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January 19, 2021

Communication With Parents During Distance Learning

I recently reached out to parents hoping for a fresh perspective for an assigned blog on teacher-parent communication during distance learning. This request was circulated via social media and throughout the Teaching Channel office as many TC team members are parents, too. (Yes, there are humans behind these courses!) 

There were several great ideas and a handful of useful examples, so we thought we’d share them with you! You are likely already doing many of these things (thank you!), but maybe you’ll discover another helpful strategy, a new method, or an easy-to-implement take-away.  

For Learners of All Ages:

  • Use the 3 C’s: communication, consistency, and compassion. 
  • Acknowledge parent emails and respond in a timely manner.  
  • Understand that everyone, every single individual, is under stress right now. Teachers, students, and parents alike.  
  • Be proactive about missing assignments. If you see a student struggling or failing, reach out to the parents and the student.  
  • Make all assignments, readings, and directions (course materials) viewable to parents.  
  • When emailing, use “reply all” because some use cc to add the other parent(s), etc. 
  • Use the Remind app to ping students right before their online synchronous session starts. 
  • Send supportive and positive emails to parents about their child. 
  • Consider asking your families what they need from you and the school specific to communication. 

For PreK and Elementary Students:

  • Publish a weekly newsletter (with learning goals for the week) that explains what’s happening during that week and specifically outlines the synchronous sessions. Include a checklist to make sure students complete all the work every day. Try to make them graphically interesting, colorful and written so everyone in the household understands and can assist the student. 

For Middle and High School Learners:

  • Provide more consistency with when and how assignments are put into the grading system and graded. As an example, some teachers do not enter assignments into the grading system until they are grading the work which is too late for parents to be proactive and assist their child with completion.
  • Provide a checklist for each class that outlines what needs to be completed that week (assignments, projects, presentations, etc.) Send the syllabus to the parents as well as the students so families will know what is coming up. Please note: the link we provided here is a Google Doc, and you will be forced to “make a copy” so you can use it for your classroom!
  • Centralize communication so that parents get just one email containing all the information they will need for the week on their child. With multiple kids having multiple teachers, and each teacher having their own communication system, it becomes challenging to track. 
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