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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Top Tips For Parents Evening


Parents Evening is one of those times in the school year that almost all those involved can find difficult. Parents, pupils and teachers all anxious about what the other is going to say. However, this is not how it needs to be. Parents evening is an opportunity for all of those same people to build relationships, to share information and to work together towards one shared goal.

So here are some tips to ensure that your parents evening goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Stand up to greet them, start with good eye contact, a smile and tell them you are pleased to meet them   
  • Use the sandwich technique - Start on a positive and remember that your pupil is someone’s precious child. Open your conversation with parents by acknowledging their child’s strengths before you focus on areas of concern. Then remember to finish on a positive

  • Have up to date data to hand to share - This should include information about their latest assessments, recent progress, attendance, punctuality, mental maths and spelling scores and how they are at handing in homework

  • Discuss sensitively any areas of difficulty their child has along with solutions and ways forward to help them to get back on track. Include ways that they the parents can help too
  • Inform the parents of their child's friendship groups, whether their child listens and answer questions, as these are often things that parents worry about the most
  • Listen - Allow parents to share their concerns and ask questions
  • If a parent asks you a question that floors you, don't be put on the spot. It's fine to let parents know that you need some time to reflect on their question before you respond. Let them know that you'll get back to them in a day or two. This will give you time to explore options and perhaps bounce ideas off of a colleague before you respond to the parents. 
  • Don’t be afraid to end a meeting with parents who become confrontational. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to provide an opportunity for all parties to cool down and reflect on the issues at hand by bringing the meeting to a close. Set a time and date to meet again and ask for a member of your SLT to attend if need be.
  • Don’t let yourself get dragged into disputes between families of children in your class. When parents begin to share information about squabbles, let parents know that you're receptive to their thoughts and ideas about their child, but you must stay out of personal issues between the families. 
  • Try your best to keep to allotted times, other parents waiting will get irritated if they are stood outside your door for hours on end. If it looks like a parent needs more time suggest they make another appointment when you can give them the time they need.
 
Managing parents can be one of the hardest parts about teaching. It’s easy to dwell on negativity and begin to question your skills as a teacher. Instead of worrying about how those parents perceive you, offer them the opportunity to join you as you help their child have the best year possible. Chances are the vast majority of parents of children in your class are thrilled that you are their child’s teacher! Focus on all that positive energy and have a great rest of the school year!