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Should Teachers Make House Calls?

The Washington Post's Jay Mathews is taking a thrashing from some commenters following a blog post that touts the benefits of having teachers visit student homes.

Mathews says that while home visits do bring up safety, time management, and propriety concerns, many teachers find that they are illuminating and open up parent-teacher lines of communication. He writes:

Some teachers I know began visiting homes on their own out of desperation. They needed some way to connect with hard-to-reach children. They were middle-class people who thought it rude to show up at a home unannounced and anticipated a hostile reaction. Instead, they learned that in the home country cultures of the parents they visited, it was an honor for a teacher to drop by.

But some commenters are taking exception with the notion that unannounced visits are O.K. and that teachers should find time for them. And one reader responds that if the teacher's role is shifting, so should teacher training, saying:

I find that teaching in an urban school does require more of a social worker's set of skills. If this is what is needed from teachers in urban schools, then we need to seriously look at teacher preparation programs and consider changing those to meet the needs of teaching in an urban environment.
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