The best way to raise a concern with a parent or a teacher

So, a common problem for parents is that they struggle to have an effective conversation with a teacher; and a common problem for teachers is the struggle to have an effective conversation with a parent.

As a Qualified Teacher and a Qualified Family Social Worker, as well as being a parent to 4 children, I am well aware of what it is like to be on either side of the home/school boundary discussion.

What is important is to maintain a level of objectivity and to remember that the teacher and the parent may see the same behaviours with a child, or they may experience different behaviours in home to at school.  This can be for a variety of reasons and could be easily resolved or need further exploration to best support the child.

But the first step is to have a conversation where neither party feels defensive about their parenting or their teaching.  The child needs both parent and teacher to benefit the child’s development and each party’s perspective is valid alongside that of the child.
A few conversation starters could be:

  • Please can I share a concern that I have about (child’s name)?
  • Could you please show me…?
  • Are you able to suggest…?
  • What is your experience of…?

To validate the other person’s insight into the child’s life is a good measure to prevent defensive behaviours (between adults) and to be respectful to the parent/teacher perspective.

The next step will be much easier once it is acknowledged that working together will best support the child, their behaviour – both in and out of school.

Remember – All parties are likely to want the best for the child.

Author – Sarah Muller –
Managing Practitioner

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