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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Are "School Hours" a novel concept?
Old 10-13-2019, 06:04 PM
 
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The school is open at certain times. These are called "school hours." Many businesses actually have them as well. Assuming most of our parents went to school themselves, they should have at least a passing awareness that, when the school day is done, the staff go home and the doors get locked. Right?

Apparently not the parent who contacted me this week to request a meeting. In her first e-mail, she didn't provide any framework or time frame for the meeting. Foolishly, I responded asking when she had it in mind to come in. She responded along the lines of, "I don't get off work until after 5 p.m. most days, and I work about 30 minutes from the school. So..."

Okay. So I'm not at school at 6 p.m. I get to school at between 7 and 7:30 most mornings and leave between 4 and 4:30.

Undeterred, the parent responds, "I completely understand that your normal hours of work are 8 until 4 p.m." Oh... good. Glad we cleared that up. But I didn't finish reading. The parent goes on to write something along the lines of, "I understand it will be necessary to give you lots of notice so you can arrange to stay beyond your normal leaving time. I realize you may not be able to accommodate my request on short notice. Could you give me a sense of how long it would take for you to arrange to meet during the week at 6 p.m.? Any time during the month of October would be perfectly fine." The parent finished with the ever popular, "I look forward to hearing from you" (a phrase I know used to be common in some business letters, but which I always think comes across as a bit demanding / coercive).

Oh dear. Perhaps I failed to get my point across. How did the parent interpret "I'm here until 4:30" to mean "I will meet you at 6 p.m. with sufficient notice." The school is not open at 6 p.m. You'd be hard pressed to find ANY school open at 6 p.m. Sorry. If you can't leave work, then arrange to call me on your lunch break and we can talk by phone.

The parent got a bit snippy (it can be hard to judge tone in an e-mail, but I'm pretty sure snippy is the appropriate descriptor) and suggested a Saturday. Seriously? Now they're just getting silly. When I pointed out that the school is DEFINITELY closed on Saturday and that we don't meet with parents on the weekend, she responded, "I understand that the school is not open on Saturday. I would be open to a Skype call on a Saturday. Early afternoon would be ideal. Please let me know if this will work for you." And another, "I look forward to hearing from you."

Do you ever wonder if you're being "punked" by some of these people? This can't possibly be a serious request. It got certainly got a good laugh in the staff room at lunch on Friday. One teacher commented at this parent has been known to demand 6 p.m. meetings from other staff. When I asked how he handled it, he looked embarrassed and said, "Well, I coach football in the evenings, so I used to skip out of football practice and meet with her between 6 and 6:30." Oh... so this is YOUR fault. You gave the mouse a cookie, and now she expects a glass of milk.


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Old 10-13-2019, 06:15 PM
 
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Oh... so this is YOUR fault. You gave the mouse a cookie, and now she expects a glass of milk.
I used to be that teacher. I have a very flexible life, and I had a tendency to prefer to stay late to catch up on work or plan ahead than to go home and work on it. So if a parent wanted to meet at 6, I'd say sure because "Why not? I'm at school anyway." I also answered emails 24/7 because it felt easier to deal with a question that evening while sitting on the couch watching TV or while riding in the passenger seat with DH driving than to deal with it the next day when I'd have a bunch of other things to do.

The "why not?" became obvious relatively quickly when my generous willingness to be flexible and responsive became something that they felt entitled to. So I stopped being generous.
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:19 PM
 
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Do you ever wonder if you're being "punked" by some of these people?
Yes!

I had that very thought when a parent asked me to not tell their child to please stop talking when I am teaching-he is sensitive and it will hurt his feelings.

wait...when is someone gonna say "gotcha"...

I had another parent who asked if I would do their parent teacher conference on a Saturday since, you know, she didnt show up to back to school night and missed the chance to sign up for one of the night conferences and now they are full . So let me get this straight-I was here at 6:30 at night to meet with parents...during the time you are available...and I made a sign up sheet with even more night time slots so that parents who work can have every opportunity to come in...and you didn't bother to come in and sign up, which means that eventually all those times were taken...and then just a dash of time before conference week, when you get around to actually reading my email about scheduling a conference during the time slots that are left, you now decide that I should make myself available on a Saturday...and When I say no, you go to the P... seriously where are the hidden cameras because this has to be a joke!
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Oh yes.
Old 10-13-2019, 07:50 PM
 
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I had a parent request to meet with me after 3 tomorrow which is a no attendance day or- after 7pm any evening this week. I offered a conference scheduled on our conference day instead. We will see how that turns out.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:43 AM
 
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I would not give in. I would keep replying the last meeting time is at 4:30. We can have a phone conference if that does not work for you. The teachers in my building will only meet during school hours. The meeting can run past the end of day time, but you must meet during our school hours.


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Never
Old 10-14-2019, 03:46 AM
 
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This is my 27th year and I canít recall a parent ever asking if we could meet as late as 5 pm or on a weekend.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:00 AM
 
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If she is open to Skype, why can't she Skype during her lunch hour on a regular school day?


Also, what does she do? I would be so tempted to have someone contact her office and ask to have a meeting with her after her normal working hours, like maybe 7 p.m. or later, after all they work until 5:30 and depending on traffic it might take up to an hour for them to get there, so 7 pm to be on the safe side, in case of an accident that interferes with the drive. I know all the people I need to see on a regular basis, like my doctor and dentist, are more than happy to arrange their schedule around mine (NOT).
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Conference
Old 10-14-2019, 06:32 AM
 
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What about a phone conference at 4 pm during the week? Or before school...even better because there is limited time!
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Ridiculous
Old 10-14-2019, 07:55 AM
 
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I agree with a previous poster that everyone has a lunch break and she should call you during that time especially if she requested this meeting. I can't believe she would even think to request a Saturday
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late meeting
Old 10-14-2019, 08:21 AM
 
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Oh... so this is YOUR fault. You gave the mouse a cookie, and now she expects a glass of milk.
I laughed so hard at this line I almost choked!

When did it stop being the parents who time off from work for meetings at school?

The "everything available 24-7" nature of our society is slowly beating respect and common sense to death.

If the building is closed, the building is closed.

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I had that very thought when a parent asked me to not tell their child to please stop talking when I am teaching-he is sensitive and it will hurt his feelings.
I can't even... I'd be looking for the hidden camera, too!


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Dish it right back to her:
Old 10-14-2019, 08:49 AM
 
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Send this reply to her!

"I understand it will be necessary for you to give lots of notice to your supervisor so you can arrange to leave your job during your normal working hours to meet here, at your child's school, for your requested conference. I realize your supervisor may not be able to accommodate your request on short notice. You may feel free to give me a sense of how long it would take for you to arrange such accommodations. Meeting here during the month of October would be perfectly fine. I look forward to hearing from you in regards to confirming a conference during my professional working hours."

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Old 10-14-2019, 09:29 AM
 
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LazyLake, love your response!
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Old 10-14-2019, 12:55 PM
 
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Use Lazylakeís idea. I love it!

We are not allowed to meet a parent when the school is closed. Donít give in!
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:03 AM
 
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2 or 3 years ago I had a parent who never answered the phone at the time we scheduled a call. I had 3 times during the school day where I could make a phone call. In my email response, I'd say that those were the times I'm available for a phone call.

There has <got> to be one of those times that can coincide with a few minutes that the parent should make the time to speak about their child.

(Love your use of the word 'punked'. I remember that MTV show well and can also swear there are times when that's happening to me. Just like the Candid Camera show my family enjoyed when I was just a small child.)
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:15 AM
 
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LazyLake, thatís downright brilliant!
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Most of the time I agree.
Old 10-15-2019, 08:30 AM
 
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I occasionally stay late to meet with a parent, but I've never had a parent demand it. And conferences are scheduled until 6pm.
On the other hand, my kids' school will NOT schedule conferences after 4pm. One time I asked, and the teacher told me "I can meet with you at 8:30". Well, since I am a teacher, just like you, I have to be at work at that time, so that doesn't work.
So I never, ever get to go to my own children's conferences.
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:52 PM
 
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Nope. Take some personal time off like the rest of us when we need to attend conferences or other appointments. Most primary doctors don't even have early/late hours anymore because there are many more urgent care facilities and regular appointments are scheduled with plenty of time to request PTO.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:19 PM
 
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I've never had a parent request a Saturday nor staying late!

I would simply say, I can meet before school at ___(time)______ or during my planning time at ___(time)_____ or we can Skype during one of those times, if that works better for you. What day works best for you?"

What is her job? Is she unable to meet/talk at all during the day?

If you're afraid it will turn into a fight (which will make it worse), just call her at 6pm. I would NOT meet her at school that late.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:09 PM
 
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I've had parents like this. I used to be more accommodating if it was fairly close to contract hours. For example, if they wanted to meet like 30 minutes earlier than I was supposed to be there, that felt like not a hill to die on. Then I discovered that the people most likely to request a different meeting time are the same people who don't show up for meetings . Almost every time I came in early for a parent, they didn't show.

I had a student on my caseload for a few years whose parent was very challenging to work with. Two years ago, she requested an early meeting and I accommodated because it was only 30 minutes earlier. She didn't show and we ended up doing the meeting over the phone when I called her at about 7:15- where she stated she'd told her work she'd be in at 9 in case the meeting ran late.

The next year, I gave her TWO MONTHS notice of the child's IEP meeting. She stated that she could not come to any meetings unless they were either at 7 AM or 6 PM. Our contract hours at the time were 8-4. I told her those were our working hours and that we couldn't be able to accommodate a meeting outside of that. With two months notice, surely she could get the time off work. I could maybe understand if this was someone working under the table and had a true fear of being fired or something like that. Nope, she worked in a hospital. We ended up doing the meeting over the phone at her lunch time.

Besides the fact that I'm typically not there after contract hours (unless I'm tutoring, which is paid), I think it's just so disrespectful that parents think this way. Would you insist that your Dr. meet with you after their working hours? Your dentist? No, you figure out how to make an appointment work during their business hours. To treat teachers differently shows a lack of respect for us as professionals.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:56 PM
 
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Would you insist that your Dr. meet with you after their working hours? Your dentist? No, you figure out how to make an appointment work during their business hours. To treat teachers differently shows a lack of respect for us as professionals.
Exactly!

The problem is that people can now go to the Minute Clinic at any time of day, or find a dentist who chooses to work evenings instead of traditional hours. - They don't get that teachers can't just shift their hours on a whim.

Our "24-7" society is really spoiling people.
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