How To Get Parents On Your Side

How To Get Parents On Your SideIf dissatisfied, parents can be a source of great stress.

They can question your methods.

They can challenge your decisions.

They can complain, make demands, and waste your precious time.

Which is why it’s critical that you get them on your side, critical that they like you and trust you and support your program.

There are many strategies you can use to encourage their loyalty—including having a fair and consistent approach to classroom management, a professional but friendly personal style, and a clear, non-judgmental way of communicating.

These are important, to be sure. But there is one thing you can do that will secure not only their support, but also their enthusiastic endorsement. It’s so powerful, in fact, that it outperforms all other strategies combined.

It’s fast. It’s simple. It’s reliable. Even among parents whose reputations . . . ahem . . . precede them.

It doesn’t entail any extra work. You don’t have to try to be someone you’re not or change one thing about your program. You don’t even need to have met any of your parents.

So what is this miracle strategy?

You make sure your students have a great first day—as well as first week and first month—of school. You make sure they rush home to share what an cool experience they’re having in your classroom and how stoked they are for the rest of the school year.

In the end, this is what parents want. They want their child inspired. They want their child excited about school. They want their child encouraged and motivated and engaged in the most important activity of their young life.

Because they know that when their child is happy, they learn. They grow socially and academically. They take another step closer to independence.

Of course, in many, many classrooms this isn’t the case. Parents find themselves wringing their hands during the first days of a new school year. They pace and worry and brace for tears and disappointment and a gloomy report.

They prepare themselves to give a pep-talk, to put things into perspective, to guide, encourage and remind that it’s only for a year. They steel themselves for the unpleasant possibility that they’ll have to voice their concerns to the teacher, or even the principal.

So when their child leaps into their car smiling from ear to ear and offering a glowing review of their first day or first week, they exhale a summer’s worth of tension.

They’re relieved. They’re thrilled. They’re at peace. So much so that they’re quick to share their satisfaction with other parents. They’re quick to offer their compliments of you to your principal. They’re quick to sing your praises.

And your reputation spreads.

So instead of having parents in your ear, waiting for you after school, and emailing you in the middle of the night, they merely smile and wave.

They sign up to volunteer in your classroom. They ask what they can do to help you.

Because when their child is happy, they’re happy too.

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12 Responses to How To Get Parents On Your Side

  1. Nanci February 10, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    Hi. Thanks for this post. I read it as a parent who has to go into school tomorrow to meet with teachers about too much talking in the classroom. Both my kids are in the class and both have complained that the level of student chit chat is “disrespectful, rude and distracting.” I’m concerned that academic progress is being stifled. I’m in the uncomfortable position of asking the teachers (there are 3 teachers in the room) about whether they see this problem and how they are handling it. My kids report that constant reprimands for talking occur every day and they had a class meeting about it a few weeks ago, but nothing changes. I don’t want to make the teachers defensive, but something needs to change. I can’t imagine that they are happy, either. I’d like to know how to support a change, but the teachers seem to have a “what happens at school, stays at school” way of operating. This is a class of 4th-, 5th- and 6th-graders. Any suggestions for how to achieve a satisfying outcome?

    • Michael Linsin February 10, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

      Hi Nanci,

      Despite your discomfort, I think it always pays to be a straight shooter. Voice your concern, leaving nothing out, and then give the teachers an opportunity respond and fix the problem.

      Michael

  2. Nanci February 11, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    Hi Michael. Thanks for your reply. The meeting with my kids’ teachers went OK, but I’m not confident that the class environment will change. These are some very nice teachers–perhaps too nice. The teachers recognized that too much talking occurs and said they do what they can, but that, ultimately, it is up to the students to influence their peers’ behavior. They want my daughters to tell other kids to behave better. When I suggested that regularly asking them to police their peers could put them in a bad position socially, they said that “this is how the world works.” They also talked about how important it is for kids to advocate for themselves and work for the learning environment they want. Their view gave me something to think about: how much of the classroom environment is the teachers’ responsibility and how much is the kids’? I’m going to hunt around your site and elsewhere and see if I can find some wisdom regarding this topic. Thanks for your terrific archive of information.

    • Michael Linsin February 11, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

      It’s my pleasure, Nanci.

      Michael

  3. Kathy September 5, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    I have a different situation. There are parents complaining that their children say that I am mean and don’t like them. The principal had a meeting with me three days into school and put me on probation stating that it is the perception of the students that is his concern. He would not tell me what the specific issues were nor who had concerns. How should I handle this? Thanks.

    • Michael Linsin September 6, 2015 at 6:55 am #

      Hi Kathy,

      You need to find out what those concerns are. If the principal won’t tell you, then you need to speak to your union rep. Only then can you address the complaints or make changes in your approach.

      Michael

  4. Delores October 22, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    Good afternoon, I am a parent and I am having an awful experience with my son’s teacher. What makes it worse is her husband is on the Board. I am an Educator myself, so I totally understand and respect the need for a positive parent-teacher relationship. The issue I am having is making me feel like I am walking on eggshells with this teacher. Every time I ask questions or have comments concerning my son she immediately becomes defensive. I truly don’t understand why? My husband is now handling the situations with her, but she is even defensive and uninviting with him. She is very well known and respected by most of her colleagues. I am angry that she has discussed my husband, child, and me with other colleagues. What can I do to possibly rebuild this broken relationship?

    • Michael Linsin October 22, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

      Hi Delores,

      Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to control this teacher’s defensive behavior. You have every right, however, to ask and get your questions and concerns answered. My best advice is to continue pressing for the answers you need while ignoring her attitude about it. If the teacher is gossiping about you or your family with others, or otherwise behaving unprofessionally, then you may want to request a meeting with her and the principal to clear the air.

      Michael

  5. Khudsia August 8, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

    Hi iam khudsia teaching as a fresher for grade 1 and grade2 my students were with me but unfortunately one students parents wants to meet the Principal to complain that their kid is not good as last year please help me what should i say when they come to me
    To question

    • Michael Linsin August 8, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

      Hi Khudsia,

      Just be honest and professional and be prepared with evidence of their child’s work.

      Michael

  6. Khudsia August 8, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    Hi iam khudsia teaching as a fresher for grade 1 and grade2 my students were happy with me but unfortunately one students parents wants to meet the Principal to complain that their kid is not good as last year please help me what should i say when they come to me
    To question

  7. Khudsia August 8, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    Thank you michael

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