Parent-Teacher Partnerships for the Digital Era
Imagine a world where you and your partner had to raise your kids with a different set of rules. In this world, there are no arguments because there are no discussions. You aren't allowed to speak to each other via two-way communication at all. You still have to coordinate all the logistics of raising a child and navigate all the tricky spots associated with fostering a maturing mind, but you can't discuss these things together in this world. Instead, you can only ever send your partner a newsletter. You also are allowed to hope they read it. But that's it. Oh, and you'll probably not be able to hear anything back from them. Sounds hard, right?
You might think this is an outlandish, Kafka-esque hypothetical. And yet, it's the world we're living in. Only in our world, the partner we're referring to is your kid's teacher. But it's not all that inappropriate to view the teacher in such a way, at least insofar as play an incredibly large role in the shaping of your child's mind. They spend almost as much time together as you do, and have a deep and complex relationship. You would think an efficient collaboration between you would be smooth and efficient. But in reality, it's usually a one-way communication style that boils down to nothing more than an occasional newsletter or email. It doesn't expect a response. It doesn't ask questions. It's a one-sided discussion about one of the more critical aspects of your life.
Teachers aren't to blame for this, of course. They've got dozens of students to attend to, and scores of parents to talk to. Still, schools have stuck with that one-way communication style for so long doesn't benefit the teachers. Studies have shown that when teachers and parents are in two-way communication with each other, teachers feel more able to do their jobs while enjoying the benefits of a student body that is performing better. Good parent-teacher communication leads to less frequent tardiness, better participation and test scores, and students who feel better about going to school.
So if two-way communication is so beneficial, what exactly is it? Two-way communication is any communication that expects a response. In person, discussions are two-way, as are phone calls and texts and personally addressed emails. It is a form of communication which sees a steep drop-off after preschool; fifty-nine percent of parents with kids in elementary school report getting a phone call from their kid's teachers.
Understandably, teachers and parents are in this predicament. Privacy concerns should be at the top of everyone's list. Parents might not want to be dedicating all that much of their time at home to discussing things with teachers, and teachers don't want to take their work home with them around the clock. Giving your phone number out to all your students' families doesn't seem like the best idea if you ever want to get a good night's sleep again.
So, where is the line? Two-way communication between parents and teachers show many benefits, and one-way communication is inefficient, leaving parents and teachers feeling alienated. But two-way communication can't be achieved while costing everyone involved their right to privacy.
Our X2 License can provide one way to solve this problem. A school that recently adopted 8x8 uses its X2 licenses to provide teachers with a business phone number. This business number works on a mobile app, laptop, tablet, and in-classroom on a physical phone. This number is separate from their personal cell or home number. The platform facilitates communication over voice, video, text, and video while housing all of that communication on one single application. The app can follow business hours, which keeps communication within professional limits.
With 8x8, two-way communication has never been more accessible, more secure, or more private. And when you want to put it away and get on with your private life, well, we've made that easy too.