This spring I have been fortunate to connect with The Teachers Guild. Here’s how they describe themselves: We are teachers, just like you, designing better solutions to solve the biggest challenges in education today.
The Teachers Guild invites educators to submit ideas around a problem. They call these collections of ideas, “collaborations“. Their current collaboration aims to redesign parent-teacher conferences.
The topic reminded me of something I heard during a presentation by Special Education guru Rick Lavoie. He spoke about letting parents into his workshops for free if they brought a teacher and vice-versa. Often, teachers and parents would meet for coffee or dinner beforehand. His goal was to bring the two together to help them understand they each have more roles in life than being the parent or teacher of a specific child.
Inspired by Lavoie, I submitted an idea to the collaboration. As I worked on the idea to build it into practical strategies for schools and districts, I cold called Rick Lavoie. I was hopeful I could arrange a time to speak with him through an assistant. I dialed. The other end picked up and I heard, “Rick Lavoie.”
Rick Lavoie has long been a hero of mine. His F.A.T. City video delivers essential insight into the experience of children with learning disabilities. It is a must-watch for any adult who interacts with children. And he answers his own phone! We proceeded to have a twelve-minute conversation that will forever be a highlight of my education career.
Just spoke on the phone with Rick Lavoie! What an honor! #FATCity #spedchat #ConnectParents #tguild @TeachersGuild pic.twitter.com/Omhot1SEOc
— Tom Mullaney (@edtechtom) May 25, 2016
Thanks to guidance from and collaboration with from Teachers Guild mentor Ben Gibbs, Teachers Guild coach Charles Shryock, as well as Emma Scripps, Brett Brownell, and Paula Marra, the idea has been refined and fleshed out. Please have a look at my idea and vote for it!
I have made a video explaining the idea:
I made a deck of slides explaining the idea as well:
Thank you for reading. If you would like to discuss this further, please tweet me @edtechtom or comment below.