Dear Fellow Teacher,
It seems my past few years teaching, I spend more time trying to keep up with all of the bureaucratic paperwork and less time getting to do what I love, be with the kids. While I agree our society is changing daily, I also feel there must be a way to balance the paperwork and still make time for the kids.
At the same time, I grow concerned with the diminishing accountability of a parent’s role in a child’s education, the growing quickness to see teachers in a negative light when a student’s grades decline, and the administrator’s first response of “when/how many times did you contact the parent.”
I see ±130 students every day. My administration wants at LEAST one contact to EVERY parent every week. This is in addition to parent contacts for behavior issues, grades dropping or general concerns I see in a student. I was handwriting my call logs. It took forever.
This particular form, The Parent Contact Form, has become a life saver. Here is how I use it:
After booting up my computer in the morning I open my gradebook and this Parent Contact Form. I keep both open, running in the background, all day. If during the day I need to email a parent, immediately after hitting send I jot the information on the parent contact log. Be concise yet as detailed as you think your administration wants it. If a student brings me a note from home, I log it on the parent contact form as well as any reply I send. If I have a parent conference I take notes and then log it into the contact form when the meeting ends. Finally, if a phone call is made at any time during the day, I try to log that as we are speaking or take notes and transfer them to the log.
Each entry should take less than a minute.
At the end of the day, before I close my computer, I will copy and paste any new contacts made that day onto the Individual Student Parent Contact Log (save a blank copy of this log and add a student name in place of your name at the top of the form). THIS LAST STEP IS CRUTIAL. If you are asked to give documentation of parent contacts, you cannot have any other student information included. Transferring contacts to an individual student form makes it quick and easy to print or e-mail.
The Daily Parent Contact Log can be printed at the end of each grading period and turned in to your department chair or your administration evaluator. I also print a second copy for myself and turn in all grading period sets at the end of the year (it’s a requirement at my school on our end-of-year checkout form.)
I hope you find this form helps you spend less time on paperwork, so you can spend more time focusing on the needs of your students.
Teresa J. Gonzales, M.Ed.