Teachers will all at some stage have to deal with angry parents.
All teachers have had that moment when a parent does agree with a particular strategy that was implemented to support their child or perhaps disagreed with a mark or grade that was given maybe they just want to protect their child if an underlying issue has come to the surface.
Having been through these situations before it is important not to fuel the fire. Parents just want the best for their children and many times the anger is not at you but a situation that can easily be rectified. So what can you do? Tips to deal with these situations can be found here!
Listen and stay calm
Easier said than done, I know. However, the worst thing that you can do is rise to their level of anger. It will then become more about the emotion than the event and potentially make it very personal. By listening without judgement, you will be able to better understand what the issue is about and be able to respond in a professional manner as opposed to reacting. Remember, do not interrupt, and wait until the right time to respond.
Empathise and Categorise
Stepping in their shoes will allow you to validate their feelings and understand why they are upset. Sometimes they might be dealing with a million things and you are unfortunately the person they are taking their frustrations out on. You will be able to mitigate any misconceptions and categorise the issues. If they are out of your control, seek support from your department head or head teacher.
Be firm and take responsibility
In no way should are we saying that you just take any abuse. You need to maintain professionalism while at the same time be firm about your position if there have been any misunderstandings. You both want the best for the child and classroom so make sure that both take responsibly to better the situation. Be respectful and make sure your values are not compromised.
Apologise and come to a solution
Apologising will go a long way, it shows you will take responsibility and remain humble. Having a solution that can be followed up with will ease any tension. However, you must follow through and give constructive feedback, in no time you will be seen as a person that does not shy away from difficulty, but is able to handle tough situations and come up with effective solutions
These tips will certainly help. However, the strong feelings during the conversation will not just disappear. If you are in this sort of situation and you do not feel you have the skills to handle it, then definitely invite a member of staff to support you.
How have you handled these situations?