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riko riko is offline
 
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Nitpicky Parent
Old 08-06-2019, 10:45 PM
 
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Yesterday was the first day of school. I'm explaining procedures, routines, expectations, etc. Kids do fairly well. I thought it went fine, as first days usually are. Thought the kids were happy as no sad faces left the room.

This afternoon the AP comes to me and says an anonymous parent complained that I spent too much time talking about lining up, making straight lines, looking forward, etc. yesterday. Parent questioned if this is really how time on the first day should be spent.

I looked at the AP and said I don't even recall going on and on about lines. I said I did talk about lines, reason, etc but not carry it on unnecessarily long. Maybe 5 minutes at most. I told the AP I told the class we'd practice more today (the second day of school).

I wondered aloud to the AP what it says about this parent if she's complaining about lines on the first day. The AP said that was the parent's point...why am I unnecessarily going on about lines on the first day. I told the AP I wasn't.

Ugh! Is this going to be a nitpicky parent? And making it anonymous tells me she's chicken. Why not come to me first? Why does Admin even listen to anonymous complaints? Makes me think anyone can make a complaint then and this parent will continue this all year.
Is this parent going to nitpick and make my year hell?


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Old 08-06-2019, 10:59 PM
 
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This sounds even more like an AP problem than a parent problem! AP should have told parent, "Learning procedures is an essential part of the school year. Ms. Riko is an excellent teacher. If you have a concern, please feel free to contact her about it."
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:30 AM
 
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Id be more annoyed with the AP on this one.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:01 AM
 
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Quote:
The AP said that was the parent's point...why am I unnecessarily going on about lines on the first day.
The AP is off base on two points.
#1. The AP should know that it's crucial to go over procedures the first days of school to ensure successful management.
#2 Your AP had no business listening to a trivial complaint on the first day of school.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Why does Admin even listen to anonymous complaints? Makes me think anyone can make a complaint then and this parent will continue this all year.
I think the AP knows exactly who called and just is not telling you. Parent probably said she doesn't want you to know as she fears you'll retaliate by targeting her child. (common refrain from parents who make baseless complaints)

It's not the parent I'd fear, it's the AP. An AP who doesn't have your back is always a worry.


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Old 08-07-2019, 03:07 AM
 
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Totally agree with everyone on this. Your AP blew it big-time and you need to watch out for him/ her.
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Agree
Old 08-07-2019, 03:23 AM
 
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I agree with others: I would be more annoyed, even concerned, with the AP. If the AP makes such an issue out of a non-sense like spending time on lines, what happens when you spent time on actual lessons? The other thing is, the first day IS one of those days that you spend plenty of time practicing routines and procedures, not three months later. That parent is a moron, pardon my language.
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:43 AM
 
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Quote:
This afternoon the AP comes to me and says an anonymous parent complained that I spent too much time talking about lining up, making straight lines, looking forward, etc. yesterday. Parent questioned if this is really how time on the first day should be spent.
The AP should have replied, "yes, yes it is."
How strange!
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:47 AM
 
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Parent probable asked child what he did that day... which is one of the reasons I end my first day with a fun science experiement. That is usually what parents hear about.
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first day complaints
Old 08-07-2019, 04:59 AM
 
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Several years ago the prince stopped in on the second morning to let me know that dad had called to say that "Freddy" was bored on the first day of school. WTHeck, even I am bored on the first day!
Prince was a champion of procedures, so he completely understood what happens in the first weeks, but he just wanted me to have a heads up on what to expect with that student and parent. (Parents had complained every year that he was bored.)
Once we got going, I heard no more about boredom.


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Agree with OPs
Old 08-07-2019, 05:24 AM
 
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The issue is with the AP not having your back. There will always be those parents who need attention and show it by ridiculous complaints like these.

I also think it's a change in what administrators are expected to do these days. A customer service approach means that they placate the parent and "manage" the teacher. I have felt that I've been "talked to" just so that the admin can call the parent back and say they've "handled me." They have all been situations that were nitpicky or distortions of what really happened.


In the dim and distant past, I had one admin who always asked the parent if they had talked to the teacher yet. If they said that they had not, she would tell them that she couldn't talk to them about it until they had. I just don't see that happening these days.
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Old 08-07-2019, 06:56 AM
 
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Quote:
I also think it's a change in what administrators are expected to do these days. A customer service approach...
That's exactly the way to put it, and I hate it! I agree with the others that your AP totally did not do his/her job - which in this case was to:

A) back you up that procedures are indeed a very important part of the first day, and exactly what leads to more learning time throughout the year!

B) let the parent know that he/she has no intention of being middle link between them and the teacher and to please contact you directly and openly in the future.


I'd be very tempted to ask the kids the next day "who went home and told their parents that all we did yesterday was boring lining up?" and offer them a math paper from the next grade up to work on while you practice today. - Of course I wouldn't actually do it, but I'd be thinking it!


Kahluablast, I love the science experiment idea! There's a study somewhere about people giving way more weight in memories to the last part of an experience - even if it's contrary to the majority of the experience. Your solution is perfect!
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Yes
Old 08-07-2019, 07:57 AM
 
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I completely agree with those who say this AP is out of line. You may have a spineless "people pleaser" on your hands, so watch out. Admins who spend all their time glad-handing parents and managing the teachers rather than the students have become a real cancer in the system. Mostly these are climbers who will never be happy. They thought getting out of the classroom would make them happy, so they moved into non-teaching roles. When those roles didn't make them happy, they thought they'd try for Admin and make a bit more money, so they became APs. They quickly get frustrated when they learn that they are now the go-to people for every difficult parent and student. They are generally unpopular (it's in the job description), so they get even more anxious and unhappy than they were before. They can't boss the parents, but they can boss the teachers. When a difficult parent comes at them, rather than doing the hard work of supporting their staff, these APs take the cheap way out and throw the teacher under the bus. They see UP as the only way out, and so go for broke and rationalize antagonizing the teachers with whom they work with platitudes like, "I have to do what I think is right for the students. If you don't like it, too bad." An Admin who throws treats and favors at difficult parents tends to get a lot of compliments (from parents), whereas an Admin who does the hard work and holds the line in solidarity with his or her teachers tends to get complaints (from parents) and little else. When it's time for the District to promote someone to P, they see one candidate who has glowing letters from parents and another who has a heap of complaints from parents. Guess who gets kicked upstairs?

The best part is when they allow themselves to get pulled onto the dance floor by parents on the basis of a lie (or half-truth) their kid has told, and it never seems to occur to either the parent or the AP that the story may not be true.

I once had an AP get in my face based on (a parent's complaint about a student's version of) my first-day spiel to students in an elective course (Writing or Media or something). The student reported that I said, "This class is going to be hard. You should drop it now." What I actually said to the class was that some students take the elective course assuming it will be a soft option. I cautioned them that the class would be very rigorous and require a significant commitment. I said something like, "If you're passionate about this material, great! Welcome aboard! I think you'll really enjoy this class! By contrast, if you don't really find this material interesting or signed up because you thought it would be an easy A, you're probably not going to enjoy it as much. There are other elective courses if you don't think this will be the one for you, but I want to make it clear upfront how demanding this course will be and what I expect from you."

When I explained to the AP what I actually said, he was unmoved. He said, "It doesn't matter how you phrased it. It sounds like you're telling kids to drop the course so you can have a smaller group with just your favorites in it." I said, "That's what you got from that?" He said, "That's how it comes across." I said, "I don't think so. I think the class is great for those with an interest or passion for the material." He said, "Nonsense. They're in high school. They're still discovering their passions and interests. You can't expect them to come into the room already having bought in. You need to entice and engage them, not scare them away. You need to really sell it to them." I asked, "Why do I need to sell it? It's elective. There's a wait list of kids who actually want this class and, by all appearances, a number in the class who don't particularly care about the material or want to be there." The AP shook his head and said, "Those kids need courses on their timetables too. You can't pick your students." Whatever.
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Wow
Old 08-07-2019, 12:11 PM
 
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Your AP sounds like an oblivious nincompoop. What a pompous $&@hole.
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I believe. ..
Old 08-07-2019, 01:42 PM
 
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NewCAteacher has summed it up perfectly!
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I stand in agreement w/ Gromit and the
Old 08-07-2019, 01:56 PM
 
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other posters. The only different thought I had was there are some parents who nitpick yr after yr. Our P would probably let that parent be anonymous because he doesn't want to hear, " That woman has been bat _ crazy since Kindergarten." Got to give mad props to the K/1 teachers out there who don't have evidence yet to say that.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:34 PM
 
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My first principal would have asked the parent, "Have you spoken with the teacher yet? Speak with the teacher first."
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:40 PM
 
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I wouldn't even bother denying to this dimwitted AP that I had spent a lot of time talking about lining up procedures. I would simply say that every competent teacher knows that time spent teaching procedures, routines and expectations in the first week is time well spent and saves a lot of time and trouble later on. I would ask if the parent in question had a degree in teaching and, if not, I would point out that she is not really qualified to question my professional decisions. And then I would point out that this student is not the only student in the class so, even if this students didn't need to have that much instruction about procedures, others in the class surely did. Finally I would ask if he would prefer that I ignore Classroom Management 101 and omit this very important component to please one parent.

It sounds as though you have that most unfortunate combination of a high maintenance parent and a wimpy AP.
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Lines
Old 08-07-2019, 06:27 PM
 
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I second what newCAteacher said. Sounds like its going to be a long year. So sorry!
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:00 AM
 
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Your AP is clearly an idiot! The AP should have shut this down and it never should have been brought to your attention. I don’t know why but this seriously gets under my skin! I cannot imagine why the AP would first of all not tell you which parent said it and second of all not tell the parent, yeah we work on procedures at the beginning of the year. That’s exactly what she should be doing in class on the first day! So sorry OP!
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AP should have backed you up
Old 08-08-2019, 06:55 AM
 
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The AP should have told the teacher that rules and procedures are important on day one. Really, they're important for the first 3 weeks of school in my opinion.

the AP also should not have wasted your time talking about this with you, except maybe to warn you that you might have a complainer on your hands.

I have a feeling this is an AP you're not going to be able to win with so just stand your ground, be firm but respectful in letting them know that you have a good reason for doing your job the way you do it.

I'm basically echoing when everyone else said but I feel so bad that your AP did this to you that I wanted to chime in
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Old 08-08-2019, 09:09 AM
 
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I agree with previous statements here regarding the AP. My first thought is that the AP is new at the job and is wanting to show the teachers who is "boss" by coming in with crap like that. Stand up to this or that AP will be a thorn in your side all year.
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Administrators...
Old 08-08-2019, 03:37 PM
 
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Too bad this administrator did not react in a positive, proactive way that had your back. All he or she needed to tell the parent was that in the beginning of the year, students need to develop and practice predictable routines and procedures. And yes, it is how the first days of school are spent, because if these routines and expectations are not made clear and practiced, chaos and disorder can result. And every year, with a different teacher and grade, things can be expectations can be slightly different.

I get so tired of spineless administrators who instead of standing up to the parents, come to the teacher as if its the teacher's fault. If you have a Meet the Teacher Night, you can reiterate how you appreciate direct parent communication and concerns so you can address them in a timely manner. Going to an administrator is also like a game of telephone, something always seems to get lost in the translation.

Hopefully, the parent will come over to your side and focus on what's truly important, their child's success academically and emotionally. Good luck.
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newCAteacher ...yes!
Old 08-08-2019, 06:47 PM
 
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Nincompoop is right!

Oblivious nincompoop is my new favorite description...so much more polite than my first reaction.
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Old 08-09-2019, 05:40 PM
 
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So sorry you have an idiot for an AP!!

Quote:
This sounds even more like an AP problem than a parent problem! AP should have told parent, "Learning procedures is an essential part of the school year. Ms. Riko is an excellent teacher. If you have a concern, please feel free to contact her about it."
Exactly!
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Ugh.
Old 08-09-2019, 09:32 PM
 
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Sounds like you have a PPP... "Parent pleaser principal."

Sorry to hear that he won't stick up for you. That is truly sad to hear.

Honestly I could never work for a parent pleaser school ever again.

They'd throw me under the bus every time and would accuse me of everything under the sun.

If you're able to quit this school I'd actually recommend it.
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PPP is a great term!
Old 08-15-2019, 06:11 AM
 
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We have PPP vice principal also. No spine and he actually gives into the students. I can't say how many students have talked him out of detentions or even suspensions. He's tell the students things like, "The teacher shouldn't have done that" and he believes the kid's lies! I just try to avoid any dealings with him as much as possible. Just know that this wimp is not on your side.

As to the procedures, we have in writing on our first week schedule that we should spend FIVE minutes on procedures and then more on to academics. This was a directive from two principals ago that they never changed! Yeah, I spend a bit more than five minutes on procedures, but if it doesn't improve test scores, I wouldn't be supported if someone complained. God help us all.
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