“Keeping parents informed about their child’s progress in the class is of utmost importance.”
No teacher wants the awkward moment of giving a student a poor report card only to have a parent say he/she had no idea that the child was behind, poorly behaved or not turning in homework.
Of course, there are also many cases of good news that you need to get out – ‘your child helped others today’, ‘picture day is coming’ or ‘bring money for the field trip!’
Luckily for teachers and parents alike, there are several ways to get messages like these across in an effective way.
Many teachers like to send home a notebook or folder that will often include the agenda for the week, a calendar and space for written notes. However, this message might not be 100 per cent effective, as some parents may not check the student’s bag. The good news is, this method can be made highly personal as the teacher writes messages dedicated to a particular parent.
when parents drop their children off on day one of the new year, some teachers will gather phone numbers, email addresses and other important information from the parents. The benefit of emailing parents is that you can create an email group and send a message to many with just one click. However, not everyone is adept at checking their emails regularly and inboxes left unattended can get quite full.
One of the simplest and quickest ways to get a message to all parents is to send a text or WhatsApp message. As with email, a group can be created one time and messages can be sent to dozens at the same time. However, the drawback of this message is, unless you have been provided with a phone from your employer, the cost of text messaging teacher will have to be absorbed by the teacher.
Some teachers have created a classroom website that offers a two-way street for communication about the class. The website can tell what objectives are being discussed and how parents can extend the lessons at home. Also, websites can be designed to let parents access information for their child only with passwords. One drawback is that the parent would have to bookmark the site and regularly check it and many schools do not have a dedicated it professional on staff who can troubleshoot issues that arise when updating the site.
Youtube can be an effective communication tool if the teacher or school creates their own channel. Shooting a brief video with homework help, school rules or other enrichment will earn you bonus points for being tech savvy.
However, the drawback is that the parent must log on regularly to get the benefit and also the teacher or school must create video content and upload it, which for some can be a more difficult task than typing a message.
Creating a school or classroom dedicated Instagram account can be very popular here in the UAE, as this country is very active on social media. According to GlobalMediainsight.com, the UAE’s 9.58 million people have more than 5.4 million social media accounts – making us more active on social media than Canada, Germany and South Korea. If the school or classroom’s Instagram account is adhering to school rules and not showing student faces without permission, this tool can also be very effective.
By Alona Ballard
For more on what Alona is doing, check out her Honey In the Desert Podcasts (iTunes) and find her on Facebook and Instagram!