10.2 Scoring “There are challenges at work”


Scoring guide for work

Here’s how it is scored:

    • High Acknowledges the empathetic opportunity directly and also asks a follow up question about the empathetic opportunity, affirms the parent, focuses on their partnership, legitimizes the concern or child’s behavior, offers support related to the concern, or self-discloses a similar challenge or experience.
      • Note 1: Direct acknowledgement can include asking about the opportunity, reassuring the parent, restating a key word from the concern, or connecting to the purpose (if relevant).
      • Note 2: Partnership includes collaborative statements that are somehow connected to what the parent was sharing and an explicit focus on being partners. Partnership does not include telling parent what to do, saying we will meet again; using “we” alone is not enough either. Legitimizes means normalizes like “This happens to so many kids,” and “I can understand why you would be worried.” Affirm includes thanking the parent for sharing the empathetic opportunity, complimenting a specific idea the parent shared, and complimenting the parent’s parenting.
      • Note 3: A combination of a question about the empathetic opportunity followed by listening and reassurance/ direct response to new content shared counts as high too.
    • Medium Acknowledges the empathetic opportunity directly, but does not follow up on the opportunity, or a high/low.
      • Note 1: Direct acknowledgement can include clarifying or probing questions about the opportunity, reassuring the parent, restating a key word from the concern, or connecting to the purpose (if relevant).
      • Note 2: Not following up on the opportunity includes ending after acknowledgement, or after acknowledgement asking a question about the child or something unrelated or pivoting to next steps for the plan.
      • Note 3: A high/low is where there is an attempt to reassure related to the emotional opportunity, support the parent, or to thank them for sharing the empathetic content (e.g., not for sharing an idea or their parenting, but for sharing their concern), but the acknowledgement is indirect (present but not explicit).
    • Low Does not directly or fully acknowledge empathetic opportunity.
      • Note: This includes ignoring what the parent said, asking a question about something unrelated to the emotional content shared, focusing exclusively on the child, or responding in a perfunctory fashion before moving on (Okay, I see, sure)


Now, let’s see what that looks like in practice!

If the participant says….Challenges at work? And you think that this might be affecting Katie some way?

They would be scored… Low

Because… The task here is really for the teacher to respond to the parent as a human– not an extension of their child and here the teacher has made it clear that they see the parent only through the lens of the child. A teacher’s job is too teacher the child, not the parent, but they need a strong home-school partnership to do that and denying the parent’s personhood is unlikely to build that partnership. Specifically, the teacher is ignoring the empathetic opportunity.


If the participant says….Right. Kids are definitely perceptive. And I think that might make a little bit more sense. Maybe Katie’s sensing more stress at home, and so she’s bringing some stress into the class, which is totally normal, and also, I think third grade is a big transition period, especially for girls, because they’re entering like the latter half of elementary school.

They would be scored… Low

Because… Here again the teacher is missing the empathetic opportunity. The parent is sharing about their work and the teacher is telling the parent what their child might be noticing.


If the participant says….Why? What type of challenges is she facing at home?.. I’m really sorry to hear that. Okay, um, yeah, you never know what stresses might be causing this… Does that sound like a good thing?

They would be scored… Medium

Because… This one is so much closer! When the parent goes on to talk about lay offs (in the … section), the teacher says I’m sorry, acknowledging the empathetic opportunity directly. But the teacher only follows up about the child, not about the parent and so this is only a medium.


If the participant says….Well, I’m very sorry to hear that. I hope I hope the situation gets better….But But you know, I think I think it’s really important not to, you know not not to not to put all the weight on yourself. Like, like I said, you know, high, you know, high school is a difficult time. And the thing that I really want to work with you with is, you know, working together to make sure that Katie, you know, is having the, the best support she can and so from my

They would be scored… High

Because… Here the teacher is directly acknowledging what the parent shared and following up by affirming the parent’s parenting and trying to make them feel better. The teacher is reacting to the parent as a human, not just an extension of their child and so this is scored as a high.


If the participant says…. I’m so sorry to hear that. Is there anything that I can do to?

They would be scored…High

Because… We do want new teachers to have boundaries, but the point of this item is to help teachers learn to respond to parents as humans and not to go over boundaries. This teacher is clearly seeing and responding to the parent as a person– they are acknowledging the empathetic opportunity and following up on it.


Now it’s your turn! You have one last practice quiz left for this module so go ahead and try it out!