Parents Virtually in the Classroom

I had a meeting with a parent of an identified child a few years ago, who shocked me by telling me that their child had never been invited to another student’s house for a birthday party, or to play, etc. Never! I couldn’t believe it! And then she said in passing that she really wished she could see how her child interacts with the other students, so she could learn what she might do to help.

Chatting with someone about parents in the classroom in our last CLE webinar made me think of the benefits and possibilities if I could invite parents to see what’s going in our classrooms using Skype or a real-time broadcast.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about that process. Have any of you done this in your classroom? I’m wondering what protocols I would need to put in place? (Getting administrative approval is a given.) Do the other parents need to be asked for permission for another parent to visit the class virtually? We don’t ask for parental permission when other parents are visiting or volunteering and working with the students in our classes. Once they have provided an updated Police Check, parents who are volunteering can work with any and all of the students in the class. Would virtually visiting parents actually need a police check?!?

There are a couple of students whose parents have asked that they not have their photographs and work posted on the internet, so those students would need to remain out of sight and sound of any online broadcast. But are there any other real dangers here, because I need to be certain I am able to take care of any of their – real or imagined – fears and concerns for my students’ privacy, safety, etc.

Is this a can of worms?  Thoughts? Suggestions?

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About Cathy Beach

Recently retired elementary teacher and outdoor educator in rural Ontario, Canada. My Olympic Journeys may be over, but they lead me into some very exciting adventures with teachers and kids and the world of connected learning...
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