Reply To: Conflict Resolution – Parents/Students
Every person I know and trust in the profession has stories about taking over a program and dealing with “how things used to be”. It isn’t easy, but I echo John’s advice to be polite, honest, nice and FIRM. I think acknowledging and admitting that you are in no way the person who was there before is key. Having a conversation with students and their parents to “clear the air” is also vital.
I took over for a teacher who treated music class like a party and I am in no way that teacher. Students came into a transformed band room, it was a disgusting mess before, and a teacher who expected a lot more from students in the areas of responsibility, musicality and respect. I like to think that I balance everything by being approachable but at times students will have problems approaching me. With these students I try to approach them and make sure there aren’t any unaddressed problems. Never in a closed room one-on-one though.
Overall, know your vision for the program so you can recite it to anyone at the drop of a hat, listen to parent/student concerns without being combative and at the same time respectfully defend and hold to your ideals as a teacher. And if they do not like it they do not have to take the class. It sounds like your admin supports this.