You may have never met the parents of your students. Yet for the Bible teaching you do to be as effective as it can be, you need the parents of your students to be on your team. Parent meetings don’t always work. Often parents of Bible class students are rushing off to their own classes or lunch. Parents of tutoring students may be at work while you are working with their children.
In spite of the special challenges faced by teachers of Bible classes or faith-based tutoring programs, you can do things to encourage the parents of your students to partner with you as you try to impress God’s words on the hearts of their kids. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Send home parent letters. Children are famous for getting things a little muddled in the re-telling. One of my students was sure Abednego was actually a bongo. His parents probably thought I was teaching their child about drums instead of the Bible! Parent letters should be less than one page. Give parents the scripture you used, any special activities you did together and the main idea or godly principle you wanted their child to learn from the lesson. If you are creative, suggest an activity the family can do together to extend the lesson at home during the week.
- Add the parents of your students to your social media platforms. This of course is probably easier with church programs than community based programs. Parents often appreciate photos of what happened in class. Some may never see that parent letter, but a couple of lines on Facebook will get their attention. Know your program and protect privacy as necessary. You may have a closed group private Facebook or Instagram account for your church or program. Some parents do not like images of their children seen online. Either get photo approval in writing or become an expert at the mystery photo – photos which show the activity but no recognizable faces of the children. I am getting great at shots from the backs of children or featuring only their hands.
- Pick up the telephone. This has become a lost art, but is a great way to include parents on your team. A quick two minute call – “Had to tell you how wonderful your child was in class today” (or whatever) will brighten a parent’s day. Follow it with a quick summary of the scriptures or topic you are covering in class and a request for parents to review the information at home during the week.
- Have a class picnic. The same parents who won’t attend a parent meeting will bring the entire extended family for a picnic or other fun outing. Make it easy to participate or you will lose attendees. Usually, it’s easiest to suggest everyone bring their own picnic. Schedule a time when everyone has started eating to spend a few minutes sharing what is happening in class and how parents can extend and reinforce the lessons at home.
Adding parents to your team will take a little extra time and effort on your part. Your students will benefit so much more from your lessons though, when their parents review them at home.