There isn't too much scarier as a new teacher than the first time you have to make a phone call home regarding one of your students. Even as a veteran teacher you still never know what type of parent you are going to get on the other end of the line. Whether you're calling about grades, behavior, an incident that happened, or just calling to inform them on what you've been seeing in class - you're entering an unknown,, and that's why I put together this free resource on tips for calling parents for you to use.
The main thing to remember as the phone is ringing on the other end is that one specific child you're calling about is the best child that parent has to offer you.
If this is the first parent phone call of your career don't be afraid to ask a veteran teacher that you trust if they would do a mock phone call with you. They'll be able to give you feedback and pointers on what to say or how to say what it is you are trying to get across. You could even ask them to sit in the room with you when you make the call.
Also remember, parents are busy, and this might not be the best time for them to have this conversation. When the parent picks up, be clear and confident. For example:
"Hello. Am I speaking with Nancy Johnson?"
"Yes, who is calling?"
"Hi Ms. Johnson, My name is Jason Smith, and I am Madysen's Reading teacher here at Lincoln Middle School. Is this a good time for us to have a conversation about Madysen's reading scores? It would just be 5-10 minutes of your time."
"I'm actually at work right now, but I'm done at 4:00."
[This is where things can get tricky. You might still be teaching a class at 4:00. You might be coaching at 4:00. So then what? This all depends on you at this point. If 4:00 doesn't work for you for a variety of reasons (teaching schedule, coaching, picking up your own kids from school, etc.) then be honest, but offer options.]
"I unfortunately am not available at 4:00, but it is important to me that you and I are able to have this conversation because we both want Madysen to do well so here are some times that would work on my end...
[If you feel comfortable giving out your home number or cell phone number you could do so and make contact during the evening]
The main point is that you're showing the parent that you care about their child and are trying to keep them informed and involved in their child's academic life. Think about how you are phrasing your words. Some simple phrases can keep a phone call home less threatening for the parent receiving the call. Instead of "talk to you about..." try "have a conversation with you about..."
I've put together a set of 20 tips that you can download free in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Just click the image below (and don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list for free resources and updates! Also be sure to check out the great information and resources available on www.classtag.com