Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Talk To The Student First

When a student is struggling with an academic, behavioral or social issue, it is important for the teacher to enlist the parent’s help in resolving the problem. But in the following guest blog entry, a middle school teacher explains why she approaches the student before making that phone call home.

Teachers and parents agree that communication between school and home is a key component to a successful academic year for the student. As a middle school teacher, I find that communicating with the student before making the phone call home leads to a more productive outcome for all parties.

In moments of frustration, whether it be an academic or discipline issue, a teacher may look for a quick fix by calling the parent immediately. Excluding emergency situations, my experience tells me to remove myself from the situation for a short period of time (a couple of hours or overnight) so I am calm and objective. After this time, discuss the situation with the student first. This arms you with valuable information (i.e. specifics and quotes!) to share with the parent during the phone call.

Having all pertinent information and details will eliminate back and forth communication and can clear up any incorrect information or confusion. Having all the facts and specifics prior to making the phone call arms the teacher with the confidence and ability to suggest a plan of action, thus moving in a positive direction to ensure success for the student—the common goal of all parties involved.

Ann Marie Torre

Ann Marie Torre is an English teacher and professional organizer in the New York tri-state area. She is a member of NAPO, the National Organization of Professional Organizers, and helps teens and adults set up organizational systems that last. Her company, The Organized Life, has been featured in The New York Times and the Spring 2009 edition of What To Do: Armonk, Bedford & Chappaqua. For more information: or (914) 242-1178

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