An article by Richard James Rogers
Illustrations by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati
It’s parent’s evening and you know that the mother of your ‘problem child’ will be showing up, and she’s not best pleased! Or maybe you’ve been receiving e-mails from a parent who just won’t quit at nitpicking over the ‘little things’. Maybe you’ve had some personal complaints sent to you from a father who’s a bit ‘aggressive’, or maybe ‘complaints’ have been coming in to the school office and you’re finding out about them from your line manager.
First things first: If any of the above scenarios describe your current situation (or a situation you fear you might find yourself in), then please do not fret: help is at hand.
Any experienced teacher will tell you that we all face ‘challenging’ parents (although that word: ‘challenging’, conveys the wrong attitude, as I’ll explain shortly). What fewer teachers will tell you, however, is that the key to fostering good relationships with parents is this golden rule:
Parents are your key customers. Without parents; all parents, you wouldn’t have a job. Make sure that you treat every parent like a valuable customer. Every parent deserves the very best level of service from their child’s teachers. This applies especially to parents who have complaints or who grumble on a regular basis.
Once you have this attitude firmly placed in mind, the rest of what I’m about to share will be easy to apply. I wonder how many teachers reading this will be resistant to adopt this mindset!
The following extracts come from my debut book, The Quick Guide to Classroom Management. In these pages, I write about the technique of ‘detached objectivity’, and how it’s a great problem-solver when dealing with parents who have complaints. I would welcome any comments you have from your own personal experiences (please write in the comments section below), and please feel free to share this blog post with anyone you feel would benefit from it.
Here we go!