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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Angelo
 
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"Is there anything you can do?"
Old 03-31-2020, 10:48 AM
 
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I CANNOT BLOODY STAND it when parents (or students) treat me (Academic Counselor) like the appeals court. You asked a question, and you got a clear answer. It happens not to have been the answer you wanted. That doesn't mean you're going to get a different answer by calling on someone outside the situation.

Context: A stusdent (high school -- old enough to know better) was screwing around in an online class. Wouldn't mute his mike and making stupid noises. Teacher had to mute his mike for him repeatedly. The student started making faces and trying to text message other students in the class from his phone encouraging them to act like idiots (a parent of one of the other students took a screenshot and sent it to the teacher). Teacher e-mailed the parents last week to say the behavior was unacceptable. Parent: "OK. We will talk to him." The student persisted in the behavior yesterday, and the teacher banned him from participating in the live portions of the class for the rest of the week. He can work on the posted stuff on his own, but not join the live discussion. He can rejoin the class on Monday if he apologizes for his behavior, agrees not to repeat it, and submits a thousand-word essay on etiquette online.

Parent (to me):

Hello Mr. Angelo. I hope you are well. As you may or not be aware, my son's [subject] teacher has banned him from the class for the remainder of this week. While we in no way condone the behavior that led to this ban, and while we certainly understand the challenges teachers are confronting, we do not believe that it is in Junior's best interests to be excluded from the learning environment. As you know, Junior struggles in this subject. His father and I believe that the online behavior is the byproduct of his anxiety about the pandemic situation and a build-up of energy caused by being kept in the house all the time. While we do not approve of how Junior chose to handle this unprecedented stress, we think it's important to remember that he is a teenage boy. Teenage boys are often thoughtless and impulsive. Add the stress of the current situation, and I think teachers need to be a bit more flexible and understanding.

[Editorial Comment: The "kids will be kids" defense moves me not at all. Sorry.]

For what it's worth, his father and I believe the 1000 word essay is also punitive and unhelpful, especially given all the other work Junior has to do. We understand that Junior should apologize, but assigning an essay seems frankly spiteful and old school.

[Editorial Comment: Actually, I kind of like it.]

However, the most important thing for us is that Junior be permitted to rejoin the class immediately so his learning is not interrupted. Banning him for the week is like suspending a student for a week from a regular class just for talking out of turn.

[Editorial Comment: No, actually, this situation is not "like" anything. It's unprecedented. It's a crisis. Can it with the false equivalence arguments.]

I'm sorry to be dragging you into this, but...

[Wait for it...]

... is there anything you can do to help?



Well... seeing as I'm not the one who assigned the consequence, I'm not sure what the parent is expecting to have happen next. Is she expecting me to call up my colleague and demand that he reverse his decision and/or soften the consequence? If so, she is laboring under a number of delusions as to what my role entails and how much power and influence I have.

She finished her message by describing the teacher as inflexible and unresponsive and unwilling to engage in civil discourse with parents. What she neglects to mention is that her message in response to this incident (to the teacher) was belligerent, sarcastic, and provocative (the teacher showed it to me). She accused the teacher of not managing the online learning environment well and of having a poor understanding of "adolescent development" (boys have always goofed around and they always will... they're blowing off steam... why don't you just lighten up?)

It's also worth noting that, even before the crisis, this parent complained frequently about teachers being "unresponsive." The issue is that her expectation of teacher contact is unreasonable for high school. She has a history of bombarding teachers with questions and concerns multiple times a week, and when she sends a message, she always responds to the response. She tries to treat e-mail like an online chat and would be content to message back and forth with teachers all day, all evening, and every weekend if teachers didn't set limits on the number of messages they'd agree to respond to. Admin suggested phone calls instead for longer discussions, but that's no better -- she'd keep you on the line for 2 hours if she could (and keeps it going and going and talking in circles if she doesn't get the answer she wants). So it's really necessary to limit contact and be almost rude with her so as not to get sucked in.

Short answer: Nope. There's nothing I can do to help. Tell Junior to enjoy his time out from the class, and I hope he smartens up next week when he's permitted to rejoin the class. Oh... and remind him to run spell check on that thousand-word essay!


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Unbelievable
Old 03-31-2020, 11:25 AM
 
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If anything, suggest that Junior use the time that he is "suspended" from class to write that 1000 word essay. And, there's no reason he can't go outside and walk around and around the house for an hour to burn off steam.
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Dollars to Doughnuts,
Old 03-31-2020, 11:43 AM
 
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-She wants the essay lifted because she knows he won't do it and she has no control of him either.

-She is already tired of dealing with him and wants him to be required to be in front of his device in his room for all classes each day.

-She can't let him outside in the yard because he won't stay in the d@mn yard and will make stupid teenage-boy decisions that break quarantine and might get him (or her) in trouble in the neighborhood...
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Wow
Old 03-31-2020, 12:44 PM
 
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Just wow.

I'm thinking the student "struggles in this class" because this behavior is not new.

While I like your stories, I feel badly that you have to put up with so much baloney!
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:45 PM
 
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Well, I have an idea for burning off his excess energy and stress - how about clean the bathrooms, wash windows, etc. and let the maid (because I'm sure they have one) have a paid vacation for the duration of the pandemic.


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Old 03-31-2020, 04:24 PM
 
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Elspeech, love it!

Agree with the poster who said she wants the essay consequence removed because she knows she can't force her kid to do it!
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Old 03-31-2020, 09:21 PM
 
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I know the current climate is tough and making a lot of people feeling stressed. I’m just tired of the term “anxiety” constantly being thrown out any time there is a struggle...anxiety is to blame.
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Old 03-31-2020, 09:41 PM
 
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I'd be tempted to just reply, "Nope" or maybe "No" to be "professional." After all, that would answer the question!
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It never ends
Old 04-01-2020, 06:28 AM
 
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Maybe she should sit with him during class to make him behave. It sounds as if was a continuing pattern, not a one time deal based on the email between sessions. Good for the teacher to hold him accountable.
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Old 04-01-2020, 12:53 PM
 
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If kids will be kids, then why weren't the rest of the kids misbehaving, too? Aren't they all full of energy and dealing with anxiety?

Yes, the essay is punitive. That's the point.

The mom sounds like the cause of the behavior.


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Enabler parent
Old 04-01-2020, 07:25 PM
 
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Your short and sweet answer, "Since I am not in charge of teachers, there is absolutely nothing I can do to help." Repeat as in the broken record technique.
Send the above reply by email. Or if you call, just add, "Sorry, I have another call. Good-bye."

Agree with a previous poster, the mother is the root cause of the problem.

Last edited by Ruby tunes; 04-01-2020 at 11:29 PM..
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