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This post is part of our Teacher PD Launchpad > Cultivate Empathy

A Teacher’s Toolkit for Hosting Virtual Learning Office Hours

During distance learning, parents have become the teachers – a shift that’s added weight to their already busy lives. We knew this would be a challenge, so Rocketship’s Mental Health Providers have supported parents and guardians with their needs. After surveying, our teachers scheduled an office hour with each family to determine what parents wanted to learn. From there, the school’s Mental Health Provider offered monthly (in some cases weekly) parent workshops and office hours for one hour, addressing these topics.

Based on the positive feedback we received, we wanted to share our toolkit of resources with other educators like you.

Popular Topics for Parent Office Hours:

How do I build a schedule?
How do I motivate my student?
How do I care for myself?
How do I help my student cope with these uncertain times?

Step-by-Step Support for Teachers:

Here you’ll find the resources Rocketship has used to make this happen. You can mirror these techniques and templates for your own school.

1. Create a survey to better understand the needs of your families. See our examples here. Example Survey #1 and Survey #2.

2. Plan the parent workshop/office hours.
You can this planning tool for support and use the below slide decks for inspiration:
Example #1: Parent Partnership slide deck on “Creating Schedules.”

3. Format options for office hours:
Topic-focused: Bring a specific topic to discuss with parents. Here you can offer psycho-education to parents to introduce that subject and provide space for them to ask questions and how they can apply it to their lives.
Resource Sharing: Provide specific resources or tools parents can utilize at home.
Specific Parent Concerns: Hold open space for parents to “drop in” with a specific topic they need support with.
SEL at Home: Come with ideas on how to reinforce Social Emotional Learning at home. Provide tips and activities and give parents opportunities to role-play messaging.

4. Promote it! Once you’ve scheduled the event or office hour, be sure to promote it in your school’s newsletter, private Facebook group, or reach out directly to families.

We’ve found these office hours help create a bit more ease for parents during these uncertain times and we hope you and your families find them helpful, too!

Published on September 1, 2020

Read more stories about: Pay It Forward.

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