Working with Parents
It happens every day. Something goes wrong at school. A student goes home and tells his parents. The parents call their favorite school board member. The school board member calls the superintendent. The superintendent calls the principal. At last, someone tells the teacher. Now the teacher must look for help.
Too many teachers have had the unsettling experience of entering the principal’s office knowing that waiting there is an angry parent ready to “rake them over the coals.” Compounding the problem, teachers have also found very little support from the principal for the teacher’s position.
What can you do and how should you act if this happens to you? Can you just leave the conference if it is not going well? What can you do to ensure that this will not happen to you? These are some of the questions we hope to answer in this section.
Years ago teachers found parents supportive. If the parent was not, the administration could be counted on for help. Those days seem to have gone the way of the poodle skirt and the twist. Now teachers are not surprised to see building principals who sit and let parents question, yell, and even threaten them. In some cases, the principal even joins in the cross-examination of the teacher. Going to the principal’s office can be more frightening for the teacher than for the student in some cases. Matters can get even worse if the complaint moves on to the superintendent or to the school board.