You’re a parent. Your kids arrives home from school and they seem a little blue. So you ask them if anything happened.
They might immediately tell you, or they might stew on it and tearily tell you at bedtime. Yes, something happened.
Protective instincts kick in and before you know it, you’ve banged out an angry email to the teacher, demanding answers.
The p*ssed off parent email is more common than ever. And Jo Stower, teacher of 36 years, has been on the recieving end of many, and she says please, don’t do it.
“I have a personal rule… I will never respond to that. I’ll wait 24 hours, and then call them and say ‘come in and have an interview’.”
Damn it, I’ve done that more times than I care to remember. Enough times to hang my head in shame.
Why didn’t I just sleep on it and call the next day?
I confessed to Jo that I’m the angry emailer. She says there’s a better way to handle it.
“You can type it up, but don’t press send,” she says.
“Reflect on it. Sleep on it.”
She says teachers always try and consider things from the parents perspective, and they can understand the emotion that goes into protecting your child. But if you push it too far, you’ll be labeled as a ‘chronic complainer’.
Teachers reveal the strangest comments parents have made.
She says when it comes to particularly difficult parents, Jo advises younger teachers not to see the parents by themselves and ask for a fellow staff member to sit in.
“Just to help you because it can be unnerving when someone comes on the attack.” she says.
Jo says it’s important to keep the lines of communication open between parents and teachers, and that it has to work both ways, as a partnership. Her tips on how to advocate for your child were eye-opening for me. And what struck me the most was her lingering compassion for parents and their role in raising school-age-children.
This year I pledge to remember that my children’s teachers and I are in a partnership and I will not send any angry emails. Never ever again.
Jo Stower joins me on The Parent Code podcast with tips on how to have the best parent-teacher relationship ever.
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