I started calling parents today.
Friday, as I finally gathered the energy to leave school about an hour after almost everyone else, I stopped in the office and copied down the names and numbers of the parents of the students in my 8th grade social studies class.
Friday was also the last day of the marking period and I wanted to talk to the parents before the next one starts on Monday.
Friday I apologized to the dozen or so students in that class who are eager and trying to learn.
I end up teaching each of them one-to-one for a couple of minutes each session. It’s the best I can do under the disruptive environment in the class.
Today I talked to as many of their parents I could reach and told them how hard their sons and daughters are trying under very difficult circumstances.
I was ready to be blamed for the class situation but only one parent even hinted at that. Most said they appreciated the call and what I was trying to do for their child.
I also called the parents of the disruptive students to enlist their help in changing the behaviors of their children in the new marking period.
I was not able to reach many; the numbers the school had for them were no longer in service. The few I reached were only surprised that I was calling over the weekend and not by the message I was delivering.
It seems that where almost none of the attentive students had told their parents about the class, all the parents of the other students seemed to know what was going on and that their child was not learning, mostly because of my inability to control the class.
They were willing to blame me right up until the moment I cited specific behaviors I saw yesterday, Most admitted they’d heard reports like mine about their child before, but not to the extent I alleged had occurred.
Parent-teacher conferences are two weeks away.
Historically, not many of the parents of 8th graders show up, but those who do will see a demonstration of our new SmartBoard.
I’ve put fresh batteries in my Flip video recorders and I’ll be documenting visually and audibly what goes on in the classroom every day starting Monday.
If things go the way I hope, I’ll be showing a documentary about my teaching and student learning.
If things continue to go the way they’ve been going, every parent will know who and how.
I’ll leave it to their children to explain the why.