Hi everybody! I am a full-time virtual teacher. I know there have been many changes for teachers recently. Now that a lot of you are now becoming virtual teachers I wanted to share some tips about how you can effectively communicate with your parents and students while teaching virtually. These are tips that I’ve learned that both parents and students respond to during my experience as a full-time virtual elementary school teacher.
Here are my top parent and student virtual communication tips:
1) Send a Monday Newsletter. Briefly go over any upcoming events or virtual meetups that you are going to have. Maybe it’s an assignment that they need to get done, like their i-ready, or a reminder Spring Break is around the corner! If sending a newsletter seems like it’s too much work, you can always just send a Monday email. Parents appreciate it. I make my newsletters with Smore, where it’s simple to drag and drop and to insert links. It’s just as easy for me as sending a Monday email.
2) Scheduling Apps. The next thing is to send some type of calendar or a way for students to keep track of their weekly assignments. Make sure that you include hyperlinks even if you have them somewhere else, like Google classroom, but you still link them all in the calendar because it just makes a lot easier. Links I might include are articles, flip grid posts, a Flocabulary, and Nearpod. They’re all there for the students to go back to. Save all of the calendars, organized by the weeks, so any students that get behind can go back to an assignment they missed from the week before. I always recommend my students put checkmarks or make boxes or cross things off as they complete them just to help keep them organized.
3) Another way to communicate with your parents is Virtual Text. They are a very simple and nice way to send reminders, for instance when a student is missing some assignments. You can create themes. I use Canva a lot for this. You can also use meme creators. Send the parents and students a little something to let them know that “hey, you’re off track, but I’m here to help you.” It’s a nice and easy way to let parents know that I’m here to help if you need it. You can also send a virtual text just as reminders of upcoming events. Just like when you were in brick and mortar school, you want to praise your kids for their hard work. Send them a virtual text that says you saw they did a great job on their assignment! Let them know you saw how hard they were working this week. Trust me, they love it!
4) Another thing you might want to consider is a Progress Update. You do not need to send these weekly, or even bi-weekly. Even just once a month to let the parents and students know where they stand because the things are now so different to them. Give them a short little blurb, their grades, and that if they need to meet or have a parent conference that now is a great time to let me know. I give them a little snapshot of what’s going on. I recommend tools like mail merge for sending progress updates to make sending many messages a whole lot easier. With mail merge, you can prevent recreating emails for every single student by using templates.
5) Scheduling Tools. Meetings are a great way to communicate with parents. It’s easy to schedule your time using services like Calendly and sign up genius. These are ways for parents to sign up for a pre-specified time so that way when you go into the meeting, whether phone or zoom call, you’re able to prepare. When you’re chatting with the parents you want all of the information you need easily available. I like to schedule using these apps whether it’s a tutoring time, catch-up time, or just helping the parents or students with a misunderstanding.
As we wrap up here today, let’s do a quick recap. 1. Send a monthly email or newsletter 2. Let them know what’s do for the week. 3. Send Virtual Texts 4. Give Progress Update 5. Utilize Scheduling Apps & Websites There are some great ways to communicate with your parents. To make it easy on yourself, save these things as you make them. I hope you enjoyed these quick tips and tricks I’ve learned from my experience as a full-time virtual elementary school teacher!