Every year I vow to do a better job communicating with parents and every year I fail. Abysmally. Epically. Totally.
This year I made the same resolution. I will contact parents in good times. I will contact parents periodically. I will contact parents to keep them informed. The same goals I had made in previous years and didn't achieve, I resolved to try again.
And I did try. I actually put forth effort by calling parents of students who were doing well in my class and letting them know how proud I was of their son/daughter and how well that teen was doing in my class. Parents reaction? Most, when they answered and heard me identify myself, were guarded at best, waiting for the bad news to follow. As I delivered the good news, their voices lightened and the hesitancy was replaced by enthusiasm and gratitude. Wow, I thought, if one phone call does this much for them, how would they feel about being informed weekly?
So I tried using www.remind.com for the first time. I can't say I'm a seasoned user, and my attempt first block was less than successful. However, I persevered and tried again this block. Surprise, surprise, it worked. There are still limitations with this service, like being able to send the message to only certain parents (which may be able to be done, I just haven't figured out how yet), but overall this has worked well for me to communicate in short 140 character messages about life in English class.
How do I know if it's working? Because my students report back to me.
"What are you telling my mom about English?"
"Did you send my dad a text about my independent reading book?"
"My mom said you sent her a text. What was that about?"
These are just a few of the comments. So far I've been texting parents about two to three times a week. What has been the response? I've had parents text back thanking me for keeping them informed. I've met parents who've asked their child to introduce me to them. I believe I'm forging stronger relationships with parents through these texts so it's not a "me against them" mentality but rather a partnership.
The experiment ends soon when we have PTCs. My gut says this is only the beginning using remind.com. In terms of parent-teacher relationships,remind.com and see how it can make your life just a bit easier. You won't regret the time invested nor will the parents. The only feedback you'll get from them will be positive. Trust me.