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Why don’t I call parents more often?

 Every August, I have the same goal: This year, I’m going to call more parents.

The benefits are huge, right? Calling home means showing that I care, which builds relationships and contributes to student success. I get it.

And calling home is much more effective than emailing (10 percent of my students’ parents read email regularly) or texting (some parents have access and feel comfortable, others don’t).

But year after year, I never improve. So what’s keeping me stuck?

Maybe it’s just that I’m tired and there’s too much to do. At the end of a hard day at work, there are still papers to look at and lessons to plan — and sometimes not enough time to squeeze in a call.

After all, phone calls are unpredictable in length. I don’t know how long they’ll take. Even if I stay focused, a call might take 5-10 minutes. That’s a lot of time if I’m trying to reach all my parents on a regular basis.

They’re also unpredictable in content. Did I reach the right person? Which language will I speak? Will the parent be angry? Might I cause unnecessary conflict at home (even with a positive call)?

Those concerns, though perhaps valid, cannot be excuses. This year, I must do better. I can’t wish for some technological miracle to solve my problem. (But I do like Slydial and Phonevite!)

So here’s what I’m going to try:

1. Schedule 15 minutes a day to make calls. Yes, just 15 minutes.

2. Make it the same time every day until it’s a habit.

3. In every conversation or voicemail, encourage the parent toward my preferred methods of communication: the class website, e-mail, and texting (in that order). If a parent can move in that direction, it’ll make me so happy. 

One comment

  1. Steps to Success 2

    Mark Great post. Yes reaching out to parents is important and helps build a good relationship with them. Parents want to be in the loop with what is going on. Here are a few additional suggestions:

    1) Have a strategy – work out the steps and the basic things you need to cover. Even prepare a script if needed to help you with strategy.

    2) Use Outlook or Gmail’s calendar and schedule your outreach.

    3) Consider a general newsletter and notify parents of allotted times where they can make an appointment to chat.

    Steps 2 of Staten Island

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