New Teacher Tip #6: Call Parents with Good News!

Calling parents is something that gives every new teacher the jitters.  Ok, more than jitters.  Nightmares.  Often times when we have to call home, it’s not with good news.  The student who gets a phone call home is usually in trouble.
So I made it a policy as a new teacher to make a phone call home with good news at least once a week.  On Sunday night, I pick 1 or 2 random students who were great in class this week. Maybe the student helped clean up other students’ lab tables.  Maybe the student performed a random act of kindness towards a lonely shy student and I noticed.  I often tried to find something good to report about a student who normally does get in trouble.
The parent phone call sounded something like this:
Parent: “Hello?”
Me: “Hello, is this Ms. Parent?”
Parent: “Yes, this is she.”
Me: “Hi, this is Mrs. Lau, Student’s biology teacher.  I wanted to talk to you about Student.”
Parent: <sounding really really really nervous> “OK.”
Me: “I just wanted to let you know that Student did XYZ in class this week. <I describe in detail the act of kindness, or whatever the student did right that week> I really enjoy having him/her in my class!
Parent: <usually totally shocked>”Wow, thanks so much for telling me!  I am so happy to hear about him/her in your class…..”
Often the parent goes into details about challenges with their child at home or in other classes.  Sometimes this conversation gives me great insight into their home life and what makes the student tick.
And as you can imagine, my student is probably on cloud nine when the parent tells them I called.  Rarely does the student actually mention it to me later.  But often the student behaves great after this in my class.
I feel this is a win-win-win situation for all!  I get more information about my students that can help me reach them better.  I let parents know we are on the same team and we can work together to encourage their child to do their best.  The student feels terrific and encouraged.  And the parent knows I am approachable and want to have open communication to best help their child.
What other parent communication tips would you have for a new teacher?
Other New Teacher Tips:
New Teacher Tip #1: Power of Good Morning
New Teacher Tip #2: Give a Quiz on Friday
New Teacher Tip #3: You’ll get sick a lot.  Make Emergency Plans now!
New Teacher Tip #4: Bring something ALIVE on the first day of school
New Teacher Tip #5: Get Organized from the Start!

Best Classroom Management Tip EVER: How to solve the Bathroom Request Conundrum

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