I decided to read this book because one of the things I am nervous about is dealing with parents. I realize that ninety percent of the time parents will be enjoyable to work with, but for the other ten percent it will not hurt to try and be prepared. The kinds of parents discussed in this book are the minority but most of us will come across some parents that are harder to work with than others.
According to a study done by the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, the stress of dealing with difficult parents is one of the top reasons teachers quit. This is why it is important for teachers to learn parent management skills along with classroom management skills. While there is no one way to learn how to effectively handle difficult parents this book has an array of strategies for handling difficult types of situations. This book talks about nine different types of difficult parents and how to handle them, but for the sake of time I will go over three.
Give example on page on page 32
This is the mom who drives who her child to school when he misses the bus . . . Every day. She brings McDonalds because her child forgot lunch. When her child loses something she replaces it the same day. If her child fails a test, then it must mean the test wasn ’t fair, and if her child talks back to the teacher, the teacher probably deserved it.
When student ’s are in grammar school parents often want to know how their child gets along with his or her peers. In most cases you will work well with the parent but if a parent becomes hostile you should calmly end the meeting and invite the parent to speak with the principal.
How to handle difficult parents
Dealing with Parents <ul><li>Teachers are unprepared to deal with difficult parents </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers need to learn parent management skills </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers can learn how to effectively handle parents </li></ul>
Pinocchio ’s Mother <ul><li>Insists that her child never tells a lie </li></ul><ul><li>Makes teachers want to yell “liar, liar, pants on fire!!” </li></ul><ul><li>Prefers to focus on teachers mistakes instead of child ’s </li></ul>
How to Handle Pinocchio ’s Mom <ul><li>Focus on Specifics (who, what, when, where, how?) </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared. Have your facts ready. </li></ul><ul><li>If it regarding an assignment - know when it was due, and have a grading rubric present </li></ul><ul><li>It is best to have the student present and to directly talk to the student </li></ul><ul><li>Remember you can deliver the message without embarrassing the child, you do not need a full confession </li></ul><ul><li>No Sarcasm!! </li></ul>
The Stealth Zapper <ul><li>The Stealth Zapper gently implies that you (or a colleague) aren ’t up to par. However, these criticisms fly so low under to radar that you may not realize you have been zapped until you stop to think about what was said. </li></ul><ul><li>Are big supporters of the school when it benefits his or her child. </li></ul><ul><li>Often anonymously complain </li></ul><ul><li>Overall goal is to achieve some kind of advantage for her child </li></ul>
When dealing with the Stealth Zapper . . . <ul><li>Deal with them directly, and be polite </li></ul><ul><li>Remain positive or noncommittal when speaking about a fellow teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Do not spend time with this kind of parent unless it is absolutely necessary </li></ul><ul><li>An Example </li></ul><ul><li>S.Z – Miss T was so strict. She had no sense of humor. Not like you, according to my daughter. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher – I ’m glad your daughter enjoys my jokes. I enjoy having her in class. </li></ul>
Helicopter Mom <ul><li>Usually begin in kindergarten </li></ul><ul><li>Hovers constantly, ready to save child from anything </li></ul><ul><li>Invested in every facet of her child ’s school day </li></ul><ul><li>Spends a lot of time at school </li></ul><ul><li>Like to compare their child to others students </li></ul><ul><li>Has a hard time letting her child take responsibility for his or her actions </li></ul>
How to Handle Helicopter Parents <ul><li>Reassure parent that their child is capable, and can compete with other students in the class </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate with parent as often as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Keep information about other students confidential </li></ul><ul><li>Never give this parent your cell or home phone number </li></ul><ul><li>Be grateful that they care about their child ’s success </li></ul>
Parent Teacher Conferences <ul><li>Parents want to be reassured that you really know their child </li></ul><ul><li>Try to be on the “same team” as the parents, everyone is their for the child </li></ul><ul><li>Focus first on the positive </li></ul><ul><li>Let parent ’s vent and do not take it personally </li></ul>
The Bottom Line <ul><li>Remember that every parent wants to know if their child is just another student to you, or whether you really know him or her. Parents want to know if they can count on you to treat their child fairly, even kindly. They hope that you see in their son or daughter all the special things that they do. . . When parents and teachers are partners, it ’s wonderful for the child! </li></ul>
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