Here’s the deal. If you have not had one of these parents yet, they are coming, and 99.9% of them really don’t mean any harm. However, especially as a new teacher, they can be quite intimidating. So, here’s a game plan for communicating with THAT parent, for your sake and theirs.
Start With the Positive
Take a Deep Breath
Pick Up the Phone
Keep the Line of Communication Open
Invite a Third Party
This one is particularly important if there is any tension between you and the parent. Tension is never good and can lead to some very uncomfortable conversations, but it is still important to have them. Make sure that you are covered though by inviting a third party such as the school counselor, administrator, or another teacher that works with the student. Ideally, it would be someone that the parent also knows, because you don’t want it to feel like an ambush.
This is also VITAL if the parent has been accusatory or threatening in any way. It is crucial to have someone else in the room as a witness for both of you.
Stay On Topic
Above all else, remember that you can do this! Parents can be difficult from time to time, but always keep reminding yourself that they are fighting for their child, the same child that is in your class that you are fighting for too!
One of the best resources that I have used has been this book (affiliate link) Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People. It is a list of great phrases that help you to remain assertive without trailing into passive aggression.
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