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wakeywakey wakeywakey is offline
 
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Parent Observer
Old 04-12-2019, 11:22 AM
 
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The parent of one of my high school physics students contacted my AP and told them they were concerned at the level I was teaching at. The parent happens to be a middle school science teacher in another district. My AP decided it was acceptable for that parent to observe me throughout an entire class period. When I told my AP I did not feel comfortable with this situation he would not relent saying it was fine because she has been teaching for 20+ years and I have been teaching full-time less than 1. Maybe she could give me some advice. Apparently, I am teaching very advanced material. All lessons are designed using the textbook provided to me by the school and aligned with the state standards. This parent has never once emailed me with a concern instead went straight to the AP who she knew personally.

This student is a 17 year old, junior. This whole mess started because his grades are "ridiculously" low... he has an A-



Last edited by wakeywakey; 04-12-2019 at 11:49 AM..
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Tori58 Tori58 is online now
 
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:18 PM
 
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Really, I don't think your respective levels of experience would make much difference. I don't think there's any way to say no to a parent who wants to observe. Be happy that you're getting some notice. I've known people who have been blindsided with parent observations. I've had them in my classroom a few times although it's usually been in a situation where administration has asked them to shadow their child all day to observe behavior.

My experience has been that the very most critical parents are often teachers from different districts and if they're in your subject area, it's even worse. Teachers in your own district know they may have to get along with you long after their child is finished with school but teachers from other districts have no such considerations. And they know better than anybody that, in the end, you work for them. Make nice, be humble, thank her for her input, give her feedback serious consideration and then do as you think best.

Does this kid have a high enough GPA/class rank that he may be in the running for Valedictorian? You always have to watch out for the parents of kids who have a lot riding on their GPA.
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:28 PM
 
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I'm so sorry this is happening to you! There are so many unacceptable things in your story...


... parent going over your head without talking to you first.
... AP and parent are friends and talking behind your back.
... suggesting a parent can come into your room and show you how to teach.
... High School Physics is tough (I remember) and this parent teaches Middle School Science. What does she know about the rigor of the HS curricula.
... 20+ years does not necessarily mean she is a great teacher (and I have 30+).
... the tragedy of the A- grade and this parent intervening because of it.
... I'm sure there' s more.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:53 PM
 
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All the responses you got, I agree with. However, if the principal said that she is allowed to observe you because she has been a teacher for 20 years. I take offense to that and want to call him out. She can come and observe you as a parent but not as a teacher. There is a big difference. This is unacceptable. This are two different things. This is an evaluation in my opinion disguise as an observation. I hope you have a union. If he uses this as part of your evaluation, sue their you know what. Defend yourself.

She has a right to be there but not as an evaluator. You hear me. Be polite and give the D@mb @ss A+. There is no reason for a mother to come visit if their child is making an A in your class. Really, the snowflake is making an A ffs and your P couldn't side with you. They are friends alright and you are in the middle. Give him an A+ and save yourself the pain, anguish, anxiety. If you don't, you are going to be run over and you never saw it coming. Document everything from now on. Obviously, he is mastering the material. There is no need for her presence. What weak principal. SMH

You SHOULD be teaching advance material. They Are in an AP course!
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Not right
Old 04-12-2019, 03:28 PM
 
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This doesnít sound right- it seems like the AP has already agreed with the teacher. Plan something when she comes so she canít really evaluate you? Like a packet the kids work on in groups or something.. the give her student an A so she wonít come back because that is what is really the problem. I wouldnít do a lecture type lesson on front of her


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I wouldn't like this...
Old 04-12-2019, 03:36 PM
 
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The assistant principal should have asked the parent to set up a conference with you to share any concerns. It would have been an opportunity to share the standards and teaching materials given to you by the district With an A-, it would be interesting to know what the parent is truly concerned about. There is a world of difference obviously between high school physics and middle school science. The parent, as a teacher, should have known this and followed proper protocol. The parent should not be in the position of evaluating your lesson and/or teaching methods, which obviously she/he is going to do, and have the forum to run right to the AP with their observations. I would talk to someone in the union about this. As a first-year teacher, there is probably little they could do, but they should be aware of this practice. I myself always felt anxious when parents were allowed to come into the classroom like that. Our district used to let them come in at any time on Election Day. It was always stressful because you never knew if they were truly there to see their kid, or to see you. I would be annoyed and angry, too. They are lucky to have you. Physics is an area where they have a need for teachers in my state.
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Old 04-12-2019, 03:57 PM
 
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My district does not allow parent or any out side oberservers, that is against confidentiality of the other students in the class.
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Old 04-12-2019, 05:16 PM
 
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Quote:
This is an evaluation in my opinion disguise as an observation. I hope you have a union. If he uses this as part of your evaluation, sue their you know what. Defend yourself.
OverMyDeadBod makes a very good point. The fact that your AP even brought up your relative experience and talked about "advice" may mean that you could bring a grievance if your union is strong.

Quote:
My district does not allow parent or any out side oberservers, that is against confidentiality of the other students in the class.
Really? I'm not sure that would hold up legally if a parent chose to challenge it. I imagine they are trying to say that it's a FERPA thing, but really that just applies to records. I've had all kinds of observers in my classroom. Lots of colleges and universities require education majors to do a certain number of observations. I've had teachers from other districts observe my classroom and I've gone and done observations at other districts as well.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:10 PM
 
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Iím a sub now and still trying to get a job, but I wouldnít let that parent into my classroom, even if it got me fired. Your principal is an as*hole and should have had your back. Canít wait to get into full time teaching!
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:58 PM
 
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I don't think there's any way to say no to a parent who wants to observe. Be happy that you're getting some notice.
Really?

Im quite sure this would NEVER fly with my principal!

I'd fight her on this! You are being set up. If all else fails call out sick.

It's your principal's job to observe, critique, and evaluate, not your student's mom.


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Old 04-13-2019, 09:50 AM
 
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Teachers with egos, I can't stand.
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We would have to allow it
Old 04-13-2019, 12:16 PM
 
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However, it would be for a limited amount of time, accompanied by an administrator. We would not be allowed to refuse.

Hope this is the end of it for you!
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:09 PM
 
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Quote:
My district does not allow parent or any out side oberservers, that is against confidentiality of the other students in the class.
This is true for our school too. We have had other teachers and administrators come through and observe our classes. Howevere, these visiting teachers and administrators are licensed, have had background checks, and are there for professional development. Most parents do not have this.

In this case where the parent is a licensed teacher it would be difficult to use the license and background check as reasoning to prevent her visit. But, because this parent wants to observe the classroom for the sole reason of evaluating the teacher based on her child's grade, it absolutely should not be allowed. If she went through the proper channels, and wanted to observe the teaching style and lesson quality for the purpose of her own professional growth, then we could work out a mutually acceptable time for an observation. That is not true in this case. If you have a union, please ask them for support.
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