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Mother jumping to conclusions. Cannot deal.

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Mother jumping to conclusions. Cannot deal.
Old 02-12-2020, 07:09 PM
 
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I love my school, my students and our families. I tell people often that I can't imagine a better place to work because our parent community is generally so supportive.

But....this year one mother has me seriously stressed. We've just started the academic year here in Aus so I have a new class. This particular parent wanted to keep her son home the first two weeks due to corona virus. Not because they have been to China but just as a precaution. They are Japanese by birth but haven't had contact with anyone from home in over 2 years. I thought it was overkill given we haven't had any cases in my area but oh well, to each their own right? But two days into the year she changed her mind and brought him in. With the following list of requests

1) No play doh. It's full of toxins.
2) No sitting on the floor. It's unhygienic.
3) No kinetic sand. Same reason as play doh.
4) Could he eat separately to the other children. Like could he sit inside please (Our kids eat lunch outside, sitting under a tree.)
5) Please ensure other children don't touch him. Ever.
6) I would prefer he not play outside.

All of this was accompanied by a rant about how unhygienic Australian schools are. I thought she might mean not taking shoes off inside but she was mostly upset that we let the kids play outside in dirt, in sand pits, sit together on the floor etc.

So...all of that is challenging but I assumed a lot of it was cultural. And/or maybe some anxiety/OCD stuff. I reassured her that the kids wash their hands after each play break, we wash hands before eating, dirt is good for their immune systems, I make the play doh myself without artificial colours etc. She seemed ok.

Well, yesterday when she picked her son up after school she complained that another child hit her son. She didn't see it but he told her about it. The child she was accusing is a gentle-natured, lovely kid. That doesn't mean he didn't hit this other child, but I definitely wanted to investigate more before assigning blame. I suspected that if anything, it may have been a game that got a bit too rough.

Mum didn't give me the chance to find out though. She went over to this other child herself and began telling him off in front of everyone. I intervened and told her she couldn't do that, as I needed to talk to the children about it myself. She quickly left, as did the other kid whose parents needed to rush him to swimming lessons. I planned to discuss it with the boys today. Again, she didn't give me the chance. As soon as the bell went for morning classes she came in and started yelling at this other little kid. I swiftly and firmly asked her to leave, and comforted the poor kid. I cannot imagine how intimidating it would be as a 5 year to have a strange adult yelling at you in front of everyone. I am furious for him, honestly.

My boss is going to talk to the Mum and I'm sure she'll be very firm. I have almost never wished a child would move out of my class but this year I do. The kid is a sweetheart, but I don't think I have the patience for this parent.

I talked to the boys and it turned out the kid had got names mixed up and it wasn't the boy he told his Mum it was anyway. It was a game of "Star Wars' that got a bit rough-- with an entirely different kid. I am so annoyed.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Tomorrow is a new day I guess


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Old 02-12-2020, 07:20 PM
 
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That is crazy! I'm surprised she didn't tell you to wipe his butt, too! Seriously, lady, try home schooling your kid.

I'm sorry, I don't usually react that way^, but her demands & actions got under my skin. I do not know how you are keeping your cool with her.

Good luck!
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:44 PM
 
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What a witch! To go after a 5 year old is too much, although it happened in my school too. I hope mum apologizes to the little one, but I'm sure she won't. I agree with homeschooling being a better fit for her son then a school were children are free to interact freely.

Have a good, drama free day tomorrow.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:52 PM
 
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As this parent has created a stressful and threatening environment in your classroom twice this year I would request that she only be able to come to the class and have access to the other students with the principals supervision.

In fact if I was the the other kids parent I would demand as much. That kids has a right to feel safe and be free from harassment at school.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:23 PM
 
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What a pain. It sounds to me as if this mother has some mental health issues. Not sure what you can do about that.

Are parents able to walk into your school whenever they wish? Here, parents (or any adults) have to be buzzed into the building and sign in at the office after having their ID checked. Having a parent such as this one simply appear in your classroom is not acceptable. I hope that the administrator will be very clear that she cannot just walk in and that under no circumstances can she confront a child.


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Parent visitors
Old 02-12-2020, 08:30 PM
 
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Are parents able to walk into your school whenever they wish? Here, parents (or any adults) have to be buzzed into the building and sign in at the office after having their ID checked.
In short, yes. We don't have the same security concerns in Aus so our schools are pretty accessible. We have an open door policy, and parents are always welcome in classrooms. We also aren't in a building the way many American schools are. Our classrooms are freestanding, if that makes sense, and they all open to the outdoors. Parents and visitors come + go as they please. I've never heard of a school here where parents would need to carry ID.

My boss has however asked this particular mother not to be in my classroom again. Thank goodness.
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:11 AM
 
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That would drive me crazy. We’ve had parents occasionally going after other kids after a spat between the kids, but the boss shuts it down hard.

In my Australian school, every classroom is a separate building open to the outdoors and there is no security at all. Parents can come and go without the office knowing they are on the premises.
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crazy mom
Old 02-13-2020, 03:11 AM
 
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I'm glad your principal has intervened!!

That mom sounds like she has some serious anxiety issues (and some serious boundary issues as well.)
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problem mom
Old 02-13-2020, 06:21 AM
 
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I'm going to interject a different view point. Is this mother an ex-pat? Japanese living in your Australian culture? My American daughter may have driven the teachers in the German village school crazy with her first child. Their system was so different than the schools my daughter knew in the USA. Now with the 3rd kid in 1st grade, mastering the spoken language, and 12 years in the country she has relaxed A LOT. Being far from friends and family was stressful, learning to grocery shop, navigate the medical system, even how to separate the trash were stressful. Please take a step back show the mom some understanding and compassion. She may become your best supporter.

PS About the Play-doh. I taught 1st grade and each child had their own labeled can or bag. If they sneezed in it (germs were their own) dropped it on the floor, or forgot to close it up tight then their dough didn't work as good or last as long.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:00 AM
 
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In my opinion, it's impossible for a teacher to monitor that list of six things he cannot do. I would ask the mother to inform her child of those things and make it his responsibility to not sit on the floor or play with kinetic sand, etc. Her expectations are unreasonable.


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Compassion?
Old 02-13-2020, 07:29 AM
 
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No. We have 24 kids.
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Overbearing mom
Old 02-13-2020, 08:27 AM
 
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There’s parental concern, and then there’s bat s#&t crazy, IMHO.

My DD is dealing with a similar parenting style and everyone is praying the mom just gets fed up and leaves. No amount of explaining how school works appeases her or even gets through her brain.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:31 AM
 
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She sounds like a nut. I will say this about classroom rugs. In my nephew’s classroom, he and another child were not allowed to sit on the carpet....I cannot remember why, I think my nephew was having a rash and they were trying to figure out what was causing it. Long story short, he and the other non-carpet kid were the only kids that did not catch lice when it was going around.
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Columbine...
Old 02-13-2020, 10:37 AM
 
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Just reading this post makes me sad. I teach in Colorado...not far from Columbine. All of our doors are locked, every visitor must buzz in the front door (with a camera) and get a pass before coming to a classroom. Our classroom doors lock from the inside, and teachers wear the key on their lanyard. Lockdown drills are normal.

Oh, Australia, I envy the openness of your schools. We will never have that again in America, I'm afraid.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:39 AM
 
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Wow, sounds like the mother will only relax if she homeschools her child. There is no way her unrealistic demands can be met in a classroom.

She really drew the line when she went over to the other child, and should be stopped from entering the classroom, or even being around the other students.

One might have a bit of compassion for the stress that she is going through, but it ended for me when she made unrealistic demands and when she went over to your other student.

I'd be tempted to have a "coughing fit" each and every time you have to deal with her-even if she calls you at school. (Just get a visual of her reaction to that!)
That might make her either stop coming in or calling to complain. It even might help her make that homeschooling decision!
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:25 PM
 
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This is genius, Lazy Lake!!!
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:13 AM
 
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Thanks for the support everyone! Things got worse before they got better because it turned out the two boys are also in the same soccer team (go figure!). She insisted on not letting the boys be next to each other or interact at all, which is borderline bullying behaviour imo. Thankfully she responded well to my boss and I talking with her again, and has agreed not to come into the classroom or talk to other children again.

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Please take a step back show the mom some understanding and compassion. She may become your best supporter.
For the play doh, hygiene, sand and dirt concerns yes, I do have empathy because I know she is genuinely anxious about them. I was and am willing to work through those things with her. For harassing another one of my students, not so much. It's been dealt with now though, & I'm ready to move on. Thankfully the little boy she was awful to is a cheerful, resilient little guy and his parents are amazing. They stood up for their kid but are teaching him to forgive, which I think is just so cool.

A much more drama-free day overall
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Coughin
Old 02-14-2020, 12:16 AM
 
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I'd be tempted to have a "coughing fit" each and every time you have to deal with her-even if she calls you at school. (Just get a visual of her reaction to that!)
That might make her either stop coming in or calling to complain. It even might help her make that homeschooling decision!
I'm not gonna do it but I mean.....

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Oh, Australia, I envy the openness of your schools. We will never have that again in America, I'm afraid.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:31 AM
 
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All I have to say about kids sitting on the carpet in a culture that doesn't remove shoes when they come in side is, "Oh, sh*t." Think about what comes in on the bottom of shoes. Then you have the kids sit on it, touch it, then they touch their eyes, nose, and mouth. Ewww.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:19 PM
 
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All I have to say about kids sitting on the carpet in a culture that doesn't remove shoes when they come in side is, "Oh, sh*t." Think about what comes in on the bottom of shoes. Then you have the kids sit on it, touch it, then they touch their eyes, nose, and mouth. Ewww.
Umm what do you think is happening to all that dirt when they're playing in it outside? They are 5. They roll on the ground, dig, climb trees, lick bugs. They're covered in outdoors long before they come inside to sit on the rug. Luckily, science says dirt is good for kids. Lots of immune building microbes. I spend tons of times outdoors with my class and they stay amazingly healthy

I do think taking off shoes + wearing slippers indoors would be nice to protect the carpert.
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:29 PM
 
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I'm sorry, but just her list of demands is over the top. If he can't be touched by other children he shouldn't be in school. Period. Followed closely by the outside thing - yikes. Poor kid! He's going to have serious issues when he gets older. I hope she's saving now for therapy instead of college.
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