Speaking of Parents

from "Get Better":

Parents want to make sure their child is getting a fair shake. Kids are mischievous and lie to their parents, didn’t you? I know I did. Some parents jump at any opportunity for drama.

Request conferences and be impeccable with your words.

Let me give you a very effective example:

Parent: “My child says that you play ‘favorites’ and thinks you don’t like them.”

Teacher: “I’m very sorry to hear that. Let’s discuss the qualities I look for in a ‘favorite’ so your child becomes one.”

This is productive conversation. It shows what the child can do to fix their situation.

Your role as a figure in the life of these parents is as their child’s teacher. Thats it. You need specific boundaries to let everyone know of these specifics. Most parents will understand that.

Look for ways to include parent involvement in your program. If you go on field trips you will need chaperones. If you’re doing a musical you can have moms help with costumes. Dads love to make scenery. Organizing Fundraisers are a great way for parents to feel that they are contributing. Helping the program means they are helping their child too. This way of contributing lets them be around their child more, which is what most parents want.

Remind them that you appreciate them and their enthusiasm. They are a person with feelings and goals too. Everything about the way you treat the students applies to the parents. They are more rational than their children, for the most part.

Here is a list to use as part of your syllabus/parent handbook:

My Child’s Director…

  • is thankful to have my child involved. 
  • is knowledgeable, experienced and knows more about this activity than I do.
  • is helping my child to reach their fullest potential.
  • is interested in direct communication because gossip is counterproductive.
  • is passionate about the success of this program.
  • is a human being with feelings, fears and goals.
  • is aware that speaking poorly of his/her choices means I’m scared of something.
  • is able to communicate in a way that is productive.
  • is thankful for multiple perspectives as they continue to grow as an educator.
  • is responsible for recognizing the best ideas that help the program.