Two Minutes to Make a Whole Day

One of the things that bothers me as a principal is the immediate reaction you receive when you reveal yourself to parent when you call.  There is this immediate disappointed “sigh” when I say who is calling from a parent.  Unfortunately, sometimes the call leads to longer sighs.  As someone who believes in open communication and parent involvement, it is important to me that I communicate with parents when things are good and bad.  I know that I need to try and make that “phone call” to communicate the good a lot more.

My own personal belief in a K-6 school is that every time a student is in my office, I make a phone call home to communicate with the parents.  It is important that parents know what is going on in school and you can invite them in on learning about the process at school.  It is also important that parents have an opportunity to share ways that we can help their children to be successful.  I never want a parent knowing that their child was in ‘trouble” in the office without that information coming directly from myself.  I talk to my staff about communication between home and school and I want to lead by example.

Although I have done it before, I decided to take two minutes to call a parent about the success of her child.  Although I have made phone calls to this parent that have included the “sigh”, her child has seen tremendous success.  It is important that I make those calls to celebrate that child.  It is also important that I call the parents of children who have done wonderful things as well and have NOT made a visit to the office.

Is this something that I have been doing consistently? No.  Today though, I know that I made a mom’s entire day.  I asked her right away, “Why do you always sound so disappointed to talk to me?”  Today I was going to prove her sigh wrong!

My secretary said to me when I was just starting in administration that, “…when you call home, that child is EVERYTHING to that parent, and you are about to rock their world.  Always be conscience of that.”  I always have.  It is important that you show parents dignity and respect, and show that you have given their child the same courtesy.

The “bad” phone calls are not the only ones that should be made.  If you are a teacher or administrator, I challenge you to make at least ONE call this week home about a student who is doing an amazing job.  We know there are lots.  It will not only make someone’s day, but it will also help create relationships within your school community.  Selfishly, it also made me feel great!  I loved the feeling of sharing success.

I did it today and I pledge that I am going to do it more.  How about you?