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What To Do When You Disagree

Conflict Between Teacher and Parents

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Conflicts tend to be a part of our lives and for the most part, they're often inevitable. Dealing with conflict and disagreement effectively is half the battle and can create positive outcomes. However, when conflict and disagreement is handled inappropriately, the outcome can be destructive and are rarely in the best interest of either party. Conflict and or disagreement between a school staff member(s) and the parent(s) of a special needs child tends to occur more frequently as the parent is aware of the child's unique needs and places increased pressure on staff for additional support. Additional supports place additional demands on educators in a system that faces cutbacks, fewer resources and less qualified support staff. Reacting negatively or loudly and aggressively or sitting back and saying nothing are two responses that rarely lead to a positive outcome.

Strategies For Handling Conflicts and Disagreements

  • Parents and school staff members must work closely together to address the issues.
  • It is essential for both parties to realize that the goals for the child are 'shared goals'. Both must agree that the child's interest comes first.
  • Avoid confrontation and deal specifically with solutions to the identified issues and be prepared to offer alternatives.
  • Always deal with the issues not the emotions and the people involved.
  • Decide on what you can compromise on, effective resolution usually requires some form of compromise on both parties behalf.
  • Be sure that your expectations are realistic and reasonable.
  • Specify both long term and short term goals and state when a follow up visit should occur.
  • Both parties need to commit to the recommended solutions and agree jointly.
  • Both parties must rely on each other, it is therefore essential to work out differences and work together regardless of how sensitive the issue is.

  • Differences must be resolved - it is in the best interest of the child to do so. Remember, sometimes a disagreement occurs as a direct result of misunderstanding. Always clarify the issues at hand.

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