George Lucas Educational Foundation

Dealing With an Angry Parent

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Can you imagine how much an angry parent would be a very nerve-wracking experience for teachers and principals? When facing an angry parent, do not think about the reason why he is angry. Just focus on the tips below for your response.Then you'll be able to quickly calm angry parents.

Here are some steps to deal with an angry parent:

Keep Patience in Mind

What you need as a teacher or principal first is to be patient. Behave and react calmly.

Listen and Understand

Please do nothing and listen. Even your behavior and gestures have to be cool. If you intend to interrupt or give the sense of being in a hurry to jump in, the angry parent will be more defensive and nervous. Let him say what he has got in his mind.

Analyse the Problem

Having listened carefully, it is time to analyse the complaint. If the complaint is about teaching methods or curriculum, and if you are the teacher listening, do not hesitate to answer. First, trust your experience and competence in your field then without being off topic, tell about the methods and curriculum using some academic language. If the complaint is about the classroom management plan, homework or classroom procedures, be patient and again do not be defensive. You are not the guilty one. Nobody is guilty here! You need to educate this parent about your programme and how you are sensitive about a student's right to learn in a suitable atmosphere. Reflect your professionalism! If you give the feeling of an open, inviting, personable and understanding teacher, the angry parent will leave the class impressed with you and your attitude towards your class. If you are a principal, do almost the same things, but if there is a problem with a teacher, first thing you have to do is to send the parent to the teacher if he hasn't done so.

Show Your Empathy

Showing empathy does not mean to agree with the complaint. If you want to show empathy, it is vital to say "I understand" and get the angry parent to have the feeling of "the teacher/principal is putting himself in my shoes, now." This will ease your communication and solution process.

Giving the Sense of "Taking Responsibility"

Never hesitate taking the responsibility. Briefly say "I will take care of it as it's my responsibility." This will help the parent have a better comfort zone at school and you can take a chance to have him at your side while dealing with the problem that he is angry with. Another crucial thing to do is to give your apologies. If you give your apologies about the situation, he will be more relaxed.

Solve the Problem

Having finished this problematic parent/principal-teacher meeting, remember the expectation of the parent! He wants you to take care of the problem. Calming the parent down and sending home will not be enough. Solve the problem and follow the future steps.

And the tips to keep in mind are:

  • If you are teacher or principal in a school, first know audiences. Being aware of the audiences will enable you to solve the problems much more easily.
  • Never underestimate the power of the students on their parents. They bring not only books and pencils from school but also what they have lived at school on that day. Then it is important to be careful about the reactions and to follow each student closely.
  • Never be misinformed or unaware what has happened around you. School is one of the most dynamic place. Then be aware!

Last but not least, to the others in the society you can just be a person or a teacher or principal, but to your students you are a hero. Let’s keep on changing the future!

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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