Dealing with Parents

As part of my readings about Parent Voice I just finished a book by Elaine K. McEwan on How to Deal with Parents….  The book is a mix of understanding parent needs (with sources) and how-to’s for school administrators in creating a healthy school environment by working effectively with parents.  Here’s her list of what parents want:

  • Instructional leadership
  • Effective teachers for their children
  • Student achievement
  • Communications
  • Safety and discipline
  • Involvement 
Anything you would add or subtract from this list?
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5 Responses

  1. This is an interesting list, and definitely food for thought. While I am new to this gig, I think parents expect/need more. Some expect childcare in the form of extra-curricular activities and before and after school programs. I think some parents rely on school provided programs like these because can’t or want to avoid paying for babysitting/athletics/activities.

    Don’t get the wrong impression, I think the idea of the school as a central community hub for these services is a good idea. I wonder if it is fair to add these expectations to the overburdened schedule of teachers?

  2. Although this may be classified under “involvement”, as a teacher in a community school, I have always found that a school that reflects community culture through planned activities, displays and sensitivity to the community culture (teacher awareness) has contributed to understanding parent needs.
    So, I guess the key “tag” would be cultural awareness.

  3. Hi. I am special education teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland. I teach children in grades kindergarten through 5th who have autism. Dealing with parents has definitely been one of the most challenging aspects of teaching.

    I have not read McEwan’s book yet, but it is now on Amazon wishlist. Her list seems like a good summary of the common wants that we as educators hear from parents.

    Like Kyle hinted at in his response, the expectations that parents have of educators and needs that they look to schools to satisfy can at times be unrealistic. This can be particularly challenging for teachers.

    You have to remember, however, that parents are an important part of the child’s educational team and you want to do your best to find a middle ground when dealing with those parents who present as challenging.

    One technique that I have found effective in maintaining positive and professional relationships with parents is always take the time to look at the concerns at hand from the parents’ perspective. If you were the parent, how would you react to what you are planning to present to the parent?

    Keep up the great blog posts!

  4. […] and Education Read an interesting post today titled Dealing with Parents  My own week as educator and parent has been insightful. My youngest son was preparing for a Grade […]

  5. Let me say first how happy I am to see discussions around parents and schools and students. I agree with Jeremy. Building effective working relationship with parents is essential in supporting the different needs of children. The “them” and “us” approach does very little to build partnerships. Language is the basis on which we build communications. I would like to suggest looking at the way we use language in this discussion. Using the term “working” with parents rather than “dealing” with parents would be the first step in creating a partnership. The choice of one word makes such a difference to the beginning of a relationship. In the parent involvement program “Student Learning a Parent Focus developed by the Niagara Catholic Regional SChool Council, a group of parents and educators produced a great document. Teacher checklist for Communication with Parents See the rest of the program at http://www.ourschool.ca/NiagaraCatholic Great blog. Looking for more good things

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