How (NOT) To Win With Parents

Megan Dredge-How To Win With Parents

I’ve been teaching a long time and I’ve always tried my best to get along with the parents of my students.

Now that I’m a parent myself, I appreciate teachers who do the same with me.

As my daughter approached her first birthday I started taking her to a weekly gross-motor dancing and singing class. We (the mums and their kids) would sing songs, play little games, and help our children learn to roll and kick and climb and throw. It was lots of fun.

Until, I had a CONFRONTATION with my daughter’s teacher.

Zarriah’s teacher inappropriately confronted me in front of the entire group of parents and children. When the teacher finished speaking, as you can imagine there was incredible tension in the air. Everyone went completely silent and every person in that room stared at me.

In that split-second moment I had two conflicting responses: one was to loudly and confidently respond to the teacher at how rude she was being, and the other was to remind myself that many teachers simply do not know how to speak to the parents of their students.

The response I chose was strong and I stood my ground. I said (in front of everyone) that I would be happy to discuss the (non) issue further at the end of the class.

This situation made me ask myself: why did I get SO frustrated at this teacher?

And I have been able to answer this question. Here’s why:

My daughter’s teacher treated me like a student.

The lesson learned is: Don’t patronize parents, respect them.

Wow, what an awesome reminder for me to continue to speak to parents as adults and to authentically respect them.

This week’s assignment:

Parents are real people too.
Don’t treat them like one of your students.
Don’t patronize them.
Respect them.
And be authentic about it.

Enjoy the journey,

And more importantly,

Enjoy the moments.

🙂

Megan

P.S. In my Online Professional Development program for teachers I have an entire module about Winning With Parents. You can watch the beginning of the first video here.

P.P.S. Australian teachers, remember that you must complete 20 hours of documented professional development every year – this Online PD program is a great way to do it in your own space, at your own pace, in your own time. Check it out here.

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