When my sons were in elementary school, we received communication in various ways. We received it through the folder in my sons’ backpacks, email, phone calls, Class Dojo, Bloomz, and via Smore newsletter. Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming. There was plenty of information, but it was shared through too many avenues.
During the second half of their elementary experience, their school district switched to ParentSquare for communication. Teachers were told to communicate using the app. Although this streamlined information, at times, it didn’t seem personalized. There would be mass messages to all the parents in the class, which was needed, but responding in an app is not as personalized.
Find Out How the Teacher Prefers to Communicate
To ensure my sons’ needs were being met, I asked their teachers what their preferred mode of communication was. Even though district leadership says teachers should only use a certain app, many teachers still prefer phone calls and emails. If the teacher prefers an app like Remind, then I suggest that you ask better and more specific questions when communicating with the teacher about your child.
Ask Targeted, Specific Questions
If you ask simple questions —“how is my child doing?” — you may receive simple responses. Instead, target an area of concern and ask a question about it. For example, “Is my child reading at grade level? If not, what can I do to support my child at home?” Specific questions tend to get specific answers.
Check In On a Regular, Predictable Basis
You could think about checking in once a month. After a while, the teacher will begin to expect to hear from you.
Communicate Your Needs
Last, if you don’t have the capability to use an app at home, communicate that to the teacher or principal and see what accommodations they will make for you.
Happy connecting with your child’s teacher!
Shawnta (Shawn-tay) S. Barnes, also known as Educator Barnes, is a married mother of identical twin boys. She navigates education from not only the educator’s perspective but also the parent’s perspective. She has been an educator for nearly two decades. Shawnta works with K-12 schools, universities, & education adjacent organizations through her education consulting business Blazing Brilliance. ...