Friday, August 20, 2010

Teaching Tip #2: Make nice with parents! seems simple enough, but many teachers struggle with this.  We are here to do a service for the community.  Some don't get it, but many do.  We may complain about money or the size of our classes, but ultimately, we are in charge of little minds that must grow.  I know many teachers that have made education a career.  I have heard the complaints from these same teachers.  I've also heard that if you don't like it---do something else.  Wouldn't that be great if it were that easy?  Just up and change careers?!  Maybe it's just a job.  I know it is for some.  Sometimes it even feels like it to me--and I really like what I do.  Sure, there are paperwork headaches and the occasional disrespectful child, but all-in-all, it's a pretty good gig.

Of course, many of us have families of our own and live in some of the same communities that we work.  We want something for ourselves that is meaningful and enriching.  Why wouldn't we?  This is a good thing.  Meaningful?  Enriching?  Yeppers...This is reasonable.  I'm very much into reasonableness.

One of the toughest things about our jobs is working with parents.  Not that this is a bad thing at all.  It's just that oftentimes, our plates are loaded with one dinner roll too many and that full ear of buttery corn on the cob is gonna put our plate in a bit of a bind.  We get that email and think:  "What now?"  Our tone sounds dreary.  Our eyes look to the heavens for some divine intervention to take our parent emails and make them magically disappear. doesn't happen.  We put down our plates, hit reply, and begin hammering out a polite electronic letter to the parent.  You wanna know why?  Deep down, we know that parents are our allies.  Parents want many of the same things we do and the majority of them love their children deeply.  It is this love for their sometimes nutty offspring that can lead them down a path to the psycho ward.  We're teachers...we understand...this wing looks familiar.  Is that institutional green on the walls?  Parents sometimes get angry with us.  They yell.  They can be unreasonable.  What's a poor, underpaid teacher to do?  Complain that we don't get paid enough to put up with this $%&#?  Nope.  Make nice.  Say it with me---Make nice.  Again:  Make nice.  Mantra this to yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed by parents.  Make nice.  You may not want to or even feel like it, but so what.  Make nice.  You've chosen a career that isn't about ego.  If you think it is, you're in the wrong field.  Make nice.  Welcome parents with open arms.  Make nice.  Celebrate their child's successes.  Give honest feedback about negative behavior.  Make nice.  Parents will walk through fire if you let them.  We don't have to agree with how they raise their children (There's always CPS), but it's our responsibility to give them our best while their children are entrusted to our care.  Make nice.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I really have the same feelings about students and faculty working in a lab environment. They are your allies but at some times they put unique stress on you.