Quality communication between the school and home means a two-way contact that is consistent, positive, and meaningful. With both teachers and parents being extremely busy, using technology to stay in touch is imperative for better parent-teacher relationships. The teachers I work with, who use technology to help build a parent-teacher relationship, experience more positive conversations with parents. For example, they find parent-teacher conferences more encouraging and productive. Surprise is no longer a factor because there has already been an ongoing online conversation.
Communication through technology gives teachers the opportunity to build better parent-teacher relationships, which then reinforces their goals for students. It also reinforces the parent-school partnership, which provides better support to the students by being on the same page.
Not only do online tools improve communications, but they give teachers the opportunity to use their work habits as a teaching tool. Incorporating technology in a teacher’s daily work life conveys to students that their teachers are connected and instills in them that the internet is personally relevant – an extension of the school. Parents see the web as a tool used in all aspects of life and therefore, as a logical progression, will expect to see it used as a learning tool. Students will gain life experience by using digital resources as part of their curriculum.
Tools for Building Better Relationships
- Sending Emails
Email is a great way to reinforce your curriculum and to send pertinent information home. The most important aspect is that it’s typically the most convenient and effective option for encouraging two-way communication with parents and non-parents. Email is also an integral way to support your other modes of communication, such as a teacher website, a newsletter, online grades, and calendars.
- Creating a Website
A teacher webpage within a parent portal is the most convenient option for parents. However, any basic website that includes classroom expectations, assignment information, classroom or teacher photos, fun facts about this school year, and links to curriculum resources is helpful. It’s not only helpful for daily student progress but also important for distance learning in case of illness or bad weather.
If your website is meaningful but not updated often (weekly or daily), then a traditional newsletter is another great way to connect with parents. Teachers can still send it home in a convenient way by email or even linking to the document on the parent portal (school management system).
- Online Grades
Posting grade book reports, report cards, assignment calendars, class schedules, and missing assignments online eliminates surprises for parents. It helps both parents and students to understand development as a continuous progression of growth rather than focusing on the end grade.
- Parent Portal (School Management System)
When all of the above tools are in one place and are being utilized by the teachers, then they’ve created the most intuitive and convenient source for information. Once signed in, teachers can update their communications, grades, and even reply to email all in one place.
FastDirect Communications, a parent/school portal, offers a better way to connect. We provide teachers a secure email system with an auto forwarding feature, which sends the message to the parents’ preferred addresses. We also include teacher websites (BulletinBoard), online grades, and easy ways to post newsletters, calendars, and resources.