A: First of all, I have to state that I rephrased this question to begin with. The original form of the question used the words "dealing with parents". First of all, I'm not trying to assign motives to the person who created this blog challenge by any means. I simply think that "dealing with parents" can have a connotation that creates difficulties between parents and teachers. So a few pieces of advice that have been given to me and that I would give out as a teacher and a parent myself:
This point may seem like a no brainer, but I've gotten myself into trouble before when I don't make the effort. So whether you're making that initial contact before the school year begins or keeping a parent updated on their child's progress, some form of communication is a must. Multiple forms of communication are also welcome. As a parent and a teacher, I appreciate the ease of electronic communication. But I don't yet live on the computer, so more immediate forms of communication, phone calls, notes, or face-to-face talks, also work quite well for me.
I have had moments where I viewed a parent as an adversary instead of a partner. For me, I have had only a few rare occasions where a parent seemed to not have the child's best interest at heart. Sometimes, I became frustrated when I couldn't work out a problem with a parent. While attempting to resolve the situation in the best possible way, I have to remind myself that each person views the world in different ways. My thoughts or ideas may not be what will work best for a particular student. As parent, I want my child's teacher to respect my role in my child's life and not diminish my point of view. On the other hand, I hope that the teacher will be honest about how my child is learning and interacting with others and won't be tempted to make a situation sound better or worse than it truly is.
When I keep even these two concepts in the forefront of my relationships with the parents of my students, my relationships and opportunities with my students' parents are much more useful and beneficial. These benefits are not only mine, but assist each student as well.