When I taught first grade, there were few things I valued more than open communication with parents. It was encouraging to see how many parents were invested in their child’s education and even more encouraging to know that my work was appreciated!
After all, education is a partnership between teachers and parents, and when both parties work together, the results are spectacular. Whether you help your child develop lifelong learning strategies or introduce them to educational websites, teachers appreciate any help they can get.
It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in this partnership. Gone are the days when we could organize an in-person meeting or stop by after class to discuss your child’s progress. However, this roadblock is just that: a roadblock. A little detour doesn’t mean that the roads of communication need to close! In fact, I would argue that during the pandemic it’s more important than ever to know how to talk to your child’s teacher about concerns.
As such, we’ve had to learn how to use the internet to communicate. So how do you communicate with your child’s teacher and what are some ways to communicate with your teacher online?
Write an email
The first method of communication is perhaps the most obvious, but it’s also the smartest way to talk with your child’s teacher. You guessed it (or maybe you just read the heading): it’s via email.
Email is one of the most convenient ways to stay in contact online. No doubt your child’s teacher has an email address through the school, and they likely check it regularly. I especially appreciated email when I was teaching, because it allowed me time to think about the parents’ message, then answer when I was able to devote my attention to responding.
Make sure to use proper email etiquette when emailing anyone but especially teachers! Keep it friendly and professional, and try to include any relevant information in the first email.
Send a message on Canvas or Google Classroom
If your child uses Canvas or Google Classroom, you can also send a message to teachers through these platforms. These online classroom applications are used by many schools. They compile your child’s work and assignments in one place, allowing for easy access to material. They also include a messaging system that directly connects students with teachers!
Both digital classroom options are available as KidSmart™ apps on Troomi phones. These apps help your child stay on top of assignments and keep track of grades right on their phone, while keeping teacher-student communication open and accessible. Thanks to our KidSmart™ OS, we ensure that your child’s information remains private and secure as they communicate. Check out Troomi’s mission to learn more!
Set up a Zoom meeting
If you have a more pressing concern, or just enjoy talking with teachers face-to-face, meeting online is also a great option! At my school, we used Zoom to meet with parents, but your child’s school may prefer a different application. Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and even Facetime can be an easy and accessible way to meet.
While it’s not quite the same as being in one room, using these meeting applications lets you have an actual conversation and discussion with your child’s teacher—something that email doesn’t really allow for.
Send a note with your child
Even though you may not be able to see your child’s teacher in person, your kiddo spends oodles of time with them! As such, you can always ask your child to deliver a handwritten note or letter. It may be a little old school, but letter-writing will never go out of style.
I’m sure all parents know how forgetful kids can be, so make sure you trust your makeshift mail carrier. If you choose to send a note, there is always the risk of your child forgetting to deliver the message to their teacher. There were so many times I would send one of my first-graders home, only to receive an email asking whether I had gotten the note a parent wrote!
Talk to the teacher at pick-up time
Depending on what type of school your kids attend, there is also the possibility of talking to teachers at pick-up time. At my school, we would walk the students out to their parent’s car every day after class. It was really enjoyable to talk with parents as we helped students get into their cars!
While we didn’t have time to get into any particularly intense discussions, having the chance to say “hi” and become friends with parents really cemented the fact that we were a team working together to help their child receive the best education possible.
Don’t forget to be patient!
Teachers live very busy lives and often have an overbooked schedule. In addition to time spent with students, most instructors spend hours preparing lessons and organizing their classrooms—not to mention having a life outside the classroom. If you don’t receive a response instantly, be patient! And if you still haven’t gotten an answer after a few days, don’t be afraid to follow up.
Now that you know how to talk to your child’s teacher about concerns, there is nothing stopping you and your child’s teacher from working together to help your kiddo become the best they can be. So get out there and help your little student learn!