Tips for the new Teachers on how to Talk to Parents

Families can have a better knowledge of their children as students by attending a parent-teacher conference. A parent-teacher meeting provides a chance for parents and teachers to share their observations on their children. Sharing everyday experiences and observations opens up more opportunities for parents and teachers to plan, prepare, and carry out plans for a child’s improved learning results. We discuss and share a child’s whole personality with the instructor, including his or her conduct, manner, habit, attitude, learning methods, relationship to self and society, and so on. PTM is a point of contact for children’s needs.

On this, Edutopia has published an article by Terri Eichholz, in which she has shared her experiences and views. 

Terri Eichholz has taught elementary school for more than 25 years in San Antonio, Texas. For more than 17 years she has spent 17 years teaching K-5 students. She publishes a blog named engage their minds, which deals with design thinking, promoting a growth mindset, STEM, and technology integration.

Here are some tips for having a successful parent-teacher conference from the article Edutopia by Terri Eichholz, in which she said,

“You don’t have any kids, do you?” a parent said during my first few years of teaching. She was correct: I didn’t have any children at the time. However, I was upset by the idea that my lack of progeny meant that my advice was meaningless. But it was true. It wasn’t my lack of children that rendered my advice ineffective. It was the fact that I had figured out a solution to the problem (her child not turning in schoolwork) that would work in my world, not hers.

I’m not arguing that instructors must be parents to be effective communicators. We must be compassionate. If I had given more attention to what it was like to work three jobs (like I did in college) and attempt to balance everything, I might have offered the single parent entirely different advice on making meaningful time to spend with the people you care about.

I believe I’ve gotten better at interacting with parents over the years as I’ve made more attempts to put myself in their shoes.

Here are the most important things I’ve discovered.

BE PROACTIVE

Don’t sit around waiting for things to develop. Make it a point to communicate regularly and positively so that you have established a relationship before you face a stumbling block. With the technology available today, teachers should be able to inform parents about what’s going on in the classroom at least once a week. Use a variety of communication channels, including social media, email, and the tried-and-true hard-copy newsletter.

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

When parents lash out at you, they are expressing their dissatisfaction with their inability to help their children. Instead of feeling defensive, ask yourself, “What would compel them to say this if they weren’t out to get me?” Consider what someone could say to you to de-escalate the situation and signal an end to it. If the circumstances were reversed, I would keep an open mind. If a parent says, “You’re out to get my child,” try replying, “I’m sorry you believe that.” “Could you just explain to me what occurred to make you feel this way?”

ASK PARENTS FOR ADVICE.

If a student is behaving inappropriately, allow the parent to share what works at home. At times, the parent may not notice this conduct at home, which is an excellent chance to welcome the parent to class. Even if the parent is unable to assist you or attend the classroom, you will strengthen your connection by demonstrating that you respect their opinion.

PARTICIPATE IN THE COMMUNITY

You convey a message when you present at sporting events, festivals, and other community events the message to the children and their parents that you are concerned with the full person, not just the student Families realize that it’s not “we and them,” but “us” to you. Even if students believe that their whole life revolves around them, most parents see that you are sacrificing your spare time to demonstrate support for their children, and they appreciate it.

CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES

If you and a parent disagree, always seek a solution that benefits the student while maintaining your connection with the parent. If you are unable to compromise, consider if your strategy is truly best for the student and whether it is likely to help the situation. As an example, suppose a student never finishes homework. Regardless of whether you call home and punish them for it, you may need to find a new strategy to assist the youngster in practicing skills rather than waste a whole school year attempting to make your point.

WHEN YOU ARE WRONG, ACCEPT IT.

As a teacher and (now) a parent, I can assure you that parents do not lose respect for you when you confess and correct your mistakes. Parents will not punish you for making errors as long as they believe you are genuinely trying to do what is best for their children. What irritates parents is when teachers behave arrogantly and create the idea that we are unable to listen to those who know their children best.

When I initially started teaching, I would feel enraged if a parent questioned my judgment. My reaction now, after over 26 years of experience, is the polar opposite. I mentally reviewed the scenario to see whether I could have handled it better. If this is the case, I immediately apologize to the parent and detail the actions I’ll take to rectify the situation. If not, I make sure the parent understands why I believe it is the best option and that I love their child enough to follow through. To be successful teachers, we do not need to have our children, but we must have empathy, humility, and determination to do what is best for our kids. A little diplomacy may also go a long way.

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