Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Virtual Parent Teacher Night, Great. Now, What About Every Other Day?

This morning I drove to work. I left my home at 6 AM as per usual. I was thinking a lot about the proposed parent-teacher night, the one in which no parents are coming to school. I'm also getting a lot of email about it.

Are we doing this in our school?

Yes we are. It's citywide.

How am I going to call 170 parents?

You aren't. You don't see 170 parents on any night. Also, I'm mystified as to how the onus is on you. Parent teacher night is when the parents decide to come see you. Or not. Every single day you have to opportunity to call parents. Honestly I don't see that many. Parents of my students do not speak English, and though we provide translators, though I speak Spanish, though I have good friends who speak other languages, most don't show.

It seems to me it's on parents to get in touch with us, and it's on DOE to figure a way they can do that. I understand Google Voice can provide a phone number that will ring you. That's what I'm thinking about.

I don't want to ask to do this from home. The principal may not like it.

Then don't, and don't complain you weren't able to do that. That's an option, the city offered it, and you have a right to take advantage. If you don't use your rights, you haven't got them. You can blame your chapter leader, you can blame me, or you can blame Mulgrew. But if we don't stand up, we're defeated before we begin.

Now I have a question.

If it's too risky for parents to come to my school, how is it safe for the 5,000 people who come to my school, the most overcrowded in the ciy, today and every day?

I haven't got an answer for that. The mayor and governor are suggesting we telecommute, and while I'm happy to do that for parent teacher night, it's simply not feasible day after day. I appreciate the work UFT did in negotiating parent-teacher night, but if it's wise we avoid crowded subway cars, if we are supposed to keep six feet of distance between ourselves and others, there is no way that it's safe to pass from one class to another in any school, let alone mine.

We are well over 200% capacity. In the back of our school, they're building an annex. I hear them each and every day while I'm trying to teach in the decrepit trailer out back.

Every one of the 5,000 people who study and work in our building is at greater risk all day every day than we'd be during parent teacher night.

That's absurd and disgraceful at the same time.
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