The Modern, Professional Pen Pal

Parents and teachers exchange videos/voice messages to get to know one another throughout the year.

Photo of Margaret Powers
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What if parents had a quick and easy way to really get to know their child's teacher(s) in bite-sized pieces throughout the school year? What if teachers had a way to do the same with parents? Almost as if parents and teachers became pen pals ... 

I'm imagining a set of videos that a teacher could make once (and update every now and then or all the time, depending on her/his preference) to share with parents throughout the year. These videos would be limited to 3 minutes or less and would share small snapshots about who that teacher is as a professional (and if they're comfortable, some personal details, like if they have children or hobbies, etc). These videos could help parents get to know a teacher's background and expertise, her/his teaching philosophy and classroom expectations, goals for her/his work that year, favorite things about teaching, and other little tidbits that would build rapport and help parents feel like they really know the person who is teaching their child. 

These videos could be sent via email or an LMS and spread out over the year to keep the connection going, starting with basic "getting to know you" info and diving deeper as time progresses. 

In exchange, parents could be prompted to send videos (or audio recordings if those are more comfortable/easier for parents) back to the teacher as a way to privately share more about who they are, as parents and people, what their home life is like, their expectations for school, their hopes/fears for their child, etc. Again, these exchanges would be limited to 3 minutes and parents would receive a prompt to respond to throughout the year, so they could be more manageable for a teacher to go through. If parents are not responding to prompts, teachers could invite the parents' child to be the interviewer (since it's hard to refuse your own child) to help solicit a response. 


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Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

Super cool idea Maggie - I like the idea of asynchronous messaging! This makes it work for anyone, anywhere. 

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