to Handle Telephone Conferences
In the event that a parent is unable to meet
with you in person, you might want to arrange for a telephone
conference. The first thing you should do is send a notice
to the parents explaining the purpose of the phone call.
Include the day, date and time that you plan to call. Also
include a tear-off so that the parent can confirm that he/she
will be available for a conference at that time. Then, make
sure that you call at the appointed time.
Before the phone call:
Create a format you are comfortable using. Include the name
of the student, name of the parents, the date and time of
Make a checklist of prioritized items to
be discussed. Leave space for notes during the conference.
During the phone call:
Be courteous and professional. Follow proper phone etiquette
- do not chew gum or eat while you are on the phone. Be
prepared to listen, as well as talk. Keep to the topic.
Remember that this is a professional conference and that
you are speaking to a parent, not a friend. Do not say anything
you will regret. A rule of thumb is this: if you're not
willing to say it in public then don't say it in private.
As you attend to each item on the checklist
make a notation of the parent's response. Also note any
actions you will take on the matter, as a result of the
Take your cue from the conversation. If it is taking too
long you might want to omit some minor items from your agenda.
These can be handled in a letter. If the tone of the conversation
changes and you feel that you are no longer in control,
then end the conference. Explain that it might be best to
arrange for another conference or, even better, a meeting
at the school.
After the phone call:
Write up the conversation. You do not need a verbatim transcription
but you should have an accurate accounting what transpired.
Include the day, date, time and participants. Also note
any decisions that were made and any outcomes that should
result from the conversation. If you promised to take any
actions, then do so. Make sure you note the conference on
the student's record card. Remember, this conference holds
as much weight as one that takes place in person at school.