Last week, Debi Cullen, former Pastoral Manager, Head of House and Head of Year, posted a blog about the power of phone calls home in building positive relationships with parents and ironing out behaviour issues.
But how can we use phone calls in an encouraging way too? Amanda Varley delves into this.
Imagine: You’ve had a tough day, students have been kicking off in class, and you have a list of parents to phone before you have even started to think about marking or going home. After a challenging day, it ends it on a real downer.
But here’s some ways you can use a phone call to brighten your mood and end it on a high:
- For every negative phone call you have to make, try to balance it out with a positive phone call
Mostly parents get phone calls about their child if they are doing something wrong. In fact, when you phone and say who you are, you’ll very often hear how suddenly cautious and defensive they become. Phoning to say something really positive about their child will give you such a feel-good feeling to balance out the difficulty of making a phone call about poor behaviour, especially if that parent is used to only hearing from school for negative reasons.
- Celebrate the students who are under the radar
It’s an unfortunate truth, but very often we tend to focus on the students that we can celebrate for going over and above, and the ones who are on our radars for all the wrong reasons! As fantastic as it is to celebrate those students who are excelling, don’t forget to acknowledge the students who are consistent and reliable.
- You can use a positive phone call as a positive behaviour tool
Once a student has had a phone call from their teacher, it is likely they will tell their friends about it and it is a sure thing that other students would love for their parents to get the same kind of call. You could do this once a week for each of your classes and encourage students to work hard to earn that phone call.
- It is a form of praise that is highly appreciated by parents and students
Many schools have rewards such as house points, stamps and postcards, but nothing beats a parent being phoned to say how well their child is doing directly by the teacher. Be specific for what they are doing well and share that it is making you proud or happy. Why not ask the student if their parent or carer told them that you phoned? Not only does this show the student that you are happy to shout from the rooftops how well they are doing, but it also means if parents have forgotten to pass it on, the student also knows that you are pleased with them too.
- Pass the Praise on
Just as you would pass on concerns to the Head of Year about a student for poor behaviour, why not make sure that you celebrate the students who are doing really well? Just like when you pass on praise to a parent, if another student also praises that student about how well they are working, they realise that the school and home work together and communicate with each other. It might also make them think twice about misbehaving if they know that communication is key on all levels!
Consider the kinds of calls you could make this week to experience the power of the phone call for yourself!