Free Home Pages for Educators
One of the most frustrating issues secondary school teachers face is how to stay in touch with the parents of 150 or so students. The fact is, there is only so much time in a day. Unfortunately, most of the calls we make home concern behavioral issues. I've known only one teacher over the years to call every parent every quarter, but this man was truly a saint. This is just not feasible for most of us with our busy schedules and our own families. There has not seemed to be a solution in sight. However, after many years of answering machines and disconnected numbers, I think I've found an answer. The internet.
The fact is, we can stay in touch with our students and their parents using personalized web pages. And the great thing about this is, THEY'RE FREE. Yes, there are numerous sites on the internet to help teachers create free pages to inform parents and students. And, not only are these sites available at no cost to you, they make webpage creation a snap! For example, TeacherVision allows you create your own web page using templates. Schoolnotes allows you to enter your information into a predesigned page and just update as often as you please. eBoard.com is an innovative site that allows you to post messages, files, and folders online in seconds! It just depends on your style and the time you have available.
I have used the above sites and found them very easy to learn. I have also had a LOT of positive feedback from parents AND students. I simply have my students tell me at the beginning of the year whether they have access to the internet at home. For those who don't, I rely on the old method of notes and calls home. But as time goes on, more and more people are getting online. Most important of all, I can provide so much more information to the parents than any of the other methods I've used in the past. Also, I've begun posting assignments on the internet with the due dates. All the students at our school have access to the internet through the media center. Therefore, they can check the due dates for assignments or get extra links for further information. Finally, I have offered extra credit online which has led to many enriching experiences for my students.
All in all, the internet has made a big difference for me as an educator. I feel closer to my students and their parents. And most importantly, I have more time to do my job!