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  • Writer's pictureBusybee Teachers

Respecting Boundaries: Why Substitute Teachers Shouldn't Discuss a Student's Behavior with Parents

Substitute teachers play an important role in the education system by ensuring continuity of learning when a permanent teacher is absent. However, when it comes to discussing a student's behavior with parents, substitute teachers should refrain from doing so. Here are some reasons why substitute teachers should not talk to parents about their child's behavior, and some suggestions on how to redirect parents to the permanent teacher.

Firstly, substitute teachers may not have a complete understanding of a student's behavior as they may only have spent a short amount of time with the class. This means that they may not have had the opportunity to observe a student's behavior in a range of situations and contexts. As a result, any feedback they provide to parents may not be accurate or comprehensive, potentially leading to misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict.

Secondly, discussing a student's behavior with parents is a sensitive matter that should be handled with care. Parents may feel defensive or upset if they hear negative feedback about their child, particularly if it is coming from someone who is not their regular teacher. Substitutes who are not familiar with the student's home situation, cultural background, or any underlying conditions that may be impacting their behavior, may inadvertently say something that is insensitive or inappropriate.

Thirdly, it is important to respect the boundaries of the educational system. Teachers are responsible for the educational and behavioral progress of their students, and substitute teachers should not overstep this boundary by discussing a student's behavior with parents. Doing so may create confusion for parents, as they may not know who to turn to if they have further concerns or questions about their child's behavior.

So, how can substitute teachers redirect parents to the permanent teacher when approached about a student's behavior? One approach is to inform the parent that they are not the permanent teacher, and that the best person to provide feedback about their child's behavior is the student's regular teacher. This could be followed up with a suggestion that the parent schedule a meeting with the regular teacher to discuss any concerns they may have.

Another approach is to offer to pass on any concerns the parent may have to the regular teacher, with the parent's permission. This could involve providing the regular teacher's contact details or passing on a message to them. This way, the regular teacher can respond directly to the parent's concerns, which may be more appropriate and effective.

Substitute teachers should avoid discussing a student's behavior with parents. Instead, they should redirect parents to the permanent teacher, who is better placed to provide accurate and comprehensive feedback about a student's behavior. By respecting the boundaries of the educational system and handling sensitive matters with care, substitute teachers can contribute to a positive and productive learning environment for all students.


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