Parent partnerships

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By Sue Cowleyeducational author and trainer

Working with different types of parents takes a variety of different approaches

Teacher and parent

As the saying goes, ‘It takes all sorts to make a world’. Just like the children you work with, parents come in different types. Some are lovely – supportive, easy to work with, concerned only with helping you do what is best for their child. Others are difficult – disengaged, disinterested or even actively hostile to school. Still others are difficult for a very different reason – they get overly involved and refuse to trust your judgement.

Thankfully, the majority of parents fall somewhere in the middle – they want to support you and will do just that, so long as you let them know how they should go about it.

What do you really want from parents?

If you define this for yourself, you can communicate it clearly to them. Your key requests could be that they:
  • encourage their children to be as independent and self sufficient as possible – for example, learning to get dressed and to think first before asking for help;
  • put boundaries in place for their child’s behaviour, supporting the school where discipline issues arise, rather than jumping to the child’s defence;
  • give input into their child’s learning at home, particularly reading with them each night and ensuring that homework is completed;
  • are willing to come into school when opportunities are offered, for instance to see a class performance or to attend a parent consultation;
  • trust your professional judgement on matters concerning learning.
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