One would think being a teacher was just about teaching. However, as a teacher, you have to don more roles than are strictly described in your job description. You are in a unique position of being the bridge between a student’s performance in school and his or her parents. But how do you approach the rather sensitive issue of communicating a child’s shortcomings to his or her parents?
Parents generally don’t like it if teachers tell them that their child has a problem or a difficulty in school. Sometimes, parents have adverse reactions ranging from outright denial (even when they can see the problem) to blaming the peers, teachers, school, relatives, husband if you’re talking to the mother, wife if you’re talking to the father…they will blame anyone but refuse to listen to what you are saying.
How do you handle such situations; because handle them you must?
You have to remember that the adverse reactions come out because the parents are scared. There is enough literature out there that almost everyone knows and fears words like ‘learning difficulty,’ ‘anger management,’ ‘hyperactivity,’ etc. When you tell the parent that there might be a problem, you have just turned their nightmare into a reality. Can you blame them for getting angry or blaming others?
The best approach is to be gentle but firm. Give them room to panic. It is not easy to accept that your child is having problems in school. When you want to approach the problem, first talk about the many fine qualities that the child has; it will help. Have a plan of action ready so that the parents know you have done your homework. Keep your stance like you are having a conversation and not attacking them. And most importantly, communicate that you only have the child’s best interest at heart.
Work with the parents instead of antagonizing them. After all, none of this is about you or them. It is about the child and his or her future.