Being connected is a key part of teaching. There are many partnerships involved. Admin, colleagues, students, and the school community (including parents). Ensuring that everyone is up to date can be a consuming process. Agendas, meetings, phone calls, e-mails, websites, and messaging systems can all contribute to this.
I would argue that I am a connected teacher. I am beginning to discover that I need to translate this connectedness into collaboration. Collaboration is all about communication and the process of developing an idea into action. Communication and being connected are two different things.
I felt that I was communicating with my parents of the class, until I realized I was just sending the information (connecting). It wasn’t until parents started providing feedback and we began collaborating together that I understood the importance of this difference. This naturally takes time and can be assisted by technology. Class Dojo is the application that I am finding most helpful for this tool.
I don’t use it for the points system but rather the instant messaging feature. It allows for quiet hours so that parents know I many not reply…although there is a rare time when I am not with my phone and don’t send a quick note back. This has strongly impacted my relationship with parents and built in a mechanism for collaboration.
Collaboration can not be forced. Having an accessible communication tool for parents to be able to provide feedback almost instantly to specific parts of my programming begins a collaborative conversation. For those that argue that being this connected to parents can create more (necessary) work I say that is a personal choice and comfort level.
It should never be an expectation to be available 24/7, but transparency in the classroom along with collaboration helps facilitate a cyclical learning process that doesn’t stop at 3:30. I am not finished with this topic, and the word transparency has prompted me to think about how this connects to creativity in the classroom. More on that tomorrow. It’s Friday, and I’m entering quiet hours.