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Just Stop Arguing! Please!

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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Just Stop Arguing! Please!
Old 09-07-2019, 03:54 PM
 
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Major pet peeve: parents who call and e-mail to repeat a request (more forcefully) that I have already denied when their kid asked it. When the student asks for something that is not possible, either as a matter of policy or practicality, I try to explain the reason or reasons. They may not LIKE the reason or reasons, but the answer is ironclad and grounded in policy. For example, people tend not to like to hear that I have to say no, because to say yes to one would mean having to say yes to all, and we'd be inundated with similar requests, so the school sets limits preemptively. Whether or not they LIKE that answer, it happens to be true, valid, and frequently necessary.

Part of my job is timetabling. Our school's most recent teacher contract has set a hard limit on class sizes. I cannot add a student to a full class. I cannot increase the capacity from 25 to 26 to accommodate a student request for a full class. I am not empowered to do it, and those who are empowered will not do it. If I try to add a student to a full class, I get an error message from the computer system. There is no override.

No matter how much I explain this to some students and parents, there are those who apparently think it they argue passionately, persistently, and loudly enough, I will somehow gain the magical ability to make the student the 26th man in a class of 25. I have explained that I cannot do it. I have explained that the school will not permit it. I have SHOWN students the error message on the screen when it comes up. I have explained to parents that it's not a question of "convincing" me. I CANNOT PHYSICALLY DO IT. THERE IS NO OVERRIDE.

I had one student whose dad called me THREE freaking times and sent me two separate e-mails trying to explain why his son NEEDED to be in a full class, why it would be good for his education, and why it would be in his best interest.

On the third call, where he repeated the same passionate argument for his son to be allowed to take the class (which he had made on multiple earlier calls and e-mails), I finally lost my patience and said something to the effect of "I've now explained this to you many times, and I'm through explaining it. I CANNOT DO WHAT YOU ARE ASKING! It's not a question of whether I want to or of your convincing me. I CANNOT DO IT. I don't know what else to tell you." He replied, "Well, there's no need to be rude about it." He then said, "I own a business that employs over 300 people. One thing I never accept from the people that work for me is 'I can't' or 'We can't'. Every problem has a solution. Sometimes you need to be creative and think outside the box." I said, "Well, I'm not your employee. And in this case, there is no 'creative solution.' I cannot do what you're asking. I'm sorry, but that's the last time I'm going to say it." He then suggested I started calling in all the students in that class and asking them one by one if they'd be willing to switch classes to make room for his son. When I said, "No. I'm not doing that," he got irritated and asked for a list of the students in the class so he and his wife could reach out to them and their parents and ask someone to show compassion and drop the class in favor of his son. And... again... no. So much no. All the no.


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Old 09-07-2019, 04:08 PM
 
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In the words of The Rolling Stones,”You can’t always get what you want...”
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Stop arguing
Old 09-07-2019, 04:20 PM
 
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Wow...that one might take the cake. Please call all the students - gosh why wouldn’t you?��

That said, my DD works in a pricey private school in kindergarten. School has been in session for 4 days. Child X’s mom has already sent epic length emails. She believes her son is having separation anxiety. Truth is, she’s the one refusing to let him go.

She asked if she and son could come in Monday to practice the morning work together.....with no other students in the room. She does not understand why this is such a ludicrous request.

BTW, she used to teach 2nd grade.

So, it starts in kindergarten.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:49 PM
 
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How rude of this parent, especially asking for a list of parents/students. I can just imagine if he had a call to him asking him to have his child move classes. You Angelo are a saint to be nice and polite to these screwballs.
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Crazy over the top parent
Old 09-07-2019, 07:17 PM
 
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Maybe if you gave him a list of students in the class, he could call and offer them $$$$$ to change classes so his son could take the spot.


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Patience of a saint
Old 09-08-2019, 02:11 PM
 
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I am afraid I would lose my temper so often with those parents.
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Wow, just wow
Old 09-10-2019, 03:37 PM
 
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This is when you have to start repeating yourself in short sentences.

“No, as I have said, I cannot grant your request, for the reasons I have previously stated.”

Rinse, repeat.

And calling other students? The nerve of some people!
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Schedule
Old 09-10-2019, 09:36 PM
 
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Quote:
When I said, "No. I'm not doing that," he got irritated and asked for a list of the students in the class so he and his wife could reach out to them and their parents and ask someone to show compassion and drop the class in favor of his son. And... again... no. So much no. All the no.
Imagine getting a phonecall like that . Completely inappropriate!
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Yikes!
Old 09-11-2019, 02:47 AM
 
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Quote:
He then suggested I started calling in all the students in that class and asking them one by one if they'd be willing to switch classes to make room for his son. When I said, "No. I'm not doing that," he got irritated and asked for a list of the students in the class so he and his wife could reach out to them and their parents and ask someone to show compassion and drop the class in favor of his son.
I am stunned at the level of entitlement we have reached.

Quote:
Maybe if you gave him a list of students in the class, he could call and offer them $$$$$ to change classes so his son could take the spot.
Probably would.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:01 AM
 
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I realize this isn’t the same thing, but we had an issues with “preferential seating.” When half the class has it, no one has it.


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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Again!
Old 09-11-2019, 04:03 AM
 
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Got another one yesterday.

Student: Can I switch into Period 5 Geography?
Me: No, it’s full. What’s wrong with Period 2 Geography?
Student: All my friends are in Period 5.
Me: Well, like I say, it’s full to capacity. No more seats. You’ll have to make some friends in a Period 2.
Student: My mom wants you to call her on her cell phone.
Me: Okay. About what?
Student: About switching me to Period 5 Geography.
Me: I just told you it’s full. Calling won’t make a full class not full.
Student: *shrug* She said if you say no to let her know and she’ll talk to you herself.
Me: For what reason? So I can tell her the same thing I just told you? It’s full.
Student: It’s important to me.
Me: What’s important to you?
Student: Switching into a Period 5.
Me: Okay, but I just explained it’s full. I’m not able to add students to a full class. There’s no override button I can push. It can’t be done.
Student: *shrug* Can you just call my mom? She wants to talk to you about it.
Me: About getting you into a full class, which I just explained can’t be done.
Student: *shrug*

*Editorial note: I’m not normally triggered by adolescent body language, but I’ll admit all the shrugging is starting to annoy me.*

Student: My mom says if it’s important to me, she’ll help me get into the class.
Me: *speaking very slowly* But... the... class... is... FULL. As in... no... more... seats.
Student: *shrugs* Can you just speak to my mom? This is important to me.
Me: Are we doing a bit here?
Student: Huh?
Me: A bit... a comedy routine... it’s starting to feel like an improv scene gone wrong... oh... it doesn’t matter. Have a good rest of your day.
Student: So... you’re going to call my mom?
Me: *closing my eyes, cleansing breath*
Student: Ummmm... can I wait here while you talk to her?

When I finally spoke to the mom (student texted her and my phone rang a minute later), she kept repeating that it was “important to him” to switch, that he’s an introvert who has a hard time connecting with new people, that the other teacher is “a better fit for his learning style” (he’d never had either teacher before — she was basing this point on rumors from other students and parents) and on and on. When I’d explain that the class is full and there’s nothing I can do about it, she’d say, “Yes, I understand that, but...”

Do you understand? Do you really? Because I feel like if you really understood the concepts full and nothing I can do about it, you’d stop talking.
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I sincerely hope...
Old 09-11-2019, 05:40 AM
 
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...that your admin supports you in the concepts of "full" and "nothing I can do" because it will only take one exception and your phone will never stop ringing (not that it does now)
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:47 AM
 
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Geez.
I sure hope you get a large salary. There's no way I could/would do your job.

In general, I'm a patient person. Things like this would not go well with me.

As far as the shoulder shrug, it happens all the time where I work. You may have noticed that the student wasn't even listening to you. He was just waiting for you to pause so he could repeat "....call my mom..."
Most teens aren't capable of hearing anything opposite of what they're looking for.
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Weird
Old 09-11-2019, 09:00 PM
 
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I teach elementary school and we have parents contact us to set up play dates for the little angels. This happened just last week to my team mate and last year to me over Christmas break! Oh, Sure I have no family or friends and just sit around on holidays waiting to be a personal assistant to parents. Or they ask is for the whole class list so they can find a friend for their kid. This is fourth-grade! Maybe the reason they have no friends is because their mom is always hovering.
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Forget elementary
Old 09-12-2019, 03:57 AM
 
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70Primrose: Oh yes. We get parents in HIGH SCHOOL who expect us to arrange play dates for their sons. I have one mom who’s been complaining for two years that our school isn’t doing enough to bring her son out of his shell and make more friends. He’s a Junior in high school, and she still thinks it’s the responsibility of adults in his life to arrange friendships for him (because adult management of these things works out so well with adolescents... not). I told the kid to join a club. He’s now joined three. Not good enough, according to mom. She keeps saying “he has no friends” and that her “heart is breaking for him” and on and on and then looks at me sharply as though waiting to hear what I’m going to do about it. I’ve pointed out till I’m blue in the face that he has friends at school and that he never eats lunch alone. She says, “That’s fine, but no other kids ever come to our home. He’s never invited to anyone else’s home. He sits home alone all weekend, every weekend.” What the F does she expect a school counselor to do about whether or not kids come to her home? Am I supposed to drive to their houses on Saturday, pick them up, and drop them off? I meet with her son regularly to check in on how he’s doing / feeling. Mom says, “Talk, talk, talk... what good is that? He needs FRIENDS! He needs to socialize! This is not normal!” I’ve said, if you’re worried, take him to a psychologist. I’m just a school counselor. She says, “We’ve tried two psychologists! He refuses to go! He just needs some FRIENDS. Why can’t you help him with that? I need help with my son!” And when I explain that schools can’t be responsible for managing the social lives of kids on the weekend, she goes back to running down our school and staff and bewailing the fact that we are so cold and uncaring. Oh... and at least three times a year, she comes in with a new list of kids she alleges are “bullying” her son and demands that I investigate (even though I’ve told her to take those reports to the Head of School).

And the kid I referenced in the thread above? What really drove up my blood pressure was when he asked if he could sit and wait while I talked to his mom. He fully expected that, by the time his mom”got through with me,” he’d be walking out with a revised timetable indicating Period 5 Geography.
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Friends
Old 09-12-2019, 07:36 AM
 
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Is there a polite way you can tell the friends obsessed mom that maybe, just maybe, her son is an introvert? Another possibility is her over the top insistence completely inhibits any teen friendship from EVER developing!
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