Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Phone Call

Several years ago, duinrg inservice, we had a presentation from Phylis Frye, our WCS Director of Admissions, about the importance of staying in touch with parents. She's right and I could use some improvement. Sometimes, I manage to get it right. This is from February 16, 2006.

I do not like calling people I don't know. Part of being a teacher is communicating with parents but I hate picking up the phone. Usually when a school calls home, there is a problem. Westbury Christian encourages us to make parents aware when children succeed, not simply when there is a problem. I tell students that I will write their folks a note anytime they have had success to brag on them. I prefer notes to phone calls. (Refer to my first sentence.) Many students at WCS come to us in ninth and tenth grades from public school backgrounds. In Houston, all public schools are big. I always attended public school but it was small and times were different. Our new students face culture shock. Most are accustomed to a much larger student body. They are NOT used to Bible classes and chapel. Our students wear uniforms, a change for some, and our rules are strict. Every student must pass an entrance exam to enroll but many new kids have academic struggles. One student in my 10th grade class came last August. He is a nice young man but like many others, had adjustments to make. Recently, he has put forth excellent effort. His grades have improved, his attentiveness is better, and he is arriving earlier to Room 258 instead of sprinting to avoid a tardy. After class on Monday, I told him I'd write a note to send home, praising his improvement- all he had to do was let me know how to address it. I forgot- he didn't. After Tuesday's bell, he wrote down his mother's cell number for me. I asked if he wouldn't prefer a note. He wanted the call. As soon as school ended, I rang his mother, a lady I have yet to meet. I introduced myself as her son's Bible instructor. Instantly, I detected wariness. Parents brace themselves for bad news when they hear from school. For several minutes, I bragged on her son, giving instances where he is demonstrating improved maturity. I will never forget the first two words she uttered: "PRAISE GOD!" She went on to tell me she had corrected him very sternly the day before and now she felt bad about it. My reply, based on myself as a sixteen year old, was that boys need constant discipline and I was sure it was good for him. We talked a little more and she thanked me profusely. When I hung up, I glowed. Sometimes I have to be prodded to do right but I end up feeling better than the person I tried to help. This was one of those moments.

I have never met a parent who objected to others bragging on their child. In fact, every time I have sat down, picked up the phone, and praised someone's child, the response has been similar to that of the lady I just mentioned. It isn't hard to brag on someone else and we all need it. Isn't it interesting that at both the baptism and transfiguration of Jesus, God spoke from heaven? And what did he say? "This is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased." The Father in Heaven gave his Son a public pat on the back. I would have sent a note; God spoke his shoutout! Could there be a better or more appropriate example for me as a teacher? If Jesus needed it , Johnny or Susie could use a dose as well. The combination that can unlock the combination to many kids' hearts is only ten digits long. It's called a phone number.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same- and most mothers kiss and scold together."

Pearl S. Buck

God bless,
Luke 18:1

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Jon said...


JKC said...

You truly have touched a lot of kids' lives over your years of teaching. I know you certainly had a great influence on the lives of my children. Thank you for caring.

Keep up the good work!

lioneagle said...

Hi -

I loved this piece. It was a pleasure to know that there was a triple blessing - the son, his mother and you!

I say as she did, "Praise the Lord!"

Thank you for caring and for allowing your light in our Lord to burn...for His awesome glory!