Things have changed dramatically since parents were in school thanks to technological advances. The more children you have in school, the more challenging it may feel to balance all the communication coming and going via technology. But if you familiarize yourself with what to expect and follow these tips, you will feel informed and prepared for the school commitments affecting your family’s schedule this coming school year. Remember, parents, you always have a choice to see new communication methods in education as a boon to learning even if you’ve never tried them before. Here are a few types of communication to expect as your child progresses from elementary school through high school.
There are two types of teacher emails: group and individual. A teacher may email all the parents of students in one type of class at once on a regular basis. For example, the choir teacher may send out mass emails to announce upcoming concerts. Ask questions swiftly if you have any and then add any pertinent info to your family calendar. If you notice any errors in communication like an incorrect date or time, kindly point out the error to the sender. However, do not offer grammatical advice or point out innocuous typos. No one appreciates that. Teachers are busy people, and they occasionally make mistakes just like the rest of us.
A teacher may also reach out privately to the parents of one child. Don’t be alarmed if you get an email about your child’s behavior at school. You want to be informed when there is a reason for discussion, and your child’s teachers will let you know if there is. Take teacher emails in stride by not taking them personally, by wanting to be up to date about your student’s behavior and by being as responsive and cooperative as you can regardless of the issue. Remember that even good kids can have poor behavior and that there is no such thing as bad kids; there is only poor behavior. When addressed with calm collaboration and a focus on finding swift solutions, teachers and parents can work together to get students cheerfully back on track.
Some teachers like to use blogs to post lessons, deadlines and online resources. When teachers choose to use blogs, they are usually housed on the school district or private school’s website plan. Generally speaking, school-approved technologies like teacher blogs are a safe, secure way for teachers and students to communicate more thoroughly. This type of service can be especially helpful when a student misses class because of an illness or field trip, although teachers still need to be notified about absences. If your child is trying to learn good organizational habits, teacher blogs can be a real help. If the teacher is not using a blog, make sure your student has a planner and knows how to use it effectively, a skill that is expected to be mastered by the end of middle school.
A flipped classroom means lessons are learned at home via videos or audios posted to a teacher blog or online classroom, so students can practice what they’ve just learned in the classroom with the assistance of their teacher. In the traditional model, lessons are taught in class and homework is used as practice. By flipping this dynamic, students can get more support in executing lessons and getting their questions answered more easily. If your child ends up in a class where the teacher is using a flipped classroom approach, it may take some time to adjust. As a parent, support your student in giving the approach a fair chance, and try to temper any automatic resistance you may have to the idea. Don’t be surprised if your student ends up preferring this method in the long run.
Many schools encourage the use of Google Classroom, a versatile online platform that helps students express themselves and collaborate. Google Classroom is a password-protected service that makes everyone’s role easier by creating a paperless environment for the creation, sharing, distribution and grading of papers. Included in the online platform is Google Drive for the storage and distribution of documents, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for the creation of writing, Gmail for communication, and Google Calendar for scheduling. Using Google Classroom allows schools to consolidate a lot of class work into one universal online service. Some students will start using this platform as early as elementary school, so it’s wise for parents to familiarize themselves with it by watching online tutorial videos.
Social Media Groups
Parents who volunteer may already have some experience with social media groups, and students will likely be invited to participate in these types of groups by middle school or high school. Social media groups are a convenient way to broadcast information and communicate swiftly on an ongoing basis. For example, a high school theater department may have a private Facebook drama club group composed of current members and parents of members administered by the school advisors. Drama club officers might use the group to post announcements for upcoming outings and events. Parent volunteers might use a sign-up service like Sign-up Genius to rally donations or fill time slots. The directors of upcoming plays or musicals can create subgroups of students and parents in order to share specific information only with relevant audiences.
Consult your student handbook for your school’s social media policies and encourage your student to be a good digital citizen no matter what methods of communication are in use.