The alarm goes off, and you wake up in a cold sweat from the nightmare you were having. It was terrible: you were in a vast hall, with people milling about, trying to find ‘their’ queue to speak to Miss Bloggs or Mr Soap, their child’s teacher. Tempers are frayed, and becoming more frayed by the minute, because everyone is running late. You vow never ever to do this again….
Unfortunately, for many teachers and parents, this scenario is not a bad dream, but reality. Except that it’s even worse. Pupils are asked to tell their parents to book a time to see each teacher or even, in some cases, asked to book times on their parents’ behalf. Parents may or may not be given the time they prefer.
From the teacher’s point of view, there is a degree of uncertainty regarding when a parent will appear. Perhaps the child lost the timetable, or perhaps the parent never even found out which teachers they were speaking to in the first place. Who knows how long that parent in the last slot will take before arriving?
And even when everything goes according to plan, the whole thing is a nerve-wracking experience. Parents aren’t entirely sure what the teacher is going to say. Teachers secretly wonder if this is the parent that will suddenly ‘lose it’. Why? Because there was no effective way of sharing expectations beforehand apart from, perhaps, the pupil’s report card.
Fortunately, all of these issues can now be things of the past, with the aid of software such as Parents’ Evening Booking System. Available as a third party addition to Groupcall Messenger, it is built to resolve all of the problems characterised above.
Appointments are now bookable through automated systems. A parent simply identifies which teachers they would like to speak to through a selection of tick boxes, sets their availability and Parents’ Evening Booking System automatically builds a custom timetable. This process removes a great deal of the chaos that comes with organising an event for both the parents and the school.
Moreover, the system’s integration with Messenger allows both parent and teacher to send comments. Parents can send comments such as “I’m concerned that Freda isn’t getting enough homework.” The teacher can send a comment like “I’d like to discuss John’s attitude in class. Has something happened that might explain it?”
The teacher can also control his or her availability. For example, instead of having a situation where you have one appointment at 7pm and the next one at 8:30pm, you could make your last appointment at 7:30pm. By setting up availability beforehand, teachers can ensure that they are being efficient with their evening, as well as being able to wrap up their meetings in reasonable time.
Parents’ Evening Booking System (PEBS) is a logical extension of the Messenger and Xpressions ecosystem. It makes use of data that already exists in the MIS, and capitalises on the fact that virtually everybody these days is never without their phone. Lost paper, lost time and, if you’ve had the nightmare described at the beginning of this article, lost sleep, could soon be things in the past!
To find out more about PEBS, visit https://www.groupcall.com/product/messenger/messenger-parents-evenings