When I found out that I was officially moving to Grade 6, a colleague of mine asked me if I would continue with my regular weekly phone calls. I paused for a minute. I wasn’t sure what to do.
For the past 11 years, I’ve tried to call all of my parents every week or every couple of weeks. Yes, I usually called with a purpose (i.e., to tell about an upcoming event, to remind them of important classroom activities, or to ask a specific question), but these phone calls gave parents a chance to ask me questions, express concerns, or share important information about their child. As Aaron Puley (@bloggucation), the Parent and Student Engagement Consultant for our Board, would say, these phone calls allowed for real parent engagement, as I was not just giving information, but giving a chance to share.
I believe very strongly in the home/school connection, and talking to parents is a great way to really make this connection with them. I may be teaching older students now, and in an attempt to make them more independent, I may not need to share as many reminders with parents, but I think that this talking time with parents is just as important as it was before. Students go through a lot of changes in Grade 6, and it’s important for parents to know that their teacher supports their children as they experience many of the ups and downs of pre-adolescence.
Also, while I may be used to these weekly phone calls now, it still always amazes me how much can be shared in just a couple of minutes. Important information comes out of these talks. What I find out about my students helps me as I plan for them and ensures that they have a successful year at school.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I try to allow for many ways to communicate WITH parents (from agendas to blogs to emails), but while my students may be older now, I will still continue with these regular phone calls because I think that these conversations matter. What are your thoughts on this? How do you communicate WITH parents?