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MYTH BUSTED: Parents Don't Answer the Phone

Once upon a time, I tweeted something that upset our CEO...

It was this morning. That happened this morning, actually. I just need to make it seem further in the past because of the emotional turmoil I experienced the moment he pointed it out.

My Social Media Nightmare

When our founder and CEO Russ brought my attention to the offending tweet I immediately felt my face flush and my stomach turn as I examined it for inappropriate language or maybe an accidental picture attachment? What in the world did I write?! 

[See Also: Teacher Uses Picture Messaging for Classroom Behavior Improvement]

Nope. No sailor-talk or weird pictures. Just a joke. A really benign joke even. Nothing offensive. It was a joke about people not answering their phones anymore. My tweet was along the lines of "No one answers the phone anymore. Use SchoolStatus to text parents!" You get it. I mean, I’m SURE you’ve seen memes about this kind of thing:

Nice try Private Caller, But I dont even answer the phone for people I know.

Soooo...why was that so bad? You may even be thinking the same thing–"I never answer my phone". 

Well, Russ' point is that most parents want to talk on the phone. Yes, really. 

Parents Want you to Call Them

How does he know that? We’ve connected parents and teachers for hundreds of thousands of minutes so far this month. We’ll do well over a million minutes of JUST phone call time this year. (Don’t get me started on text messages... those stats will blow your mind).

It is true that over the past decade we’ve all become less and less reliant on phone calls for information. And parents are still going to screen phone calls from numbers they don't know yet. But what that tweet was missing was the reality that parents do want to connect with teachers- it’s just that making those connections has historically been quite difficult. In many districts, it’s not easy at all. But connections are happening. Often, in fact.

[See Also: Tips for Making Positive Phone Calls to Parents]

Meaningful communication is enhanced by hearing each other’s voices.

Joking about how no one wants to talk on the phone ignores the efforts of dedicated educators who reach out to parents and actually make a connection that isn’t just about getting a permission slip signed or sending picture money.

It also fails to acknowledge the appreciation parents feel when they receive a phone call from a teacher- an invitation to the table, so to speak. It’s true that texts are invaluable, but they’ll never replace the connection of speech. 

Think about what a parent might need or want to hearWhen it comes to student success, studies show time after time that relationships are more important than anything. And you know what? The best educators already know that.

Teachers call parents in their free time not because they just love chatting on the phone or because they just have so much time to kill. Teachers, principals, superintendents, and counselors make those calls because they know that parent support matters.

Our goal at SchoolStatus has been to facilitate those relationships - to remove the restrictions that keep parents from really being a part of their kids’ education. Sometimes it’s schedule conflicts, sometimes it’s language barriers, but since our inception, SchoolStatus has evolved to continue to break down those barriers and help educators connect with stakeholders.

As a person who loves sharing our mission with the world, I see how that tweet missed the mark of what we are doing day in and day out at SchoolStatus. We are helping relationships grow with student success as the goal. And it's working. 

Getting people to answer the phone the first time you call may always be a challenge, but really connecting with a live human on the other end of the line? We’re just getting started.

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