Handling a Parent Interruption During Classroom Time!!
Parent interruptions are an issue for Andrea who has two years of teaching experience in Alberta, Canada. Here's her question.
Honey, what do I say and do to a parent, usually a mother, who appears at my door with a concern, that she says will only take a minute, as my students are coming into my classroom first thing in the morning?
Andrea, you know as well as I do, it NEVER takes a minute!
First thing in the morning is just as busy as at the end of the day. You know what you have planned for the morning and the day - bell work, agenda, finishing up work, morning announcements, preparation, etc.
Have the parent enter the classroom, just to the doorway, so you can supervise your students. Try not to give the parent too much attention without being rude.
Tell the parent that you and your students have a busy day ahead and ask if he/she can write their concern in their child's agenda and/or if you can call back at recess.
Inform him/her that you want to give them your undivided attention, but obviously this isn't a good time.
If the parent is still persistent, have them wait and instruct your students first and then address their concern.
After briefly addressing their concern (one to two minutes tops) say "Thanks for bringing this to my attention, but, next time please write a note in your child's agenda. Have a good day".
Of course, if its a parent you know - you can joke around, "Okay, one minute ... go". Of course it's a parent you know, they wouldn't do this in the first place since they know better.
Now get some more tips on dealing with a parent interruption by watching this short video, part of the teaching seminar I held for student teachers at York University in Toronto, where I brainstormed this issue with them.
Andrea, hopefully this helps you out. Remember, talking to parents in person or on the phone is truly an art. With time, experience, and my website, you too will be successful in this facet of teacher parent communication.