Monday, August 24, 2015

#flipclass Flash Blog: Connecting with Parents

Connecting with parents is much different in my "2nd career" as a teacher than it was when I first started teaching. I began my teaching career in 1993 at the high school level before the age of email. I taught at the high school for six years and could probably count the number of parent conferences I had during that time on one hand.

I came back to teaching in 2004, this time at the middle school level. I was floored at the level of parent contact. Not only was email now an option, I was in LOTS of parent conferences!

I think it is important to keep parents informed.

I send all of the basic information home at the beginning of the year and share a few more details at Open House.

This year I am using Remind to send weekly texts with upcoming plans attached and other reminder texts as needed.

Parents have access to their student's online gradebook. I try to keep grades updated weekly (every 2 weeks at the most) so there are no surprises.

I try to answer emails quickly. Parents always seem very grateful for how soon I respond to them.

If there is something I think needs to be addressed regarding a student, I will email the parent or call. I am not a fan of the phone and prefer email, but I will do whatever is most likely to get me in touch with a parent.

If a parent requests more frequent communication, I try to meet that parent's (and, subsequently, student's) needs.

As far as my flipped classroom, I share it with the parents who come to Open House (admittedly, not many). After that initial introduction, I think my students do all the sharing. I am just beginning my 2nd flipped year, but I have received ZERO negative feedback from parents. At the end of last year I sent emails and asked for parents' thoughts regarding the flipped lessons. Every parent who responded had something positive to say, and several gave me some good perspectives on the process I had not thought about.

As a teacher, our dealing with parents is very similar to that with our students. The relationship is all-important. If a positive relationship built on respect is established, things go much more smoothly. If parents know I am on their side and have their child's back, we can accomplish a lot together.

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