Calling Your Students’ Parents – A Uniquely Powerful Teaching Strategy.

Well, well, well, it seems that some of my fellow educators need a reminder of why it’s important to pick up the phone and have a good old-fashioned chat with a student’s parents. I mean, sure, sending an email or a message on an app might seem like the easier option, but sometimes you can’t beat a good old-fashioned phone call.

Calling parents is difficult.

Firstly, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the fact that many of us are reluctant to pick up the phone because we’re afraid of what parents might say. Maybe we’re worried that we’ll be accused of not doing our job properly, or that the parents will have unrealistic expectations of what happens in the classroom and what we can achieve. I’ve had parents complain to me that I WASN’T hitting their child when he misbehaved! But here’s the thing – you’ll never know until you try. And even if the conversation is difficult, at least you’ll have taken the initiative to reach out and communicate.

I can promise you as well, the first phone call is the hardest. Once you’ve gotten to know the family (and they’ve gotten to know you), phone calls become a lot easier. Not only do you know what to expect, but you’ve built some trust. I cannot recommend enough; call parents BEFORE you have bad news.

Why you need to call your students’ parents anyway.

Relationship building

Now, onto the more practical reasons why you should be calling parents. As teachers, we’re not just there to educate – we’re also there to support and nurture our students. And let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to do that if we have a good relationship with their parents. By picking up the phone and having a chat, you’re showing that you care about their child’s education and well-being. And who knows, you might even learn something about your student that you didn’t know before.

There’s nothing more powerful than getting your students’ parents on board. If your student goes home saying that their teacher was unfair or mean to them, the last thing that you want is for the parent to get upset or agree. Building a relationship with parents will mean that you can get them on side, and problems will not escalate as quickly.

Progress updates

Another reason to call parents is to give them updates on their child’s progress. Sure, you could send an email or wait until report time, but there’s something more personal and meaningful about a phone call. By speaking to the parents directly, you can give them a more nuanced understanding of their child’s strengths and weaknesses, and how they can support them at home. Plus, you’ll be able to answer any questions they might have on the spot, which can save a lot of back-and-forth via email.


Of course, it’s not just about giving updates – it’s also about listening to the parents’ concerns. Maybe they’re worried that their child is struggling with a particular subject, or they’re concerned about their social skills. Your students might also be really struggling with things outside of school that are affecting their learning and you had no idea. By picking up the phone and having a conversation, you can work together to come up with a plan to address these issues. And if there are any misunderstandings or miscommunications, you can clear them up in real-time.

What if parents don’t want to talk to me?

It’s true that some parents might not be interested in having a conversation with you. Maybe they’re busy with work, or they don’t speak English very well, or they just don’t see the value in talking to their child’s teacher. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Even if you leave a message and don’t get a response, at least you’ve made the effort. And who knows, they might surprise you and call you back.

Of course, there are some situations where calling parents is absolutely essential. If a student is struggling academically or behaviorally, it’s important to involve the parents as early as possible. By working together, you can often come up with a plan to support the student and prevent the situation from getting worse. And if there are any serious issues – like bullying or harassment – you have a duty to inform the parents and work with them to resolve the situation. In this case, you need to make sure that you have evidence that you’ve tried to get in contact with the parents. 

So, to summarize – why should you be calling parents? For starters, it’s a great way to build relationships with the families of your students. It’s also a more personal and meaningful way to give updates on their child’s progress, and to listen to their concerns.

Elise is an enthusiastic and passionate Australian teacher who is on a mission to inspire and support fellow educators. With over a decade of experience in the classroom, Elise leverages her expertise and creativity to provide valuable insights and resources through her blog. Whether you're looking for innovative lesson ideas, effective teaching strategies, or just a dose of inspiration, Elise has got you covered.

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