Last week I rounded up some research about goal-setting and framed it for teachers. It focused on personal growth within the classroom, and accomplishments you might try to make for yourself personally.
But these goals below are about the conundrum of Communication with Parents, wherein there is often both too much and too little. Here’s a guideline of questions to ask yourself for improving your classroom communication:
What’s one Communication tweak you can make?
Maybe you already have a website, and already use remind for text alerts. Good for you! Its never a bad idea though, to take a quick look at what’s working and what isn’t.
First, is everyone receiving and opening the emails, text alerts, website updates? All of these programs have the capability to allow you to check whether or not your message has been opened.
Second, are you using them appropriately, most efficiently? I got maybe only 3-4 text alerts from my son’s teachers this year, and because of that I always remembered what they said, and knew they were important when I got them. Emergency field trip update, weather emergency, etc. The thing with school communication is that there is both way too much, and not enough. Parents struggle to wade through the mountain of paperwork and find the few pieces of information that really need to stick. Make it easy by angling your communication towards priority:
Which kind of update can you just post and leave to be checked as needed on Edmodo, or on your webpage?
Which information is best relayed by a quick (and infrequent) text alert?
How best can you support students with IEPs or other special needs?
– It may work best to have a tailored subgroup for some reminders. Which students need to know about a quiz or research paper much in advance (to work with their tutors, resource room professionals, etc), and which would be bogged down by so much extra information? You can make that call and filter your communication to be tailored for certain students
Third, how can you connect students with more? In every class, you are going to have students that love your subject, love a certain book, really connect with their instrument or who could really benefit from extra practice. How can you easily include these resources for parents and students?
Probably your webpage, or a runner on the bottom of your email page or even targeted connection with certain parents will do- but think about which extra resources to connect them with, online or in your town.
Is there an art day being hosted by a local college, that is on a weekend or is too specific for you to take the whole class?
Is there a STEM workshop that only a few students of yours would be ready for?
Is there a free penpal service you can offer students for extra credit (especially if they need help with reading and writing, or could use more social connection?)
What about free online math or grammar practice?
Links to TED talks that would help help illuminate some tricky concepts?
An app students can download that would really help them practice their states and capitals?
These helpful communication tweaks are much-appreciated by parents.
How have you improved your teaching practice this year? What has made the biggest difference?