Parents. To me they are some of the most over looked resources in education. I started my teaching career in Torrington, WY. If you ever want to feel like you are in Torrington simply grab some beets and cows, close your eyes and take a deep breath. As a young teacher in a small community I quickly realized that word can travel fast. Whether good or bad, your reputation and relationship with your students can depend a TON on your relationship with the parents. Since, then I have done several things to make sure I work to make my classroom more transparent for my parents.
I use https://www.remind.com/ This allows me to communicate with parents through text message. And thanks to the great chat feature parents and students can reach me out of school hours. But, you can set office hours so you aren't getting texts at all hours of the day and night.
I make sure to call EVERY 108 of my students' parents with a positive phone call home within the first month of school. Yes, this is a lot of work, but it makes the rest of the year so much easier. They know you care about their scientist (that is what I call my students) and it makes tough conversations down the road so much easier!
We have a school twitter account, #spearfishms. This allows us to share out all of the great activities that our school does!
Respond to parents' emails and inquires in a timely manner. You would think that would be common sense, right?? But, it is not. So, often if you respond right away, the parents are so appreciative it makes the conversation much easier.
Go to all the events in your community you can! That is where relationships are built. You can talk about topics outside of school and build a great community for yourself! If you have a relationship with the parents, then it is easier to work together for what is best for your students. It builds trust.
My new adventure is having my students blog. We then are asking parents to comment on those blogs. This will allow parents with a 9-5 job to become more involved in the classroom. I believe @ calls them digital volunteers.
If you take the time to bring your parents into the classroom, I guarantee that you will notice the difference. We are all working so hard to make sure that their scientist turns out to be the best versions of themselves! Why would we keep parents out of our classrooms? One of my favorite quotes is, "It takes a village to raise a child." Make sure to utilize your village! Don't believe me? Just listen to one of my amazing parents: