I am the concert band, music history, and music theory teacher at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing Visual Arts. I grew up not too far from here in New York, and attended LaGuardia High School, where I discovered my love for music, and my passion for teaching. Although I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, I wasn’t always sure what I wanted to teach– I’d thought about being a math teacher, gym teacher, english teacher, and music teacher. It was when I attended Hampton University, where I decided to take the plunge and major in music education when it really clicked for me.
When I began using KiNVO in my class to take attendance and maintain free contact with parents, I knew I was improving a key part of my students’ educations. If I want to be successful as an educator, I need to be able to communicate with and give feedback to parents. If parents don’t know their child is struggling in class, and I’ve never called them to let them know, they’re not helping their child at home. A child may return home and say to the parent, “I don’t have any homework. I’m good and all caught up.” That’s where the communication between the parent and teacher comes in.
I just had a new student join my class two weeks ago, a sixth grader named Sarah. She came in, very quiet and timid, because she was new and everyone else had already been in school for about two months. She took a quiz, which involved playing her instrument for the whole class, and she did really well. Using KiNVO, I sent a message home to her parent that said, “Your child did a great job today. She took a quiz in front of the whole class. She’s new, and they really supported her.” And so the parent felt good about that. The parent responded, “Thank you so much, I was worried that she wouldn’t fit in.”
Another one of the instances that stood out to me was when we first started using KiNVO, and I marked absent a student who was disinterested, and wasn’t coming to class. The parent saw the message, and she immediately called me during the period, while I was teaching the rest of the class.
“Where’s my child? Why is she not in class?” to which I replied, ”I don’t know. I think I saw her today, but she’s just not here this period.” That parent immediately called her daughter, who answered the phone, and then quickly showed up to class. That was a successful [intervention]!
I’ve also made sure to use KiNVO for both constructive and positive feedback. Once, I sent out a message to my freshmen’s parents and told them, “I really enjoy teaching your child–this is the fastest class of the day. We wish we had more time!” Three or four of the students came to class the next day, and asked “You told my mom that you really liked teaching me? We thought you were just telling us that. We didn’t know you really meant it.” That was a proud moment for me and a very important one for my students.
Before KiNVO, I actually had a directory on a piece of paper that I would use, where I’d type in parents’ phone numbers and text them from my personal cell phone number when I needed to reach them. Another teacher told me, “I just save the kid’s number in my [personal] phone [instead of constantly referring to the paper directory.” I started doing that, but then the next semester I had a whole new class of kids, and I was left with these numbers for kids that I didn’t contact anymore or had graduated.
It’s great to have the KiNVO app because it’s current. I can access the most updated contact information for my present class rosters, and in collaboration with other teachers, I can keep the information up to date.
And, thankfully, I also don’t have to use my own phone number to contact parents. This really helps maintain my privacy and professionalism in communications with families.