OPEN LETTER to schools and educators

Please, when you call up a parent, know the correct name of the person to whom you wish to speak. Do not use this opportunity to pass judgment on the amount of times the person has been married and your inability to keep track of the name changes.

Please identify yourself, the educational establishment you represent, and what subject you teach. If you do not have this information you shouldn’t be allowed to make this phone call.

Please also identify exactly which child you would like to speak to the parent about. “Your son” or “Your daughter” doesn’t help much when you have several in the same school. Again, if you don’t know about which child you are calling don’t make the call. Parents cannot be expected to remember which of their kids is in what grade. Most of the time we can’t even remember their names when they are in front of us.

Please also check your facts before making the call just in case you might be wrong. This can avoid many hassles for YOU such as having to look for a child, that has been exempted from a certain class, because you called the parent to say the child was missing from school. Additionally please remember perhaps there is a good reason. Perhaps one should check with the authority figures at the school whether permission was granted for said child to be absent / present elsewhere at a certain time. Perhaps the parent is aware the child isn’t there. Checking your facts would prevent you having to make a follow up call to said parent to apologize and to assuage their fears and put their mind at ease that the child is indeed present in their scholastic institution and hasn’t been kidnapped by rabid wild dingoes.

Please also remember, when talking to the parents, to have an easy conciliatory tone. Most parents don’t take kindly to accusations and bullying. You need to be on the same page – the best interests of the child. Making character assassinations is not helpful, but it does give the parents plenty of fodder for venting at a later date.

Hanging up the phone after muttering expletives does not endear you to the parent body.

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  1. Lady Lock and Load says:

    Oh boy Hadassah, do you know how many letters I have composed in my mind to some of these teachers and principals? Good for you to put your “pen to paper” and get it out of your system.
    When my youngest graduated high school I practically dance down the isle with her (I wanted to) cause I was finished with this whole parsha. No PTA, no car pool at all hours of the day and night, no more phone calls, no more school buses. AND I DON’T MISS IT!!!
    But as an ex teacher, we are people and we make mistakes. One time a trouble maker in my third grade class asked to go to the bathroom. Thinking that she was going for her shpatzere down the hall, I didn’t let her go. well guess what, she had an accident! I felt soo bad and will remember this and my other mistakes on my poor students who I really did care for.

  2. ilanadavita says:

    I agree with your post except for one sentence “Parents cannot be expected to remember which of their kids is in what grade. “. It isn’t that hard to remember especially for a caring parent like you. :-)

  3. Lion of Zion says:

    is this a generic or hypothetical letter or did this actually happen to you?

  4. sheldan says:

    As someone in education (although I teach at a community college), it goes without saying that both teachers and parents should think before they act in these situations. There are probably plenty of horror stories on both sides. This is not to minimize your situation, but the goal is for the teacher and parents to be allies. (In my case, it would be the students, and the goal is the same.)

    • HSaboMilner says:

      I totally agree, but sometimes it feels as if it’s an “us against them” situation. I am always polite, no matter how rude people are to me. I just wish they would show me the same consideration.

      • sheldan says:

        You and me both…I don’t know what is with some people today…they can do whatever they want but if you start up they will jump down your throat…I hope we don’t get too discouraged and let them dictate changes to us (we’re good enough as we are…).

  5. RivkA says:

    Oh, man, did I laugh while reading this post!!!

    Thanks!!

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