I got to do one of my favorite things tonight: make a positive call home about a child to his parent.
I could technically do this every single day for a child; I’m a firm believer in celebrating the good that kids do on a daily basis (and there’s a lot of it). Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day, so making calls home every day to parents and families is a little tricky for a teacher with nearly 100 students.
Tonight’s particular call though left me with so much joy. My heart was so warm and my message so well-received; I was pacing with glee while I was on the phone with this mother.
What made this call so special, you wonder?
Two days ago this child had a bad day, and not just any normal case-of-the-Mondays bad day. I had to have administration remove this child because he was so distracting to others in the class, even though I had given verbal and nonverbal redirects to this child. He was removed from my class on Monday, and again on Tuesday he came close to leaving again. This kid struggles with a lot going on at home, and at the beginning of this week those problems were manifesting themselves in his classroom behavior.
Because he had to be removed by administration, I had to file an office referral. I called the family that night and left a message on their machine giving them the heads up that their son had to be removed since he was so disruptive in class.
Tonight’s call was so beautiful because I got to call this kid’s mom and tell her how incredibly awesome he was today.
I told her how he followed directions in my class, how he stayed focused and did his work; how he was kind and respectful not only to me, but to his peers; how he even offered to put up a girl’s chair for her while she finished packing up.
Before he left for his electives, I pulled the boy aside and told him how proud I was at his engagement level today. I thanked him for being so helpful to others at the end of the day and we established his end-of-day classroom job — to make sure everyone is good to go, that all the chairs are up, and that the classroom is clean. As I told him these things, he stood in front of me, bouncing, beaming.
“You know, I’d really love to tell your mom how you did in class today — does she like emails or phone calls? Is it okay that I tell her how awesome of a day you had?”
“CALL HER! Call her!!!”
We smiled and the boy started to walk away and then quickly turned around to hug me.
Recounting the afternoon’s events, I could feel how happy this mama was. She was thrilled to hear that her son had such a great afternoon with me today, and she was so happy that she wasn’t getting another phone call like the message I had to leave on Monday. She was kind, encouraging, and was up front in letting me know how to contact her in the future if I needed her during the school day. She asked questions about her son’s homework for my class and how she can guide him, and she told me she’s coming to Open House tomorrow night.
There’s something really special about making positive contact with parents. So many times teachers are bogged down with grading (…speaking from the most personal of experiences right now) or planning or even negative classroom behavior that we forget how great it is to let parents know that their kids are fanfreakintastic.
Here’s to you, busy teacher — I know you’ve got a million things on your plate, but why don’t you give a kid’s family a call and let them know something wonderful about their child?
Note: This act is guaranteed to make you smile.