Calling Parents in the First Week of School - Middle or H.S.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ms., Jul 10, 2010.

  1. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Jul 10, 2010

    I am wondering if I should call parents? (Most of the parents do not have access to email or a computer.)

    Have any teachers of older students called parents/guardians during the first week of school? Any advice, or alternative ideas would be appreciated! :)
     
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  3. Southern JC

    Southern JC Companion

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    That's a great idea considering that some parents are not as "in touch" with their student's teacher after entering high school. It's a big part of a student's education in elementary and middle school, but not as big (at least where I'm from) at the high school level. I call the week before school and always get great responses. Also, I send letters home by the students during the first week for them to have signed and returned to me (I tell the parents to be expecting a letter from me). I get great responses from that also. Even the parent that seems too busy to hold a conversation with you, will be appreciative and will know that their child has a teacher that cares.
     
  4. Southern JC

    Southern JC Companion

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    Jul 10, 2010

    Also, making your calls before school starts will free up time you might not have after the year begins.
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I have never even thought about doing this before, but my first thought is that's A LOT of phone calls as I usually have any where between 130 to 140 students.
     
  6. Icare

    Icare Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2010

    I would LOVE a quick email or phone call regarding my child.
     
  7. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2010

    Thank you for input Southern JC! :D

    It would probably take about 6 or 7 hours. I may send out letters, and follow up w/ a super quick call. I could budget 2 hours a week, and call every parents in the first three weeks.

    I'm going to get a feel for the situation. Admin seemed to be all for parent contact; however school politics can be pretty interesting.
     
  8. MathTeacher29

    MathTeacher29 Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2010

    I've found that calling parents early in the school year helps with classroom management. I've actually overheard students telling other misbehaving students you may not want to do that, she calls home.
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I take a slightly different approach. Each week I ask them for volunteers: who wants a positive call home?

    They have to give me at least one valid POSITIVE reason to call their parents (guardian), and I promise that I won't throw them under the bus when I call. All I will say is something good. You'd be amazed at how even some of the most difficult students will jump through hoops to get me to make that call, especially if they got in trouble somewhere else. It's also a great way to have them do some self analysis. I won't call just to say, "Hey, I like your kid." The students have to provide me with specific evidence. If they can't, then we set up a goal for the next week.
     
  10. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2010

    This sounds like a great idea! It is always great to call a problem student's home to say something good. The parents have a hard time believing at first that their kid isn't in trouble. Then that translates to being proud. You can really tell the next day in school that the parent was proud of them.
     
  11. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    I love that idea, especially that they have to tell you why! One of my reward choices was a positive phone call home.One little guy, who had a hard time making good choices, picked it. It took a couple classes But I was finally able to make the call home. ;)
     
  12. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jul 11, 2010

    I hate calling home so I avoid it whenever possible - right or wrong.

    Instead, I send home my business card with a positive note about the student on the back. I send a bunch early in the year then fewer as we go on. This puts out that positive contact so if I need to call home I've started off right.

    The other thing I started doing last year which worked out brilliantly is sending home an assignment on the first day of school for parents to complete. It simply said "tell me about your child in 1 million words or less." Almost every parent that spoke to me on Back to School Night mentioned how much they enjoyed doing that. It was positive, early contact and didn't require hours of frustration on my part.
     
  13. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    I love this idea! I'm definitely going to figure out a way to use this!
     
  14. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2010

    This would be a good thing, as I'm younger and people often think I look about 16. Not to mention, it should help me build a more positive rapport with parents.
     
  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jul 11, 2010

    I always call all of the students in my first period class every year. I have close to 150 students a year, so I can't call all of them. If each teacher calls his/her first hour class, then all of the parents get contact.
     
  16. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jul 11, 2010

    Bandnerdtx: I love your idea! I'm putting that on my list of TBD. I did better with parent contacts last year, but there's always room for improvement.
     
  17. CanukTeach

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    It is very time consuming but it can be a great idea. One way to decrease the time commitement: do it during the day. Most parents are not home. This may sound as though it defeats the purpose but it really doesn't. It sets the tone that you care. The parents who have concerns will call you and the ones who recognize that they can call you won't call but may call in a few months if they have a concern.
     
  18. Southern JC

    Southern JC Companion

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    Jul 12, 2010

    You're welcome. :)
     
  19. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Wow, I am suprised that middle school and high school teachers call the parents. I don't recall any of my teachers from those years ever calling home once.
    I avoid the phone calls as much as possible. I tell parents I prefer emails as much as possible. I do the occasional phone call when I have to during the year, but would prefer not to.
     
  20. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2010

    Unfortunately only about 30% of the parents have access to a the internet at home. (The school I'm at is rural; we bus kids in from areas that don't have internet access.) Fortunately most of the parents have access to a phone.
     
  21. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jul 15, 2010

    While there's a lot to be said for calling homes, I think your approach has a lot of merits also. A positive written note is likely to be saved, and could be encouraging to both parents and child during more difficult times.

    I think every teacher, from kinder to seniors in high school, should implement the 1 million words project. Parents might tend to get a bit less enthusiastic after a few years doing it, though you could just ask them to recycle and update or just refer you to last year's if they feel that way. And I suspect most teachers enjoy reading them and do gain far more profound information from them than they otherwise might.
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 15, 2010

    I would love to do the Million Words assignment with my class this year. I'm trying to work out logistics, though; close to half of the parents of my students don't have the facility in written English to be able to do this, and the kids are at an age where they may not want to translate for their parents. I'll have to think on it.
     
  23. NUMB3RSFAN

    NUMB3RSFAN Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2010

    I did the Million Words assignment as an extra credit assignment for my 6th grade math students. I LOVED it! I shared the responses with my 6th grade team and then passed the letters on to the 7th grade team at the end of the year. We learned so much about our students that way and the kids loved that their parents were the ones to get the homework the first day of school!
     

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