As schools continue to suffer budget cuts, class parents are the ones often providing extra support when districts don’t.
A recent survey from WeAreTeachers and VolunteerSpot highlights strong support for parents volunteering in the classroom and reveals key communication and expectation gaps – leaving teachers unsupported and parents feeling left out. The findings also offer simple solutions like technology that make it easier for both groups to work together to improve the classroom experience for students.
Survey results show nearly all teachers see parent volunteers as an asset to the classroom and that parents feel they are valued in similarly high percentages.
With all these good intentions, why are schools and teachers still struggling to connect and engage with parent volunteers throughout the year? Survey data shines a light on the fact that parents prefer to use online and email communication with their child’s teacher – but 64% of teachers still send notes home in backpacks. At the same time, 48% of educators report that preparing for and coordinating volunteers proves to be an obstacle to getting parents involved.
The study also exposes a gap in the kinds of help teachers really want and need from parents. Parents go above and beyond in helping with class parties, field trips and donating supplies, however, many teachers are looking for more hands-on lesson support. For example, six out of ten teachers report they could use more parent volunteers to listen to students read.
Digital solutions for engaging busy parents who want to help but don’t know how:
- Ask parents to participate in updating your class blog, eNewsletter, or Pinterest
- Invite working parents to connect via Skype or Face Time – they can listen to students read or coach kids with math problems at a pre-scheduled time
- Involve parents in research for class projects or materials prep overnight
Simple digital solutions like using free online signup sheets from VolunteerSpot save teachers time scheduling parents and make it easier for busy and working parents to sign up to help from their computers and smartphones. VolunteerSpot’s automated reminders also help parents keep track of their commitments, giving teachers more confidence parents will show up at their scheduled times.
Leave a comment with your ideas on ways parents can volunteer in the classroom!
Please check out the full infographic and survey methodology here, and consider new ways of engaging and including parents in your classroom this year!
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