Happy Wednesday friends!
I have been attending a reading conference all week and have gotten so many new ideas that I can’t wait to use next year in the classroom. I have also learned that I probably need to buy stock in the post- it brand company. haha
This post is going to be all about communicating with parents and opening up a positive line of communication with your parents. I would love feedback on this post to hear how you do this. I know teaching in a school with high poverty most of my parents are working so hard to make ends meet which makes them unavailable a lot. Many outsiders might assume that they don’t want to help/ care about what is happening in the classroom and that couldn’t be further from the truth from my experience. They want to help and we have to tell them how they can do that.
All parents care about their kids and our job as teachers is to reach out to them and welcome them into our school community, because the students success very much needs to be a team effort y’all. No matter what training we have and how good we are at our job, our kiddos LOVE their parents and love us. We need to work together to give them the best experience possible.
How do I do this? Honestly I always said for years and years I would never do this. But a new coworker who has turned into a good friend of mine (shout out to Erinn Woolard :)) told me about her success with starting a class Facebook page. I was skeptical, I thought ALL parents were going to be looking at my personal page, or asking to be my friend. I do like to keep some desperation between my personal life and school life, because i live there enough as it is haha but I went ahead and gave the class Facebook page a try, despite my reservations.
Y’all (excuse my southern language) this method of parent communication was seriously a game changer. I have had more parent involvement over the last two years than ever before! I try to post pictures a few times a week and post all news as soon as I know about it. I have had more parents volunteer for field trips, send supplies for parties, ask me to help in the classroom, and help out at school events than ever before. I also have parents call me when there is an emergency, or a new baby is born into their family, ask for help or if their child is struggling, etc.
Why do I think this works? Well, look at all of us, we communicate with strangers over social media all the time and feel so comfortable doing so. My parents that speak another language don’t have to worry about their grammar, and use translate to help them ask me questions. It is immediate and they can message me from work or any time during the day that works for them, not just during school hours. I can also share news with divorced parents easily this way without sending home two copies of everything. Convenience is key and we are living in a digital age.
Does everyone join? absolutely not. This year I had about 20/25 parents in my Facebook group. Some parents simple don’t like or don’t care to join Facebook, and that is absolutely their preference. I still send home all important notes via paper, and translate them as much as possible. But the majority of my parents love it and if they don’t have it they have bigger kids that do and can update them on what is happening in our classroom.
Privacy concerns? It is a closed Facebook group that I have to approve anyone who joins. I verify everyone who joins and make sure they are on their enrollment card. If there is a tricky custody issue i always check with the custodial parent before accepting another family member. I post pictures only with the parents consent. All posts parents make must be approved by me as well. I am the only admin on the group. At the end of every year I give parents a few weeks and a few warnings to save any pictures they want and I remove all pictures and all members to get it ready for the next year. If a student moves during the year I also remove that parent from the group.
Parent communication should always be a goal of ours to improve. How are you going to improve this line of communication next year? What are some other great ways YOU communicate with parents? I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for sticking with me and reading this post!