers to do home visits. I abslutely would not be comfortable doing home visits at all.
     
  12. whollyconsumed

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    I don't think it is safe.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't like the idea of home visits in either direction. I wouldn't want all my students and their families to come to my house. Nope, nope, nope.
     
  14. beckyeduk8er

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    We were required to do home visits 2x a year with all our families. We did get 2 days off school to complete them, however that is not enough time to get 24 home visits done.

    I think it is a good idea in theory but then adequate time needs to be provided to complete the visits during contracted work hours.

    At my school many families don't have cars and so it is hard for them to get to school for conferences. However there is at least 1 family every year whose home I don't feel safe going into and I always give them a choice between meeting at school or McDonalds (with a play place). I have also done "home visits" at people's work on their break.

    I would not feel comfortable doing a reverse home visit because there are some families that I don't think it would be safe for them to know where I live. I also think it can make parents uncomfortable to see the difference in our homes (I have some families that share mobile homes with other families up to 12 people in one trailer with 1 bathroom). The goal of these visits is to build connections with the family, and to open the door to communication neither of which can be accomplished if someone feels uncomfortable or unsafe.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I am not a fan of home visits (whether I go to their home or they come to mine). I think it's awkward, intrusive, and not really safe.

    I don't think anyone in my district would ever pitch that idea--unless they want rotten tomatoes thrown at them! :lol:
     
  16. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I disagree with this. I have parents who work every afternoon/evening and have a very hard time getting in to see teachers. Mornings don't work for them because they're getting kids off to school. I communicate via phone and email with these parents.
     
  17. Ima Teacher

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    I don't want to do either!

    I taught homebound full time for a year, and I still do single students here and there. That's awkward enough.

    I don't entertain my friends at my house, much less strangers.

    The part about them knowing where I live doesn't bother me. I live in the same small town where I work. I'm not hard to find anyway.
     
  18. KinderCowgirl

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    I see I'm in the minority--but I actually really like that idea. Those who say you don't want parents knowing where you live-your address is 2 clicks away on the internet-Google yourself and see. I think it would really show that you wanted to open those lines of communication both ways. You could even make it like a backyard barbecue or something fun.
     
  19. catnfiddle

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    My husband would pitch a fit if I invited total strangers to our home. He's a privacy freak, and with good reason (his craft is internet security). As for going to student homes, I've had more bad experiences than good, but I also teach much older students, many of whom are their own legal guardians. They can make some spectacularly bad choices that I just don't want to see.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It's possible to have great family communication, develop home to school connections and know about your students without going to their home or having them come to yours.:2cents:
     
  21. JustMe

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    During my first year, a close colleague did home visits and she reported back to me using some of her notes. Notes included what the home looked like, landscaping or lack thereof...I was EXTREMELY bothered by this. :(

    I have a few major issues with home visits and I would refuse to participate.

    As to reversing them, no. I see no point whatsoever and can realy only imagine negative consequences. I'm easily found at school.
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

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    Did you read the remainder of my post?
     
  23. BumbleB

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    I agree. What can you accomplish with a home visit that you can't accomplish with a phone call, email, or a meeting during contracted time? It just seems like an unnecessary intrusion of privacy. I'm not a parent, but I hate when the UPS guy comes to my house. I wouldn't like my child's teacher showing up.

    And, like many posters said before me, I would not want my students knowing where I live. I think that is just too personal, and there is no reason to cross that line.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

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    exactly. How is my sitting on their couch (if they even let me in) going to change my relationship with them? What are they going to learn from me that they couldn't learn through other means of communication?

    Am I supposed to judge the families based on where they live? Think higher of the parents that live in fancy houses and feel sorry for the kids that live in mobile homes?

    I try my best to take my students at face value. I assume the best about them - no sex, drugs or alcohol -and judge them just on their actions in class. When they walk into my classroom they are in a different environment and everything that happens outside is left outside. If they have managed to overcome obstacles from home, then I don't need to know about it. If they need a little extra help because of those obstacles, then I am more than willing to jump in, but only if they want me to.

    My daughter has a friend with a not-so-good homelife. She's risen above it all and does a great job of living HER life at school. School is where she can shine. I can only imagine the shame she would feel if her teachers knew where she lived, how she lived, etc.
     
  25. dgpiaffeteach

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    Yes. I quoted the part that was relevant to what I wanted to add. There are many reasons parents can't/won't meet the teacher. I listed only one example. We had a parent who had an extremely bad experience in hs and didn't want to come in. I understand you talked about special circumstances but I think it's presumptuous to make the statement that parents who don't come don't want to. There could be so many reasons and we just don't know why. I wanted to make that point.
     
  26. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    After reading all the negativity I am now pretty sure this is something I want to do.

    My community sounds nothing like the fears I've read. I live very near the school so they all know where I live already. I explained the problems with back to school night and PT Cons are a joke. They are automatically negative at my school.

    I will add that I won't be inviting all my kids and families just my AVID kids who I spend two years with and am in constant contact with any way. I have only two years with these kids and I really think that putting myself out there will get things going so much faster. I hate losing that first three months while the kids get over being terrified.

    I will say, however, that my discomfort with visiting their homes is completely solidified.
     
  27. bros

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    Requiring home visits is a bit odd, but not unheard of. I know districts like Long Branch and Asbury Park require home visits, some require them once a month.
     
  28. Pashtun

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    I personally wouldn't want to do home visits at my home or at the students home. However, I believe it is a great opportunity to build relationships with your students and their families, if it is something that you want to do.
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I just think that there are some boundaries that are getting crossed and some lines blurred. Students using my bathroom, digging through my cabinets? No thank you. What happens if a student wants to show up without a parent around? There could be accusations, suspicions....Just not worth it, in my opinion.
     
  30. Preschool0929

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    I agree. I don't think that visiting your home is a precedent that you want to set. I think that you can establish a relationship with kids and families without this. If you can't feel comfortable visiting their homes, why would they feel comfortable visiting yours? And the above poster is right. What happens when those kids start visiting you without their parents? Or when the parents feel free to stop by to discuss a problem? I think it's a professional boundary that should not be crossed.
     
  31. kpa1b2

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    My son's choir director has tried doing a picnic at the beach. The first time it was successful, the next time not. As I think about it I wonder if the school knew about it. It was only for the members of the select choir, everyone brought a dish to pass. The director had his boat & took everyone out on the lake & the kids went tubing. About 1/2 of the kids had parents there. The rest came with the kids who had parents there. I don't remember any student driving to the event.
     
  32. Pashtun

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    Maybe, maybe not. For that one student this might be the moment needed to make that connection. The moment that student realizes that the teacher cares about him other than just the time in the classroom.

    I would not invite students over to my house, simply for liability issues. But meeting a student and their family outside the school can have very positive effects on a student.
     
  33. Zelda~*

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    I had to do 2 home visits a year when I taught Head Start. It was awful. Parents were almost always uncomfortable with it, I was often driving alone to unfamiliar places with no cell phone reception, parents would agree to the visits then not be there---

    I was very glad to leave that behind when I left Head Start.

    I would never, ever, let parents in my home.

    I would, on the other hand, happily meet with families in a neutral location. Have a pizza night or something at the start of the year, get to know everyone informally.
     
  34. chebrutta

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    There's no way I would do home visits. I liked doing home bound teaching, but that was one family with a set time schedule (not to mention I was getting paid.)

    As for parents coming to my house - nope. First, my home is far more inconvenient that just going to school. Second, that's a huge intrusion for my family - I already bring enough work home. And third - I foresee a lot of issues. A parent comes to my house and is allergic to my dog/cat/floor cleaner/candle/whatever? Falls somehow? Just not something I want to deal with.

    I have had kids show up at my house when I lived with my dad. I always had them in for cookies or cake or whatever I had around. But... these were students whom I had babysat when I was younger or their parents and I were personal friends or we'd just been neighbors forever. There was a history. If it had been a kid who was in my class but I didn't know their parents at all, there would be no way I let them in.
     
  35. Jerseygirlteach

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    No thanks. If families want to meet with me, I ALWAYS make myself available before or after school. I even give out my cell number and take calls from parents in the evening. However, I'm not going to their houses or hosting them at mine. To me, that sounds very unnecessary. I am entitled to some personal life and privacy.
     
  36. cutNglue

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    I have felt obligated in the past to allow professionals in my house in order to receive certain types of services. I didn't like it. I won't do it again. Even though my house was kept up and had just been cleaned by a cleaning agency, I still felt uncomfortable.
     
  37. ChemTeachBHS

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    I live in the community that I teach in so a lot of students know where I live. With that being said there is no way that I'm inviting them and their parents over.
     
  38. ecteach

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    I love this idea. I have never done it, but I feel like it would definitely build rapport.
     
  39. raynepoe

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    I have worked with Head Start for 4 years, and home visits are a federal requirement, so I have done them. At first I was worried, but I never went alone (I always went with my para), I can see the importance of them especially in the early childhood/special education setting. I had a student who was on the spectrum and almost nonverbal in a regular preK setting. He screamed all day and we just had way too much stimulation in the classroom for him. I did not think he was getting anything from the classroom, but during the spring home visit he ran in his room and came out with all 26 letter books that I sent home, traced the letters with his fingers, and said each letters sound! I was floored, his mom told me "he carries those books around all day".

    It is pretty powerful to see the changes in my kids in their home settings. Some of my super hyper kids who rarely slow down will be quietly coloring or looking at books. Sometimes my quieter children are running around whooping and hollering at their house. It is just really interesting.

    My new school does home visits, I don't know how they will work it, but I am a little worried about being alone on the visits (its fifth grade so no ft para).

    As for reverse home visits, I would not like that, what if a parent gets mad about something later?

    I do like a class get together outside of school, it would be cool to get the community together and do some sort of community service. Maybe plant a community garden? Or make something for younger students?
     
  40. sue35

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    I agree with this. Maybe my school is different, but we are a very community orientated school so everyone knows who lives where. I would have no problem with students coming to my house and I know teachers who have students and their families over for dinner. It's hard to explain, but in some school communities this is not strange. I assume Rockguykev has that type of school
     
  41. pwhatley

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    I have been to students' homes in the past, but it is frowned upon in my district - they don't want anything to happen to us (teachers) in any official capacity, and at least on school property they retain a modicum of control over the circumstances. I have been criticized for giving out my personal cell number to the parents of my students, but I will continue to do that, at least until my district/school provides phones in the classroom. Not to mention the fact that many of the parents communicate almost exclusively by text.

    I do not even live in the same parish as the district in which I live, so it would be extremely difficult for the parents of my students, many of whom depend upon public transportation, which does not extend to my rural town.

    I am more than happy to meet with the parents of my students at school before classes, during my planning period, after school, and even at a neutral location on a Saturday (when necessary). I have a great relationship with 95% of "my" parents, so I'm not going to fix what's not broken. :)
     
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