Monday, August 3, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Easy Parent Communication

Hey fellow educators!! Today I'm going to take you behind the scenes to my parent communication system. I'll be showing you 4 different ways you can easily manage parent communication.

  1. Teacher Business Card
  2. Parent - Teacher Communication Folder 
  3. Monthly Newsletters & Holiday Announcements 
  4. Communication Documentation 
I have received a wealth of information from one of my colleges who not only has been teaching for almost a decade, but also has a son who is on the spectrum. 

Image Source -Response: Great Teachers Focus on Connections & Relationships

One of the main things I learned from her is to constantly be in communication with the parents and make it meaningful. Don't just inform them of the negatives, but inform them of the positives. Shine light on their child's growths, and strengths more frequently.

Another good tip for parent communication is to start off strong at the beginning of the year.  I'm sure some of you have had or at least heard of those parents who are always complaining or needing something from you and your staff.  It feels exhausting all the time. It seems like you're focusing all of your energy to make them happy. Set the expectation at the beginning of the year. Let them know, the best way for the school year to work is to realize the teacher and parent are both professionals and need to work together in the best interest of the student. I say 'they are both professionals' because they are. The teacher is a professional in the aspect of the curriculum and evidence based strategies. On the other hand, the parent is a professional when it comes to knowing and understanding their child. Both sides can offer invaluable information-but it takes communication for that information to be put into play. 

So here's how I open up the line of communication at the beginning of the year. I make teacher business cards(pictured below), print them off on card stock, cut them out and laminate them. During the 1st week of school when all the important papers are going out-I send out my card.  I let the parents know I am easy to contact (via email, class phone or cell phone). They are even welcome to stop by the school and I give them my conference time and ask that they give me a heads up if they will be coming by. **I have less than 10 kids and my parents are respectful in using my cell #, but if you are not comfortable- I would not hand out my #.) There is also Remind 101 that you can use for cell phone contact.

During the 1st 9 weeks, I make sure to email or call weekly to give them an update on how their child is doing (especially the 6th graders). I also send home a daily communication binder during the year. I can easily put how their child did during the day and any additional info (needs more diapers, change of clothes, etc.) I feel this is necessary, especially when your students have limited verbal and cognitive abilities to go home and share with their family how their day was.

I also keep the family updated with upcoming events by sending home a monthly newsletter and every time we have a holiday I send home a holiday reminder. 

I use these reminders monthly
Lastly, as I communicate with my parents during the year, I document the conversations. When we speak on the phone or talk in person are the main times I document the conversations. You can see my documentation forms by clicking the image below: 

Communication Log

I hope with this information, you are able to start your year with a strong communication system between you and your parents!! If you have any questions, or comments-leave a comment below or tag me on your favorite soc. media! 

Until next time,