How To Respond To An Angry Parent

How do you respond to an angry parent?

You swipe across your phone’s email app one last time before bed and there it is: that disgruntled parent email (DPE) you could have waited a lifetime to see, or at least until after your morning coffee. Whether it’s a stream of consciousness rant or a carefully numbered list of grievances, no teacher likes to see the DPE land in their inbox.

Parents get upset, of course. You teach their kids every day, they are bound to have strong feelings about the job you do. The DPE is just part of the job. So how do you respond with tact and measured grace, without groveling?

don't answer the email right away

read carefully the next day to identify what the real issue is

find something good to connect with parents on

speak the truth simply and with love

This is the toughest year of every teacher’s career. But it’s also likely the toughest parenting year, too. If nothing else, relate to your student’s parents on those terms. Be friendly. Be brief. Be gently honest. And then quit checking your email before bed…

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  1. […] your concerns appropriately. There is no need to raise red flags where they aren’t merited. Give your teacher an opportunity to offer clarification and more information before you choose to blow up their career. Trust me on this: it is the […]

  2. […] don’t want to talk about right now. You’ve got 8000 papers to grade, 4 parent emails to answer graciously, a slew of lesson plans to create, and no planning periods with which to plan. I understand that I […]

  3. […] in the parents’ shoes. Their goal and your goal are truly the same: to help their child succeed. Here’s a helpful article to bookmark for the inevitable disgruntled parent […]

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