I’m a full-time virtual teacher. I teach third-grade in a public elementary school.
Teachers all around the country have been thrown into virtual classrooms. Now that so many of you are virtual teachers, I wanted to share some of my tips on how you can communicate virtually with your parents and students.
These are tips that I’ve learned that both parents and students respond to during my experience as a full-time virtual teacher in a public elementary school.
Here are my top parent and student virtual communication tips:
The Virtual Teacher 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 will really appreciate it.
I make my newsletters with Smore, where it’s simple to drag and drop and to insert links. For me, it’s just as easy as sending an email.
Calendars for Virtual Students
You should provide and send a digital calendar, or a way for students to keep track of their weekly assignments.
Something I’ve found that’s really helpful is including hyperlinks, even if you have them somewhere else like Google classroom. Providing all the necessary links in the calendar just makes things a lot easier. The links I include most often are articles, flip grid posts, a Flocabulary, and Nearpod. It’s great to have all of the links in an easy place 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.
Another way to really communicate with your parents is Virtual Texts. Virtual Texts are simply any messages you send on the digital platforms that you use with your parents and students.
Virtual texts are a very simple and nice way to send reminders. For instance, when a student is missing some assignments. Use a virtual text to nudge them in the right direction.
Adding images to your virtual texts can be very effective. You can even bring classroom themes into your virtual texts. I use Canva for creating unique images. You can also use meme creators.
It also helps to 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.
And 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!
Another thing you might want to consider is sending Progress Updates. You do not need to send these weekly, or even bi-weekly. Once a month is an effective way to let the parents and students know where they stand. This is even more important when the student is new to virtual school.
Give them a short little blurb, their grades, and let them know that if they need to meet or have a parent conference that now is a great time schedule it. Just a little snapshot of what’s going on.
I recommend a tool 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.
Meetings are a great way to communicate with parents, but scheduling can be a pain.
It’s easy to schedule your time using services like Calendly and SignUpGenius. These tools enable you to make it easy for parents to schedule meeting times that fit your schedule. Simply choose your available times and how long you’d like the meeting to last.
When you’re chatting with the parents you want all of the information you need easily available. When you use a scheduling app, when you go into the meeting, whether phone or zoom call, you’re able to be prepared.
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.
Virtual Teacher Wrap-up
As we wrap-up here today, let’s do a quick recap.
- Send a monthly email or newsletter
- Let them know what’s do for the week.
- Send Virtual Texts
- Give Progress Update
- Utilize Scheduling Apps & Websites
There are some really great ways for virtual school teachers to communicate with their parents and students. To make it really 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!