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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Parent of the Week
Old 11-04-2019, 06:29 PM
 
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Wow! Two contenders for Parent of the Week, and it's only Monday.

Parent A is, I believe, somehow in league with my Parent A from last week. At the very least, they are working from the same playbook. Parent A is a dad who sends me a message on Sunday evening asking for an appointment Monday after school. I responded this morning that I run a club on Mondays right after school and so am almost always unavailable Monday after 3:15. Dad ignores my response and shows up just before the last bell trying to "catch me" before I leave for my club. I said, "Sorry. I responded to let you know I have a club that starts in three minutes, so unless it's super-quick, we'll have to meet another time." The dad stared at me, incredulous. I stared back.

Dad: I made a point to get off work early to come here and speak to you.
Me: I'm sorry about that, but I did send you a message to let you know I'm not available Mondays after school. I can call you tomorrow if you wish.
Dad: I'd really prefer to speak right now. This is a serious matter.
Me: Be that as it may, I have 30 students waiting for me, and they will be unattended if I don't come right now.
Dad: Can't someone cover for you?
Me: No. I'm the sole teacher adviser for the club.
Dad: Well, I'm here to see you as my son's academic counselor.
Me: I understand. But I do have students to supervise right now. I can't be in two places at once.
Dad: I have to ask. Your full-time job is to be an academic counselor. This club is an extra-curricular activity, I assume. Shouldn't your full-time responsibilities as an academic counselor take precedence over an extra-curricular activity?
Me: No, I don't think it's fair to cancel on students at the last minute. I did respond to your message and indicated that I was unavailable today and every Monday after school. This shouldn't be a surprise.
Dad: I guess I expected more consideration from a school that charges as much as this one does in tuition.
Me: Part of what students at this school expect is for their extra-curricular programs to run on time. They made a commitment to be here Mondays after school, and so did I. I'm sorry, but you'll have to excuse me.
Dad: I wonder if your Head of School will see things the same way.
Me: I suspect he will, but you're welcome to ask him yourself. Please excuse me.

or

Parent B. She called last week to complain that some of her son's teachers are (allegedly) not following his IEP. I referred her to our Spec. Ed. Coordinator. A day later, she requested a meeting with me for today.

Me: Thanks for coming in. How can I help you today?
Parent: Well, as I tried to explain to you last week, it has come to my attention that some of the teachers are not following Junior's IEP. I am not happy with the way his accommodations are being handled. Or not handled... as the case may be.
Me: Okay. As I explained last week, Mrs. A. is our Special Ed. Coordinator, and she manages Junior's IEP. You'd have to speak to her if you have specific concerns relating to the IEP. I'm Junior's academic counselor. I've read his IEP, but I'm not a Special Ed. teacher.
Parent: Yes, I'm aware of that.
Me: Okay.
Parent: What I need is for you to investigate which of Junior's teachers are not following his IEP and then advocate for him to receive the services he's entitled to.
Me: I understand. But that's Mrs. A.'s role, not mine.
Parent: Frankly, I'm fed up with Mrs. A.
*Long pause. As though Parent B is waiting for me to speak. I don't.*
Parent: Mrs. A. is not a good advocate for children with special needs.
Me: I'm sorry you feel that way. I've always thought very highly of Mrs. A. She works very hard for her students.
Parent: I talked to some of the other moms, and they say you really care about the kids.
Me: I do.
Parent: You go out of your way for them.
Me: I try.
Parent: Well, that's what I need right now. Mrs. A. doesn't care. If a kid doesn't fit her narrow definition of her role, she does nothing.
Me: That's not been my experience.

*Background: Mrs. A. sometimes rubs people the wrong way. She's very dedicated and a fierce advocate for kids with special needs. But she's also very no-nonsense and serious. She doesn't fit the "type" of the motherly, coddling Special Ed. teacher you sometimes encounter in other schools. People who don't know her well sometimes see her as aloof and unapproachable, but I don't think that's fair. She holds kids accountable for their own choices and insists they advocate for themselves in age-appropriate ways. She prides herself on not being their "concierge" and not performing tasks for them that they are capable of performing for themselves. Parents who want someone to "mother" their teenager with an IEP because it's a private school sometimes complain about her personality or what they perceive as her lack of helpfulness. What they generally mean in such cases is that she doesn't roll over and give them what they want or rush around the building helicoptering for their kids.*

Basically, Parent B wants me to step in and cut the grass of the Special Ed. teacher because they don't like her or her approach. Sorry, but I have my own duties to perform without taking on the duties of others.


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Old 11-04-2019, 06:46 PM
 
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I actually had a similar parent to parent A a couple of years ago (yes, they exist in public schools, too). I didn't have admin backing, though, so I had to bend over backwards to accommodate him

Mrs. A sounds awesome, though!
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:47 PM
 
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Well this is a hard choice, but I think parent A has got the trophy. He has a lot of nerve putting his needs over the other students especially since you informed him that you could not meet with him. I hope your students understood why you were not on time.

Parent B needs to get it together a speak the the SPED Coord. as a grown-up. The coordinator sounds like she wants the students she is responsible for to be able to function in the real world. Parent B should be grateful for coordinator's caring.

Have a great week and keep those parents coming
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Parent of the week
Old 11-04-2019, 07:39 PM
 
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I think noelephants’ parent request for tutoring during lunch could be parent C.
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Old 11-05-2019, 03:05 AM
 
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I like how Parent A assumed that once he snagged you with the comment about the Head of School, you'd snap into obedience and cater to his every demand.


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Old 11-05-2019, 03:52 AM
 
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You had a MUCH onger conversation with parent A than I would have. After saying you sent a message making it clear you weren't available Mondays, you will email times with other openings, and you had a club to run, I would have said goodbye, turned around and walked away.
These people are ridiculous. I don't know how you deal with them on a regular basis
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Angelo
Old 11-05-2019, 02:12 PM
 
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Parent A had a lot of nerve expecting you to read email on the weekend. I am glad you wrote and explained you were unable to meet. I know if you had not replied that parent would have been at your door anyway...people are just too dang entitled and think we should bow and curtsy to every whim they have.

So happy I am on my wayyyyy OUT! 7 some odd months left.
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Parent A is the "winner"
Old 11-05-2019, 03:19 PM
 
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Parent A's parting remark was a direct threat. Or at least he thought it would scare you half to death. He should be awarded the booby prize this week.

Parent B needs to deal directly with the Sped teacher (whether she likes her or not is irrelevant) and stop trying to use you as a go-between. She should be grateful the Sped teacher doesn't coddle her son.

I think I'd have to take up a sport like boxing if I dealt with very many parents like these!
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Old 11-05-2019, 03:44 PM
 
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I agree with the others. Parent A is the winner, and an all-around jerk. These parents who make such a point of saying how much they're paying seem to have no idea what they're actually paying for.

And I'd love to see his face when he complains to the head of school, who (one would hope) will say that you were absolutely right not to leave students unattended.
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Old 11-05-2019, 06:28 PM
 
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I want to remind Parent A that your salary is exactly the samn whether the school gets his kidś tuition check or not.


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