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I'm the one being smart???!!!
Old 09-23-2021, 07:12 PM
 
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I teach 4th grade ELA and Science. My co-teacher teaches Math and Social Studies. I had the following email conversation today with a parent:

Parent: Hey, I saw Snowflake was missing a couple social study assignments. How can I get those made up and turned in?

My response: You will need to ask Mrs. Co-teacher about Social Studies or Math assignments. They have been on her missing assignment report, so Snowflake is aware they are missing, but I do not have copies of those.

Parent: I feel like you are being smart but I will ask her

SERIOUSLY??? I thought I answered her question! This is from the mom that showed up at orientation either drunk or high and may not have actually realized her child has two teachers. She is also the one that was sending me demanding emails about missing work on the day that my husband was having his surgery even though I had told parents I wouldn't be at school. I will not answer her, but there is a part of me that would love to show her how 'smart' I can really be!!


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Old 09-23-2021, 07:39 PM
 
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Wow. Just wow. I don’t even know what she was thinking. I find that sometimes in those cases I have to actually type out a response and delete it. It makes me feel better.
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Old 09-24-2021, 03:54 AM
 
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She sounds like a real charmer.

Some parents are weird about dealing with multiple teachers. They have this idea that everything should be one-stop shopping, as though it’s exhausting enough to deal with one teacher… they can’t possibly be expected to stay in contact with more than one.

Where it really gets ridiculous is in high school when students have 7 or more teachers. When your kid has 7 different subjects, sorry, but you are going to have to deal with multiple teachers if you have questions or concerns. Actually, your kid should have enough independence by high school to navigate school without a ton of parental oversight and involvement, but that’s a whole other discussion.

When I was a school counselor, I’d get snippy parents quibbling over issues of tardies, missing homework, late assignments, etc. who refused to reach out to the teacher involved. They’d call or e-mail the school counselor and want us to deal with it. One mom called me to demand to know why her son’s work was marked incomplete in Biology class. I said I have no idea about that; ask the teacher. She snapped, “I pay good money in tuition to send my son to your school. I’m a busy person. I need ONE POINT OF CONTACT for school issues! I’m asking you to look into this and get back to me.” Nope. Not how high school works. Not even private ones. If missing work is a chronic problem for your kid, then a counselor can certainly discuss that with him and suggest some global organization and time management strategies. But no member of staff is going to direct your kid’s day-to-day class work in all classes and run around investigating individual missed due dates and incomplete homework assignments or a poor test mark.
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Old 09-24-2021, 04:57 AM
 
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Instead of simply responding to the parent, which of course you must do, it is pretty easy to cc the appropriate person for the parent to contact. Having been the busy working parent of multiple children with multiple teachers in 3 different schools, this would have been helpful to me. Not all parents have the skills to get it all figured out.

Why not make it easier for the parent?

“I can’t answer your question because I only teach ELA and Science. I have forwarded your query to the Math and Social Studies teacher, Mrs Soandso. She is the person you should ask about any Math or Social Studies work.”

Many parents have their hands full and would appreciate a little help navigating the system. I know it’s irritating, and this is a vent board, so vent away! But this might save future issues...
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Old 09-24-2021, 08:31 AM
 
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Your response was perfectly fine.

Not sure why it's hard for a parent to "navigate" an email to another teacher after they figured out how to email you.

No matter what anybody on here says, there is zero justification or excuse for that parent's response. That kind of behavior doesn't need to be enabled by anybody.


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Dear Parent,
Old 09-24-2021, 10:46 AM
 
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Dear Parent,

Thanks for the compliment. I've always thought of myself as smart, but I've always been aware that there are so many others smarter than me.

Sincerely,
Eagle23

I know...I am a bitch!!
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Old 09-24-2021, 10:53 AM
 
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“ Instead of simply responding to the parent, which of course you must do, it is pretty easy to cc the appropriate person for the parent to contact. Having been the busy working parent of multiple children with multiple teachers in 3 different schools, this would have been helpful to me. Not all parents have the skills to get it all figured out.

Why not make it easier for the parent?”

It depends on the parent. This can work, but it also can backfire. I’ve done the CC thing only to have the parent insist on keeping me on the CC for the rest of the year. Or they CC me on absolutely everything thinking they will get prompter service. I’ve also CCd the relevant teacher or staff member only to have the parent reply back to me a day later complaining that so-and-so still hasn’t gotten back to them.

I could help families in various ways as a school counselor, but it’s not fair to expect someone to act as the “switchboard” or “concierge”. Working parents are busy as you say, but educators are also busy.

My experience was when most parents did this, they wanted more than for me to point them in the right direction. They wanted me to “step in” and resolve whatever issue they were having even when it had nothing to do with my work or my role.

It gets even darker with some families — they want you to go “lawyer” for them to otheir staff on their son or daughter’s behalf. Danger that way lies. And it happens in younger grades too. Parents latch onto a teacher they like in a particular year, and even when the student has moved onto a new grade and teacher, the parent keeps trying to bring issues to the former teacher in hopes that the old teacher will step in on their behalf. Playing one teacher off another can be a real problem. I don’t know the OP, but I suspect it was less an issue of the parent not knowing where to go as it was an expectation that Teacher A would weigh in on a matter with Teacher B’s class and get it sorted out.

We have to be careful with this stuff. It can be innocent confusion, but it can also be manipulation and trying to leverage a relationship to game the system.
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Old 09-24-2021, 03:21 PM
 
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I can see both sides of this issue however parents who are snippy like that are red flags. Don't do anything to cause more work for yourself later. These parents want drama and meetings the entire year.


I like the idea to just cc your response to the teacher that has the child as well. Play hands off and ignore her rudeness.
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Old 09-25-2021, 09:06 PM
 
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I used to just forward the email to the appropriate teacher, and then just respond to the parent telling them that. That just seems like the easiest way to deal with that issue.
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:45 AM
 
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“ I used to just forward the email to the appropriate teacher, and then just respond to the parent telling them that. That just seems like the easiest way to deal with that issue.”

Yeah, it depends on the culture of your school, I think. I used to do this in the early days of being a school counselor, and it resulted in parents trying to treat me like the school switchboard / admin assistant. It’s not a big deal if it happens from time to time, but at one point I was getting four or five messages a day for other departments because parents couldn’t be bothered looking it up on the website or, in some cases, because they found it “easier” to message me and have me forward it to the correct person. I actually had parents of students not even on my caseload sending me messages and saying some other mom encouraged them to start with me because I was the “most helpful”.

I’d also get cases where parents knew exactly where to send messages but thought they’d get faster (or preferential) service if they went through me.

Case in point. E-mail: “Hello Mr. Angelo. My son would like to join the Junior Football Team this year, but he isn’t sure where to begin. Can you please assist?” (Now keep in mind that tryouts are mentioned every morning on the announcements, are posted in multiple locations where students and parents can view them). So I forwarded the message to the Jr. Football coach and replied to the parent to say I’d forwarded the message to Coach Smith. 10 minutes later, I am CCd on an email that begins, “Good morning Coach Smith and Mr. Angelo! We require some assistance with the tryout process for football.” Now… in what universe does a parent think the school counselor needs to be CCd on a thread about Junior Football? The next morning, I get another message from the parent (just to me) saying “Hello Mr. Angelo. Unfortunately, we have not gotten a response from Coach Smith as yet. We encountered this issue when our older son wanted to try out for football. Any assistance you could provide would be appreciated.”


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Old 09-27-2021, 04:57 PM
 
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I have appreciated all your posts. I totally agree that it would be very easy for me to forward an email or CC the appropriate person, but..... I have 48 students with a multitude of parents attached to deal with and she just has to keep track of one child and two teachers. Yes, I could have forwarded her email, but she could also email the right person. It kind of feels like when your husband/kids intentionally 'mess' up chores around the house because they know you will come behind and fix everything and then they might not even have to do it anymore. Nope, do it right or do it again. I tell parents at orientation that responsibility is one of the things we want to instill in students in 4th grade. They are old enough to begin to advocate for themselves and take care of their assignments/supplies/obligations/etc. I can't expect less from their parents.

(My husband teases me all the time when I do things that might not be popular with students/parents/others that I have just taken myself out of the running for Teacher of the Year. I guess I'm not getting it again this year!! )
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:41 PM
 
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Yes, I understand. When I taught 6th grade and had 100+ students, it was a different story. I would forward once, and after that I would tell them they needed to contact the appropriate teacher. There is just such a "customer service" focus these days, sometimes it was just easier to forward. But I do get the point they will not learn to handle it themselves. I'm glad I'm retired and don't have to deal with entitled parents anymore!
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