Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Answer a Phone #SOLC15 - 3/25

Today's teachable brought to you by cell phones, and inexperience.

Each year, I find that I have to teach phone manners.  It is becoming more and more common that students have never answered a phone other than their own cell phone, and at that, they only answer to their parents.  Everyone else texts.  I think it's still relevant and important to have phone manners, though.  So every year, I teach the following.

Things we do:
1. pick up the phone and in a cheerful, clear voice, say, "Coach Wright's room, student speaking"

2. listen carefully to the caller and try to help them.

3. say THANK YOU! when someone calls.  Yes, even if they are calling for someone to go to ISS, even if someone is in trouble, no matter the news, thank them for delivering it to us.

4. try not to stare at the person who was called for and make vague comments like "uh huh", "yeah she's here..."  It makes people uncomfortable.

Things we don't do:
1. pick up the phone and say, "hullo?"

2. watch the phone ring

3. say "yeah" to anyone on my phone.

Today, something I didn't expect happened.  The phone rang, one of my sweetest kids picked it up and said, "This is Ms. Wright's room, Student speaking."  Alright... so far so good...
He turns to look at me and says, "oh yeah, she's here! thank you!" and hangs up the phone.
Curious, I asked him who it was and what they wanted.  Please with himself, he responded, "oh, just the office I think.  Some lady?  She just wanted to know if you were in class today.  I think she thought you had a sub!" (My phone has caller ID, by the way)

About one second later the phone rings again: "Ms. Wright's room, student speaking... uhm yes, you can talk to her..."
holding the phone at arm's length toward me, the same student says, "I guess she thought of something to tell you."

What had happened wuz...  "Some lady" was my principal calling about a technology presentation I am giving.  When she called the first time and asked, "Is Coach Wright there?" She meant, "is she available to talk on the phone?", not, "I can't keep track of my own staff, thanks for the attendance update, good bye!"  Typically, when someone asks if the occupant of the room is in, it means they would like to talk to that person. Or, if you're unsure, you say, "yes she's here, would you like to talk to her?"

Okay, okay, writing this out, it doesn't sound as funny as it was.  I thought it was funny.  I giggled all day about my kid hanging up on the principal because he just thought she was curious about me being at school.  At least he said Thank you!!!


  1. Phone etiquette classes for the young, email etiquette classes for the aged! ;) (WW Erin)

  2. I thought this was quite funny! And now you have an extra step to your phone etiquette lesson!