Teachers’ Boundaries with Parents

Good teachers have good relationships with their students’ parents, as far as it is up to them. It is much easier to have good boundaries when we have a good relationship with the parents and that is why many teachers make sure their first contact with parents is a positive one, introducing themselves and relating something positive about the student. The more positive interactions with a parent, the easier it will be when we have to report something less favourable.

Some parents tend take up a lot of a teacher’s time, mistaking kindness as an invitation to unload their problems every day. When this happens, be sure to state your boundaries e.g. you only have 5 minutes to talk and enforce them e.g. at the end of 5 minutes, interrupt and say you have to go do work and close the door.

Some parents are angry. It is good to use de-escalation techniques e.g. says that you can understand how they feel and that you are sure you can come jump with a solution that works for everyone. Let them know it may take longer than the meeting today and if that is the case, you can schedule another meeting. Be sure to let parents know that you are available before and after school, but not during class time.

If the parent threatens violence, is violent or if you feel unsafe, leave the room and get help. If you think the meeting may be unsafe, ask the principal to come to the meeting or another teacher. It is ok to call 9-1-1 if needed. This is extremely unlikely and it is more likely that you and the parents will come up with a good solution and everyone will go home happy.

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