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Saturday, December 19, 2009

What do you tell your preschool parents?

If you tell your parents the following...

"I have had the worst week ever, my car broke down and I don't have enough money to get it fixed!"

"I am really tired today - stayed out too late partying with the other teachers."

"The other teachers don't really know what they are doing, thank goodness Johnny is in my classroom."

"Your child had a really bad day, I am completely worn out!"

"I am looking for another job, preschool just doesn't pay enough"

"I used to like working here, but with all the changes, I am thinking about quitting."

"I didn't have time to plan anything for today so we are just gonna play."

"We didn't get to make our little snowmen in art because we ran out of construction paper."

"I think you should seriously consider taking your child to see a therapist."

"You really need to get a handle on your child's biting"

"I wish the other parents would be as understanding as you are."

"I am quite certain I have a fever - but I have to stay because we have no subs."

"Your child has a fever, I need you to come and pick him up before he gets us all sick."

Then STOP!! Don't say any more!

The absolute best way for you to build rapport with your parents and help them have confidence in you as a teacher is to guard your words and put their needs first. Share information in such a way that parents will know you are capable and that you are all about solutions.

Be honest, but not brutal.
Be open, but not an open book.
Be truthful, but not painful.
Be yourself, but make it the professional self.

I am certain no one reading this blog ever has said something like this to a parent - so just mark this post off as a little reminder! Make sure you are paying attention to what you communicate and how you communicate to your parents.

Do you have any "teacher blunders" you have heard or that have bothered you? Now is the time to vent:) Leave a comment!


Teacher Tom said...

I completely agree, Deborah! How we talk to parents is just as important as how we speak with the children. Being aware of this almost crippled me, however, as a new teacher. I hadn't yet learned how to walk the line you talk about between being myself and being professional -- instead I tried my best to be a teacher I very much admired! =) That worked for awhile, but finding that balance is so important.

My biggest blunder was a first day of school mistake that I hope I've learned from. The adults were all in the classroom with us and I was playing with one little boy who was waving to an older woman. I said, "You're waving at . . ." I stopped and asked the woman, "What does he call you? Grandma? Nana?" She looked at me with such a crushed expression, "He calls me Mommy."

Deborah J. Stewart said...

Ha,ha,ha, ha, ha - poor mom! I bet you felt aweful.

You are right about finding that balance - and keeping it. Getting to know parents and having a comfortable relationship where we banter and share with them is a great thing - using parents as an outlet to vent is where the professional part needs to start coming in!

The Honorable Mention said...

I actually was well prepared on how to deal talking to parents about their kids early in my teaching career...just not parents-ahem. I fell into one of the classic blunders that destroyed my relationships with the moms(I was a new teacher then-mind you)'s how it went:
"Hi I'm Ms Barbra, Maddie's new teacher"
"Hi I'm Judy."
"Oh, Hi Judy...How wonderful when are you expecting? A few months?
"Uh....I'm not pregnant."
(I wanted to die....I can imagine how she felt)

Deborah J. Stewart said...

Ha,ha,ha - Thanks for making me laugh!

Melissa Taylor said...

So many teacher blunders -- the most memorable was an idea I got from a teacher magazine to do a pancake breakfast for the parents. Sounds fun, right? Ha.
We invited all the parents 30 minutes before school. My students mixed and poured batter as the room filled with every single relative imaginable. Then, we blew out the electricity for the school.
The janitor (mad) fixed and we tried again.
We blew the electricity 4 times before we realized that the entire wing was all on the same circuit.
School had now started and my teammates were not happy with the noise from my room or the electricity going off.
One griddle finally made enough for the parents, they ate and left so the kids started eating.
Then, I heard that one child was throwing up in the bathroom.
Then, two.
Then, three.
Then, half my class.
The parents had to come back and pick up their children.
The office staff said it smelled horrible in the office thanks to my class.
No one was happy with me that day. Disaster doesn't begin to describe it! Fun idea, indeed. I recommend bagels and fruit if you want to have a breakfast!

Deborah J. Stewart said...

Ha, ha, ha, ha, I am still laughing!

Ms Debbie said...

Ok, disclaimer ! This was a LONG time ago and I was still in the "dating scene". I had stayed up way too late and gotten out of bed a little too late as well. As I rushed to make sure i was ready for the first child and put that" Good Morning Smile" on my face I opened the door. After getting four or five students in a parent came in and asked me how my night went . I replied " It was great..." I was too professional to go into detail. As she left she said.. you might want to go in the rest room and put your shirt on right, you have it inside out. I think you must HAVE had a great night So, not only watch what you say... but other obvious clues as well. :)

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