It is Parent Teacher Interview time again and while most of us have positive experiences, a lot of teachers will have to face conflict and confrontational parents.
So how can we protect ourselves and handle these difficult situations with a high level of professionalism?
We have put together a kit to help new and current teachers to navigate this area of education with the appropriate tools, with sophistication and confidence.
Parent Teacher Interviews (PTI's) are a time where conflict can arise when a parent does not agree with your statements or becomes offended and defensive about their child’s progress. You must ensure you respond calmly and professionally if this situation occurs through developing your pedagogy in the areas of:
Our Parent Teacher Interview Guide addresses all of these in the Kit with the focus on COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIPS + PLANNING YOUR MEETINGS to ensure a professional and successful outcome during your interviews. Let’s take a sneak peak into the last point – Dealing with Conflict.
When would conflict arise in PTIs?
If parents won’t acknowledge or agree with you that there is a ‘challenging’ area or behavioural issue that needs attention, then this is where conflict can occur.
This is where you need to plan and executive strategies as a professional to connect with the parent and reassure them to remove any reason for the parent to be confrontational.
When you do find yourself in the ‘orange’ or 'red' area, you need direct the conversation into a different direction. Your strategies should aim to move the parent to the blue and green areas. This can be done using this 3-step process:
Supporting your statements with evidence with observation notes, work samples, assessment, quizzes etc… should assist the parents to see how you were able to conclude your statements. Evidencing your reports will help the parent to connect with the information and recognise that the issue exists. You must then demonstrate a list of strategies you have planned to resolve the issue and extend the invitation so they can be part of the solution.
For example, you could seek their opinion on the strategies you have designed in your report and this will open up the conversation and involve them in the resolution. This will help minimise the conflict and change the focus on the future.
If you can feel a sense of awkwardness, defensive responses, aggression or hostility, it is vital that you calmly try and connect with the parent/s and reassure them you are here to help their child reach their full potential.
For example, you could validate their apparent anguish with your words, "I can see that you are upset and this is not my intention. I have some great strategies here (referring to your plan/documentation) because I care about your son/daughter and I want us to work together with you and [insert student's name] so we can get him/her to reach their full potential."
This Kit contains a SMART goals activity which must be completed prior to the PTI's and given to the parents/carers to enable them to connect with their child and see the vision they have for themselves. If a child can recognise their own areas of improvement, then a parent is more likely to react calmly and work to be part of the solution. Please refer to the file labelled "SMART GOALS Activity" and select the appropriate year level - they are designed for Foundation - Year 12 + teaching notes.
In order to work in partnerships, you have to be open and honest so all parties can face the ‘challenges’ together and move forwards in a positive direction.
TEACHING TIP #2
When a parent is talking, it is vital you give them your complete attention through body language by maintain eye contact, listening intently and record their concerns in writing (see our template in this kit). This will demonstrate a highly level of professionalism and validate the parent’s concerns. It will also provide a record for the student's file for teacher next year and build a positive relationship with your parents.
If the level of hostility is beyond your personal safety, then you need to stand up or move back slightly and state that you are not comfortable with the level of anguish in the room and perhaps it would be more beneficial for all parties to have a meeting next week with learning support or team leader where we can all seek to resolve this issue. This normally helps the parent to recognise that their anger is making you uncomfortable and they usually change and take you up on the offer. If it is not appropriate to try and set an appointment time, tell them that you will email them all your available times and they can pick a suitable time that works for them. Giving them the option to calm down by leaving and selecting a time in a day or so, should resolve the situation.
If the aggression reaches a level that makes you fear for your safety, you need to remove yourself immediately from the classroom or location and seek support through locating your Principal or lead teacher who should not be far away. I would also suggest recording using your phone is you are extremely scared for your safety. This is not normally the case, however your safety is most important.
The most important part of creating successful PTI's is planning and we are offering all teachers a FREE Parent Teacher Interview Template to help teachers document during PTI's interviews. This is a sample of one tool we have included in the Parent Teacher Interview Guide. Would love to hear your feedback, so make sure you sign up (which is free) and tell us what you think!
Remember, as you grow as an Educator, the more confidence and skills you will develop and always seek the advice of your mentor!
Feel free to take a look inside our PTI GUIDE which will equip you with skills and tools that you can adapt into your policies when communicating with parents and develop collaborative partnerships with your parents.The tools include: Class Booking Sheet, PTI Recording Template, Student Follow Up Form and an Individual General Capabilities Checklist with great descriptors. Click here for a sneak at these documents.
We hope this provides you with some strategies for dealing with conflict in a professional manner. My professional advice is to design your policies prior to holding your PTI's and plan your response, which will give you some confidence and access to strategies during a stressful event. It is not until you experience the situation, that you can then plan better and learn how to manage any conflict or confrontation with parents, with more success in the future.
Reach Your Full Potential
Professional Development 2016 Planner
Managing your Professional Development each year is vital for your growth and accreditation in the education industry. To become a reputable savvy 21st Century Teacher, it is vital to keep a current Portfolio, Professional Reflection Journal and Professional Development Planner, evidencing your career.
AITSL have Professional Standards for Primary and Secondary Teachers which identify key areas that educators must maintain professional attributes to ensure they are quality teachers delivering quality lessons to all learns. With the standards covering 3 professional areas, 7 professional standards and up to 7 focus areas within each standard... it requires strategic planning to successfully cover all standards for your accreditation and professional growth.
The key to successful management is Strategic Planning!
Planning your Professional Development first requires a review of your current attributes and experiences to date. Keeping a Professional Reflection Journal is a new efficient tool to carry out this task with a high level of professionalism. Boost Education have brought out a Professional Reflection Journal (PRJ) which equips teachers with the tools and templates to create / design their own PRJ. Full description and samples are available when you click here.
Once you have established your current achievements, this allows you to identify those areas that you need to further develop. Each teacher should be aspiring to become a confident educator across all three professional strands - Knowledge, Practice and Engagement. They are required to evidence their development within each strand and descriptor and best presented in a uniform and formal format.
5 VITAL Planning Tools
The use of these 5 tools will enable you to manage, plan and document your Professional Development that is time efficient, proficient and in alignment with the AITSL standards. We have a detailed list of teaching experiences and how they align to each of the 7 standards which will enable you to construct your Portfolio with confidence.
Here is a sample from inside our PFJ Kit (page 19) with a list of experiences aligned with some of Standard 1 & 2. This is one page from the 8 inside this product.
Boost Education's PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNER (2016 and beyond) contains a full details scope of teaching experiences as well as all 5 planning tools plus 36 page guide to assist you in implementing the tools successfully and competently. It is available online as a digital resource that you can print and use immediately OR you can edit and adjust to suit your professional needs. Visit our store view details and samples about this product.
One last vital tool to use in your PD is a Peer Performance Review . Quality educators should complete peer performance reviews each term. Peer Performance reviews will provide you with professional direction, insight and much needed mentoring, as well as the experience will help you develop mentoring skills as you mature in your profession.
To assist you with this task, we have released the Peer Performance Review FREE.... yes that is right... FREE and you can grab your copy via the button below... anytime! Feel free to share this link with a friend, so they too can get their own FREE copy.... the link provides each individual with one license to use for themselves.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGE
We are putting the challenge to teachers to complete a PEER PERFORMANCE REVIEW on and with your colleagues. Completing this challenge will provide you with the opportunity to observe a teacher with experience, view different teaching styles, exposure to other behaviour management systems and how to differentiate the curriculum when necessary. This is vital experience for developing as a quality educator! Use this template and complete this challenge each term with your peers.
You can then document or record your experience for PD in your Professional Reflection Journal and the Peer Review is your supporting evidence to attach with your PRJ.
To see our full range of Professional Teaching Tools, please visit our brand new store on Designed By Teachers.
Follow our Facebook page to keep up with release dates and grab new resources at highly discounts rates in the first 24 hours of being released..... full support is provided with each resource!
The AITSL website has a lot of supportive material for Teachers of all experience levels. Use this link to view all professional tools available http://www.aitsl.edu.au/australian-professional-standards-for-teachers
LOOKING FOR A MENTORING GROUP .... join our Australian Teacher's Mentoring Network on Facebook here.... where you can seek support and advice from your peers throughout your career and participate in our new mentoring program next year for PD credit and certificate. Hope to see you in there!
Reach Your Full Potential
BOOST EDUCATION FOUNDER
Report writing is actually a very rewarding time of year where you spend hours assessing and evaluating students' growth and development across the curriculum.
Not only is it a time to reflect on their achievements and progress, but also your own.
Writing report comments requires focus and diligence, something we seek from our students on a daily basis. Boost Education has just completed our support guide for teachers on REPORT WRITING that will enable you to develop your professional skills in reporting about your students learning in a highly proficient manner.
Our Guide is designed to help you:
This article is a sneak peak from inside the REPORT GUIDE.....
Firstly, what areas of learning can you report for each student? What are the individual qualities that we can report on in our opening sentence... look at the chart below. This has been formed from the Australian Curriculum content descriptors, learning continum and general capabilities from our National Curriculum.
It is most important that you refer to your classroom program which outlines the curriculum content descriptors and learning capabilities that you have covered throughout the semester or year. Your statements should report on student's specific achievements or improvements in relation to each of these areas. While you cannot write an essay and must stick to your school's guidelines / policies for length of report comments, we suggest you list as many specific achievements as possible. A full list of the improvements / achievements can be completely divulged during the upcoming Parent Teacher Interview, so be sure to make full notes in each students file. Parent's can never get enough about their child's achievements! As a parent and an educator, I can say that with confidence!!!
How to Deal with those 'tricky' areas ?
We have only shared a snippet from the 34 page guide and if you are interested in the complete REPORT WRITING GUIDE FOR PRIMARY & SECONDARY TEACHERS you can click on this link for more details information and view samples from inside the Guide.
We wish you all the best during this important time and hope we have shaped your view of report comments to be that of a 'teachable moment' to inspire your students!
Reach Your Full Potential
Networking and Support
I surround myself with people that inspire me to achieve. Whether it be through social media, a coffee, professional development or phone time... it's important to surround yourself with individuals that keep you accountable and grounded. I love the people that I've got in my life... they give me the laughter, motivation or pep talk I need to get through life. I also have a few professional mentors that help develop my attributes as an educator of the 21st Century. I also mentor younger beginning teachers and support them through their career as well as advise more experienced teachers in areas where they require support.
YOU NEVER STOP LEARNING!!!
Rachel Wills is the Founder and Executive Teacher @ Boost Education Australia. Graduating with a Bachelor of Education as a 'targeted graduate' she has been teaching for 17+ years and has spent the last 14 years working with students with learning difficulties and disorders.
She is renowned for her contagious enthusiasm and passion for Education which enables each child she reaches, to get exceptional results.
Rachel is a published Author, Resource Designer and Educational Consultant working with Educational Professionals in Australia, providing exceptional
programs / support to students, families and the community.
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