Teaching encompasses so much. Besides teaching content and building community and trust with your students in your classroom, you also need to communicate with parents. This isn’t just a bonus; it’s a job requirement. Sending emails and making parent phone calls can be exhausting and time consuming, but when you set up a system at the start of the year, you’ll save so much time and start building relationships right away. Learn how to connect with parents from day one.
Create a newsletter.
Send a quick digital newsletter each week that can be quickly edited. By using a template, you will only need to fill in reminders, important info, what your students are learning in class, and classroom news. If a weekly newsletter is too much, send a monthly newsletter via email. Your students and parents will appreciate the updates, and you’ll make that personal connection quickly and easily.
Ask parents to tell you about their child.
Invite parents via a letter or email to tell you about their kid. You may send them a pre-written survey or simply ask them to tell them anything you need to know to help their student be successful. One activity my students and their parents have enjoyed is the “million word essay”. Ask your parents to tell you about their child in “one million words or less”. Be clear (an emoji winky face will suffice) that one million words is just an expression. In fact, a short paragraph about what makes their kid great, special considerations they have, or ideas to make their year successful will help you build relationships with both your students and their families.
Start a Seesaw account.
Seesaw is a free online platform for student engagement. (Premium upgrades are available.) You may post activities and updates for parents and students. In addition, your students can also share their own videos of classwork. Parents can even send you private messages and download the Seesaw app to get instant notifications to their device. Seesaw is a quick way for you to update parents on curriculum and events while putting a lot of the communication in your students’ hands. It’s seriously amazing!
Connect with reading.
Send home a list of recommended books for parents and their children to read together. Invite parents to make recommendations for their favorite books as well. This will not only promote literacy and daily reading, but it will start communication with families as well. Bonus- you may find some great book recommendations from this activity! Try this via an email newsletter or through a Seesaw post, both great ways to connect with parents.
Building great communication with the parents of your students can seem like a difficult task. Depending how many students you have in your class, daily or even weekly communication can seem impossible considering everything else you have on your plate! Learn how to connect with parents from day one with these simple tips that will keep communication open all year long! You won’t regret the rich discussions you have with parents and all you will learn about your students.