Hey there. I need to be straight with teachers. We are really sucking at helping parents access our digital classroom tools.
I know. You’re busy. You’re underpaid. You’ve got way too many kids to keep a handle on. And parents need to take responsibility for their own children. And sometimes parents need to back off and let their child fail a few times. These things are real problems and are not your fault.
We can’t use these things as legitimate issues when we are sucking on our end. One way we are consistently falling short is providing a way for parents to help their children at home.
When teachers assume that parents aren’t interested and that kids don’t work with their parents at home, we cripple ourselves and our families.
There is a a real issue with teachers moving to digital curriculum, textbooks, and grading (which saves money and time!), and then parents struggle to access the material. We have to make sure we’re doing our part to help families who want to help their child… or families who decide to jump in and help part way through the year!
Here are some action steps to solve this problem:
- If possible, choose software and apps that have easy reporting systems for parents. That way it saves you time and you don’t need to add an extra step. Parents can log in and see what is happening themselves.
- If that’s not possible, try to take screen shots or make reports of what assignments your students are doing. Share those with parents. You could send a hard copy home, add it to a class website, or email it directly to parents… maybe all of those! Who knows?
- Give parents directions at the beginning of EACH QUARTER on how to access online grades, online curriculum, and how to access materials to help their child if they are struggling.
- While most families have access to internet now, we need to make sure that we don’t assume that families have access. Check with students and families at least once through the year.
- Direct parents to relevant materials for extra practice.
- Make sure parents can find out, or know ahead of time, what the grading criteria will be for a project or assignment. Just seeing a 5/20 on “History Timeline” is not going to help a parent correct classroom problems.
- Try to add a quick note to poor grades. For example: “Did not turn in,” or, “Only did 3 problems,” or, “Completed, but did not understand.”
- Communication with parents is key. Try to set a routine to send a quick to each parent once a quarter. I use to do this by scheduling it in my planner. I had a couple parents each day.
Any other ideas on how to communicate with families? What works in your classroom? What problems do you face? Feel free to drop me a line!