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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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The Dance Begins
Old 08-15-2018, 07:19 PM
 
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Hmmmm... I wonder what Angelo's parents and students are up to as we kick off the school year. So glad you asked.

Nominee for Parent of the (first) Week. For your consideration:

Parent A. Her son dropped a mandatory course in Junior year against my advice. Planned to take it in summer school. Failed to take it in summer school as the family decided to go on a cruise instead. Now has to take said mandatory course in Senior year. I informed the student and parent that said mandatory Junior course conflicts with a Senior elective for which the student had registered. Since said mandatory Junior course is needed to graduate, student will need to drop the Senior elective. Unfortunate, but them's the breaks, n'est-ce pas?

(Student A gets the dubious distinction of being my first "My Mom's gonna call you about this" of the school year). Even I, miracle worker though I am, cannot timetable a student for two classes occurring at the same time.

Parent A: Hello, Mr. Angelo. My son, Student A, has informed me that you told him he couldn't take his preferred elective. I'm wondering how we can rectify this situation.
Me: Student A needs to complete Junior mandatory course. The only available section is offered in the same time slot as Senior elective, and he can't do both at the same time.
Parent A: I understand that. I'd like to know what our options are.
Me: There aren't any, really. He needs the mandatory course to graduate.
Parent A: But he really wants the elective.
Me: Well, unfortunately, he can't do both. Had he completed the course in summer school, he could take the elective.
Parent A: We had family vacation plans. You never informed us that there would be a conflict.
Me: You told me he would be attending summer school, so the point was moot. Moreover, the timetable wasn't finalized at that point, so there was no way of knowing this would cause a conflict. It's just the way the timetable shakes out.
Parent A: Okay. So what can we do to ensure he gets both classes?
Me: He can't have both classes. They are in the same period.
Parent A: *sigh* Yes, I understand that. I understand the problem. I'm asking what we can do to solve it.
Me: He has to drop the elective and pick something else.
Parent A: No. He wants the elective.
Me: Well, he can't do both at the same time.
Parent A: Well, classes haven't officially started yet. Why don't you move one of the classes to a different period?

*Let's all just pause for a moment to reflect on the moment a parent suggested we alter the school's entire timetable just to accommodate her son.*

Parent A: I mean... maybe the teacher is open to switching periods.
Me: The timetable is the timetable. Changing it would be disruptive, and there's no way the school will entertain that. It would affect everyone else taking that class.
Parent A: Can you ask? Maybe nobody would mind.
Me: No, I'm sorry.
Parent A: *louder sigh* Well, what if he attended both classes on alternate days and got notes from a classmate for the days he missed?
Me: No, that's not possible. We don't do that.
Parent A: Listen. I feel like I'm the only one in this conversation who is looking for solutions while you're just saying no.
Me: If he wants to graduate. He needs to take Junior mandatory. That's really all there is to it.

So of course Parent A called admin to complain about my lack of helpfulness. Admin approached me and was annoyed that I referred the call to them. What else was I supposed to do? I told the parent no six ways from Sunday and they demanded to speak to my supervisor. Admin said, "Why didn't you just tell her we can't timetable a kid to be in two places at once?" Gee... why didn't I think of that? Ummmm.... I DID. "So then why did she call me?" asked Admin in puzzlement. Ummmm... because that's what they do when they get an answer they don't like.

But did Parent A stop there? Of course she didn't. The teachers of Mandatory Junior and Elective Senior both approached me and asked why they had weird e-mail messages from Parent A asking if they'd be open to moving the periods in which they teach and, failing that, if they'd support a special arrangement in which Student A could attend both classes on alternate days and, if so, could they let me know that they'd signed off. Yes, these messages were sent well after I'd clearly said NO to both options.


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Old 08-15-2018, 07:33 PM
 
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You could have suggested she try the Solomon approach in order for her kid to be in two places at the same time.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:40 PM
 
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But, but, but... I NEED YOU to solve this problem that I created.


Actually, there is a solution. Student can skip mandatory class and not graduate! That elective class will be SO helpful when he has to attend GED classes to get his diploma.
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Holy...WOW!
Old 08-15-2018, 08:24 PM
 
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Just when I think your parents can't get any crazier....THEY DO!



How in the world do you deal with this? I would not be able to keep my cool at all. You truly have a gift to deal with these types of crazy. More power to you!
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Irate parents
Old 08-15-2018, 09:04 PM
 
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Of course, they are understandably upset that you completely failed to perform a miracle just for them and their deserving son!
You have the patience of Job!


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Old 08-15-2018, 10:27 PM
 
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EarthMonkey! (and, gross!)

So glad the fun hasn't ended for you, Angelo! Now, if I could just talk to you about my kid's schedule....
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time-turner
Old 08-16-2018, 02:35 AM
 
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You don't have a time-turner like Hermione used in Harry Potter to attend classes at the same time?
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:52 AM
 
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Daffodils... I was thinking the same thing!
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Old 08-16-2018, 04:21 AM
 
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But wait, Hermione managed going to two classes at once in Harry Potter so why can't he?? It's all your fault because you failed to offer her THAT totally doable option!!

I don't know how you deal with that level of consistently ridiculous parents!

And obviously I didn't read through all the replies since I suggested the same thing the last two PPs did haha
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Old 08-16-2018, 04:45 AM
 
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Oh, let the kid take his precious elective and then try to act all surprised in the spring when you tell his parents that he won't be graduating with his class because he didn't take the mandatory class.


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Old 08-16-2018, 06:46 AM
 
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I like eagles23's suggestion!
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one suggestion?
Old 08-16-2018, 07:37 AM
 
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So I have a question. Can the kid take the elective OR the mandatory class and walk (at graduation) with his class BUT take whichever in the summer to get his diploma? (or is that just a college thing?)

**It wouldn't be a reward because he'd have to do summer school
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:25 AM
 
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I’m surprised the parents haven’t suggested that one of the teachers do an independent study with their child. Since one of the courses is mandatory, shouldn’t that teacher be agreeable to doing independent study with their child? (at a time convenient to their child of course and please not a lot of work as he already has a full course load).

mom23kids
I wonder if your solution would generate a problem with college acceptance. Not taking a mandatory class would leave his transcript indicating he is not graduating with his class. If the first choice college he and his parents want indicates this is a problem, parents will be back demanding Angelo fix it.

Parents let student drop Junior year mandatory course with the understanding their child would take it in summer school. Parents decided a cruise was more important and that he could take it senior year. It’s time for student and parents to realize that actions have consequences. The consequence is that he doesn’t get his first choice elective. He needs to take the course when it is offered.
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:25 AM
 
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The absolute state of our society today.

Love your posts, Angelo. I would have to keep a flask in my bottom desk drawer if I had to deal with the entitled snowflakes you have to deal with.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:47 PM
 
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Lordy, this stuff is great fun... for us reading it!

What part of No does this parent not understand?
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keep posting Angelo.
Old 08-16-2018, 05:14 PM
 
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Love your posts, made my day!!
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Wowza!
Old 08-16-2018, 08:12 PM
 
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“Can you ask? Maybe nobody would mind.” I actually laughed out loud at that suggestion.

Then having the gall to actually approach those teachers about it ....

Too bad her son doesn’t have the same drive that his mom does. He would have passed that mandatory class with a high grade and looking forward to his elective class.
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What if the gal is a major donor?
Old 08-16-2018, 08:16 PM
 
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I don't know the parent, but what if she is being asked to donate $$$$$$ to the school, and she does not due to the fact her son is having issues. I am so curious to your response.
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:26 AM
 
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Administration was annoyed with you? Yikes!
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Old 08-17-2018, 03:26 PM
 
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I would ALMOST be tempted to give the kid the alternate days thing... just to see him go crazy and then fail both classes.

But then you'd have Parent back in your office trying to work out a solution as to how we can change his grades.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:10 PM
 
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As a high school teacher, I find this to be a very accurate description of what happens in the Student Services building during the weeks leading up to school.

Also, I have also gotten an email from a parent demanding that I swap two of my class periods to accommodate their student.
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Old 08-18-2018, 03:36 AM
 
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I had a parent suggest that since her son likes to sleep in, the school day should be moved two hours back. Suggesting he go to a school with a different start time was a stupid suggestion on my part, because obviously I could just stay those additional two last hours to teach him. I think you need to offer a private class for the poor child at his convenience, it is the least you could do.
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Yikes!
Old 08-18-2018, 03:59 AM
 
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As ever, I'm both amused (by your writing) and appalled at the entitlement of people today!

The family made a choice, and they need to accept the consequences of that choice. Missing the elective is not the end of the world.

And the more we live in a society where people can get anything they want at any time they want, the worse I'm afraid it's going to get.
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Old 08-18-2018, 06:31 AM
 
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These parents might just have to bite the bullet and pay for private after school lessons for whatever that crucial elective was.
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But wait...
Old 08-20-2018, 10:43 AM
 
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New week... new "Parent of the Week..."

Ever have those bizarre "When they know that you know that they know..." encounters with parents? Where both of you are posturing and know exactly what the other one wants / thinks, but neither of you can say it out loud?

I've had a couple of those this week.

I've discovered that I can be passive-aggressive and cagey with the best of them. We get parents who don't come right out and ask for an exception to a school policy but rather beat around the bush for ages while attempting to build an airtight case as to why there should be absolutely no alternative to the school providing the exception. They know that if they come right out and ask, the answer will be a firm "no" but figure if they beat around the bush long enough, maybe I'll tire of the game and propose the exception just to end the conversation. My new strategy as soon as I see where they are headed is to "innocently" shut (shoot) down the request long before they make it, all the while blinking and smiling like Bambi and acting like I have no idea where the conversation is heading.

The short version is that parent is about to ask me to register her son for AP Calculus despite not having anything close to the requisite mark in his Junior Math. But of course she doesn't come right out and ask if this is possible... she beats around the bush for ten minutes telling me all about how much Junior has "matured over the summer" and "had an epiphany about his future" and now really wants to go into some advanced college program or other, and on and on it goes.

My new strategy is to throw the parent for a loop. As soon as I see where the conversation is (slowly) heading, I smile and say, "Gee... that's great! I really hoped he would find that spark of ambition. You know? I'd be tempted to suggest AP Calculus if only he had the required mark. It's really too bad it's impossible. I'm happy to look at all the other options, though."

You can almost see the parent's face deflate. Oh... were you going to ask for an exception? I had no idea. I guess I just saved us some time.

But in any case... my nominee for Parent of the Week (yes, I know... it's only Monday, so we'll see what the competition is like later in the week)... the mother who flipped out on me for *DRUM ROLL PLEASE* sending her a follow-up e-mail.

Context: I've learned the importance with some families of closing ALL the loopholes. This is a mother who has had four sons go through our school. The second youngest graduated last year and the youngest is starting Senior year now. This mother is CONSTANTLY trying to manufacture confusion, plead ignorance, and get the benefit of the doubt in an effort to get around school rules. Every time she or her kids miss a deadline or don't meet an expectation, she says something like "I wasn't informed" or "That wasn't explained clearly" or demands to know "Where was that information posted? I didn't see it!" Always.

This is the mother who caused a scene at graduation this past year. The school has a policy that Each graduate gets SIX tickets to graduation. There's a lottery for about 100 extra tickets and, of course, kids who aren't using all six can sell them to other kids. Whatever. So the parents show up to graduation. The usher asks for her tickets and she says, "Oh dear. I think I left them at home. I didn't realize we had to bring them. That wasn't made clear!" The usher says, "No problem. Who is the graduate?" She tells them her son's name. The usher makes a note on his clipboard and says, okay, you can take the six seats on the fifth row on the right-hand side. Mom and dad proceed to try to wave through about 25 relatives. The usher says, "Whoa! Whoa! You can only bring in six people including yourself!" She whines and moans that this "wasn't made clear before now" and the usher points out that this was all in the graduation package, which included SIX tickets. She starts in loudly about how great-grandpa is 97 years old and Uncle Charlie flew in from Canberra for this and Cousin Louise is like a member of the immediate family and on and on. Of course, some admin or other stepped in and, to prevent a scene that might ruin graduation for all the other families, gave in to her and let all 20+ people in.

So this is who we're dealing with. Anyway, she dropped in (without an appointment) and made all sorts of unreasonable requests on her son's behalf (we want this teacher, not that one; we want this the early lunch, not the late lunch; we want him to be in English with his buddy Michael; we want to drop this and substitute that; we want...; we want...; we want... etc.).

I could already see where this was heading, so I explained all the relevant school policies. I explained what I could do and couldn't. I clarified everything Junior was responsible for in the course of the year, etc.

After she left, I sent a detailed follow-up e-mail reiterating everything we had discussed in the meeting and asked that she kindly confirm receipt. Why did I do this? To create a time-stamped paper trail for future use as evidence that I explained everything in detail so she wouldn't be able to come back with the claim that I "hadn't made that clear" in our meeting later on when she inevitably attempted the "better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" routine.

She called me up and yelled at me and demanded to know why I had sent that e-mail message. She claimed it was offensive and condescending. She didn't need me to repeat everything I had just told her. She knew damned well why I'd sent the message, of course. It was because I'd closed a whole bunch of future "benefit of the doubt" claims and "he said / she said" arguments she might want to make in the future. Of course, I wasn't about to confirm this and say, "You're right. I don't trust you any farther than I can throw you." And she wasn't about to admit to her non-stop "deer in the headlights" ruse, which seems to have worked well for her on a number of occasions. So she was left being furious at me but with no reasonable basis to be so without admitting her game plan.

You want it made clear? Was that clear enough?
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