Sunday, March 29, 2015

Resist Workplace Telepressure

This is my grand-dog's report card for last Wednesday...he had been a naughty puppy the last time he attended this day spa for dogs under 25 lbs. and was finally, after remedial training, allowed back for a trial day.

Many of my teachers for students with communication or behavioral difficulties use simple daily report forms instead of keeping a communication notebook; it makes for faster reporting at the end of a busy day.  Sometimes I write about an OT session on the student's daily report, so the family can read how their student has performed, and may suggest ideas for continuing practice on the skill at home.

One thing I've learned this year is to respond to parent e-mails with a phone call.  If I don't know a parent very well it's difficult for me to discern their meaning when they write in an e-mail and I'm hesitant to respond, thinking that I may be addressing something other than what the parent intended. By calling I can listen to the tone of their voice and go into depth with their concerns, plus problem-solve with them on ideas for home.  Since I travel to several schools during the day I usually call the parent when I'm leaving their student's school.  If they're not home I leave a voice message with the phone number of our therapy office, knowing that the receptionist will e-mail me when the parent calls back.  I've given my cell phone number to one parent this year, since I drive quite a way to her home in the early morning for visits.  One parent.

I see teachers e-mailing parents many times during the day, then continuing the e-mailing into the after-school hours and frequently into the evenings.  Admittedly, the students in question have significant emotional and learning difficulties which prompt frequent conversations between the teacher and parents.  Many of my teachers for students receiving special education are very tired of constantly being on call for work matters.  True, general ed teachers receive many e-mails from parents of students in general ed.  Fortunately, no one has instructed me to use e-mail instead of phone calls to communicate and no one has complained to my supervisor that it took me more than a a few hours to reply to an e-mail inquiry.

Resist workplace telepressure.

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