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I'm tired of irrational parents...
Old 12-16-2011, 09:47 PM
 
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I don't post often on this board, but since leaving another teacher message board (TNet) I will become a more active participant here.

So, here's the scenario. I teach grade two. When I went to pick up my class from afternoon recess, one little girl was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said that one of the boys had pulled her earlobes. I asked him if this was true and he said"˙es" he had done it. When I asked why, he simply shrugged his shoulders. Five other students witnessed him doing so as well. I told him that he would have to visit the principal since his actions were inappropriate and he had hurt another person. This little boy is a coded student with behaviour difficulties. When I said he would have to see the principal, he started yelling and crying. I asked him to stop and to walk to the office. Of course my principal backed me up and he had to spend recess the next day "walking" with her. I wrote a note in his agenda to mom, explaining what he had done and what the consequencs were.

This morning I checked agendas and received a curt note from mom asking me to call her. I had a few minutes while the class was doing silent reading, so I called her. The first words out of her mouth were "You are picking on my son. Did you actually see him doing this?" Right then and there I knew that the conversation was going nowhere. She then went on to tell me that I had ruined their entire evening, as he was upset that I did not believe him. I told her that I did believe him, as he had admitted to physically boxing the girl's ears. Then she said "Did you tell him to stop crying?" I said that yes I had done so, as he was having a melt down in front of the entire class. Well, that didn't sit well with her. She then asked why I had sent him to the principal. I told her that when a child physically hurts another student that I talk to all involved and then send the perpetrator to the office to talk to the principal. That is what we do at our school. She told me that my actions were inappropriate. I explained to her that if I did not intervene when a child has been hurt and take care of the situation that parents would be upset, and rightfully so. I also told her that if her child had been the one whose ears had been pulled, that the perpetrator would have been treated in the same manner. She began getting very irate and starting swearing at me. It was at that point that I told her I was ending the conversation. She told me that I was being rude to her and that I was scared to discuss the situation with her. I then told her that if she wanted to persue the incident that she had every right to call my principal. In fact I encouraged her to do so. She didn't like that and slammed the phone down in my ear.

I immediately went to the office and informed both the assistant principal and the principal of the conversation that had just taken place. I've been doing this job for many years now, but I was upset by what had happened. Of course my admin stood behind me and told me that I had done the right thing, which I knew all along. I fully expected this mother to show up at my classroom at the end of the day. My principal told me that if this happened, that I was to call her and she would come down immediately. Thank goodness I have a strong admin team that will go to the wall for me.

I've been at my school for eight years. My admin team knows that I do my job well and that in all my years there have had very few negative incidences with parents. I think the reason that I took this so personally is that I DO care about my students and work hard to make sure that they are happy, safe and learning. It bothers me when a parent says to me "did you actually see my child do this?" There is less respect for teachers all the time. Parents will believe their child over an adult more than any other time. It's annoying to work as hard as I do and then have someone berate me for trying to keep my students safe.

We still have one week left before Christmas vacation. I hope I make it to Friday without having a nervous breakdown. Thanks for letting me vent.


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Old 12-16-2011, 10:21 PM
 
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Have you noticed that it seems the little creatures are getting quite good at manipulating the adults in the home who are supposed to be the parents?

I remember my Daddy telling about old Miss Annie Payne, the principal when he was in elementary school. Why, big tall strapping boys would go into her office and come out crying and she hadn't layed a hand or anything else on them he would tell me. They had been made to realize that what they'd done was wrong and their parents were going to be told about it and there would be the devil to pay. Ah, for good solid parenting in those days. But, it isn't those days and hasn't been for a long time.

It has been my experience that special ed parents are often in denial of how their child really behaves. Instead of trying to help their child grow into responsible young people, they are hindering him/her by coming to the child's defense when the child was clearly in the wrong.

Doing what is right is becoming harder and harder for teachers. My first inclination is to tell the girl's parents to press charges against the other child. Sometimes that is the only thing that those parents of poorly behaved children understand.

I am glad that your admin will back you up. Sadly, that is not often what happens. Stand your ground for this too shall pass.
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Old 12-17-2011, 01:22 AM
 
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Quote:
This morning I checked agendas and received a curt note from mom asking me to call her. I had a few minutes while the class was doing silent reading, so I called her.
If the note was curt you should have not called and sent a note home saying if she has a concern she can take it up with the P. Hopefuly you won't have to deal with this parent again


Quote:
There is less respect for teachers all the time. Parents will believe their child over an adult more than any other time. It's annoying to work as hard as I do and then have someone berate me for trying to keep my students safe.
Its sad when the teachers are made out to be the bad guys.
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:01 AM
 
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Thanks for your replies Getrgoing and Mr. Sensai. As for why I replied to the note in the agenda, I ALWAYS call parents or write notes to them when requested. If I didn't, some parents would take issue with my not returning phone calls/messages and jump on the phone to the principal. This parent i is that type of parent. If I had not returned her call, she would have called the admin to complain, or would have shown up at my door, accusing me of being scared to talk to her.

Also, it is part of our union contract that when a parent has a concern with or about a teacher, the first point of contact for that parent is that teacher. In other words, if a parent calls the administration with a complaint/concern, the administrator has to ask if the parent has called the teacher FIRST about the concern, before calling the administration. If I had not returned the phone call and the parent had called the school, my principal would have simply redirected her to me anyways. Now that contact has been made, any other concern this parent has about THIS issue can go straight to the principal. In fact, I TOLD this parent to call my principal with any further concerns regarding this issue. I made the principal aware of the phone call immediately after I was hung up on by this parent so that if she is called about the matter, she would know that I had talked to the parent about it first.

Again, thanks for your responses. It is appreciated, as I think that only teachers truly understand what it feels like to be berated by a parent when their child is so obviously in the wrong.

Christmas Vacation Countdown: 5 more daze...

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If this parent has anything else to say
Old 12-17-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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about anything this year, cut her off and tell her she has to meet with you and the principal. If she refuses, tell the P and have the secretary call her and tell her it's time to set up an appointment. Then she'll know you mean business and that she's just messed with the wrong teacher. If she will meet, great. You and the P can get this settled, and she'll walk out of that meeting understanding a whole lot more than she does now. If she won't meet, she's just lost all credibility and all right to complain, and she'll realize it as soon as she hangs up.

I'm glad you have a supportive P. It's important that parents who complain about stupid crap realize right away that they don't manage you, but you manage them very well. And manage them you will. It helps that I'm old enough to be THEIR parent--I talk to them just like I would my own kids, even gently scolding them sometimes when they need it, and no parent anywhere ever tells me how anything is going to be. Just like the first days of school, when you establish yourself with kids as the undisputed leader of that classroom, you must do the same with parents. I have to tell you, I have a very good and respectful relationship with all 110 sets of parents, but I also have to tell you that not one of them would ever try that nonsense with me, either. I'm the one in charge, not them, and they truly do understand that.


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Old 12-17-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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I did not see this post until this morning, my friend! You are correct about first point of contact- totally. This parents sounds deep in denial. Writing in agendas or making calls is required of us. I wish I had your adminstration. Mine is good but not as good as yours.

Redirect all calls to them or agenda notes from now on and make sure to run a copy of them for your documentation. I would have zero to do with her as far as personal meetings unless adm is there. If she shows up at the door- end the meeting or steer her towards the office. Make sure your assistant is there of course in that room if you have one at the time of day.

5 more days- hang on. We should meet after school one day this week. Go for an afterschool Christmas coffee/tea.

I totally understand how much this hurts as I know what an amazing and caring teacher you truly are! Hugs!
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:14 AM
 
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I have the same parent! She has cursed me and several other staff members out, including our principal. It is nothing that you did or really can prevent. These types are out to prove that they know what is best and you are wrong. You do need to make it clear that cursing at you is not tolerated. I told my parent that and hung up when the yelling continued. It has not happened again. Yes, she is still rude, but there is no yelling. Just do your best to sound respectful, yet firm in your tone.
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You're done!
Old 12-17-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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I learned this a few years ago when I started working at a school in a very challenging neighborhood:

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She began getting very irate and starting swearing at me. It was at that point that I told her I was ending the conversation. She told me that I was being rude to her and that I was scared to discuss the situation with her
The very first time a parent, grandparent, relative, whomever, begins to swear or yell, I am done talking with them. Forever. I win.

In your case, you would be very wise to be scared of this parent. Any parent who carries on like that is out of control. So, if you had said, "You're right. I am scared of you because of how you're behaving. Please communicate with the principal from now on." It isn't backing down or being a coward, it is being careful and letting the parent know she has crossed far beyond the boundary of expressing a concern.

Just a little IMO: When we get upset, we tend to over-explain or editorialize things. Reading your post, I see that you tried to reason with the woman and explain things to her, but in the future, I would just stick to the facts and not rationalize. For example, "I understand you're upset, but your son injured another." Done. She continues to rant. You say again, "Yes, however, your son injured another, and I followed the school procedure." She continues. "As I stated, I followed the procedure." Do not let the temptation to try and "school" her get to you. I know it is hard, but learning to bite your tongue as much as possible is best. You didn't say or do anything wrong, I think you handled yourself well.

Have a great holiday, try to forget about it for now.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:48 AM
 
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I just wanted to let you know that I am lurking this post and am totally peevd off with you! SO many good responses already, I had nothing better to add, but I'm shaking my head in annoyance with ya!
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Old 12-19-2011, 08:32 PM
 
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again thanks for the support. Will let you know if ant
thing else happens. Fingers crossed that this is the end of it.

canuckteach.


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just another supporter
Old 12-20-2011, 03:59 AM
 
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These crazy parents (sadly, almost always moms) are in every district, poor, rich, etc. These people are what makes teaching so stressful. I discovered about 15 years ago that even the teachers sent from heaven are going to be attacked by these horrible parents. Don't you wish that their neighbors, smarter relatives, etc could all get together and share the insane behavior of these crazies? We would all feel better.

I am beginning my countdown to retirement. While sad in some respects, I have to remember that if I don't retire this year, I might be cursed with this evil parent the next year.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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Irrational parents are tough to deal with, but with your admin, I wouldn't give it a second thought.

Wow, admin that backs their teachers. I haven't heard of that for a long time.
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