THE SECRET TO POSITIVE PARENT INTERACTIONS
It is not a secret that parents are sometimes not the easiest
people to get along with or understand. They come in all shapes
and sizes, all races and cultures. So is there any wonder why
teachers and parents sometimes hit a bump as they together
travel down the proverbial path called education. Everyone
involved in the educational process must be reminded that each
is looking at their concerns from a different vantage point and
although neither is wrong, they are often different.
Teachers know the dynamics of education, educating, child
development and working with children. Parents know the dynamics
of love, compassion, advocating for their child and protection.
Where is the happy median? The happy median lies in educating
There has long been a need for parents to understand how to "do"
school. It's really like the old adage about raising
children...if only they came with an instruction booklet.
Remember parents don't get an instruction booklet on how to
understand the dynamics of educating their children either. They
are often caught up in earning a living or just surviving from
day to day. This is no excuse but remember there are three sides
to every vision; the teacher's side, the parent's side and the
If it is the goal of the teacher and school district to truly
commit to positive interactions then educating parents should be
a primary goal. Educators are serving the public and the public
can be a challenge, but offer your services without a sense of
attitude and remember your best is good enough.
Teachers will never be able to please every parent and parents
will never be able to please every teacher. Both parents and
teachers must begin their communication effort with mutual
respect and an open ear; and follow these tips to develop and
maintain positive parent interactions:
- Before a situation escalates, move quickly to let parents know
of the issue. Make a phone call, email, fax, just get the
information to the parent immediately
- Listen to your parents and don't be quick to judge. The more
you listen, the more you learn. My advice is so eloquently
conveyed in this little poem. "There once was an old owl who
lived in an oak, the more she heard, the less she spoke, the
less she spoke the more she heard, so why not be like that wise
- You must always act in a respectful, responsible and tactful
manner. Anger is not an option.
- Disagreement comes about because of the inability to
communicate clearly and effectively. Say what you mean, don't
beat around the bush.
- Avoid being negative and fault finding. Encourage and motivate
in a good way
- Do not react to anger. Less is more, end the conversation or
take a break and never meet with an angry parent alone
- An aggravated parent who protest your every comment is often
masking another issue and may in fact be frustrated by the issue
or their child's inability to achieve
- Don't throw your hands up in disgust, have problem-solving
strategies ready to present to parents
- Choose your words carefully and refrain from saying the first
thing that comes to mind Organization is the key to addressing
both academic and behavioral concerns. Always have your grade
book, the student's portfolio and any notes taken about
behavioral concerns. If attendance is a problem, have solutions
ready that might remedy the issue. It is import to exhibit
compassion and empathy when talking to parents and know that
this too shall pass.
Parents want the best for their child and they often verbalize
it in the most inappropriate manner; don't take what parents say
personally, know that a lot of what is said is based on emotion
and frustration. Remember at the beginning of the school year
put all your cards on the table and give parents as much
information as possible about your expectations so there will be
few surprises once the school years begins.