I have been teaching since 1992...and have experienced so many changes in the way I communicate with parents.
When I was a beginning teacher...the phone was about the only way to communicate with the parent. It was difficult to contact some parents due to the fact most had jobs and the only time to talk would be before or after school hours. We would often play "phone tag" and finally after many hours...or days...we would be able to address the situation at hand. It often became a hassle to make contact.
As a beginning teacher, I dreaded making a phone call to a parent regarding a "situation" with their child. I chose most often to wait until parent/teacher conferences to talk about concerns. My reasoning was "if a parent really wanted to know or was concerned about their child...they would make sure they contacted me".
Things changed over the years. I became a parent...and Email became a way of communication....WOW...it was fast! It was convenient...and no phone tag! I loved it! It was a great way to communicate the "good, the bad...and the ugly" :) My reasoning changed from "if a parent really wanted to know"...to.." as a parent I would like to know what is happening and how my child is acting...so I'll let you know how your child is acting in my classroom". It really changed how I did my job! A late assignment....turned into an email...just to let the parent be aware of the situation....a good test....turned into an email...a poor test...turned into an email...a cuss word....turned into an email.
I was writing about 5-20 emails per day. On test days...I wrote about 50-70 emails...just to let parents know how the student did on the test. I would be exhausted!
Now, I have made another change to my communication strategy. I have put the RESPONSIBILITY into the hands of the student. My school was blessed with 1 to 1 computers. Each student was given their own email address. Now...each student is responsible to send an email to their parent regarding a late assignment....test grade....or discipline issue. I get CC'd in the email...communication is complete! Sure there are still several emails I still send in a day...my emails stay short and to the point. I try not to let personal feelings take any part of the email..just sticking to the facts.
I enjoy reading the emails the students send to their parents...some students are so proud of themselves...some are very tough on themselves...some just write a short, quick note. Whatever, the email may say...at least they have the POWER to convey the message to their parent and tell them what is going on in my classroom!