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Teacher Voice

My Son's Teacher Took the Time to Call

Last night, I received an awesome phone call. My son’s fifth-grade teacher called just to let us know that he’s doing great in her class. She listed a few specifics as to what he’s doing well. I thanked her more than once for the call before we said goodbye. I think the whole thing lasted about 90 seconds. His eyes lit up when he realized who was on the phone. Just like adults, children love to be acknowledged and feel appreciated, especially by their teachers. And a phone call home? Well, that’s huge. Especially when it’s to report something good. These quick positive calls are far too rare yet so impactful. They are tone setters, especially when they come early in the year because they help to build good teacher-parent relationships. I’m less likely as a parent to be defensive or make excuses if/when the bad call comes because I already know she likes and appreciates my kid. A positive call helps create happiness at home. As soon as Dad walks in, we have something really cool and unique to tell him. If Grammy calls, we tell her, too. Homework goes more smoothly, particularly for the teacher who took the time to phone. And the call provides me with a great go-to line if my kid is whining and stalling about getting his work done: “Ms. Brown took the time to call and let us know how well you’re doing in her class and how much she appreciates having you as a student. The least you can do is bang out this homework without being a pain about it. You don’t want her to think she made a mistake by making that call. You don’t want me to think that.” For all I know, she called all of her students’ parents last night to say something positive. And if that’s the case, I think it’s wonderful. She is establishing a line of communication, setting the tone and building up her students’ confidence. All of that matters to parents and kids. So, thank you, Ms. Brown (and all the other Ms. Browns out there), who take the time to pick up the phone and let us parents know that you’re glad to have our child in class. It may seem like a small thing to you but to us moms and dads, and our kids it means the world.  
Erika Sanzi is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. She blogs at School Matters.
Erika Sanzi
Erika Sanzi is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. She has served on her local school board in Cumberland, Rhode Island, advocated for fair school funding at the state level, and worked on campaigns of candidates she considers to be champions for kids and true supporters of great schools. She is currently a Fordham senior visiting ...

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