Do you use Remind? I am currently enrolled in fourteen Remind groups. Fourteen may sound excessive, but I am grateful for each membership because it has increased my connection to my students and my children’s school life.
In case you are unfamiliar with my favorite technology, please allow me to explain. The Remind App is a closed garden where you can communicate with others via text or email. No one in the group has access to your number, so there is protection from unwanted calls. The application allows for the sharing of messages, photos, and Google Documents.
A dedicated colleague was an early adopter of the application, but I was hesitant to use it because it seemed like another “thing” that would suck up my time and try my patience with technology. Boy, was I mistaken!
Remind has given me a way to connect with students via text at school and home. Students ask me for clarification on assignments, which in the past would have led to a loss of instructional time. Often students’ frustration increases to the point of shutting down when there is confusion over how to do a project or a homework task. Remind has given me many opportunities to ease my students’ minds, and also to give me time to reflect on ways to be more clear and deliberate.
Remind has offered me a window into struggles facing my students. They often text me information about why an assignment has not been completed or notify me if they are ill. I don’t need to default to the incorrect idea that a student may be lazy or uncaring. Remind fosters compassion and increases a level of intimacy that crucial for the teacher-student relationship.
Remind is an excellent tool for snow days or any other unexpected schedule changes. Last week, my snowy hometown experienced the first snow day of the year, but through a Remind notification, I was able to keep my students on course. Remind also brought me a text from a student the night before the day off asking: “Mrs. Brown, do you think we will have a snow day tomorrow?” The question made me chuckle, it was like I was a magic eight ball or something. I replied, “I am not a meteorologist.”
Remind organizes my forty high-school Step Team dance members every week. I can quickly reach all of them even though they attend classes in two different buildings and at an off-campus BOCES vocational facility. I recently uploaded a Google Form to order team t-shirts, which helped to automate a task that previously consumed excessive time.
Remind also enables conversations with my oldest daughter. I can ask her if she has prepared for that upcoming assessment her teacher posted about on Remind. I see when her cross-country coach needs to cancel practice. Remind is another layer of confirmation in a busy world.
During this holiday season, it is nice to celebrate things that bring us closer. Remind is one of those instances when technology adds to our lives.
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