Lurking in the corner of almost every classroom is a technological tool that often get overlooked by teachers: the telephone. I know. You don’t need to use the school phone because you have one in your pocket, or maybe you don’t talk on the phone much at all. Most people either text or send an email.
This year, I made a goal to contact at least 4 parents a week and talk to them about how their students are doing in my class. I’ll admit, some weeks go by when I don’t get all 4 calls made, but those the calls I do make pay great dividends in the classroom. Parents wants the best for their children, and they want to know how their students are doing in their classes. Let’s be honest. If you have kids, you know how much they talk about what they do at school. Just ask them:
“Suzy, what did you learn at school today?”
This starts in the Preschool as it the answer I get on a daily basis from my 4 year old son, and the response doesn’t sound much different from my daughter’s who is in high school.
I have not yet called the parents of every student in my class, but I see visible differences in the attitude and work ethic of students after I talk with their parents. Just to let you know, these calls are positive in nature. I mostly just tell the parents that their student is working hard in class and doing a good job.That is it, a one or two minute conversation. It usually takes longer to look up the number than it does to make the call. In almost every case, I see a difference in the way the student works in my class after a call. That telephone may be one of the most important allies that you have in helping students to become more engaged in your class.
Making home calls is kind of funny, because I usually start a call by introducing myself as a teacher at the school. Instant dread can be heard in the response on the other end of the line. Parent knows that calls from the school are usually not good. However, once I tell them why I have made the call and talk to them for a minute, the tone of dread changed to utter delight.
I am going to be honest. I don’t always make phone calls. If I have a parents email, I will also us that to contact the parents, but the response is the same. Plain and simple, parents want to know how their kids are doing in school, the students aren’t going to tell them. Oftentimes, the parents may be a little scared to approach a teacher and ask.
Pick up the phone and make few calls. It takes few minutes of time but may be the most productive minutes of the week.