If you have been a teacher for longer than 1 day then you already know the importance of having good communication with parents. Add to that distance learning and the stress of a pandemic and the need for solid parent-teacher communication is vital. Here are some ideas for stellar parent communication during distance learning (but you can really use them any time)!
Consistent Parent Communication
In my experience, consistent parent communication is one of the most important things you can do. Set a schedule: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, whatever works best for you or is required by your school. Then stick to it.
Let parents know from the very beginning that you will be communicating with them on a set schedule. As they see the consistency at the beginning of the year they will come to rely on it. What might start out as lots of individual questions and communications at the beginning of the year will stop because the parents will quickly learn that they can find the answers they need in your consistent communication.
Take for example an upcoming field trip. (OK – so maybe you aren’t planning field trips right now, but any activity in which parents will have questions could be substituted). For a field trip, parents will have lots of questions like:
- What day is the field trip?
- Where are you going?
- How much does it cost?
- Where can I find the permission slip?
- Will my child need to bring anything?
- Can I come too?
That list could go on and on. You can field these questions in your inbox or by phone from each parent individually or you can include it in your parent communication and train your parents from the beginning to look there for all the information they will need. I don’t know about you, but answering 6 questions one time is a lot better than 6 x 24 parents! Don’t get feeling like this answering the same questions over and over again.
One of my biggest tasks at the beginning of the school year is building connections with the parents of my students. My goal is always to connect with them personally, build their confidence in the upcoming year, and let them know we are a team working together for the benefit of their child. Building these connections lays a solid foundation for the parent-teacher relationship. But . . .
That is easier said than done when you are not communicating in person! In-person communication includes so much more than just words. There are smiles and handshakes, voice inflection and eye contact, body language, and hugs. But in the world of social distancing, face coverings, and virtual or written communication, so much of this is lost.
Be intentional in finding ways to build those connections! It can be as easy as grabbing your smart phone! Here’s a few ideas:
- Use pictures of you and your classroom in written communication to make it more personal.
- Use video so parents and students can see you, watch your body language, and hear your voice.
- Schedule an online meeting for class announcements. Students and parents can attend live and you can save the video to share with everyone else.
Yep, I said it – the “V” word. But I promise video does not have to be scary. Just pretend you are doing a Face Time video with friends or sharing an Instagram Story. If you have a private social media group for your class then do a live video. If not, record a quick video and share it via email. No big production is necessary! Just you, your smile, and your sincere words. That will build the connections.
Videos will be really effective for virtual events like Meet the Teacher. A good rule of thumb to use is to think of previous years. If in the past parents would normally attend an event in person, then use video. If not, then a written communication would be just fine. Using a combination of print and video throughout the year will help your parents to feel informed and connected all year long.
Make It Easy
Make communication easy for you and the parents! Having rock-star parent communication does not have to take a lot of your time. Create a plan and stick to it.
- Use a newsletter template to save time
- Keep the information consistent in each communication
- Prepare an outline of talking points before filming a video so you stay on point
You should also make it easy for parents to find your communications. Whether sending newsletters or videos, don’t make it too hard to find them to find the information they need. When they know what to expect and how to easily find it, there is an increased likelihood they will read it or watch it!
- Always share your communication the same way
- Share communication in a way that reaches parents where they are (i.e. send a link via text or email, use social media or a class website)
- Share the communication in multiple ways (email, class website, private Facebook group)
Let Me Help You!
I know that you are busy and don’t have a lot of extra time. I know that sending parent communication usually happens after school hours when you could be with your family, working out or fixing dinner. And . . . I know that when it becomes a burden, it is easy to stop or not do it as often. Why? Because I’ve been there myself. That is why I put together these sets of ready to use Newsletter Templates! I want to help you Be Consistent, Build Connections, and Make it Easy!
These newsletter templates are a fantastic way to make writing your class newsletter easier and faster. All the design and formatting are already done for you. All you have to do is add the information. Look how easy it is to prepare a newsletter.
This video is sped up a little, but the unedited version was less than 5 minutes long. So that means newsletter creation from start to finish in 5 minutes!
You can find two different sets of newsletter templates in my store. Both function in the same way and all give you a variety of template options to use. Choose the design you like best that fits your personality or your classroom and start sending newsletters today! (The first one below is the one in the video)
Save these ideas!
Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you can come back later.