Communicating effectively with parents is one of the most trying things a teacher will do.
Some parents are working several jobs and are hard to find; some don’t speak the teacher’s language, and truth to tell it, some parents just don’t want to be bothered.
Teachers too have things to do, grading papers, planning lessons; some become discouraged when their communications with parents have been ignored.
Fortunately in today’s educational digital universe there are several means available to help teachers get their thoughts across to parents without going door to door or making endless phone calls.
Educator Jeff Knutson discusses several of these means in a blog post on Graphite.Org called
First of all he says, make a custom website using Google Sites and Weebly. These two sites are easy to use. We’ve all heard of Google.
Jeff Knutson suggests buying a custom domain name for about ten dollars a year and adding a Google Translate button for those parents with language difficulties.
Weebly isn’t as well known, but is described by Time Magazine as one of 50 Best Websites of 2007:
Clever WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website building tool for non-techies. If non-techy sounds like you, give it a try!
Knutson’s second suggestion contains three more great ways to communicate with parents.
Start a Class Blog, he says. The two popular blogging platforms he mentions are both free and simple to operate.
Blogger, operated by Google is an excellent way to keep students and parents updated on the latest classroom news.
Wordpress.Com, like Blogger, is free, easy to use and a fine way to stay in touch.
He also touts EDUBLOGS as a great option for contact as well as student blogging projects.
Thirdly, Knutson says “Try Twitter to keep it simple.” Simple, perhaps; but he also cautions that because of privacy and safety issues it is best to follow these best-practices:
Twitter best used by high school teachers.
Create a separate account for your class.
Don’t use your personal account.
Advertise your Twitter address with handouts
Tell students that Twitter is an option, not an expectation
Don’t follow anyone: Twitter is just the teacher’s ‘broadcast channel’
In the final paragraph of his worthwhile blog Mr. Knutson challenges teachers to give these ideas a try and not worry about obsessive emailers.
He found that parents appreciated his efforts because the felt informed and could relax.