Share specific concerns

Clear, direct communication is a big part of tackling difficult conversations. As you describe your concern, provide context, be direct, and share specific facts. Try to set aside your own feelings about the student’s behaviour or academic struggles. Share relevant examples of what you’re seeing. Explain any steps you’ve already taken to try to address the concern.

Use sentence starters such as:

  • I’d like to share something that happened during [subject/time period] today to get your take on it and how we might address it.
  • Today during [subject/time period], [student] really struggled with [behaviour/skill]. In the moment, we handled it by…
  • I’m reaching out to ask for your help with better understanding [student]’s challenges with…

Suggested approach

  • Express how you view the situation, what you think is the main issue that needs to be resolved, and why you’ve reached that conclusion.
  • Follow this up by telling the other person exactly what you hope to get out of your conversation with them.
  • Do you want an action plan for the student, regular meetings with the parent, professional development or support from a member of the school’s executive team, or some other actionable agreement?

This will help everyone involved to get on the same page about the issues and to develop a clear vision of how to proceed.

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