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Positive Phone Calls Home: A Simple but Powerful Tool!

September 2, 2015

It’s September. (Where did summer go?) Most traditional schools in the United States are Back To School. Our local schools started yesterday. Some schools rolled out the red carpet to welcome students and others even had the band playing. It is truly a time to celebrate a new beginning.back-to-school-40597_640

Teachers have been in their classrooms over the last few weeks getting everything ready and organized for their new students. Effective educators know that the more planning they do now, the more time they will have later to work with students and meet their needs. They also know the importance of creating a safe classroom and learning environment.

Stressful school environments inhibit learning while positive classroom atmospheres encourage chemical responses in students that help them learn. Children naturally seek out and thrive in places where caring is present. Integrating emotional expression in a caring classroom atmosphere improves memory and stimulates the brain to learn. (Green, 1999, p. 684)

Providing a safe leaning environment goes beyond the classroom walls. One thing you can begin doing today that will build relationships with students and parents and pave the way for a more successful school year is to make phone calls home. As a young teacher in a middle school, I was a little frightened when my principal announced during our teacher workshop that his expectation was for us to make two positive parent phones calls each week AND turn those names in to him each Friday on a note card. His explanation was “you need to know the parents of your students” and “every parent deserves to hear something positive about their child.” “Call when you can, not when you have to.”phone

I made those calls initially because I had to, but quickly I saw the difference it made with my students and the richness it added to my partnerships with parents. Students look at you differently when they come to school the next day and that goes a long way in working with both students and parents when challenges arise.

Make a plan now. Call 2-3 parents each week until you have called them all. (You might want to try to call 1-2 each day during the first weeks.) Then start over.  Keep accurate records of your calls and make notes about your conversations. If you can’t reach them by phone, leave a message or try email. That works too. You will undoubtedly have to make calls about concerns, behavior, or grades later. Those difficult calls will be easier because parents and students will know you as a person who genuinely cares.

It is a simple but powerful tool.

Have a great school year.

Linda

 

Resources

 

 

Works Cited

Green, F. R. (1999). Brain and learning research: Implications for meeting the needs of diverse learners. Education, Summer, 119,(4)ProQuest Education Journals pp . 682-681.

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