We all know that building relationships with students is essential. But building relationships with parents and family is just as important.
Email is a great way to establish and maintain great relationships with both. Writing weekly update emails to both your parents and your students builds authentic relationships while keeping everyone in the loop.
Once a week, send a weekly update email to the parents and families of your students.
This starts to build positive relationships with parents and families before you might have to send a less favorable email. It builds a strong connection between you and the student's family so you can work together toward the student's overall success.
You'll want to include things like assignments that were due the previous week, assignments that are due the upcoming week, any projects or assessments coming up, what you'll be working on that week, an anecdote from class, or any other positive message.
The point is to create an informative, positive connection between your class and your students' families.
But we also want to respect their time. so keep the email short, but informative.
Be consistent. Once you start communication, continue that communication on a weekly basis so that parents know when to look for your emails.
Next, you'll want to write a similar email to your students every week.
Include a lot of the same things as assignments due, upcoming projects and assessments, what you'll be working on that week, words of encouragement, etc.
Again, you want to keep the overall message short, informative, and positive.
The idea is to build a friendly and positive connection with your class. You don't want to be seen as an adversary, but rather someone who wants to help them succeed.
Now I get it. Students don't read emails! I got you!
To make sure students read my weekly emails, I include a secret word (different than Bryce Hedstrom's passwords) that students tell me as they walk into the classroom on Monday for a piece of candy.
This encourages students to read my emails and they quickly learn that once the bell rings, I'm no longer listening for the secret word!
Because nearly all kids want free candy, this will help build a habit of them checking their email each week to see what the secret word is.
To change things up every once in a while, you can change the day of the week you're listening for the secret word or only allow the first five students to say the secret word. Anything to keep them on their toes and to have to carefully read the email to know what and when to do it.
This is New for Me
This email system is brand new to me. I've taught for over 20 years and this year was the first time I've implemented it. I started the day before school started and then I schedule emails to go out every Sunday at 6p.
I've received such great feedback from parents. They love being informed and knowing what's going on in class. I've also gotten great feedback from students thanking me for the reminders.
What I love about the whole process is that I feel more connected with the parents and families of my students. I also feel like we're all part of a team to help each student be more successful.
It has also cut down on the emails I receive from parents asking about grades, missing assignments, and the like because I've let them know what we're working on, what was due, and what might be missing.
Give it a try and see the response you get. See if you have better communication with parents and families as well as your students by simply sending out a weekly email.
Now that I've started, I can't stop!
If you try this, I'd love to know how it is working for you. Please let me know in the comments below.
And don't forget to download our email guide!