Years ago I made the mistake of giving one of my parents my phone number. It was going well at first, I was able to talk to the parent when their kiddo was having issues or let them know when they were having a great day. It all went wrong when I got a call on the weekend from the parent who wanted to talk about their kiddo’s progress. I didn’t answer. I thought we had an unspoken rule that they wouldn’t use my number on my days off. Unfortunately, I did not learn my lesson. I gave it out again the next year and got another call on the weekend. After that, I changed my number and vowed to never give it out to parent again. I did some research and found out about communication apps just for teachers, and I have been hooked ever since.
I know there many teachers who only want to communicate with parents from a school phone or email, but in my opinion, it is an ineffective and impersonal way to communicate and build relationships with your parents. Here are three reasons why you should use a communication app this school year.
Quick & Convenient Parent Contact
One thing I love about using an app is that I can reach out to parents quickly. I can literally send a text while my students are getting in their centers. No longer do I have to stop class to make a phone call about Little Johnny’s behavior. I don’t have to worry about calling a parent only to find out their voicemail is full. I just send a text, and they get my message.
An Easy Way to Document Parent Communication
Some of us work at schools that require us to prove we communicate with our parents. The communication apps that I have used (Remind and Class Dojo) both allow you to login using the computer. When you log in you can print off whatever you need.
Then there are some of us that have difficult parents, and using the app can prevent any he said she said conversations. Everything is in black and white. Both Remind and Class Dojo have a feature that shows when parents view your message. This feature has gotten me out of the hot seat when parents complain to the principal that I haven’t told them about something that happened at school. These apps have been a lifesaver, especially when dealing with difficult parents.
Increased Parent Involvement
If you work in a low-income area, you hear teachers complaining all the time about the lack of parent involvement. When I first started teaching, I thought that the parents didn’t care. I was so wrong. What I have found out over the years is that many parents want to be more involved but, they may not have time or know what to do.
A communication app is an easy way to keep parents in the loop of what their kiddos are doing while they are at work. You can let them know what standards you are covering in class. Snap a pic of an anchor chart or a class project and boom! They feel like they’re in the know.
We’ve all heard about the studies and research that indicates that the more that parents are involved in their education, the better they perform. If you communicate regularly about what you are teaching in class, some parents will make sure they are working on it at home. If you make it easy for your parents to know how they can help at home, they will. If your students are working on school stuff at home, of course, they will do better in school.
Many of you know the benefits of using an app like Class Dojo or Remind, so you know it is life changing! Parent communication is something I think most teachers dread. Using an app makes it an easy and convenient way to talk to your parents regularly. Download one now and get started! If you already use an app let me know which one you use and what you love about it! I’m all about trying something new! Don’t forget to grab your copy of the Free Parent Communication App Cheat Sheet. Once you start using the Cheat Sheet, you’ll never run out of things to share with your parents!