For Hannah Barnhart, consistent family communication is the key to connected and engaged relationships
December 4, 2023
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Consistent communication is key in creating a successful classroom environment for students and their families. Hannah Barnhart, a 5th Grade teacher at Christ the King School, is known for prioritizing intentional communication with her families and shares some pointers from her tried and true system.
First, Hannah and her team send out a bi-weekly newsletter to their families with classroom updates, upcoming assignments and events, and a few pictures. “We always get a lot of great feedback from our families, they love seeing their kids in the classroom.” Giving families a glimpse into what is going on throughout the day is a great way for them to feel connected. Hannah also encourages her students to share and communicate classroom happenings at home. Kids often respond better to specific questions, rather than a general “how was your day?” A newsletter is a great reference point for families to start these conversations at home.
Throughout her day of teaching, Hannah will write down things she is noticing about her students. Did they share their pencil with a classmate? Did they walk in a line down this morning? Are they anxious about an upcoming test? “I will send families a quick email to share how their student was that day. “Parents love these little check-in emails, and it makes our communication easier if there ever is a more difficult subject that I need to bring up. Because we have an established and positive relationship, they trust me as an educator.”
When each school day is filled with lessons, activities, and learning, writing a daily email cannot always happen. “My biggest tip is to make it manageable. Every week I set a little time aside and send a few emails to families. It makes such a difference in our relationship, they know I really care about their child.”
Whenever Hannah needs support with a student she is confident in asking her families for help. “I always make sure to ask them how I can support their child in the classroom, and how we can work together to make them the best possible version of themselves.” As educators it is important to remember that the families are the experts of their students. “We are very much a team, the parent, student, and myself. It does not work if we are not working together.”
As an educator, maintaining communication with families holds significant importance. Dedicating time to prioritize it on a weekly basis allows for continued healthy connections and relationships.
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