Today’s Post is by a good friend of mine! Welcome Lyssa Sahadevan!
A teacher friend recently asked me for some tips about working with parents. She will be teaching special education in the fall and is really looking forward to it, though nervous. I started by telling her that she had already had the first thing parents look for….passion. As a parent, that is what I want and expect of my son’s teachers. As a teacher, that is what I try to embody in everything I do.
Here are a few of the other tips I shared. Though my experience in special education has not spanned decades, I stand pretty strongly behind them as best practices!
1. Start the school year with a conference….a happy conference. Meet the parents, review the IEP together, ask questions about their child. Consider it a “fact finding mission!” In a perfect world, we would be able to do this with every parent!
2. Be honest but kind. Keep data and keep parents posted. Send notes when behavior is not great, but also send notes of celebration! Reread notes to parents or have a peer read them for a “kindness check.”
3. Ask. If you are not sure about something (like one of the 1,000 acronyms!) ask a colleague or the child’s parent. It is ok to not know everything!
4. Be timely. If a parent reaches out to you, respond. You do not have to have all of the answers right then or accept a request for a conference on the same day, but reply quickly. No one likes the waiting game, especially when it is about their child!
This list could go on and on, but the bottom line is communication is the key to a successful parent-teacher relationship…special education or not.
As a teacher or parent, what would you add to the list?
Lyssa Sahadevan blogs about all things family and learning at My Mommy Reads. She is mom to a preschooler, first grade teacher to 21 smarties, and an advocate for all things children! She is a former teacher of the year and currently serves as an advisor for Scholastic’s Instructor Magazine.