I teach in a small rural farming community that is primarily comprised of Mexican and Hmong immigrants. Last year, I wanted to leverage social media to connect and communicate with the parents of my first grade class. However, I wasn't sure if my particular parent population would embrace the idea of connecting with social media. So I took a chance and sent a note home inviting my parents to follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
And here's what I learned!
- My parents preferred Facebook. Why? They are using Facebook to connect with loved ones back in their native countries.
- Language was no longer a barrier thanks to Google Translate.
- They understood how to use Facebook. So I did not have to provide any parent trainings.
- My parents mutually understood that our class Facebook page was about featuring positive things going on in our class. So every parent was very respectful when leaving comments and likes.
- All my parents have their Facebook accounts synced to their smartphones and could receive alerts and messages immediately.
- My parents frequently used the private messaging component of Facebook to express concerns or ask questions.
- I connected with parents who unfortunately stay away from campus because of gang affiliation. And guess what? I learned that they want their children to succeed academically and transform their lives.
- Parents and students watched educational videos together that I posted.
- Parents followed links to articles about parenting and student success.
- Facebook connected me to my parents like I had never done before in my 20 years in education.
If you have been on the fence about whether to use Facebook to connect with parents I highly recommend you do your homework before you hop in. Learn all the features Facebook has to offer and pay close attention on how to secure your Facebook page. Lastly, commit to posting daily on your classroom Facebook page to draw in and maintain the attention of your parents.