There are many ways of organising parents' evenings, or parent consultations, or whatever else they may be called where you are reading this. I know at our school, up until this year, a time-consuming administrative afternoon was spent with class teachers trying to organise appointments to fit in with siblings in other classes. It took a whole PD slot of 90 minutes to organise. Not much PD; but plenty of hassle. Paper slips were the order of the day, much like I guess it has since [insert date a very long time ago].
Enter the new idea of using Google Calendar to organise everything. I shared this video with staff to help them on their way:
If you like the idea of moving from a paper-based system to Google Calendar here are 5 tips you may wish to consider:
1. Start small
Depending on the size of your school of course, it is a good idea to trial with a number of classes, or a subset of teachers first if at all possible. We trialled it initially with specialist teachers before rolling it out across the entire Junior School.
2.Use Agenda View to print a summary
When you are on the Daily view for your calendar, click on 'Agenda' at the top-right of the screen to create a print-friendly version of your appointments:
3. Time Zone settings may cause you problems
Especially if you work in an international school! You may get some parents coming to you saying 'Did you mean to set the time slots up for 4am-8am? - I think you may have made a mistake!' In which case, it is most likely their Google account settings are for somewhere other than your school's. Politely ask them to check their settings and all should be well.
4. Disappearing time slots? Check your calendar isn't unticked
If your appointment slots have mysteriously vanished, double-check that you have got your calendar ticked in the left-hand side of your Google Calendar page. If it is unticked you won't be able to see your slots but parents obviously still will after you've sent out the link.
5. Use a URL shortener when sending out the link to parents
It doesn't look great to send out a calendar link such as this:
So use your favourite URL shortener (if you have a favourite you'll likely do this anyway!) - try goo.gl to send out a better, more professional link. Paste the long URL you get when making your appointment slots into goo.gl - then copy and paste this into your parents' evening letter.