I need help with emails to two parents!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Oct 13, 2018

    I have been contacting parents about behavior in my "bad" classes which I have found to be somewhat effective. Most of the parents have been very supportive and I have noticed *some* change in the behavior.

    I have two parents that I am stuck on in terms of how to communicate. One parent has known to be a difficult one, although she hasn't been with me yet. Her son is disruptive in class and gets no work done. It is likely because he cannot do the work & he demonstrates lots of work avoidance. I emailed mom yesterday to let her know about her son's behavior during a test this week. He was supposed to have a detention with me on Wednesday, but he had a detention with another teacher. I also realized that her son was asking to go to the bathroom during the Do Now. The mom wants to meet which is fine but I'm not really sure what to say in the meeting. The VP told me that her mom thinks that her son is not being challenged enough which we both agreed is not true. The student was absent yesterday so he will definitely be more confused when he comes back to class on Monday.

    I also have been emailing another mother who is very supportive. Her son showed improvement last week so I sent her a positive email. However, this week her son has been RUDE. I usually redirect kids when they need it during a lesson. Most kids are fine with it, but her son would respond with "Am I not allowed to turn around?" He also talked throughout his detention and I know I should have given him another one for it! (The science teacher said that kids earn another detention for talking in detention!) I'm thinking of waiting it out and emailing mom next week if his behavior continues. How do you email parents with if their child is just rude?
     
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  3. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Oct 13, 2018

    With the first parent, I would just say that the kid has to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of what is being taught currently, which he is not doing at the moment because he avoids work. Bring up examples of work avoidance, and show examples of the incomplete work the kid has done. You have no issues with challenging the kid with higher order things, but he first needs to demonstrate his knowledge. Keep to facts, acknowledge that the mom could be correct, that the kid is very smart, but thatwith he still needs to demonstrate his knowledge. We can’t assess based on what we think he knows, but on what he can demonstrate consistently over a length of time. This applies to all students, of all abilities.
    With the second parent, I would email something to the effect that you want to provide another update on the kid’s behaviour. So he has shown improvement In the week prior but this past few days, he has backchatted you and he has gone backwards in his behaviour. If the kid has concerns over instructions you give, the correct forum is to speak with you after the lesson, not backchat his thoughts and opinions in the middle of the lesson. Since you have already provided negative and positive feedback, there’s no reason why the parent would think you are picking on the kid. Explain the circumstances of the incident, what the kid said and how the kid should have correctly handled the situation. Again, if you stick to hard facts, then it will be alright. I would do it sooner so the mum can address the situation with the kid asap.
     
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  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Oct 13, 2018

    ^
    For the student who talked back, is this appropriate? I'm planning on sending it Sunday evening.

    I wanted to provide an update about XXX's behavior and performance in math class. Like I stated before, XXX has been doing better in terms of getting his work done in class & working with his classmates. He did make a few mistakes on his unit test so I am hoping that he will submit corrections next week.

    I was concerned about XX's behavior with me last week. XX's behavior has shown improvement in the week prior, but last week, he has gone backwards in terms of his behavior. For example, XXX was turning around and talking to a student behind him during a lesson and I asked him to please turn around. When asked, XX said "Am I not allowed to turn around?" I want to emphasize to him that if he is concerned about a direction that I give, the appropriate time would be to speak with me after class or after school, but not speak back to me during a lesson. XX also had a detention on Tuesday after school for talking during a lesson. During the detention, he was talking to another student even though I reminded him that detentions are silent. If you would be able to talk to him about his recent behavior in math, that would be great.

    Again, I want to emphasize that XX has shown improvement since I spoke with you in the beginning of the year, but I also know that he is capable of much better than he showed this past week! I am sure that he will have a better week next week.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  5. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    That’s an email I personally would send. It acknowledges positives and sticks to facts.
     
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  6. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Companion

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    Oct 13, 2018

    I am going to disagree with your email to the second parent. It is too long and although I as a teacher understand why his behavior wasn't ok, it comes across as nitpicky in the email. I think if you send that email you risk losing her as an ally.

    I'd just say that he is still having issues with talking in class and in detention and you appreciate her ongoing support. I wouldn't even mention test corrections--it sounds like his grade was ok--unless his grade has been an issue or concern mentioned by the parent.
     
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  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Oct 13, 2018

    As much as I hate phone calls, I’d call instead of email. Or if you do email, then just stick to a basic “I would like to talk to you by phone or in person regarding concerns I have about X’s . . . .” Have work samples and stick to facts.

    You can fix the issue of being out during Do Now on your end. I avoid the issue of kids being out of the room during Do Now and Exit Slips by not allowing anyone out of the room during the first or last 10 minutes of any class period. They also cannot leave during direct instruction or group work. Unless they are working independently, they are out of luck. Our classes are 65 minutes long, and they are all in one hallway with two multi-stall bathrooms, and 3 to 4 minutes between classes. We also run a staggered schedule, so only one grade-level is out in the halls at a time. Unless they have a documented medical condition, they have to follow those rules.
     
  8. TrademarkTer

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    Oct 13, 2018

    I also feel like, while I know you mean well, you come off as a nag in this email. I would save my emails home for the big stuff. The parent probably feels like "you know, I deal with junior every day at home, surely Holyoke can deal with a little talking!" Choose your battles.
     
  9. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Oct 13, 2018

    Dear parent #2
    This week's update on chippie
    1. Behavior - while still improved over the behavior of 3 weeks ago, he needed some reminders about talking during instruction. I'm sure as we are both reminding him about the importance of listening during class, we will see more growth in this area. Thanks for your help in this area.
    2. Academics - the test was blank percent. I'm happy to tell you he can gain back some extra points if he does x y and z.
    Thanks so much for your continued support as we work as a team to help chippie gain the most he can from class.

    This way you retain an ally, state the facts, and get something done.
    I would not wait until Sunday. Do it now while they still have things they can take away from him as a consequence or things that they can provide to him as a reward. Parents hate when they have given a reward only to find that at the end of the weekend they should have been correcting their child. Just my opinion
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I like this--short and sweet. I always save the more detailed conversations for in-person meetings.
     
  11. Janlee70

    Janlee70 Rookie

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    Oct 13, 2018

    I would strongly suggest that you have someone with you when you meet with the parent/parents.
     
  12. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Also regarding the meeting---I had a parent want to meet with me once. When I told her we'd need to have the daughter there as well, the mom quickly cancelled the meeting and said everything was ok.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I always make it known that I expect the student to attend all meetings I have with their parents.
     
  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Oct 14, 2018

    delete
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    This is similar to what I sent and she replied right away saying thanks for keeping her informed and her son needs to understand that he is not in elementary school anymore! LOL
     
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  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    This parent actually wants the student to be at the meeting as well. I'm wondering if I should ask for someone else to be present? This parent hasn't been difficult with me (yet) but the VP is the one who said he's not being challenged enough and the social worker told me the mom feels like she knows everyone in the community, etc. and can be difficult.
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If I worry about a meeting going south without warning, I do ask if an administrator can attend as well. If I'm going to be on my own, I always make sure that someone else knows about the meeting (I sometimes have one of the office administrative assistants or another teacher call into my classroom after a time to "remind" me about the next meeting I have scheduled.
     
  18. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Oct 15, 2018

    Our social worker is attending the meeting! Thanks for the advice.
     
  19. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Oct 16, 2018

    So I had another issue with the boy who is argumentative today. He was constantly turning around/talking during classwork. He had a detention today for his behavior but he did not show up. Mom is very supportive and she said she can take more extreme measures if necessary. I might send her an email saying that he received a detention for turning around/being off topic in class and he has started to become argumentative with me. Does that sound reasonable?
     
  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    This is my email so far.

    I hope you are having a good start to the week! I wanted to check in with you about XXX's behavior in math class today.



    Students in my class have a partner that they are expected to work with during class & they also have many opportunities to turn and talk with their partner and work together. However, it is important to me that students are staying on topic and focused as they are working with their partner. Today, XXX was not staying focused during classwork and was turning around/talking to people who are not his partner. XXX has also started to become argumentative with me and I want to emphasize that he is welcome to talk to me after school or after class if he has a concern about a direction that I give him.



    Because of his behavior today, XXX does have a detention with me. Since we have a half day tomorrow and he did not come today, will he be able to attend his detention on Tuesday? This is an opportunity for us to check in about his behavior and talk about strategies to help him stay focused and on task in math class.



    Thanks again for your continued support.
     
  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    Oct 16, 2018

    Mom of the kid who I am meeting with also did not show up for his detention!! agh
     

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