The Power of the Positive Phone Call

I don't know about you, but I totally geek-out about classroom management ideas all the time.  I love implementing ideas, systems, and procedures that help to successfully manage a classroom.  I spend a lot of time setting standards and procedures in my classroom each day/week/month/quarter/year.  Why?  Well, I obsess over classroom management because I believe that without it, even the best lesson taught by the best teacher is absolutely meaningless because if the students aren't engaged, behaving, and paying attention what's the point?  

There’s a lot that goes into classroom management, but one of my favorite tools for reinforcing great behavior is the 
Positive Phone Call.  



How does it work?  Well...you just call up a student’s parent and say something really nice about their child.  That’s it.  OK, it’s not rocket science, but it is one of the very best things I do to build positive, productive relationships with my students and their families.

Why does it work?  It works because it’s all about relationships.  It’s disarming for a parent to receive a phone call from a teacher.  It’s even more shocking when you say, “I’m calling to tell you something wonderful about your child.”  Every parent wants to hear good things about their child and every child wants to be recognized for doing good things.  

I do have a few tips and tricks that have worked for me...

1. Make it a standard practice.

Generally, I make positive phone calls once a week. I've created a tracking sheet just for positive phone calls and other positive communication with parents. I reference it when deciding which student to highlight. It's also great as a parent contact log when meeting with an administrator or even during parent conferences.

CLICK HERE for a FREE PDF of this log

2. Recognize a variety of students, but not too many at once.

When making my weekly calls, I like to choose boys and girls, over-achievers and kids trying their very best. I also only call 2-3 parents per class. This helps keep the positive phone calls novel and special.

3. Report out specific and genuine positive behaviors.

I make it a point to share very specific reasons for calling parents. It's nice to avoid generalities like, "Your son is such a nice kid," and say, "It was so impressive when Josh volunteered to help a student that was absent catch up on the material he missed," instead.

4. Be prepared to leave a message.

A lot of times parents don't pick up the phone when I call. That means that I'm often forced to leave a message. I've learned the hard way (imagine very long, rambling messages) to write a quick script for leaving messages.

5. Vary the way you report good news.

While I love making positive phone calls, I also like to switch up the way I share good news about students. Sending home postcards is super quick and easy. I even love sending parents a quick email every now and then, too.

My favorite day to make positive phone calls is on Fridays. Talking to parents about their kids and recognizing the really awesome students that I have sets the tone for a great weekend. I also love the secret smiles exchanged between the students' whose parents I called and I on Monday mornings. It sets the week up for success. It’s pretty great!


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