Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I'm back with 3 tips to working with....PARENTS!

Hey everyone!

Ok so, PARENTS!!! Do parents tend to freak you out? I know that on Meet the Teacher I'm already assessing, watching, and analyzing ever parent interaction with their kid and other families. Their interactions with their own kiddos can SPEAK VOLUMES!!! Now, if you are in any grade other than Kinder (sorry guys) you have resources to ask about kids and parents...the previous teacher, right? If you're not using that person as a valuable asset, you should. So, here a few tips to ensure that you can and WILL have great relationships with parents.

1. Make them FEEL part of the team.
    Parents want to be heard. They give us their best everyday and they have a right to have a say in their child's education whether it is right or wrong, brilliant or stupid. Even if you don't do what they recommend, if they feel heard, they most likely won't get their panties in a wad about something later. So, hear them out.

2. Know something non-academic about their kiddo.
   Something. Anything. Show them that you are invested in their kid and their life outside of school. That doesn't mean you have to go to every baseball game or dance recital (although showing your face from time to time doesn't hurt). But the fact that you know that their child plays second base for the whatever team, will tell them that you actually listen to their kiddo. This is huge for parents who have a child has an IEP. A lot of those kiddos might NEVER be in your room. So? We need to be treating those families the EXACT same as we do others! They don't fit in anywhere a lot of the time and we need to make them feel part of something. They are so alone in their diagnosis that if you walk into that IEP/ARD meeting and have a funny or surprising story about their kid or know their favorite TV show or color, that mom and dad will melt. They might still be difficult, but they are going to go easier on you because you clearly took the time to get to know their child.

3. Send random happy emails to ALL parents at some point in the year.
Ok so you've heard this before, If you talk about the good most of the time, when you do have to bring up the not-so-good stuff, it will go over easier. So, one thing I am doing this year once I get my class list is write a student name in my #erincondrenplanner at the beginning of the week for the entire year. I will repeat my list probably once. Whatever name is tied to that week, those parents, both parents, will get an email talking about how much I love their kid and tell them good things they are doing in class. Now, my harder kids will get emails first so that they get one in the first month or 6 weeks  during the 'honeymoon' period and then again after Christmas when things get harder. If you can tell them great things, they will listen when you have to tell them hard things.

Ok so those are my tips for working well WITH parents. We are all in it for the kids. Even if their mom is Maleficent and dad is the Green Goblin, their kid is their kid and they want what's best for them. So as we're all starting to turn our brains back towards school, keep these things in mind.

What good tips to you have? I'd love to hear them and add them to my list!!! I'll see you next week with tips on having a collaborative relationship between special ed and general ed!



  1. This is so spot on! It is really important to connect with parents, especially with the parents that are not so easy to deal with and their kids that aren't the best behaved in our classes, to share good news or positive notes.

    Teaching Special Kids

    1. Thank you!!! You'll love my upcoming two part post about how as a gen ed teacher we can understand SPED teachers and how SPED teachers can understand gen ed teachers! Thanks for your comment!