Parent Call Role Play

Apr 21, 2014 | by Janice Smith


We’ve been interviewing like crazy over the past two months, attempting to demonstrate some of those ‘harder to capture on film’ skills, mindsets and techniques that are contributing to extraordinary student outcomes.

Here we asked Ms. Stukes to role play a phone call she might make to a student’s parent.  Luckily she was a great sport, and immediately picked up her hand phone and gave it a whirl. We think clips like these are incredible for teachers working on building stronger relationships with families.  Paying attention to the small details here, you can pull a lot from 1) the questions she asks the parent, 2) her humility in approaching the conversation and 3) the words she uses to describe student behavior and work, and how she is approaching finding a solution.

Why We Love It So Much… (Make sure you watch it first!  Then take a look at some of the things we noticed.)

  • Asking if they have a quick second to talk.  Small, but important, detail.  Emphasizes that you value their time before assuming that the best time for you is the best time for them.
  • The fact that she’s contacting the parents early, before there are any significant problems. Highlighting this to the parent lets them know you are paying attention, that you care, and that you want to step in to help before it’s too late.
  • “And I want to make sure I can help get her back on the right track.”  This sends the message ‘we’re on the same team’.  You notice a behavior that is impacting their success, and your goal is to figure out a solution that benefits their child.
  • Asking for other strategies from the parent.  We often forget (or ignore) that parents are the experts on their child.  While none of us has all the answers, and are facing new challenges each day, they have faced plenty of challenges with their child in the past and have probably learned a thing or two.  Approaching parents as the experts, and a resource in helping you do your job better, is not only going to provide you with additional insight, but also build a stronger relationship with a parent who is left feeling respected and involved.
  • “Is there anything I might be missing?”  Acknowledging we do not have all the answers is both genuine (we don’t have all the answers!), but also builds a feeling of teamwork between you and the parents.  We’re all in this together!



Make a parent phone call.  Tonight.  See how many of these you can implement, and reflect on how it may have impacted the outcome of the call.  Share with others here!  Would love to hear how they go.

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