How should teachers and substitute teachers deal with parents when situations arise?
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Hey, Greg Collins substitute teachers lounge. You know, I was at an activity in the last few weeks, where I had a few incidences with the parents perhaps. And then I had one parent as I was leaving,look at me and say, Boy, it's a shame when the parents act worse than their students. And I got to thinking, you know, we've never really done an episode about parents. So let's do that today and substitute teachers before you say substitute teachers don't have to deal with parents? Well, you do. And I'm going to give you some advice today that I've taken, that's worked for me at least, that's going to help you with parents being able to understand parents and how to deal with them, when sometimes you're put in an uncomfortable situation.Alright, guys, a little housekeeping before we go forward. On the substitute teachers lounge, facebook group page, this week, I had an inquiry, and it made me think,you know, I've always assumed something. And maybe that's not a smart thing to do. So, if I refer to an episode number,you'll never see an episode number in the title, I'll explain why that is here in just a moment.If you're ever looking at an episode getting ready to click play, if you instead just scroll down a little bit, you will see the episode number. And those are the numbers that are referred to generally speaking, you don't put in a podcast number in an episode title, just because it throws off the bots on occasion that search for material people trying to find it. More importantly, perhaps, is that Apple podcast is the number one platform for listening to podcasts and Apple, they throw your episode number in the front of your title, just as if it's a title. So for instance, if I put206 in the title of this podcast, if I just wrote it in the title, well, then when you listen to it on Apple, it would say 206206, then the title. So we refrain from doing episode numbers, as far as being listed in the title, but you again, you can always scroll down, see the title number. Or if you listen to this podcast on Apple podcast, which is 90% of you,you'll see the number right there in the title because Apple puts it in there. So all that out of the way. It's funny.I'm been a substitute teacher for five years, and I interact with parents all the time. So if you're a substitute teacher,don't give me a statement that says, I don't have any action interacts with the parents. Why?Why should I even listen to this? I'm going to tell you what my history has been with parents. Now. I'm going to make two statements that I hear a lot one that you every substitute teacher, I don't care what you say strives to hear. That is when you hear a parent say,if you run into them and they say, Oh, you're Mr. College, my student loves you. And that's,that is what you're shooting for. Right? That's what you want to do. You want to be I'll be honest, I want to be accepted more by the students than even the teachers. I'm there for the students. I'm not there. I want to be accepted by the teachers too. I want to be friends with them too. But we want to make an impression on the students so that they look forward to us coming back then occasionally I have heard phrases uttered by students that say I like that teacher. I don't think they like me.And I'm trying to think why in the world would that ever be the situation and the only thing I couldn't really think of if you can think of more please share on the face group, facebook group page. I can only think it happens when the teacher has a great preparation ritual, a great delivery, very good at explaining things, but then maybe not as personable when they're working with a student one on one. I don't know. That's all I can think about. But here's a go I want you to strive for you need to get to know parents better. I'm gonna start describe some of the ones I've come across that have been a problem. I'm going to discuss some that ever really pumped me up and kept me going and go out of their way, when they see me,here's what you need to determine go out of the way when they're assuming to talk to it.Here's what you need to determine. I'm thinking ahead and I'm not getting all my words out. You need to determine whether you like it or not, and extra curricular activity of the schools that you teach at most,that you should take part in, as a spectator. Okay? With me, it's easy because I'm a volleyball referee, I see most of the students that I teach most of the female students at this point, we don't have a male league in our area yet, most of the female students, I will see them there. I will joke around with them. I'll tell you some of the things I say here in just a moment. But you need to find one of those the best place to interact with parents is at those games I went to write about as I was coming off of COVID, last year, the first time I could get out with a mask on but could get out in public, I went to one of the local schools, volleyball games, I couldn't referee it, obviously.But I went to it. And there were smiles on their faces, one couple of them came up and talk to me glad that I was feeling better. And the parents see that they know who Mr. Collins is.They know that in addition to you, being a volleyball referee,you're one of their teachers.And you might be one that that your students talk about. Now,I'll tell you this, I don't care what type of substitute teacher you are, your students are going to talk about you.So if you're a sports fanatic,pick out one of their sports games, maybe you can pick out one when two of the schools are playing each other, both of whom you teach it.Or maybe you're a drama person right now, at one of the schools I teach at they're performing Greece, I would love to see it,I don't think I'm going to get to go to that activity. If that's more who you are. If you I don't know, if you are, maybe they have a culinary class in the substitute area you teach and they're doing a competition,go to that, go to an academic team, just because you want to see how the students are performing that sell that to say this, guess who's there, it's the parents, it's a perfect way for you to learn how to interact with parents. And here's what happens when parents and students see you on a social basis. And their thought process is is well look at that substitute teacher that that really means a lot to these students to come out. So if they need to fuss at you in the future, they're going to be more hesitant to do so let me give you some stories now about how that is true. Most of these granite have happened on the volleyball court in the last three or four years. I say all that again, to try to get you to go to the extracurricular activities and kind of form a relationship with the students.I've had students tell me while I'm in the stands, like I said that my student loves to have you as a substitute that always makes me feel good. We need a little feel good things every now and then. Because we just go through our days. And sometimes we're not sure if we're having any effect or not right. But a few years ago, I had a think this was a middle school game.And it was the grandmother of one of the students on the team that came over came over and started fussing at me a little while about refereeing. And I looked over at the little girl and she was just shaking her head. She was so embarrassed.Because of that grandmother and I told the grandmother listen, I understand I tried to defuse things. I'm not one of those people that will spout off back at them. I try to you know, it's dangerous now really, because anybody could be recording you.You can't just go off on somebody and not expect it to show up. I tried to be as nice as possible. I did talk the lady down. I told her that. Generally speaking when a parent approaches we're supposed to report that and if you don't give me your name, I have to turn it in under the coach's name. I defuse the situation. I could tell the student involved was starting to feel better about it. She was embarrassed that her grandparent said something she even said to me later, I can't believe she came over and talk to Mr. Collins.He's one of our favorite referees. I heard all that. And it turns out that by the time the conversation over I didn't spout back at the point aren't building relationships here or in this case, the grandparent. And she said, You know what I understand what you're saying now, I apologize for being out of hand. That's happened to me. I've done tournaments this time of year.We had a great tournament just a few weeks ago, where the players and I had never met any of them.I was in an area where it was tournaments, it was teams, I should say, invited into the area to participate in a tournament. So I hadn't met any of the students. Or if I had maybe on an occasional tournament, I didn't recognize them. Sometimes just for fun,I'll kind of eyeball the crowd.And if I feel it's appropriate,as I'm getting on my stand, I'll say something like, all right,you guys, let me know if I make a bad call. And they laugh about that. That kind of is a, what would you call it? It's not really an icebreaker. But it is,I guess, they know that I'm a guy that will joke around. And before the game was over, after the game, once, even in the concession stand, they said, I saw you make this motion, what call was that? And all of a sudden, these parents who had I not interacted with them, might have fussed at me about a call.Maybe they didn't. Now, the players. If I joke around and have fun with the players, I know all of a sudden, they want to help me out the way traveling teams and volleyball works. They call it club, you normally have two teams playing. And you have a third team, which either just finished playing a role play the next match, they actually work the Scores Table. And I had those students tell me, let me know what you need Mr. Rev. And we'll do it for you, I'll do a good job down for you today. Hi.I told them one of them at one time that I would I had run out of water, I needed some water from the concession stand and three of them took off running,seeing who could be the first to bring me some water back. That's the kind of relationship I'm hoping to see with the students.Now the title of this was when parents act worse, I have seen situations where the parents act worse than the players did. This was one of them. It was a very close match and add misbehaved myself in close competitive activities before. So I'm not I don't do it much anymore. But I'm just saying that we had to call down the parents more than we did the players, the players were very relaxed. I was doing one round where I actually had17 year olds, so you might as well call them adult volleyball players. And one time their coach was fussing at me and I saw two of their players go over and told him to simmer down. And the only reason I can think of is that I had joked around with them earlier. And they were not saying to that coach, no, he made the right call,necessarily. They were saying,you know he's a good guy. Give him a break. Let's just play in this earner spot. That's what I felt like happened out of all that situation. So here's our goals about parents, as teachers, and in this case, as substitute teachers.And I should say real quickly, I have had to interact as when you're a long term teacher, you will probably have to interact with some parents. And whatever you do, don't get mad when the parents are mad, that never helps be willing to talk. I wouldn't even sometimes you have to talk negatively about their student practice on how you're going to do that. You obviously I want to stream can't say your students and just doesn't try and never does anything in class. So I mean, you might say that, I would instead say, I think sometimes Johnny might have a little bit of an issue with concentrating.I'll work with him on that.Here's what we're working with right now what we're doing in math class, in case you want to help him when he gets home. I want to make sure you understand the what we're doing for your student to make the situation better. And if you defuse things like that, it always turns out better. So as a sub, if you're in that long term relationship,that's what you do. If not find out ways to interact with their parents find out activities that they're going to be at, find out situations, ballgames activities, all that kind of stuff, interact with those parents. It's gonna make you feel so good. Because even if they don't say you're their favorite substitute at first,you might Just if you know it's the parents of a student, go ahead and introduce yourself and say I love having a student in class,I've never said a student is my favorite. I've never said a student is smart. I never say they have good grades. What I usually will say to the parents is that, you know, it's always a pleasant experience when your student is in class, because they always try to do their work, they will help out when I need some help behind the desk,they may be help other students think of ways, think of ways that every student in your room,you can think of something positive, so that if you do ever run into their, into their parents, you have something to say, I'll leave it at this. When you go to these activities,you're going to occasionally see the student walk over to their parents and speak. So now you've made the connection. Keep an eye on the student, watch them walk to their parents, you now know their parents. Well,that gives you an opportunity to interact with those parents. So what you're going to do, is maybe if you see a friend close by, you can go over and start a conversation with them. Maybe the parents overhear you and maybe even go up and say, Hey, I just saw Mary, shake your hand.I'm Greg Collins, I'm one of her substitute teachers. It's very nice to meet you. Hopefully,that student has talked about you, and they will have positive things to say. But regardless of how bad parents at, don't return the favor, try to do your best to defuse the situation. You're gonna have students that are embarrassed by the way their parents act. The other side of it, I don't know how those parents act at home. But when you have a student misbehave in class, it might be home related,we just never know. Give them the benefit of the doubt. You have to punish when you have to punish. But just remember, we don't know what's going on those kids lives. Sometimes their parents act worse than they do.And we got to realize that that might be a situation so find those extracurricular activities go to them, meet the parents,and I guarantee it's going to make your life better as a teacher and a substitute teacher.