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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Angelo
 
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Beating Around the Bush
Old 05-11-2019, 06:54 AM
 
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I've vented about this before, but this seemed to be my week for parents and students who "beat around the bush." And it was a busy week otherwise, so I didn't have time for it.

The way this works is that a parent (or sometimes the student himself) knows the "ask" will come across as unreasonable, so they don't actually ask. They just beat around the bush and beat around the bush and wring their hands in anguish in the hope that I will relent and suggest what they really want. It's annoying as hell, but as an academic counselor.

It usually begins with the parent (or student) asking for my "help" or "advice" about a situation. It's usually that the student is "stressed" or "overwhelmed" or "anxious" (aren't we all?). 9 times out of 10, what they are looking for is to be excused from some class work or permitted to turn it in late without penalty. "We're just wondering if you can think of any solutions to this problem. He's really stressed." I don't take the bait. I say, "Sure. I'm happy to talk to him about managing positive strategies for managing stress." Clearly, the "ask" is for me to go "lawyer" for the student to the teachers and negotiate exemptions and re-tests and extensions. Sorry, I'm a counselor, not a lawyer. I respect the teachers' autonomy in their courses and trust in their judgment and reasonableness. The parent (or student) knows that asking outright for me to do this is not reasonable, so they hope that by beating around the bush and politely explaining why all my other suggestions are inadequate or won't work, I'll eventually sigh and agree to approach all the teachers and ask for Junior to be excused from some of the assignments he's fallen behind with. Not doing it.

I had a student this week who had been ill much earlier in the year and claims he never caught up. He kept talking about how "overwhelmed" and "stressed" he was and clearly wanted me to say it was okay for him not to submit a major essay for one of his courses (which is now a week overdue). Of course he didn't come out and say it. He just kept saying things like, "Is there anything I can do about this situation?" and "Can you think of anything?" I said, "I'm not sure what solution you're hoping I can come up with. I spoke to your teacher, and she's not going to take a late penalty, but she does need the essay. It's a major part of the course. She can't just not count it." His face fell. Moreover, I can't count the number of parents who try to corner me into making some commitment on behalf of a teacher.


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Old 05-11-2019, 08:40 AM
 
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Good for you for holding the line, Angelo. I always enjoy your anecdotes, and I take particular pleasure in reading how you refuse to capitulate to these entitled brats (and their offspring).
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beating around the bush
Old 05-11-2019, 09:00 AM
 
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Quote:
I spoke to your teacher, and she's not going to take a late penalty, but she does need the essay.
I think this is very reasonable! It's a shame the kid can't see this. I hate it imagine what he'll be like in the workforce when bosses sometimes aren't so lenient.
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