Complete development of a child is possible only when teachers and parents work as a team. However, now and then, even a good teacher will find some parents giving you a difficult time. It could be because they have a personality diagonally opposite to yours or because they are difficult. Anyway, we as teachers are expected to deal with them pleasantly. After all, we are a team! We cannot afford to ruin this parent-teacher relationship because of a few misunderstandings or miscommunications. If you are in the same boat as many other good teachers, with regards to this issue, here are our 5 tips for you to deal with difficult parents.
- The Power of Positivity – It may sound cliche if I told you to ‘be positive’ But, you will experience the power of being positive when you apply it to your communication with your student’s parents. Start your conversation with a positive remark about the kid. If this is a parent with punctuality issues, talk about the positive attributes you have noticed in the class. If he is someone who is struggling to finish his assignments, talk about how he is trying to help others.
You can maintain a diary of your observations and use them as starting points for parental involvement. Evernote, Microsoft Note, or flex are some apps that you can use to make quick notes anytime. This way, the parent will know that you have a keen eye on their child and will appreciate your help. Further, the parent will not feel that you are there just to complain about the child.
- Set your expectations from the beginning – Some parents will not respect your time or privacy. They would drop a mail or ping you at times inconvenient to you and would expect you to reply instantly. They think that a teacher’s teaching must be accessible all the time.
For such types of parents, it is always better to set your boundary from the very beginning for teachers to parents and parents to teacher communication. Communicate your available timing to them in your very first mail or meeting. Further, let them know that they can expect your reply only during work hours. This will keep you sane by having some thinking time to reply to difficult emails.
- Always, have proof of your communication – Once you realize that a parent is a difficult one, never communicate unofficially. Have the teacher and parents communicate with them officially over email or some messaging app only. If you have to talk with them, don’t talk to them one-on-one. If that is not possible, try recording your meeting. One of the better ways to do so is by communicating through your app. You can connect with Classplus to get your app for your school or coaching center. This will help you with your documentation.
Have someone with you during the conversation. Having proof of all your communication will help you save from any nuisance or trouble, the parent may put you into. However, keep in mind that when you are using technology to keep a proof goes both ways. Be extremely careful and clear about what you are communicating with them.
- Be open-minded – Having an open mind, will let you listen to the parent with empathy. As a teacher, you have a distinct way of doing things. But, remember each child is unique. Sometimes your way of teaching, assessing, or class management is not best suited for a particular child.
The parent involvement will help you understand the child better and maybe with a little adjustment, you can help the child better. This will also help you grow as a teacher. Further, who knows, maybe you will discover some new tips which ultimately will help you erase some gray areas of your teaching.
- Letting go – Sometimes, we may try everything that comes into our mind but it’s still impossible to please or reconcile with a parent. Some parents are difficult. No matter what you do, they will have complaints about you. They make you doubt your teacher’s education.
In such cases, it is better to let go for the sake of your peace of mind. You cannot change people. However, it is in your hands to be polite and modest. You can thus influence them by showing them how to be kind and considerate. Beyond that, it’s best not to let their behavior or words affect you.
The Final Word
Learning how to deal with difficult parents is something that teachers learn on duty. No teacher education or training textbooks can help you do so. If it is of help, know that all teachers come across such parents during their teaching life. And, everyone has their way of dealing with such situations. Talk to your fellow teachers to understand their tips as well. With a little help and a little wisdom, you can forge a very good parent-teacher relationship with your student’s parents. After all, your goals are common.