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Teacher, Writer, and Artist

Really? Yes, Mom, Really.

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After a few weeks of school, Lurlene would ask the teachers to call the parents of all their students new to the school. I liked that. Not an e-mail, but a call on the phone. Just to check in after a few weeks and let them hear our voices. So I learn pretty quickly that you need to say everything’s okay real early in the conversation because one time a mother said to me … When I see the school’s number my heart leaps out of my throat! That day I said everything’s fine. I understand. I said your son’s doing fine and it’s a pleasure having him in class. He’s been polite and respectful. She said I appreciate that. And then I heard her let out a huge breath. And then she said … Really?

www.adixiediary.com

Just got my first phone call home in 12 years

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I am posting as a parent to encourage you teachers to not just think of giving the positive feedback to the kids you find challenging because it helps get them on your side and helps motivate them. You may think the "easy" kids don't need your encouragement or don't care about the feedback, but they do. I just received my first ever positive phone call home for my 11th grade son. I was floored. He was floored. He felt appreciated and noticed. I also find it interesting that this call came from his Honors World History teacher. He is taking 4 AP classes this year and decided to step back and only take the Honors level of World History to make his workload more manageable. It is the first time he has ever not been in the "highest level" of whatever class. My guess is that this teacher is being proactive about motivating his students because maybe not all of them are highly motivated. But isn't it interesting that in all the years of being in classes of highly motivated kids, and doing well, we've never once had a teacher call home to say, "Your son is doing a great job in class and I appreciate his contributions." My guess is it doesn't occur to AP teachers because they figure the kids don't care. They do. The parents do. So by all means motivate the underachievers; but don't take the self motivated kids for granted ... they still value your opinion.

8th grade physical science teacher from Fulton County GA

Magic

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All it takes is the time to sit and call. Once you have proved to the students that you will take the time to share your thoughts about their performance in your classroom with their parents "the news is out!" Now, they will all begin to strive/work for that positive phone call home or even another one!

Parent of 4 bright children.

I received a wonderful call

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My daughter entered high school and about two weeks l received a phone call from one of her favorite teachers. He introduced himself as the history teacher and life coach and let me know what a class-act of a daughter she is with a great sense of humor.

The power of positive feedback this created is incredible! Not only did my chest puff up with pride, but when my daughter came home I shared with her the news that "I had a call from your teacher..." Absolutely wonderful!

Middle School - Social Studies, AZ

I just read this post a

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+1

I just read this post a couple days ago and it was a good reminder to send home positive notes and make some calls home. I ended up calling about 10 parents yesterday and sent home 15 positive notes with students I've 'caught' doing what they are supposed to be doing. One of the students, who is known to have some behavioral issues, was beaming the rest of the day and his participation in class blew me away. I needed a moment to remind me why I teach and seeing how proud he was the rest of the day made it all worth it.

Middle School Career Technology

Will Text be the same?

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I receive more prompt responses from parents when I text them, so I do not use e-mail if I want to hear from parents right away.
I like the idea of using phone call home as part of the reward system.
It does look, sound like more work, but I believe it is a solid investment we have to make. When kids behave in school, there will be less workload for teachers outside the classroom.

NY

Great reminder!

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Thank you for posting this! I'm a firm believer that it's important that schools understand that from the time they open the door to the moment they leave, what they do matters, and each person in the building has the opportunity to make a positive impact to families and students. It can't be said enough and I think your examples said it beautifully. Thanks again!

How

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I am an educational researcher, but my wife teaches in a middle school. She has over 200 students, 9 individual classes of students, and a "shortened" prep so she can perform hallway duty. Most days she doesn't see lunch or the bathroom. I think the idea of calling parents is great, but I think it's an idea that is totally detached from the reality of many, many teachers' daily lives. Until we have managed to change the system so that qualified professionals aren't just expected to tread water, I think it's wrong to suggest that teachers do even more.

More positive -- brilliant!

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I contact parents a lot. A lot more than my colleagues, but I have never thought it was annoying or too much to do. I let them know about what their kids are currently learning, what's coming up, how they are doing individually... but I don't do enough positive phone calls! This was a great reminder, and I will take it to heart.

Thanks!

Retooled (not retired) science teacher

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My high school had "Good News" postcards near the teacher's mailboxes (before the era of e-mail). We could take as many as we wanted to send positive comments home, and the secretary would stamp and address them. A parent called me once to say that the postcard was the highlight of her son's week--he had been trimmed from a traveling soccer team and was feeling worthless (as teenagers often do). The note of congratulations for a project made him feel better, and it stayed on the kitchen refrigerator for a long time. It took me only a few minutes to send this feedback, a small investment of my time (actually, I wrote many of them while I was on bus duty).

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