Distance learning poses all sorts of challenges for teachers, but one of the biggest is communicating effectively with parents. Our parents have always been partners in their child’s education, but now with parents helping facilitate schooling at home, communication is more important than ever! Here are some parent communication tips during distance learning that will help your students’ transitions from physical classroom to at-home learning to be manageable for everyone!
Stick with one platform.
As a teacher, you are probably learning about so many available technology tools to deliver content to your students. Keep in mind, parents of your young learners have to understand how to use these tools in some respect. Don’t jump from Seesaw to Class Dojo to Google Classroom. Stick with one platform, and share with parents how both they and their students can get connected.
Email parents and students.
If your students have email addresses, cc: parents on the emails you send to them. Make sure that communication is not only going to the student when it comes to deadlines, assignments, and important information. This is especially important if you have students that aren’t yet reading or have special needs, but parents should also be kept in the loop on what their kids need to know and be able to do during distance learning.
When giving assignments or setting a schedule, make sure you are clear on the must-dos and the can-dos. Some parents may want their students to have additional work to supplement your lessons. However, flexibility is key. For working parents, they may not be available to monitor their young children during virtual meetings or help them complete work during the day. Some children are still attending daycare, and still, others have little to no access to technology. Know your kids and your families, and let parents know that health and well-being come before the homework, always!
Send a newsletter.
This may seem like one more thing to do, but honestly, having a consistent format to send announcements, deadlines, and updates will keep you sane and help send a common message to parents. Use a simple, editable newsletter template to share what students are learning and even practice activities. You may also add special dates like students’ birthdays to help them feel special since they are missing that day at school. A newsletter is a strong communication mode that you can continue using even when you return to the classroom!
Use a Google Voice number.
Even if your school or district doesn’t require phone calls home, you may find a need to call parents to check-in on their students. In addition, you may choose to call your students just to say hello and let them know you miss them! If you don’t feel comfortable with parents having your personal number, sign up for a free Google Voice phone number. It will still ring on your personal line, but parents will be able to reach you (and you them) without sharing your private line.
During this time of distance learning, reaching out to parents is so important! Use these tips to help with parent communication to keep the bond between home and school strong!