Scheduling for parent teacher interviews is not an easy task. I have 28 students, many with younger siblings, many whose parents have busy lives and I give three days at different times for them to meet with me; Wednesday afternoon, Thursday evening and Friday morning. Normally we just send home paper notices with times that parents can sign up for. As they come in, I try to slot parents in at their preferred time, or as close as I can get, and then eventually send home another slip telling them when they’re scheduled to meet with me.
It’s complicated and it takes a lot of work to coordinate with other teachers for siblings and work around other parents’ schedules and sometimes we have parents who want separate times. One of my coworkers suggested using a doodle poll. It seems to be designed more for scheduling times that multiple people are available but it works very well for this purpose. I’ve already had 11 parents sign up and I just sent the information home yesterday. One of the best things about it is that parents don’t have to sign up or even have an e-mail address to use it, they just click on the link I sent out and sign up for a time.
I also sent home paper copies for them to sign up and I got quite a few of them in today as well. Some are ones who had already signed up for times on the doodle poll but that’s fine. For those who just sent in the paper copy, I was at first not sure how to input their times into the poll so that no one else would sign up for that time. Someone suggested blocking off those times myself but I was signed in and could only click off one time so that didn’t work. Then I found out that if I log out and then click on the link, I can then put in a name and click off the times that the parents have asked for. And when they’ve all signed up, I can print it off and see quickly at a glance which parent I have when.
Next time I may specify how I’d like them to put their names in (Jane Doe, John’s Mom) instead of having a mix of first names, last names and student names, and also I’d like to specify to only send in the paper copy OR sign up on the poll, not to both, but that’s one of those learn by doing things.