PORTLAND -- With students back in the classroom, most parents now rely on technology to keep in touch with teachers and there are key ways to balance the best communication.
"I have all the teachers' phone numbers in my phone and if there’s something wrong [with my child] or they're sick, I text and let them know they're not going to school," said mother of two Michelle Swann.
Iva Quinlan, who has four kids in school, said she has even contacted teachers on Facebook. Teachers said that is pretty common while texting is rare. But email is what most parents use for communicating with them.
“Email is generally best but it's gotten to the point now where I come into work and my email can be 10 to 20 parents right off the bat," remarked Geoff Hunnicutt, a high school teacher at Beaverton’s Arts and Communication Magnet Academy.
Teachers recommend you do your homework before emailing a teacher about a school event or class assignment. They said parents should check the school or class website first, read the weekly class newsletter and check their child’s backpack for handouts. Then, if an email is still needed, they should make sure it's clear and precise.
"Say exactly what you mean and get right to the point,” advised Wy’east Middle School teacher Jennifer Bass.
The most effective emails, according to the teachers, are brief, deal with a single issue and don’t assign blame.
"If you have multiple questions or there's a complex problem, it's easier to talk about in person than to try to answer in an email," explained Alameda Elementary School teacher Karla Hudson.
Teachers also ask that the news communicated isn't always negative. They like to hear about a child's academic successes and about changes at home.
"Especially with classes being a little larger, you want to make sure you know the little things that are affecting the children's lives, not just the academics," Hudson said.
Encouraging your child to eventually handle the communications may be the best approach of all.
"Allowing the students to do a lot of the communicating so they're playing an active role in their education is key. I love getting emails from students,” concluded ACMA high school teacher Brooke Warren.