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MmeC MmeC is offline
 
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Parents Badmouthing Teachers on Playground
Old 06-06-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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I've taught third grade in a new school this year in a neighboring town that is very affluent. Lots of the mothers stay at home, are very active on the PTA, are room parents, you name it. In short, this is the very opposite environment to my previous school, where I taught for 10 years. These moms have a lot of time on their hands because they spend a lot of time on the playground after school gossiping and being very vocal in their criticism of their children's teachers. Get a job!

I just overheard a second-grade parent telling another parent that she didn't bother writing a class placement request letter to the principal for next year "because she'd heard that all the third-grade teachers suck." Umm, yes, that would be my two colleagues and me. :-( We suck. Not a nice thing to hear after I have worked night and day for the last 180 days. This mother has absolutely no first-hand experience with us as teachers, she's just repeating something she was told, and harming our reputations at the same time.

I really want to address this, but I know I should probably just shrug it off and let it go. How do I do this exactly? :-/


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Old 06-06-2012, 03:20 PM
 
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I think I would have said something right away, like "excuse me?" while giving them the teacher look. I would also tell the P. This happened at the private school I used to work at and some of the admin. made a practice of standing in the hall where the parents used to wait for their kids and gossip. That put the reigns on it somewhat.

I gather from your post you are new and they are "powerful parents" but basically they just insulted you to your face. I think the P would have to back you up for confronting them. At least that way they would know which teacher to request their child not be in that class.
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:45 PM
 
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Eh. I'm not all that bothered. I'm sure I've painted all parents with one brush a time or two to my teacher friends.

I might let the principal know in an off handed way, but other than that, let it go. And if you get her little darling, kill her with kindness but in a firm, boundary-enforcing way: "I know little Susie gets hungry around 10AM, but we will be waiting until lunch at 11 to eat as that falls during our reading block. I'm sure she can bulk up her breakfast at home. Have a lovely afternoon!" Big smile.

She can gossip all she wants to. Doesn't make it true. And if you refuse to engage, she can't argue with you. Gossips will gossip, and as soon as you enter the conversation they'll gossip about that too. Who has time for that battle?
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:49 PM
 
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Don't fight this particular battle!
I teach in a school with the same type of parents. They are on the playground morning and afternoon for hours. Save your fight for a more important issue.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:02 AM
 
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Chance are they probably don't even know that you are a third grade teacher. I might have walked right into the conversation and asked them why they thought that. Might have given you some insight into why the rumors exist, true or not. Knowledge is power!

P.S. Are you at my school? Those rumors happen for the same grade level. Maybe it is a third grade thing? It is kind of a pivotal year for students.


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Old 06-07-2012, 08:04 AM
 
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I'm sorry you had to hear that. I told my P when I heard something like that, too. Those in charge need to know what's being said, but it still hurts when it's said about you. Rumors/lies need to be out in the open.

I agree with the PP in showing that they're wrong next year.
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Do you teach at my school?
Old 06-07-2012, 02:14 PM
 
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We have the same group of parents who gather and gossip while their children play on the playground after school. They also meet on the ball fields, cheerleading practice, etc. as this is a small town. You can't let people like that bother you. I know it's hard. My principal knows about them as she can look out her office window and view them.
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Read this!
Old 06-08-2012, 07:04 AM
 
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Words of Wisdom
For every parent like that, there are an equal amount of parents who love their teachers and hold them in the highest regard.
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:03 AM
 
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I think you're being too sensitive. Parents have the right to talk and share opinions with each other. As long as all of this is outside of the class room and not interfering with your teaching, you should just shrug it off. I'd rather have parents talking up a storm about me outside of school or in their homes than the one mother I have in my class who is an aide to a student who doesn't even belong in the class. There's two things to look at. One, third grade is a year of sort of change. IMO, it's the year when they're not babies any more. A lot of the fun things p-2s get to do, they don't. They're more work/testing focused. Which is sad because a lot of third grades, especially immature ones, are still in a babyish state, for lack of a better word. Two, maybe the other two third grade teachers aren't putting their all into it. I think this is a good experience for you, because you can look at what you've done all year and see if you need any improvement.
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Big Mouths
Old 06-09-2012, 02:57 PM
 
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I would just ignore these people. They are probably just talking just to hear the sounds of their own voices.

It would be kind of funny of you see this mother again if her kid is in your class. Maybe she would put two and two together and feel ashamed of herself. Chances are she probably wouldn't even remember having said anything!


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Old 06-09-2012, 03:38 PM
 
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I vote ignore them or if you have to say something, kill them with kindness. With a big smile say, "I overheard you talking and I just want you to let you know how hard I work for the kids and that I love my job." Huge smile. Bonus points if they don't even know you and ask who you are.
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:35 AM
 
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good advice tara7884- It would be a perfect response to their comment. Parents will talk, that's a fact. Usually, they do it around the pool, at a soccer game and not on the school playground. Rumors and gossip can be nasty stuff.

I don't think it's worth saying anything at this point. You know the truth.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:27 AM
 
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Quote:
I vote ignore them or if you have to say something, kill them with kindness. With a big smile say, "I overheard you talking and I just want you to let you know how hard I work for the kids and that I love my job." Huge smile. Bonus points if they don't even know you and ask who you are.
...And extra, extra credit if you cause them to give you the deer-in-the-headlights look, or pee their pants when they find out they were just talking *to* you (or near you), *about* you.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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I agree that parents have the right to share their opinions, but I don't agree that it is their right to do this on the playground. I too have worked at a school where mean gossip was the norm. If parents are on the school campus, they need to be there for a reason, which is not to gossip, but to be doing a job for a teacher. I have had parents come to help with a party stand in the back of my room and gossip.

And, gossip can be the innocent kind, like just exchanging information about mutual interests, including people.

Or, it can come from a hating place and be damaging. Then it becomes an indirect form of bullying. It can devastate people and ruin lives.
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