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Working with unhappy parents

MONDAY, AUGUST 17, 2015 13:47 PM

At some point during your career as an educator you're going to have to face a disgruntled parent. These encounters must be handled delicately because you want to avoid offending a parent and diffuse the situation. Parents of students in every grade, from kindergarten through high school, are going to be highly sensitive to their children's feelings and performance in school. This might mean you have a mother who accuses you of singling out a child or a father who thinks his daughter's assignment deserved a higher grade. In either instance, there are a few documents you should have on hand to make these situations run more smoothly.

Start off right
At the beginning of the school year and after breaks, remind parents of the class expectations. Sending information to the parents will give you a guide to work off of when parents come in with complaints. You can direct them to the sheet and explain how a child is not meeting requirements or acting in a disruptive manner. It is also a good idea to list your contact information on this piece of paper with a note encouraging parents to reach out right away if they have a concern. Addressing issues from the start will stop parents from becoming increasingly frustrated, and listing an email address will make you easy to connect with at all times.

Keep careful records
Calendars are useful tools for teachers because they allow you to be organized and note when certain disruptive events occur. For instance, if a student acted out by yelling or throwing a book, you can jot that information down in your planner, detailing what was said and what action was taken. This way, if a parent wants to have a meeting about a child, you'll have a reminder of what has been occurring in class.

Another useful record system to implement involves assignments. You'll have parents who want to discuss failing papers and guardians who want to know why their child received a B instead of an A. In these instances, having copies of the assignments will be an advantage so you can pull out the duplicate and explain why a student received a specific grade, The Educator's Room notes. You might think this is a lot of extra work, but you can easily store files electronically with a scanner. Also, it's unnecessary to make a copy of every B grade, but you'll notice which parents and students are more focused on a perfect score and be able to adjust your record keeping accordingly.