Keeping Mom and Dad Happy – What do parents look for during class?

Kids’ classes.

You work to pack in all the fun, encouragement, and of course, learning, that you can into each 25 or 45 minute class. For your regulars, you take the time to get to know what they like, and what keeps them coming back to you, their favourite teacher. They’re having fun and seem to like you, you muse, that’s basically the most important thing, isn’t it?

But sometimes we forget that there is another key stakeholder involved.

Your young learners’ parents.

Perhaps it’s a little nerve-wracking to consider someone else out there, silently (or not so silently) passing judgement on your teaching. But they’re the ones who enrolled your student in English lessons, who pay for them, and, from time to time, even feature in some of the lessons themselves! Their opinions and wishes are just as important as those of your student.

 

See? they’re not so scary!

We owe it to ourselves to provide an excellent level of service to them, as well. But how can we do this?

Let’s take a look:

What do Parents Want?

  • Enjoyment

No one wants to pay good money to put their child through something they hate. Learning a language should be fun and exciting!

“Oh, cool. English class again. Awesome.”

Build that rapport and give a fun, engaging experience that will keep them coming back.

Happy pupil, happy parents, right?

Obviously a key component, yet it’s not the only one…

  • Progress

Your young learner LOVES the games you play and goes nuts for that one silly voice you do. By the end they’re already desperate to see you again.

Mission accomplished?

Well, let’s not forget why we’re here. Somewhere in amongst all the fun, little Timmy and Susie should be learning some English. Between the bouts of laughter, those parents want to hear spoken English and witness some progress. You’re more than just an entertainer; challenge your pupils.

“Teacher lets me sing ‘Baby Shark’ the whole lesson, I haven’t had to think once!”

Which brings us to our bottom line:

  • Value for Money

Is there anything you do that sets you apart and provides that extra level of student care? It doesn’t have to be something big or flashy, but rather, shows you care about providing a worthwhile service.

For instance, I always leave high-quality notes that students and parents can use after class (remember, students get a PDF of lesson slides, plus notes!) This way parents have a tangible record of what we covered. Maybe you write excellent reports, or always manage to turn warm ups/vocab reviews into fun and inventive games!

It’s easy to make an entire vocabulary boardgame using the stickers as counters!

 

Parents appreciate these additional small gestures, and feel like they’re getting something ‘extra’.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

Lastly:

  • Professionalism

Show up on time, look the part, and take pride in what you do.

Off-camera, you may be wearing pyjamas and bunny slippers (no? just me? OK). But never let that stop you giving your best. For every pupil you teach, every lesson.

It’s easy to tell apart the teacher who is bored and disinterested, from the one who is passionate and enthusiastic about their work. Which one are you?

Developing your skills every day, fluffy footwear optional

 

Troubleshooting

Now, for the majority of kids’ classes, parents remain an ever-present yet remote consideration.

However, spend long enough teaching online and you will no doubt experience the full, glorious spectrum of familial behaviours, from the comical and the heart-warming, to the downright surreal. It feels great when a student excitedly pulls their bemused grandmother on camera to introduce her, less so when a younger sibling’s wailing drowns out your valiant efforts to teach “A, A, Apple!”.

“T, T, Tantrum!”

Often, when a parent does take part in your lesson, they can be a valuable teaching assistant, particularly when helping very young children to focus.

But what about when these background characters become an encroaching threat to your lesson’s success?

Two Scenarios:
(and some helpful suggestions!)

“My student has a noisy home life! They constantly speak to family members off-camera!”

Thanks to online teaching, students can take lessons anytime and anywhere to fit their schedules, but this can come with drawbacks.

Try:

  • Muting or lowering the volume of their mic when you are talking. At least now you can hear yourself think!
  • In a group lesson, muting students with distracting background noise. Unmute when you want them to speak.
  • Capturing your student’s attention and rewarding them for giving it to you. Be the most fun, exciting thing in the room!
  • Making a clear distinction between lesson time and home life. Use consistent, engaging routines and attention signals. I love using Simon Says (“touch your….”) to quickly focus attention and as a transition between activities.

 

“My student’s Mom/Dad/Grandparent answers everything for him. He never speaks for himself!”

Uhhh…which one’s my student, again?

This one depends on the age/stage of your pupil. If this helps very young or shy children be more confident, great!

When it doesn’t allow the child any opportunity to develop their own skills, it can be problematic.

Try:

  • Turn-taking: alternate between asking questions to student/parent. This way, Mom/Dad can still participate, no one feels left out, and your child can gain confidence seeing their parent model answers.
    “Amy, what is…?” “Great! Ok, Dad…”
  • Emphasising the student’s “OK, Susie!…” Your student is the one you want a response from, no one else.
  • Praising and rewarding student’s over parents’ responses. Acknowledge correct responses from Mom or Dad, if you like, but your student’s responses should elicit your most enthusiastic celebrations!

 

Have any tips of your own for keeping those parents happy? Any experiences you’d love to share? Leave a comment below!

Keep an eye out for future blog articles filled with more tips and tricks to improve your iTutorGroup experience!

 

Written By Teacher Catherine

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Michelle Brindle
✨Contributor
Michelle Brindle

This is a brilliant article! Thank you so all of the time and effort that you have clearly put into writing this. It’s appreciated.

Tracy Hughes
Consultant
Tracy Hughes

I try and ignore any interruptions and concentrate on the student, but if Mom /Dad wants to help I try and encourage her/him to do so. Sometimes very low-level children need some support. I always thank Mom/Dad for their help where appropriate. After all, if Mom and Dad are happy then, usually, so is the student. I have noticed that once the parents are comfortable with your teaching ability they tend to relax a lot and let the student shout if they need help.

J L
Consultant
J L

Thank you for posting this. I do agree that parents have all the rights to see the progress of their kids. Getting the value of the money that they’ve invested for their kids. I am pleased everytime I see parents beside them when they’re having classes. This proves that they do care for their children’s learning online. Thank you to all the parents of iTutorGroup. Much respect to them. 🙂

Brenda Singleton
Consultant
Brenda Singleton

These were great tips! I have found that some of the early learners perform better just by having the parent there for support. Some students will look at his/her parent before responding, but I have had parents encourage the student to listen and answer questions.

Emmanuel Patrick
Consultant
Emmanuel Patrick

There are key factors to consider in the given scenario, 1# physiological factor The set of strategies used by parents to put their children’s behaviors under control are called parenting styles, which can be influenced by numerous factors including socio-economic variables, cultural differences, personal characteristics, and psychological factors. These factors can differently contribute to parenting style. some parents might want to micro-manage their children this ill make the child constantly rely on what their parent has to say at every given time. even if they are in the classroom this cognitive-behavioral pattern will still repeat itself bearing that in mind… Read more »

RICARDO JAZMANY JAZAN MUÑOZ MITRE
Consultant
RICARDO JAZMANY JAZAN MUÑOZ MITRE

Great tips to remember…. Thank you! I always think that my students are my own children…this way I can give the best because I would love to have the best teachers for my own kids.
Besides that, parents are paying, we need to have that in mind all the time.

Andrea Cecilia Garcia Rivera
Consultant
Andrea Cecilia Garcia Rivera

Thank you! Absolutely, parents are very important and helpful when teaching young learners. I love when they come quickly and say hi, or baby sister shows up suddenly, it is cute! Good reminders Catherine!

Amel Abdelhamid
Consultant
Amel Abdelhamid

Great article and tips, I enjoyed reading this. Thanks!

Erlina Irahola
Consultant
Erlina Irahola

Thank you for the great tips to make our little students and their parents happy!!

Vida Hosseinpouremam
Consultant
Vida Hosseinpouremam

Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Waldo Swart
Consultant
Waldo Swart

Very helpful! Thanks

Sal
Consultant
Sal

👍👌

Paula Chacon
Consultant
Paula Chacon

Thank you very much for this. It is important of course to take into account that we are dealing with children. We cannot treat children the same way as adults. Most of the time we give our best but it results that the child doesn’t feel happy because he/she is being obliged by the parents to take the lesson, so here is where our efforts will show that we manage to make them work besides that.

Gemma
Consultant
Gemma

Thank you, this has some really useful tips 🙂

Parin Waljee
Consultant
Parin Waljee

Cool tips

Keren D'Esposito
Consultant
Keren D'Esposito

These are great tips. Thank you so much 🙂

Theona Naicker
Consultant
Theona Naicker

Great read! Yes, I do agree. Parents pay an important role in learning online. I find this especially true, when my student is distracted and the parents check in on them to get them re-focused.

Rachel Crossley
Consultant
Rachel Crossley

I think its great that parents are taking an interest in the lesson, it should not be felt as pressure. I would do exactly the same for my child especially as I am paying. I remember going to my child’s school in the UK and the teachers were soo appreciative of my genuine interest in my child’s education!

Just smile and make it a fun experience and an educational one for everyone involved!

Laurence Brooke
Consultant
Laurence Brooke

Great tips!

Joe Barfield
Consultant
Joe Barfield

Jackie, You say the family gets a pdf of the lesson deck with notes. That means they get the lesson pages with all of our final notes on it and anything the child adds, too. Right? What does this look like? Have you ever seen one? Does it just start with page 1? Or is there a cover sheet? I usually sum up what we learned on the last page. Or on a story-prep, I paste the entire story on the last page so the child can study it (IF the child or parent reviews the video). From what you… Read more »

Fran Traynor
Consultant
Fran Traynor

I’d love to see an example too please!

Gregory Fallis
Consultant
Gregory Fallis

Greetings! I also would love to understand the student side of learning in greater detail. A blog post of what the student gets would be beneficial in a product knowledge sense. It might open doors to enhancing good or discarding bad teaching approaches. Joe, great post!

Carmen Huang
Consultant
Carmen Huang

Very informative. Thank you.

Stuart Mack
Consultant
Stuart Mack

Useful advice.

Edgar Hernandez
Consultant
Edgar Hernandez

Very instructive and complete. Thank you!

Kristina
Consultant
Kristina

Very useful. Thank you.

Neetika
Consultant
Neetika

Thanks for the wonderful tips,I always appreciate when parents help specially young learners and also suggest them if they can follow up with their child about daily learnings in class.

Ivana Pejakov
Consultant
Ivana Pejakov

Thanks for these helful tips.

Darcy Langenfeld
Consultant
Darcy Langenfeld

It is absolutely right that the Parents are the ones that schedule the classes for their kids, and how important is for them to be able to see how his/her child improves learning a language. I personally find the Phonic Program to be an excellent resource to teach basis. Most importantly leaving a good detail report and inviting the parents to participate in the class will also help.

Jelena Juric
Consultant
Jelena Juric

Happy pupil, happy parents ! Great ! Thanks !

Khadijah Muhammad
Consultant
Khadijah Muhammad

It is important that parents get what they pay for. I try to think about mu own boys and what I would hope they are receiving when I send them off to school. We really do make the difference.

Elizabeth Güell
Consultant
Elizabeth Güell

These notes have been very useful because noisy environment and parents next to the children are two things I feel difdifficut to handle.
Thank you!

Delilah A. Castro-Rammos
Consultant
Delilah A. Castro-Rammos

Thank you, absolutely i will take all this under consideration.

Marva Young
Consultant
Marva Young

Great tips👍

Itzel
Consultant
Itzel

Great tips to remember 🥰

Fran Traynor
Consultant
Fran Traynor

Thanks you for these great tips! Supportive parents are such an asset to the lesson!

Demo sessiosn
Consultant
Demo sessiosn

demo Sessions are very important. explaining parents their children’s achievement and things to improve is of paramount importance because it is a didactic guide of the course to help parents understand how their kids will be working during the whole course . The difference between the acquisition of the mother tongue, in which all people would be on an equal footing, learning a second language is strongly associated with characteristics of individual variability. Not everyone learns equally quickly and intensely due to a set of both internal and external factors involved in the process. For this reason, the pre-level assessment,… Read more »

Roxanne Picher
✨Contributor
Roxanne Picher

Thanks for all these ideas!

Sara Fernandes
Consultant
Sara Fernandes

I agree! Keeping parents happy is a great way to keep students happy!

Tabita Todea
Consultant
Tabita Todea

Excellent tips! I love to engage siblings too when they are not shy. In this way students are more relaxed.

Keishla Calvo
Consultant
Keishla Calvo

Hi everyone! I must be honest, I find it funny when it is their own child that tells them to shush. That’s when I know I undoubtedly have a committed junior student.

Paul O
Consultant
Paul O

How in the world is that funny?

Paul Lobue
Consultant
Paul Lobue

Loved the suggestions … some I currently use, others I may use in the future. Thank you.

Nozizwe Rachel Masenya
Consultant
Nozizwe Rachel Masenya

Wonderful ideas,i enjoyed this topic

Gregory Fallis
Consultant
Gregory Fallis

Great article. It is empowering to know that engaging the parent(s) (to an appropriate degree) is encouraged. After all they may secretly be trying to work on their own skills too – a 2 for 1 approach to learning. It provided a great off camera, family opportunity to discuss, review and practice English as a family function. It’s brilliant.