IEP meetings can be difficult, especially when discussing the child’s disabilities with a parent. Although there is no right or wrong way to have a meeting, there are certain actions that you as a teacher can do to help the meeting run smoothly. In a recent article from Teacher Hub, Megan Mathis states, “It is our responsibility not only to continue to be honest with parents, but also to find a way to get back to a place where the parent feels like a partner in their child’s teaching team.”
Parents want to feel like they are apart of their child’s team. Including the parents in the discussion rather than just telling them what is happening in the classroom lets them open up to you. They know more about their son or daughter, let them tell you what works best.
“If you know you will be discussing problems the student is having, make sure you come with ample documentation of what the problem is.”
SEAS Achieve, which is part of the Student Performance Platform, is a plan management program to help teachers meet the specific goals of their student’s IEP. This software helps teachers get rid of paperwork, and helps improve communication with parents through a consistent interface and at-a-glance timelines.
Mathis implies that something as simple as the seating arrangement can change the whole meeting. It is a key component to keep the meeting positive. Sitting next to the parents invites them into the conversation, rather than sitting across the table.
Teachers also need to remember that parents don’t know exactly what the data about their child is telling them. Take a moment to ask them if it all makes sense and what you can do to help them understand it better.
“ By taking a minute at the end of your meeting to ask the simple question – “Are you happy with our meeting this afternoon?”?” – you may be saving yourself future headaches. ”
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