Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Parent Phone Calls

One of the things I hate most in life is making phone calls.  I just don't like calling people on the phone...especially with cell phones.  How do I know if I am calling at a good time?  Perhaps the person is driving and our conversation could cause an accident.  Lots of thoughts go through my mind!  :)

Since going into the field of education, I have learned to force myself to make the necessary phone calls.  I may not like it, but I think I do a pretty good job of calming down an angry parent...especially now that I am a school counselor and have been trained to handle sticky situations.

The cartoon above shows how many parents hold the school responsible for the grades that are reported rather than holding the student responsible as in the past.  I would have to agree that we do see this more and more.  Not sure why we see it, but my guess it has to do with parents being so much busier.  Nowadays both parents working is very common and parents just do not have as much time with their kids when they are running them to and from different activities.  Do parents and students really have the time to talk about grades?

This is my 2nd year as a school counselor and yesterday I recieved a very disgruntled parent phone call.  Much like the above cartoon, the dad blamed the school, and me, in particular for not doing everything we could to help his son be successful.  The phone call really upset me because I felt like I stumbled with my words and got a little snarky with the parent.  I just didn't feel good at the end of the conversation and this was the first time in my counseling career that that has happened.

Thank goodness for collaboration!!  I shared the gist of what happened with our other school counselor just so that I could get it off my chest and to see if maybe she would have handled it differently.  She did make some comments that I had not thought to bring up with the parent, but basically she said the parent must have been in a place where he didn't want any help...he just wanted to vent.  Maybe I could have been more empathetic, or said something a little differently...sure.  BUT...more importantly we cannot let negative situations get us down!  He is one parent in our building.  ONE.  I have successfully worked with many many more!  :)

As a solution focused school counselor, I need to think about solutions and moving forward rather than staying stuck on one interaction.

The truth is...this parent really cares about his son!  How thankful I am for that!