A Survival Guide To Parents Evening
Jan 25, 2017
One thing I wish people had prepared me for was parents evening and how to navigate my way through it. With this is mind, I began to formulate some tips for a stress-free and (dare I say it) enjoyable parents evening.
15 minutes in heaven: ensure you book a 15 minute window in your appointment schedule. You may not realise it but speaking for 5 minutes to 30 parents is difficult and tiring. That 15 minute interval will allow you the chance to slip off to the toilet, grab a cup of tea and/or have a mental break for a few moments.
Preparation: the evening before parents evening you should look at the students who have made an appointment and have notes written on each child. This notes should include: attainment, current working level, behaviour, positive aspects and their targets moving forward.
Lead with a positive: when meeting with a parent/guardian you should always lead with a positive comment. This is more likely to get them onside and support you. Every parent wants to believe their child is angel; allow them to think this for a brief moment before mentioning any issues you are having.
Extra work: parents want to see that you are doing as much as possible to support their children. Before parents evening I tend to do a SWOT analysis of my class focusing on what they’re all struggling with. I then translate this information into a work booklet which I pass onto their parents to complete with them at home. This shows that you are proactive and value the input of the parents/guardian’s.
Humour: while the main aim of parents evening is to relay information about the academic progress of their child, it is also a chance for you to socialise with the parents. Parents want to know that their children are being taught by not only qualified professional but people who have a personality. Don’t be afraid to laugh and make a joke.
Photographs: in case the student does not come with their parents/guardians ensure you have a class photograph. This will jog your memory if you have a momentary blank – it does happen, believe me.
Bring work: Being optimistic of course everyone who has made an appointment will turn up. However, on the off chance that they don’t, you don’t want to miss out an opportunity to do some marking or planning.
Bring some dinner: although most school provide food for staff when they attend parents evening, you do end up with a selection of cake or sandwiches. While these may taste good, they not going to sustain you till 8 o’ clock that evening.
Dealing with a difficult parent: unfortunately sometimes you will get a difficult parent. Remember to remain calm and explain yourself clearly. Often, parents/guardians are difficult because they only have one side of the story or perspective. However, if it looks like the conversation will need longer, tell the parent that you are more than willing to discuss the matter but think it deserves more time and attention. Then arrange for a time and date for them to come and see you. This will allow them to have time to cool down and diffuse a possible situation.