Tips for Dealing with Aggressive Parents
Hopefully, at your school, an angry parent cannot just walk into your room during the school day. Most schools have locked doors. Parents need to enter through the office to sign in with the school secretary. Hopefully, the angry parent can be subdued in the office by a principal. Then, when you have a planning period or after school, you can deal with this parent.
If the parent does make it to your room during the school day, call administration immediately through an intercom system or grab another teacher!
Tips to Calm a Parent
Get the facts straight. Facts can disarm an angry parent. However, make sure that an administrator or seasoned teacher is in the room when you deal with an upset parent.
If the parent is upset about grades:
Print off the grades and know the missing assignments. If you have time, grab all of the missing assignment hand-outs to show the parent.
If the child has poor test or quiz grades, offer tips on studying. Maybe, the child will need tutoring. Find out if the school has programs for this or if you are willing to work with the child a few nights during the week.
If you can do your communication through email, this will give you time to compose thoughtful messages that do not show "fear" or "anger" on your part.
If the parent is upset about the child's poor behavior:
Keep a log of a child who continuously disrupts the classroom. If you are able to give specific details about what the child is doing and dates, the parent will realize that the child may be “fibbing" at home about what is happening in the classroom.
Some children will go home and will tell their parents that you simply do not like them. The best way to deal with this problem is to tell the parent what you like about the child. Also, tell how his or her behavior is stopping learning for the whole class while you have to deal with the child. You simply cannot have the child stopping the learning process for the other 25-30 students in the classroom.
Offer a contract between the parent, child and you. If you can come up with some rewards of good behavior and consequences for bad behavior, then the parent will have ownership in the process. Share this contract with administrators. After this contract is signed, communication between parent and teacher is crucial for this to work. Make sure to get email addresses, home phone number and cell phone number.
If the parent is yelling and acting inappropriate, make sure that this behavior is documented with the administration at your building and the resource officer. Children’s services may need to be called if you believe that the child may be at risk at home from a parent who is out of control.
Most parents will calm down when the true facts are revealed. However, some will not. In those extreme cases, seek the help of administrators and fellow seasoned teachers. Never put yourself in harms way if it can be helped.