We just don’t ring the parents enough. Well I do know someone who does this enough but they’re the only one and they would probably say they don’t call home enough either. Ringing the kid’s parents is not my idea of a fun five minutes but it’s absolutely essential if you want to get the best out of your students.
Step 1 Plan what you’ll say
Having your message clear before you pick up the phone is important. Parents can be tricky and they will try every trick in the book to divert your attention. Be clear, be focused, be prepared!
Step 2 Make the call
a) It’s time to be honest. You do not improve the outcomes of the children you teach by being all ‘unicorns and rainbows’. Detail the behaviour that you would like to see changed and be very clear about how you want the child’s behaviour to look in the future. For example, “I would like to see Paula walk into the room quietly, take her seat and put her planner and pens on the desk. I want her to then immediately start the Do Now that will be on the board.” Don’t make it complicated.
b) It’s time to be honest. The child in question has been an absolute star and you need to get that message across really well. Be clear about what specifically was great about the student’s learning and what exactly you want the child praised for.
Step 3 Get off the phone
Don’t get sidelined or the message will be lost. You called because you want to see a change in behaviour/reward excellent learning and that is the message you want the conversation to end on. You want that parent to go immediately into ‘sorting their child out’ mode or ‘dishing out the reward money mode’. Be polite, say thank you and go.
Getting in a couple of positive phone calls every week is a great investment. Word spreads quickly outside the school gates, both good and bad. Having the parents talk about what a great teacher you are because you rang home with good news is always a good thing. Get them on side and your job is easier.
Let me know how you get on.