The relationship between teachers and the parents of their students can be a tricky one. Both supposedly want what is best for the student, but both sometimes have very different opinions about what the best thing is.
Here are some tips when it comes to dealing with parents (for all teachers, but new ones especially):
(1) Think of parents as partners in achieving a common goal, not as the enemy. Hopefully you are both on the same side of the fight.
(2) Don't let parents boss you around. A parent is not your boss. They have no power to tell you to do anything. They should be able to ask whatever they want, but don't let them try to own you.
(3) Don't fear parents. Some parents will try to intimidate you into giving them their way. Stand your ground if you think you are right about something.
(4) Answer parent calls/emails as soon as absolutely possible. You are not doing this out of fear, but out of respect for them. They deserve to know what is going on with their child.
(5) Keep your cool. Parents will go absolutely bonkers sometimes. The best approach to dealing with a crazy acting person is to stay as unemotional as possible. Either that or leave.
(6) Try to get an administration or another teacher in the room with you if you are going to be meeting face to face. I was very glad that I did this with a crazy parent early in my teaching career. For one, the parent was ready to fight me. Two, if there are no witnesses then it is your word against theirs if anything strange happens.
Teaching is hard enough to do without having to struggle with crazy parents. Follow these tips and hopefully they won't be able to get to you too much. Also, if you work for an administration that supports parents over teachers, be ready to make a decision about where you stand on certain issues. Some things are worth fighting over more than others.
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