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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Explain the thought process to me.
Old 01-18-2020, 07:50 AM
 
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Honestly... I need someone needs to explain to me what's going through these parents' heads, because I'm at a complete loss as to what exactly they are expecting to have happen.

*Phone rings*

Me: Mr. Angelo speaking.
Parent: Good morning, Mr. Angelo. This is Jane Doe, the mother of John Doe. He's a sophomore. I believe you are his academic counselor?
Me: Yes, that's right. How can I help you?
Parent: We'd like a meeting with you to discuss some concerns we have.
Me: I see. What are the concerns?
Parent: *Edge to the voice* We can discuss that when we see you. When are you available?
Me: It would be helpful if you could give me a heads up about what the basic issues are.
Parent: *Definite edge to the voice, bordering on anger* We'd prefer to discuss it in person.
Me: Well, I have some time on Thursday morning or afternoon or Friday afternoon. Next week, I-
Parent: We'd like to see you first thing tomorrow if possible.
Me: Tomorrow is Tuesday. I'm booked solid until lunch time.
Parent: We could be there as early as 7 a.m.
Me: Academic advising doesn't open at 7 a.m. I'm not in the building that early.
Parent: When do you arrive to school?
Me: I usually get in around 8, but as I say, I'm booked solid until lunch time tomorrow.
Parent: We could be there at 7:45 if you have an appointment at 8.
*Am I speaking a foreign language here?*
Me: I'm not in the building at 7:45. I generally arrive at 8.
Parent: *sounding angry by now* Can you maybe work with us on this?
Me: I'm not trying to be difficult, but I have my own responsibilities in the morning. And as I said, I'm fully booked until lunch time-
Parent: *huffing sigh* What time is lunch?
Me: 11:55.
Parent: Fine. We can arrange some things and be there at 11:55.
*Note how the parent simply ASSUMES I am willing to delay or miss my lunch to accommodate them.*
Me: Okay, if it's urgent I can make that work.
Parent: Good. Tomorrow at lunch then. Have a good day.

*Parents arrive at 11 a.m. and announce to the secretary that they are expected. The secretary calls me, and I explain that their appointment is for 11:55. I hear the secretary's muffled voice relaying this to the parents. I hear the mother's voice, "Yes, I know what time the appointment is, but we were able to get here earlier. I'm hoping he can see us now." The secretary comes back on the line and adopts a "please don't put me in the middle of this" voice and asks if she can send the parents down the hall to Academic Advising. I say they can come down, but they will be waiting until 11:55.

At about 11:15, I'm in a (scheduled) meeting with a student, and the parent walks up the window of my closed office door and peers in, raises her eyebrows, and taps her watch as if to indicate she's been waiting awhile. I nod curtly in acknowledgement of her presence, then turn my attention back to the student with whom I'm speaking. At 11:20, my meeting with the student ends, and he leaves my office. The moment he's departed, the mom and dad rush into the office, and mom sits down without being invited to do so.*

Me: I'm sorry. I believe our appointment is at 11:55. It's 11:20 now. I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to wait. I have two more appointments before yours.
Mom: Seriously?
Me: I did tell you on the phone I was fully booked until lunch.
Mom: *face flushed with anger* This school. Honestly. I'm so done with this school.
Me: Did we get our times mixed up?
Mom: No, we didn't. But we're here now. And we went to some trouble to be able to work around YOUR schedule.
Me: Okay, but I do have two others students to see.
Mom: And you have to see them right this minute?
Me: They do have appointments.
Mom: *closing her eyes as though praying for patience* Fine. We will wait. *grits her teeth and gets up with Dad in two and goes back to the waiting area; if looks could kill...*

At 11:55, I usher them in.

Mom: So are you good to talk to us now?
Me: I am. Looks like we're right on time. Thanks for coming in.
Mom: *Nods, jaw clenched. Dad shakes my hand.*
Me: So are we waiting on your son?
Dad: Pardon?
Me: I assume your son will be joining us?
Mom: No. Why would he?
Me: Well, I'm his academic counselor. I assume that's why your here. It's usually helpful for the student to be present.
Mom: No, this is about some concerns we have. He doesn't need to be here.
Me: Why don't you tell me about it?
Mom: Hmmmmm. Well, where do I start? I guess we need an explanation for what you guys are doing with your so-called Math program.
Me: I don't understand.
*Mom fishes a printout of her son's term grade in Math and thrusts it at me. The grade is lackluster. Not failing, but not great.*
Me: I see. Not the best Math result.
Mom: This is a disaster. He's NEVER had a grade this low before.
Me: Ah. And have you spoken with the teacher?
Mom: No, we haven't. Why?
Me: Well, that would seem a logical place to start.
Mom: If the teacher is the problem, how would that help?
Me: I doubt the teacher is "the problem."
Mom: You do? He's never had a grade like this in math, so it's obviously not the kid.
Me: I don't think I'd jump to that conclusion, nor do I think looking to assign blame is helpful. I think it makes sense to speak to the teacher, find out where he's underachieving, and ask for strategies to improve in those areas. Is it work completion? Is it process work? Is he not reviewing his notes before tests? Those are things only the teacher and student would know.
Mom: *Closing her eyes as though praying, once again, for patience* Why do I get the feeling you are not going to accept any responsibility for this situation?
Me: I'm not sure I understand. Tell me how I can help.
Mom: I don't know how you can help. That is why we are here. To find out from you what the plan is to rectify this grade.
Me: I am an academic counselor. I can advise you on course selection, college planning, global stuff. I can't give you subject-specific guidance on how to improve in a particular course, because I'm not privy to the day-to-day assessment and teaching. That's not my role.
Mom: Yeah, but you can go ask the teacher what hell he's doing. Ask why he's trying to tell us an A math student is actually a C student.
Me: It's not my role to interrogate the teachers or to confront them about students' results. If the teacher can help you implement an improvement plan, I'm happy to support it if I can.
Mom: Yeah, okay. So we go talk to the teacher and nothing changes, except he starts taking it out on our son because we spoke up.
Me: The teacher is a professional. He wants to help, not hurt, your son.
Mom: Dropping a kid's GPA by two points isn't "helping."
Me: Well, I'm not sure what I can do to help you from my end. It sounds like your son needs to work more closely with the teacher.
Dad: Is there maybe another Math class in the same period?
Me: Sorry?
Dad: Maybe he could be moved to another class? He liked the teacher he had last year.
Me: We don't do timetable changes in January.
Mom: Even to help a kid? That's unbelievable. Honestly... this school. I don't know why we EVER agreed to send our kids here.
Me: I think it's helpful to keep to the issues at hand. I'd say speak to the teacher and get more information about where Junior is struggling and ask for strategies to improve.
Mom: Yeah, okay. Whatever. So you're refusing to help. Great. Can't say I'm surprised. Fine. We'll talk to the teacher. Where is he right now?


I'm honestly at a loss to figure out sometimes what's going through these people's heads. Do they think I have cameras in all the classrooms where I can roll back the tape and check why their kids are getting the grades they are in all their classes? I can go to the online gradebooks, but so can the parents. I have no more information than they do! Why on earth would you go to someone other than the teacher for advice and information when it's a subject-specific issue? What's the thinking behind keeping the student out of the meeting? Presumably he's the one with the most information besides the teacher. Improvement doesn't happen without the student doing the work!


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minds are empty because they are entitled
Old 01-18-2020, 08:23 AM
 
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I have parents who just "show up" at my door when I have to let students enter to have a "hallway" conference, after I have requested numerous conferences that they just cannot seem to make. Then they run to principal and have my butt on the table.

Funny, how they manage to make appointments for their hair; car; nails; dentists; travel; doctors; lawyers; grocery deliveries; pizza deliveries etc.

So so very happy I have FOUR months to GO...I never thought I'd be so proud of my age!!

Best of luck and stand strong against this because it is not likely to change for awhile.

Last edited by needmyjob; 01-18-2020 at 08:25 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-18-2020, 08:25 AM
 
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Thought process:"I pay a lot of money for my kid to get an A in math."
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Good for you
Old 01-18-2020, 10:18 AM
 
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Good for you for standing your ground through most of that. Next time, don't give up your lunch. That's unbelievably bold of those parents.
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Thought processes
Old 01-18-2020, 11:52 AM
 
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1. You are lying about being busy.
2. Students can come any time. Parents are more important than students. Reschedule the students.
3. It's never the students' fault.
4. Your job is to fix it so my kid gets an A. I pay your salary, bub.

(I'm a mind reader in my next life)


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Old 01-18-2020, 11:56 AM
 
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Well, I think these kinds of people get used to paying a fee and having all their problems solved, so in their minds, that extends to school.

The parents think their tuition money should pay for their child's success, including perfect grades all the way through school. They think the tuition should cover all possible problems, and a low grade should have been "taken care of" automatically by school staff without them (or their student) needing to do anything in particular.

So when they see the low grade, they get angry at the school, and by extension, with the staff, who they see as shirking their responsibility to ensure their child is getting a good grade. They think it should have been covered already, their child's grade fixed, and their life can move on smoothly.
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You have so many entitled parents
Old 01-18-2020, 01:24 PM
 
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that I don't see how you can stop yourself from whapping them upside the head.
1 thing I never will give up again for a parent meeting is my lunch time. I wouldn't do it if I were you.
I have been almost forced before though to come early to meet w/parents . Some parents here too do not respect the hours of operation.
I am done though. This is my last yr and I am not even working as a teacher anymore.
I have had the easiest yr of my school career this yr, but next yr, I would be kicked back to a classroom and I am not going.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:41 PM
 
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I just had a similar conversation with a massage therapist I’m going to for rehab issues. She’s also been a physical therapist, so has a lot of expertise and is very good at what she does. Recently she took over several clients from another PT who is retiring, so her scheduling is now very tight.

She has several wealthy clients that she’s seen for years, and one of them got all bent out of shape (not literally, hee hee) last week because she called the therapist and wanted an appointment the next day. The therapist explained she was already booked, due to recently taking on more clients. The woman immediately became irate, saying, “But I’ve ALWAYS been able to book an appointment the day before!!”

We were laughing about the entitlement of some people, and my therapist said, “I’ve come to the conclusion that the more money people have, the more they expect others to be at their beck and call”. Nailed it.
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I really wonder if there is a logical
Old 01-18-2020, 01:45 PM
 
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thought process there at all. It goes without saying that they do think they are more important than the students...and, by default, their student is more important than the other students.

I don't necessarily agree that it is about the money though. I have seen the same attitudes in public schools, including among the very impoverished too. It is a sense of entitlement though. "My poor boy has had such a rough life, he DESERVES to get a break from you." "My student has learning struggles and is on an IEP, he can't help it." "My dd has/is...." to infinity.

That is still not to say that their hair, nails and electronics aren't all on point too. But I suspect that happens the same way at those places too. They show up to huff and puff til they get their way there too. Or, worse, let the kids come in home alone from school because they are in line for their mani/pedis...
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Old 01-18-2020, 02:10 PM
 
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My blood was boiling through this entire post.


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My Thought...
Old 01-18-2020, 03:03 PM
 
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I think you handled it very well.

I hope you warned the teacher that these parents are on the warpath. It would be nice for the teacher to be prepared when the parents come
a-calling.

Did the dad say anything through this whole ordeal? Seems mom wears the pants in the household...and is probably more concerned about the child's grade than the child.
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Old 01-18-2020, 03:07 PM
 
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Angelo, you have the patience of a saint. A saint.

The entitlement and arrogance just blows me away. I doubt there is a logical thought process there, except that there is a problem which cannot possibly be their kid's fault (because no child ever EARNT a grade, the teacher GIVES the grade) and somebody needs to fix it. You're the "Academic Counsellor" so obviously this academic issue falls into your bailiwick. I'd probably have sent for the kid and had them wait while he was found and made his way to your office.

Have a stiff drink and keep manning those battlements!
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Old 01-18-2020, 05:33 PM
 
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I swear you have to be making some of this up. If I met someone like these parents the look in my eyes would give me away and then my laughter would cinch it. You must work in a private school with extremely wealthy people that always get their way. I wish you could set up a camera and post us a video of these folks. I could see a TV show called "Entitled People and Their Outrageous Demands"
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Old 01-19-2020, 06:19 AM
 
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I think you should be hired as a consultant for the Saturday Night Live show.

I can see SO MANY hilarious skits that can be made from you personal encounters with the parents at your school! The actors on that show would "have a ball" reenacting what you share here with us!!

Actually, you should be added to the cast to play the counselor!
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What if?
Old 01-19-2020, 03:02 PM
 
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Imagine for a moment that these teachers did “fix” the grades and made everything all sunshine and rainbows for these parents. The student didn’t really earn that A and then this continues until SAT testing. Junior doesn’t underperforms. Who do you think they are going to hold accountable then?

That was rhetorical as we all know full well they will want to know why the school failed to prep junior especially given all the $ they’ve paid.
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