Which method of communication do you find most helpful to keep in contact with parents?

TeAch-nology.com's Teacher Poll of the Week
Which method of communication do you find most helpful to keep in contact with parents?
Class newsletters
Teacher/school web sites
Notes sent via the postal system
Notes sent home with students

View Results

Modern technology offers teachers multiple ways to communicate with parents, but the most common method preferred by teachers is the telephone. The telephone is both quick and easy and allows instant responses to questions or concerns. With the popularity of cell phones many parents can be reached at any time of day making this form of communication even more convenient. Email received almost half as many votes but is also a popular form of communication, particularly if teachers want to send a message to a group of parents. Notification of upcoming events, reminders to parent drivers or even assignment outlines can be sent en masse and ensures that all parents receive the material.

Notes sent home with students and class newsletters were voted third and fourth in this poll but together only received as many votes as email communication. The trouble with both these forms of communication is that once the papers leave the classroom, the teacher can never be sure that they reach the parents. Telephone calls are 100% effective in ensuring that teachers reach parents with the intended message. Email delivery is assured or the sender will receive a non-delivery notification. However, you can still not be certain who is opening and reading the email if multiple family members have access to the same email account. With the advent of the latest cell phones which receive emails, this has become less of a concern. However, papers sent home with students can end up anywhere once they leave the classroom. Most parents have encountered the situation where they find a crumpled note in the bottom of their child's backpack several weeks after it was originally sent home.

Websites are used by some teachers but do not appear to be a very popular method to disseminate information. Whether this is a reluctance to use the method by teachers, or a conviction that websites are not utilized by parents in unclear. Either way very few of the respondents in this poll used teacher or school web sites. The last method of communication is notes sent via the postal system. Unbelievably this received an equal number of votes as websites. Mail is slow and expensive so it's surprising that it is used at all.

The lesson to be learned from this poll is to keep your phone number updated with your child's teacher. If a teacher needs to get hold of a parent that's the method they are most likely to use.