10 Tips for Teachers When Working with Parents
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There are times when you will need to talk to parents about your academic concerns regarding their child. It's important to understand how to approach and work with parents so that you can ensure a successful outcome for all involved.
When speaking to parents, teachers must realize that they are talking about a parent's pride and joy. Do not attack their child. Instead, communicate politely about the areas of concern. At the same time, focus on the child's positive attributes so that it does not seem like you are talking down on the child, but instead addressing concerns while giving positive feedback. Teachers need to work with parents as a team. It should not be one-sided. By working together, both sides can do their part in helping the child, and come up with ideas, strategies, and plans to implement in hopes of narrowing the concerns, and enabling an environment where the child can reach their full potential.If you are a teacher, then you must have noticed how parents can be at times. They get really frustrating, and there's no doubt that you may end up losing your temper. However, every teacher must know the ethics of working with parents. Most parents develop a certain level of animosity towards a teacher because of the way she acts with them. You wouldn't want that because you both should be working for the sake of your students. Therefore it is important that a teacher knows the 'how tos' of working with parents to avoid complications.
Here are some tips for teachers to help them work with parents:
Be polite and patient
Some parents can't tolerate criticism on their kids. Thus you may see them defending their kid in front you. Though it is a wrongful practice on a parent's side, you can't really stop it. What should you do then? You need to develop expressing your concerns without ruffling parents' feathers. It is true that some children are extremely problematic, and with such parents, the problem gets worse. Yet you need to remain patient and polite while working with parents.
Focus on the positive attributes of their child
Even the mildest of parents won't appreciate you complaining constantly about their kids. Some tips for teachers indicate that it is best to refer to some of their child's good qualities and appreciate those. However, make sure to inform parents in an encouraging tone about the areas the child needs to work on.
Never talk in front of the child
It is not good to talk about the kid in front of him. Whether it's about his virtues or vice, you shouldn't do it! Appreciating the kid in front of his parents would make him pompous. On the other hand, complaining about him can discourage him.
Make sure parents know you have the situation under control At times, parents will visit you everyday to ask you about their kid. This type of parents will also keep on interfering and trying to guide you to do your work 'better'. Don't let this happen! Try to convince them that you can handle the kid but need your space to do that. Also avoid discussing your lesson plans with parents as they might have their suggestions or recommendations. You are the authority in your classroom, thus your lesson plans are based on what you think would benefit students.
Maintain secrecy to the child of your meetings with parents
Sometimes parents ask their kids about the teachers while the latter are right there. This gives some children the chance to come up with a number of complaints. Don't let this embarrassing predicament happen as it will demotivate you to work with the child. You are only human, so your emotions may rule your judgment at times. Ask parents gently yet firmly to meet you without their children present.
Keep performance or teacher worksheets close by
Performance or teacher worksheets are all the proof you would need to show a child's performance. Keep them close so that you can discuss your students' problem when meeting their parents. Without teacher worksheets, you might be thinking of what to discuss without creating complications.
At times, a child faces trouble in concentrating on studies due to certain family problems. Parents would not appreciate you trying to guide them, but you should point out that your student is being affected by his parents' personal issues.
Keep weekly meetings
Even if parents are coming to school everyday, avoid discussing things with them. Do that on a weekly basis or call them up whenever necessary.
Listen first, talk later
A very important tip that is very useful in this case. Never burst in front of parents. Instead, find out what complains they have and counter them. Once you're done, you can point out what had not been discussed before.
Last but not the least, always keep a motivating attitude. Parents like a teacher who can offer them a glimmer of hope when it comes to their child's weaknesses instead of demoralizing them.