The ability to communicate effectively with parents and learning how to script a phone call to a parent is something every teacher needs to learn. Sometimes the hard way.
3 Tips to Consider Before Making a Negative Phone Call To a Parent
Calling parents and talking to them is a skill. It needs to be learned and developed by teachers just like the skill of teaching itself! Working on that skill will bring more enjoyment in the work place as well as more parent support!
If you are a teacher wanting to script a positive call home without an issue in place then go to Scripting a Positive Phone Call Home. You may also want to check the post written on receiving a phone call How to Handle a Phone Call Home. Otherwise, keep reading!
1. NEVER call a parent in the heat of the moment!
You will always be at a “loose” situation if you do that. You need to script the phone call to a parent, but make it at a time when you are balanced and can get your point across. Being reactive will only make the situation worse, or give an opportunity to the parent to hurt you. Instead, wait until you feel calmer and you can explain the situation in a calm voice. The first reaction is to call the parents, lash out and REALLY tell them what is going on in class. Don’t! This is a mistake!
2. Always have facts to share when you script a call home to a parent. Be very specific!
If you are calling with a discipline issue, it is not enough to simply say “the student is misbehaving” or “the student is talking in class”. You need to be more specific. What exactly happened- perhaps the students interrupts when you deliver instruction, or maybe he said an offensive word to a fellow student. Remember, the more specific and the calmer you are are, the more the parents will accept the information. Not giving enough information and being vague gives the opposite party opportunity to argue back and get defensive. You do not want to get in this situation. Even worse, if the parent asks what exactly heir child is doing, you cannot stumble and loose track of the facts. Sometimes this is difficult to remember exact details when you are in the middle of teaching. Have a paper right next to you and very quickly write down what exactly happened.
3. Sandwich Approach
Place the information in the phone call as a “sandwich”. Start the phone call with something positive, tell the parent what is happening in the classroom using details, and finish with a positive statement at the end. Here are examples of scripting a phone call to a parent with a “sandwich” approach.
Examples of Scripting a Phone Call to a Parent
We just finished long testing period and Johny did very well. However, during lunch today we had a conflict with another child. He did… Please help me develop his ability to talk to other kids by…
I am writing because I need to communicate about Johny’s behavior in class. Prior to this email, I have had a conversation with him and the school principal. Unfortunately, the behavior is escalating. He has been doing…for too many times. At this point he consequences are that…I believe that Johny can be better. Please help me change the negative pattern.