How do teachers deal with disappointed parents?

Educational partnership : How do parenting conversations succeed without blame?

Elementary school teacher:I always find it difficult to talk to parents about the social behavior of their children when there were conflicts in school in dealing with other students. Parents often feel attacked and automatically put themselves in front of their children. They know their child very differently, it is not like that at home, they say. In the end, the school is always to blame if there is a conflict. As a teacher, how can I prevent such accusations from occurring?

Klaus Seifried, psychologist: Upbringing in school and, above all, the inclusion of pupils with learning or behavioral difficulties can only succeed if parents and school work together and form an educational partnership:

  • When the teachers respect and appreciate the efforts of the parents - even if many things in the family are not going as the school would like.
  • When the parents support and implement the educational goals and educational measures of the school towards the child.

Unfortunately, discussions with parents often take place in the form of a tribunal: "Your child is constantly involved in conflicts ...", "Your son is always so aggressive and beats other children ...", "The performance is way below the class average ...", "Your daughter ... ”

Many parents then stand in front of their children and want to defend them. Most parents are interested in the wellbeing of their children. That is why they defend their children against allegations. A confrontation may only be necessary if parents are obviously not interested in their children and the situation at school, if neglect or abuse is suspected.

In "normal cases" discussions with parents should begin with the child's strengths: What is the child good at? Where do we experience positive social behavior in school?

Too often the parents are blamed

The next step is for the class teacher to ask for the parents' support. The educational responsibility for social behavior and the learning performance of children and young people in school lies with the school. Too often the parents are blamed. Rather, the school must create conditions that set boundaries for the students, educate them to adapt, positive social behavior and promote their motivation to learn.

Of course, the school needs the support of the parents as far as they can. Therefore the next step in the conversation:
“I (as a class teacher) want your son to do better at math. For this I need your support as a parent. Can you check your homework every day? "
“We are working to ensure that your daughter can work more intensively in class and improve her performance. For this we need your support. She is often tired and not well rested and therefore has trouble concentrating. When does she go to bed in the evening? "

Reflect on conflicts in collegial case discussions

Teachers develop negative feelings towards difficult students because they fail in their educational efforts, are disappointed as a result and are often provoked by these students. These negative feelings are then often passed on to the parents. It is therefore important for teachers to reflect on difficult pedagogical situations and conflicts in collegial case discussions and supervision groups.

I also recommend that you seek advice from school psychologists and, in difficult, conflict-ridden cases, have the discussion with parents or the school help conference moderated by school psychologists. This takes the pressure off the teachers and helps to develop an educational partnership between school and parents.