Tuesday, September 17, 2013

10 Rules for Keeping Parents Happy

My own kids soar because of the
fantastic teachers they have had!

1. Take care of their kids.  Make sure they know that their children are your top priority while you are at school.  And mean it.  They should be.

2. Keep in touch with them.  Sending out a weekly email to keep parents updated on the goings-on of your classroom shouldn't be an extra chore: it's just what you do.  It's your job.  Parents deserve to know.

3. Answer their emails.  Pronto.  Even if you can only say, "I'm busy at the moment, but I'll get back to you as soon as I am able," is polite, professional and puts you in their good books.

4. Be a partner with them and respect their choices.  With the child in the middle of the huddle, you're a team.  Make sure they know it.  Make sure their child knows it.

5. Adopt an open-door policy.  I let my parents know that I am always happy to see them, provided we set up a time in advance.  The more open you are to discussion, the less likely they are to come knocking down your door later.

6. Build your relationships now and nurture them throughout the year.  I know many excellent teachers, but they don't build the parent/teacher bond that is essential to giving your students their best year possible, and that actually, in the long run, makes your life easier.  Building trust with parents should be one of your top priorities.

7. Be sure to let parents know when their children do something commendable, even if it's just in a two sentence email.  They appreciate it and so do their kids.

8. Don't try to come off as a know-it-all, but as a partner with them in their child's learning.  Ask parents for their advice on how to best help their child.  Their insights could make YOUR year a lot easier, and will help you differentiate more effectively for each child's individual needs.

9. Be warm and positive.  Always start your conversations with a smile, a confident handshake and a positive comment about their child.  Sure, you may have to bring up some hard-to-handle issues, but there is ALWAYS something good to say.  That's what you lead off with and that's what you end with.  Always.

10. Don't try to hide things from parents.  If something "goes down," let them know.  If you need to apologise, do so.  If you messed up, own up.  Parents respect teachers who aren't perfect: more than anything, they want teachers who care.

And we do, right?  Why else would we be in this medium-paying gig if we didn't care as much as we do?

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