A Teacher-Parent Experience: Klassly (by J. Essington)
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for the world of education and placed numerous obstacles in the way of teachers. As a former k-12 educator and current professor of education, I understand the stress teachers and administrators are facing during these fluid and dynamic times. However, as a parent of three elementary-age children, I equally understand the frustration that comes from schools trying to keep their heads above water while parents sit in the dark.
The Klassly app is designed to bridge the communication gap that has always been present between teachers and parents but has now turned into a gaping maw of confusion and frustration. Schools need to function on a level of transparency never before seen in the history of United States education. I know that as a teacher, opening your classroom even more to the public can be an intimidating proposal but sharing the burden of high expectations directly with parents will create a supportive atmosphere of trust and empathy.
I understand that teachers are creating learning materials on the fly and adapting moment to moment, but as a parent when I receive no insights from my children’s teachers then my worst suspicions come to the forefront even as an educator. The Klassly app allows for quick check-ins with parents through documentation, pictures, events, appointments, and more which gives parents a chance to understand their child’s experiences.
As an education professor, I continuously stress the need for gaining parental engagement and emails and voicemails have become too cumbersome in our ever-evolving technological world. Additionally, as a working parent, the social media feel of Klassly helps me stay updated on my children’s progress and assignments without feeling overwhelmed. Adopting a parent-friendly app that creates engagement and transparency is a must for all educators.
The pandemic is a challenge but a chance for educators to prove our importance to adults whose only experience in education was as a student. The best and most efficient way to increase the importance of education within our children’s families is through parental engagement. We need to invite parents to partake in their child’s learning and view parents as tools for increasing student growth rather than maintaining the usual divide between us and them.