The first call.

19 09 2009

I made my first parent phone call home yesterday.

Some may think that I should have already made phone calls out, but due to the demographics of my school, this was my first because the parent actually spoke English.

I was nervous as all heck when my co-teacher suggested I should make this call. All day Friday, the student stole property from the other students, hit a student during 7th period, and left immediate after we dropped him off after we explicitly told him to stay a minute or two after school so we could talk to his brother (who takes him home).

When my co-teacher saw me clam up and my voice get scratchy, she pushed me to do it and even talked me through it before I called.

Why so nervous? Mostly the unknown mixed with the inexperience. A 21-year-old teacher telling a parent more than twice my age that her son or daughter was terrible? Not knowing that parent’s reaction? Not knowing how I’d respond to an objection?

However, after a 3-minute preparation talk from my co-teacher, I took out my cell phone and made the call. *ringgggggg…. ringggg…. ringggggggggg….* The phone rang 6 times and an answering machine with a 30-second all-Spanish ramble came on. I left a message, telling the student’s mother to call me back as soon as you can. I relaxed and went on with my after-school plans.

Only problem is my after-school plans after a long school week involves drinking with an indeterminable amount of people. This Friday, it was with a group of teachers at my school and, later, with a group of my college friends. If I was about to get called back, my biggest concern was that I would be too… inebriated to detail my accounts of her son’s behavior.

A few hours pass. It was around 7 pm and I was downtown near West 4th St. at a bar called Down the Hatch with my college friends. After an amazingly chill first time out with some of my school’s teachers, I was feeling good when I took the train down to Down the Hatch. I wasn’t drunk or even buzzed at this point, but my hand was hovering around my cell phone throughout. At around 7 pm, the return call started to vibrate my cell phone.

I rushed outside with my cell phone in hand, trying to keep composure and not get nervous. Maybe the two beers and the Vodka and Tonic helped ease my nerves, but I was able to pick up the phone and give my student’s mother a 45-second explanation on her son’s behavior. I was slightly breathless in my tone of voice, but I was able to explain everything outside a bar surrounded by four smokers and countless passerbyers with my mind slightly focused on the near-end of Happy Hour at 8 pm.

She thanked me and told me her son was right next to her. I told her to talk to him to make sure he’s on better behavior for Monday. She said she would and we said our goodbyes.

My first phone call with a parent lasted almost a minute.

Normally, this would be the part of the post where I start talking about how silly I was for being nervous, but I think I will always be nervous. When I make my next phone call though, I hope I ease up on the nerves somewhat and take my co-teacher’s key piece of advice when dealing with parents…

Parents normally don’t want to be on the phone longer than you want to be.





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