New Teachers

Parent Communication

Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:00 PM

I've been attempting to get in contact with a parent for several weeks. I've tried calling, emailing, and sending documentation via certified mail but have gotten no response. At this point I feel like I am out of options. My question is, have you ever had extreme difficulty getting in contact with stubborn parents?? If so, what were your alternative actions?

Myesha McCullan
Myesha McCullan
2925 Activity Points

Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:26 PM

From my little amount of personal experience and from my observations of other teachers and their classrooms, I think at a certain point you have to settle for the fact that they you will not get a response.  I have seen several teachers attempt to communicate with a parent and document each attempt, but eventually they had to settle with the fact that no response was going to happen.  

I am not sure of the severity of the matter, but other than waiting for the student to get picked up from school to personally see the parent, all you can do is email and call the parent.  If it is a legal matter, then perhaps it needs to be handed over to the proper legal sources that they can take it a step further.    

Jamie Tuttle
Jamie Tuttle
1195 Activity Points

Thu Nov 24, 2016 3:20 PM

Hello Myesha,

Depending on your school and/or district policies, I think the final alternative would be to do a home visit. However, I would definitely seek guidance from the school administration, just so that everyone is on the same page.

Good luck!

Ina Nguyen
Ina Nguyen
935 Activity Points

Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:49 PM

Hi Myesha -

Oh yes, it can often be very challenging to reach some parents with school communications.

In this particular case, since you've been trying for such a long time unsuccessfully, I would recommend you contact the school counselor and/or principal for assistance with parent communication. They may have some insights to share into this particular family situation.
Also, a call to a parent directly from a principal is often more likely to be answered.

However, I noticed you described the parents are "stubborn". I'm sure you are very frustrated with their lack of response, but I would caution you against labeling the parent as "stubborn" in your mind. The vast majority of parents do care and want their child to succeed in life.

The parent may simply be very busy with other concerns: multiple jobs, family health issues, long commuting time, moving, worries about finances, a job search, a new baby or a high needs child, etc. Or you could be dealing with English language learner/ language barriers or cultural issues that can result in miscommunication. They may not even regularly use email or have a working phone.
Certified mail was a good idea, but it may be viewed as more of a "legal" document and therefore be more intimidating.

I noticed that some people suggested a home visit, but I would definitely recommend you learn more about the home situation from your principal and school counselor before doing any home visit. You want to be sure that you are in a safe situation. If you do a home visit, consider going with a team of 2 teachers and/or a teacher and the counselor.

It sounds like you are truly making an amazing effort to communicate with this family.
Be sure to document your communication efforts for your own records (and in-case of a later parent complaint).

My best advice - Reach out for local assistance from the counselor, principal and/or other teachers who've worked with the student for creative ideas.

Good luck!
Dorothy

Dorothy Ginnett
Dorothy Ginnett
27525 Activity Points

Sat May 06, 2017 9:48 PM

I agree with most of the recommendations here, however, check with your counselor and adminstration about a home visit. The person who said contact the next person of the child contact information card gave you great advice. If there is another family member or friend that is allowed to pick up the child, let that person know you need to speak with the parent. Also, print, or make a copy of every form of communication you have tried to contact the parent and place it in the child's cumulative folder. Sometimes, there is information in the folder from the previous year's teacher that helps to understand more about the child. Sometimes, the parent may be embarrassed, have a bad feeling about school based on their experience in childhood, or there could be more pressing problems at home; eviction, inability to pay for utilities, incarceration, etc. It is human to be upset and frustrated but many times, we just don't know what is happening with the home life of the children we work with. It seems like you have done everything that you are able to do to reach out, letting the administration know is the last thing you can do. It may be something they need to be made aware of so they can handle it. Sometimes the admin knows more information and has been meaning to tell you.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
83456 Activity Points

Sat May 06, 2017 9:51 PM

I forgot to mention an app called Remind 101. You can communicate with parents by sending out group texts to let them know pretty much anything that is going on in school, events, homework, field trips, conferences, etc. They can't see your phone number and you can't see theirs. You set it up by going to remind101.com and the program will send you a code to share with parents so they can join in.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
83456 Activity Points

Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:05 AM

This is when I find out who are next of kin. I have contacted Aunts, Uncles, and grandparents in the past. Then word gets back to the parents often enough.

Charles Eick
Charles Eick
1450 Activity Points

Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:17 PM

Maybe try to find another relative that is close to the child. After calling, sending notes home, etc. a home visit could be the last option. This depends on what the school allows and what is appropriate for the situation.

Alexis Rodriguez
Alexis Rodriguez
1350 Activity Points

Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:04 AM

I think visit the child home. It will be the best way to get in contact.

Elizabeth Pena
Elizabeth Pena
1655 Activity Points

Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:31 PM

I think it is very important to keep communication between parents and teachers. One way to keep parents informed would be to have a blog or a monthly newsletter that students can take home. Possibly doing the car driver duty in the morning or afternoon. This will allow you to see whoever is picking up the child and open a line of communication. Is there any way the parents could use FaceTime, Skype or conference call? Letting parents know that you need them to help enrich the students education and making them feel comfortable.


Trisha Carmona
Trisha Carmona
1140 Activity Points

Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:03 AM

I do agree that at some point we might feel that we should accept that there won’t be a response, but that should be after you’ve done everything possible. I think that at this point you should definitely reach out for guidance from administration before making any further decision or assumptions.

Also, question for those who said to wait for parents to pick up child after school or in the morning for drop off. What if mainly all student are bus riders, and parents are not tech savvy?

Sandra Rubio
Sandra Rubio
785 Activity Points

Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:28 PM

At the school I am at a lot of teachers use the app called "ClassDojo". It is a simple FREE app that allows teachers and parents to communicate with one another. It is available online and on smart phones. It allows for easy communication, allows parents to see why their students may have gotten class points off, and see why they gained points as well. The messages from the app work just as easily as texting. All of my students parents have it and love using it this year!
If you click on the link it I have provided you can go straight to the teacher sign up page, input the names of your students, and print out the login and password for your parents to log onto to join the class.

Ayari San Luis
Ayari San Luis
1425 Activity Points

Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:31 PM

I love ClassDojo! I use it with my class and I love how we can write notes to the parents!

Diane Soto
Diane Soto
845 Activity Points

Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:22 PM

As a student teacher i have the opportunity of observing many different teaching and classroom management styles. Of them all, I'v favored "classroom Dojo". The student's demeanor changes positively each time they hear a reward point ding on the computer. This is an app that the student's parents can tune into at any part of the day and see how their child is doing. They are able to see what class they're in and you are able to leave comments for their actions. i think you'll learn to love it. Remember you can only do so much on your end. Good luck!

Ariel Roy
Ariel Roy
640 Activity Points

Sun May 07, 2017 2:25 PM

I would suggest continuing to call home and maybe sending a letter home with the child. It may take awhile to get a hold of them but it is important to stay on it to assure that what needs to be shared with them is shared.

Urooj Abbasi
Urooj Abbasi
715 Activity Points

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