Parental Engagement – a Teacher’s Perspective
by Bloomz, on Apr 14, 2015 6:57:27 PM
In today’s classroom communities, everyone is going a million miles an hour. Our students, their parents, educators… there is never enough time to process information, let alone propagate it. Living in Redmond, WA (Microsoft’s home turf), we see first-hand how technology has made an impact in our lives - Fast paced, with a need to know information in real time. Most parents don’t take the time to check email, to coordinate potlucks, or to remember what events they have RSVP’d to. This puts direct pressure on teachers to perform at a lightning fast pace, trying to adopt new ways to reach parents and disseminate information.
What an unattainable goal! Forget grading, curriculum planning, sending reminders and every other nuance teachers do on a daily basis. Emails were thought of as amazing parent communication just a few years ago and now no longer make the cut with neither parents or administrators. How on Earth can we keep up?
The answer is we can’t. There is no way to meet the needs of today’s parents through old conventional systems. Something has to change…
I have been in the classroom for 8 years. I was doing everything “right”. I emailed parents, had meetings when needed, conversed with the community at pickup/drop off, I would even text a picture if a child was doing something amazing… all the while thinking I had an engaged parent community. But I was also answering emails constantly about what their kids were doing, when a certain event was happening (even after four reminders), where they could find the field trip permission form, and SO much more…
Then at the beginning of this year one of my parents brought in something new. NEW! He had developed a free app that would change parental engagement forever…. To be honest, I thought I didn’t have the time. Couldn’t he see I was swamped? (Of course not, part of our job is to make everything seem effortless!) I was not about to take on one more thing that made more work for me. He walked in and said “Let me show you Bloomz, you are going to love it.” I listened, and went home that night and started playing around. And then I saw how little time it was actually going to take. I had everything set up that night, and started posting the next day.
Just taking a few minutes each day to post a picture and a description of beautiful learning moments my students had, virtually eliminated my need for the hours of parent communication I was doing each night. I had my room parent set up my in class volunteer signups. Parents started bringing in the items I had requested for events. Without a doubt, my parents now feel engaged, educated, and enthusiastic about what we are doing daily in class, and I finally feel like I have found something that meets the needs of everyone. But you don’t have to take my word for it – here is what a parent in my school had to say about Bloomz:
“I have absolutely loved being connected with Bloomz! Receiving 'live' updates complete with photos gives me the feeling of excitement knowing what my daughter and her class is up too. Recently, I've made a point of checking Bloomz with my daughter, she then shares her story of the event in the pictures and points out all her friends. Thank you!” - Kaja Gibbs