Saturday, August 5, 2017

Meet the Parent: Special Education Style

Meet the parents tips for special education teachers.
As a new teacher (Okay, and as a veteran teacher) meeting your students' parents can be scary.  It is almost akin to meeting the parents of your new love.   However, this does not have to be so stressful as long as you prepare yourself and start off with a positive relationship. Parents are the best advocates for their children and they love to be your advocate also (I say this as a teacher and as a parent of a child with an IEP).

Get to know your students

I know, how can you get to know them when they have not been in your room yet.  Guess what, as a SPED teacher we have a slight advantage to general ed teachers in this department.  Paperwork.  Who ever thought paper work could be a good thing?! In this case, it is great.  So grab a cup of coffee, sit down and take some time to read over IEPs, parent surveys, evaluation reports, reports cards, etc that are in the student's cummulative folder.   This information will help you have an early peek into the windows of your student.  

Paperwork might be good!

Get to know your parents

Again, how?  Look at the paperwork!  If parents have filled out school paperwork look to see if the parents have the same last name, is the student living with one parent, both parents, grandparents or someone else?  

Make the first communication POSITIVE

Try not to wait until open house to contact your parent's for the first time.  Call home and introduce yourself, send a postcard to your student saying "Can't wait to meet you at open house!", send a quick email.  Anything to let your student and their family know that you are happy to be working with them. 

Ignore the Negative Nancy

My first year at my new school I was warned about one parent and how she was so hard to work with.  I was a nervous wreck!!! However, I was positive and gave a friendly approach.  Guess what?! She became one of my biggest supporters. We were able to have open lines of communication and talk about the best way to approach her child's education without so much as a frown.  

Communication

Let the parents know how to contact you.  I have a business card that I give to parents when I first meet them and every year I have their child, that simply has my name, phone, and email. I had them printed on VistaPrint, but you could just print it one peice of paper or even a sticky note.  This way parents know exactly what they need to do if they need to contact me.  I have also started using Remind so that parents can text me, which for some is easier.  Remind keeps a log of conversations so I can just print it out if I need to.  I have also had parents who would only communicate via Facebook messenger.  I try to do what works best.  However, remember that you have to have the type of communication that works for you.   If you are not comfortable communicating via Facebook or Instagram then give the parent your accepted forms of communication and move on. 


I hope this helps you feel a bit more comfortable when it is time to meet the parents!  Do you have any other tips or ideas to help new (or seasoned) special education teachers?



1 comment:

  1. I'm feeling so pleasant after reading this article..People really need more and more articles like these..articles like these teach us some professional ethics and lessons to act properly. Thanks for sharing.

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