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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Angelo
 
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Sunday Evening E-mails
Old 01-12-2020, 07:49 PM
 
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I've vented about this before, but what is it about Sunday night that inclines some parents to sit down at their keyboards and author missives to their (high school aged) kids' academic counselor? When these messages come, they seem to come in droves, and then I have to spend Monday morning wading through nonsense and talking people off ledges over practically nothing or explaining that nothing of what they're asking me falls anywhere near the range of my responsibilities.

Generally speaking, you can sort these messages into a few broad categories.

There's the "soul searching" e-mail generally sent after 9 p.m. on Sunday. It's almost exclusively from the mom. It's a rambling, dramatic missive generally culminating on how hard parenting is, and how "I just don't know what to do with him!", and wondering if she and dad can sit down with me to figure out how to "help" Junior. In many cases, the inciting incident is so minor, I shouldn't even be involved in it, let alone sitting down for a pow wow with mom and dad to "strategize" (a popular word) about "how to help him" which usually means the mom wants me to take over the heavy lifting for a while and follow Junior around school and make him do what the parents want. It may be that he got a B+ instead of an A on his most recent report card, and now his entire future, once so bright and promising, is crumbling around him. Or he turned in an assignment a couple of days late. Or high school is so hard, and he's feeling "stressed" and mom doesn't know what to do. If I agree to meet with Junior, he's often confused about the purpose of the meeting and questions why he needs a guidance appointment. I'm often likewise confused. The best part is that, if I agree to the meeting with mom and/or dad, they don't even invite Junior to the meeting or even understand the purpose of inviting him. The grown ups are going to sit down and figure out his life for him.

Then there are the "consequence" e-mails. They seem to come at the end of a weekend of shouting and fighting at home. I have the distinct impression that the e-mail to me is a "consequence" for Junior not meeting his responsibilities somewhere down the line. "You're a lazy bum, and since you can't get off your @$$ and appreciate the expensive private school education we're paying for, we're writing to your counselor! Maybe he can straighten you out! Are you embarrassed? We hope so!" Not generally very helpful, in my experience.

Then there are the "suggestions" messages. They almost always include some variation on the phrase, "We're just wondering if you have any suggestions on how we might handle this." This almost NEVER an authentic request for suggestions. This is almost always an attempt to get the one outcome they want (but know it sounds unreasonable if they come out and ask, so they beat around the bush and ask for "suggestions" -- if I were to provide actual "suggestions" other than the outcome they want, they'd promptly get annoyed and shoot them all down one by one):

"Dear Mr. Angelo, Our son, Junior, has a project due tomorrow in English class. His teacher, Mr. Smith, has indicated that there will be no extensions for this assignment. We acknowledge that Junior should have been more proactive in completing this work, but he seems to be genuinely coming down with a fever this evening and won't be able to attend school tomorrow or finish this work tonight. We understand the grade for this project will be a major component of the term assessment. We have sent two messages to Mr. Smith, but he has not responded to either one. We wonder if you have any suggestions as to what the next steps might be. Thank you."

Why would any of this have anything to do with the purview of the academic counselor? The teacher hasn't responded because it's the weekend, and he's off the clock, and so am I. Clearly, the parent wants me to step in and assure them that I will "lawyer" for the student and smooth things over with the teacher and arrange an extension on Junior's behalf notwithstanding the teacher's warning. That. Is. Not. My. Role. So... NO.

Or this one.

"Dear Mr. Angelo, Our son seems to be experiencing a personality conflict with his Math teacher, Mrs. Jones. *blathers on for two paragraphs about why Junior is an angel and Mrs. Jones is mean and a bad fit for Junior's learning style* We just wonder if you have any suggestions about how this situation might best be resolved." That's BS. You haven't the slightest interest in actual "suggestions." You want me to say I'll switch Junior to another teacher's class even though Junior's already asked twice and I've said no both times and not to ask me again, because our school does not permit teacher shopping. You think that by stating your case forcefully as a parent and asking for "suggestions" you'll get a different answer. It's dishonest and disingenuous, and I don't appreciate it on Sunday night (or Monday morning for that matter).

And before anyone asks, no, I'm definitely responding tonight to any of the SEVEN (!!!!) messages I got this evening. But think of all the fun I get to have tomorrow!*facepalm*


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Old 01-12-2020, 07:54 PM
 
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Good grief. Parents are part of the reason why I don't know if I'll make it to retirement in this field.
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Angelo
Old 01-12-2020, 08:49 PM
 
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Sounds like the parents have been into the adult beverages again. They are delegating to the hired help.
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Wow
Old 01-12-2020, 08:54 PM
 
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That is way too many emails on a Sunday. Actually any day. You have way too many flakey parents.
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Emails
Old 01-12-2020, 11:18 PM
 
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Why do you check emails on Sunday? It only leads to stress and anxiety. Enjoy your weekend, and deal with messages when you get back to school on Monday.


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I know why! Two reasons:
Old 01-13-2020, 03:42 AM
 
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1. Angelo checks his emails so that we can get a beautifully written post that we all can relate to.

2. He also checks because I was going through withdrawal during Christmas break since he was not at school, and, therefore, didn’t have anything to write.

Thank you, Angelo!
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:50 AM
 
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Quote:
1. Angelo checks his emails so that we can get a beautifully written post that we all can relate to.

2. He also checks because I was going through withdrawal during Christmas break since he was not at school, and, therefore, didn’t have anything to write.

Thank you, Angelo!
This ^.
Private school hell is always entertaining.
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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Lol
Old 01-13-2020, 05:05 AM
 
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Well, I don't have the luxury of completely ignoring my e-mail on the weekend. I get info from colleagues that's helpful, the Week at a Glance memo, etc. I tend to plan my schedule for the following day the week before, so it's somewhat important to know if I'm going be dealing with 2 emails or 20 the next day. If I rolled in Monday morning and tried to "wing it" with my daily plan, I would find that a lot more stressful than at least knowing the lay of the land the day before. The point wasn't so much about my process for reading and responding as it was about this compulsion some parents seem to have in 2020 to fire off lengthy and/or frequent e-mail messages and why they feel Sunday night is the perfect time to do it.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:02 AM
 
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Too bad you couldn't have general statements/replies that you could send to different parents based on their emails.

Maybe some statements along the lines suggesting that the PARENT see a therapist or attend a parenting class!
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:28 PM
 
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I completely agree with Lazy Lake! Best suggestions ever


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Emails
Old 01-13-2020, 03:35 PM
 
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How about the “guilt” ones? My daughter is only failing your class and now can’t be in her sport this weekend? What are you going to do about it so she can compete?

To this one: “My kiddo has an IEP. That guarantees they won’t fail a class. Make sure you (the special educator) are doing your job so Jr. won’t fail his classes. By the way, I’m going to take my kiddo on a 2 week vacation, so take care of his work while we are gone please. We will try to get it done when we get back.”

Those were the emails I got upon return today. Must be a new big trend......
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