A Principal's Guide to Managing a Parent-Teacher Dispute
23rd April 2021
It takes a big heart to shape little minds and we can trust teachers to be able to do it. Teachers have a huge responsibility of building a better future. As we all know, children are the cynosure or center of attention for all parents. Their world revolves around the well-being, proper grooming and education of their children. It is true that both teachers and parents want nothing but the best for their child. While the goal might be the same but the path towards approaching this goal may differ. It is this difference that stems from a lot of confusion, misunderstanding and dispute.
The principal is the face of any educational institution and thus shoulders a huge set of responsibilities. Therefore, he/she is the best person for resolving any kind of dispute and retaining the harmony of the institute. They have a tough job of addressing these disputes and set the things in an organized manner.
A look at some of the ways to deal such issues:
- Face-to-face meetings – Open, honest and transparent conversations are the best way to deal with such sticky situations. Teachers, parents and principal can easily understand the point of dispute or misunderstanding with the help of these meetings and conversations. There have been several instances when such meetings have led to brainstorming on ideas to reach a conclusion. These conclusions ensure that the common goal of providing children a better future remains a priority.
- Brush up your diplomatic skills – The principal’s role is extremely critical because of the need to be unbiased and see the situation rationally. It is essential that the principal identifies the problem area and addresses the same without coming across as taking sides. To be able to pull off such challenging situation, it is important to master diplomatic skills that is the need of hour. As principal, honing diplomatic skills is important not just for such situations but to ensure the overall growth of the institute.
- Bring facilitators and moderators on board – Depending on the criticality of the dispute the principal can always decide on bringing in moderators and facilitators. They are professionals who know their job and are the best people to handle these. They will help the institute create a structure and throw some light on the problem areas that exist and need change by either the institution or the parents or the students.
- Arrange quarterly parent-teacher meet ups – Parent-teacher meetings without the students' involvement in it, is the best way to understand the common goals and ways of achieving these. It is important for parents to understand teachers and their ways of imparting education and doing their job. Teachers, in turn, should be more prudent to comprehend the expectations of the parents. This will allow everyone to be on the same page when it comes to keep disputes and misunderstandings at bay and in turn shape the future of the children in a better way. However, quarterly meet-ups are also effective to stay updated. The frequency of these meetings is a decision that the principal needs to make while at the same time ensuring that there is no compromise on the productivity.
- Keep parents informed about the curriculum – Circulating brochures about the academic plan of the institute, sending curriculums annually or bi-annually is also a great way of keeping parents involved about what is happening with their children. It gives a lot of scope for improvement and room for suggestion that help in understanding and incorporating modifications if required.
Positive and productive communication between parents and teachers is the best way to ensure a child's progress. A principal plays the key role of bridging the gap between parents and teachers by creating a healthy environment for children to grow into responsible, self-dependent and confident individuals.
Written By : Subhankar Mukherjee