Student behavior affects the classroom, therefore, teachers must do everything they can to keep behaviors positive. When a child repetitively behaviors in an undesirable manner, parents must be called upon to encourage the child to improve. Handling parents, especially when poor behavior is the subject, requires a teacher to be very delicate. Such parents should come with a warning label, handle with care.
Preparation is the most important element to help the teacher be effective. First, the teacher should have rules and consequences in place. All of the students and all of the parents should be know what they are at the beginning of the school year. The teacher must exhibit consistency in implementing the rules and consequences. When every effort has been made to help students achieve good behavior in the classroom and a student still misbehaves regularly, then parents must be approached.
Before a conference is called, it is important that the teacher make parents aware of the problem before it becomes a big issue. Notes, or calls, to talk with parents about a need for improvement, will keep parents from wondering why they were unaware that there was a problem.
A second form of preparation requires diligence on the part of the teacher. Meticulous note-taking will help the teacher remember incidents that led up to parental contact. The notebook should be dated. The notes should include all the information about any incident. For example, it should include the names of all the students who were involved, what happened and what was done to correct the situation. It should also include any communications the teacher has made with the parent and any responses that were received.
When a conference is called, the student should be required to be present. It eliminates any “he said, she said,” problems that might occur when the parent carries your words home. In fact, it may be a good idea to have student lead out in the conference, telling the parent why they have been asked to be at the conference.
Finally, before telling the parents what is wrong with their child, tell them several things that the child is doing well. The positive responses will happen more readily when the conference is more than a gripe fest about the child. Remember, above all, this is their baby-regardless of the child’s age-and they will, instinctively, defend the child. Be positive; then you can address the difficult issues more easily.
When both the teacher and the parents want what is best for the child, good results happen. Approach your parents in the same way you would want to be approached-with a positive attitude and a desire to make a bad situation better.