Parent complaints and Ps

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Mar 28, 2018

    According to my former and current Ps, I've never had parents complain about me. Taken at face value, I can't possibly see how this could be true, can it? Would it be probable that a parent would call the P about me but it'd be a minor situation, the P brushes it off so it doesn't count as a complaint? Question to admin then.... can you give me examples to legit and illegit complaints from parents?
     
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  3. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Mar 28, 2018

    Like many of my former colleagues, we all dread being called on the carpet in the principal's office. Many principal's seem to find it easier stressing out teachers by responding to every single parental concern or complaint. Believe me when I tell you that principals often don't have a clue as to what constitutes a legitimate complaint. On the other hand, parents who complain tend to expect an administrative response which also may explain why the carpet treatment is such a popular approach. IMO, it's an exercise in futility to try to categorize various actual and hypothetical complaints - to do so requires that one have all the facts.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Mar 28, 2018

    I believe good principals shrug off silly complaints. I've been called to an admin's office a few times over complaints. Some would be considered legit and some should have never wasted my time. For the legit ones, the parents were lying or grossly misinformed (had a parent swear I had never contacted him about his child who failed. Yet I had emails confirming the dates of two different meetings that he attended). Had one parent call to complain because I told her daughter she was inappropriately dressed (she was) and sent her to the office for a change of clothes. The mother said she wasn't upset about me following the rules but that I called her daughter inappropriate which is a synonym for slut. I don't think I should have had to have that discussion with the admin but apparently he thought otherwise @@.

    Most of the complaints about me regard grading. My admin have almost always backed me up with those and I don't hear about them until long after the fact.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Mar 28, 2018

    I'm curious: as a former principal, how did YOU handle parent complaints?
     
  6. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Mar 29, 2018

    A child told his mother, “We don’t do nothing all day!” My co-teacher went crazy on him, and harped on him the rest of the day. “Well, what are we doing now _____? Tell your mom we did xyz!”

    I am sure I’ll hear about this...o_O

    I hate it when I get called into a meeting for something someone else did.
     
  7. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Mar 29, 2018

    Here's how I usually handled concerns from a disgruntled parent. First, I would listen to the parent's concerns while taking careful notes - I would tell them to expect a return call from me after I conducted some fact-finding. Next, I would meet individually with the parties involved (e.g. teacher, students, aides) to determine what had transpired during the event in question. Depending on the situation, I would do any of the following:

    1) Ask the teacher to contact the parent regarding the incident, in order to provide an objective explanation and reach an amicable resolution.*
    2) Ask the teacher to meet with the student to discuss what both parties could have done differently to avoid the problem.*
    3) Counsel the student on proper behavior. Ask the student to write a letter of apology to the teacher, if appropriate (with cc: to parent) *

    *A meeting with the teacher, parent and student was used only as a last resort whenever any party was unreceptive to any of the first three suggestions.

    4) Counsel the teacher on alternative approaches to use in similar situations in the future.
    5) Impose disciplinary action on the student, as appropriate.
    6) Consult with district office administrators, as needed.
    7) Consult with school psychologist, special ed. teacher, or other ancillary staff, as needed.

    Finally, I would call the parent regarding what had been done (i.e. progress report) and to achieve a satisfactory closure to the incident.

    This is what I recall doing as a K-8 principal thirty years ago. Fortunately, I had pretty good mediation skills, so parents never went away angry. How does it compare with what's done today?
     
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  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Apr 22, 2018

    What about thr parent who thinks their child is an angel. They come in, watch and say, “I don’t want ____ near my child” Ok, we move your precious offspring to another table for lunch and group time. But that’s not enough. Parent comes in and watches the room for 2 minutes and then all hell breaks loose. “You turned your head and ___ was sitting next to my child!” :confused:

    All the administrators in the bldg are called over as this parent yells at me! P calms then down. “Not a problem, we will talk.”

    Admin says I’m ok. But repeated the parent’s concerns. Oh, you mean this parent doesn’t want ___ next to their child at ALL the entire day??? And I can never turn my head?? These are 5 year olds.

    I guess I have to sit and babysit this kid all day, and make sure nobody she doesn’t like (this week) is in a 10 mile radius of her.

    Isn’t that a restraining order??
     
  9. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Apr 23, 2018

    I suspect some schools are more prone to parental complaints than others. My school is a low socioeconomic immigrant demographic. A lot of our parents try to stay under the radar. Many don't speak English. It's difficult just to get the PTA going every year. When complaints come up, they're generally not about the little things. On the other end of the district with the multi-million dollar homes, stay at home moms and highly competitive attitudes, I've heard that complaints are a dime a dozen, and most are related to "unfairness" on the part of the teacher.
     
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  10. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2018

    When enrollment is high, nobody listens to parents. When it's low, nobody listens to the teachers
     
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  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Apr 24, 2018

    Profound, MPK.

    So far, in my ten years of teaching (well, ten at the end of this year), I have had no parent complaints. Closest I came to a student complaint was when I caught a student plagiarizing and she denied the charge despite my having found her source material. That got kicked up to a wryly amused principal, who pointed out the additional plagiarize portions of her paper I had missed.
     
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  12. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Apr 24, 2018

    Thank you Catnfiddle...

    Sometimes, I feel parents are our customers and children are the packages that we build. Whenever something is wrong, it’s all our fault and parents (customers) complain to the P. (manager)

    What about the times when we make a difference in the life of their child?? Are they gonna do an online survey and rate is 5 stars??

    When was the last time some parent praised you for all your work??

    :(

    I am so ticked off now. This precious trouble maker is hitting kids and running around. Her parent has complained that other kids are bothering her and I’m not watching. So that means I can’t say anything to the parent. But let somebody look at this kid for 2 seconds and she’s screaming like a bee stung her. So I’m moving everyone out her way.

    I wish we had a two-way mirror so these parents can see what their kid does.

    I might put the whole room in time out and say, “Ok, nobody is near you now! You can’t say they’re bothering you.”

    Which means she can’t play with them either! :roll:
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
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  13. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    Apr 24, 2018

    I had three parents that were helicopter parents. When the students start talking, I would take out my phone and use the timer. They would stop talking fairly quickly. I told them, when you waste my time, I am going to waste your time. So before the bell would ring and that they would make sure the class was in order (no pencils on the floor but in the pencil cup, pick up and trash and place it in in the trash can). So for that time on the clock let say it was 2 minutes and 45 seconds. They would have to sit in their desk, no talking and head down. they can put their arms down where the head is placed. The next day, I get one of the helicopter parent in my face stating she didn't want her daughter's head on the desk. I simply told her, well she was talking and breaking a rule. So if she continues, your daughter will be quiet and have her head on the desk on hands down and she can place her head on it but she needs to realize consequences.But until they can follow the rules, this is what is going to happen. She thought I would back down.
     
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  14. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Apr 24, 2018

    That’s my line too!

    “You are taking my time, so I guess I’ll have to take some of yours.” I get that clock out and say, “You already lost 5 minutes of outside time. May I continue my lesson now, or do you want to talk longer??”
     
  15. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Apr 25, 2018

    I teach kindergarten. I have their "babies" for the first time in a school setting. I usually have at least one or two complaints, especially at the beginning of the year. They think their children can do no wrong or need special privileges. By the end of the year I have won most of them over or at least they tolerate me. Only one or two parents in my 12 years of teaching have I failed to get on my good side before the end of the year. And really those parents the feeling is VERY mutual!!!!
     
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  16. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Apr 25, 2018

    This is why I teach preschool. By age three, children need to have social experiences outside of family and friends. Even if you are a SAHM or have a sitter, kids need to learn rules and how to get along with others. There are library programs and park districts classes that provide skills and opportunities for young kids.

    Come in, sit down, and pay attention. There are no babies in kindergarten. Parents can volunteer, or go home/go to work. Let them go and let them grow.....
     
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  17. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Could you please tell my team this. I work with 5 of the most stuck in the 60's team. Even the ones who are pretty new to teaching have been brainwashed to think we are teaching babies.
     
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  18. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Apr 25, 2018

    I recall a conversation about being able to guess which kids had attended Sunday School or something similar. My girls attend, and even the one in nursery who roughly plays for two hours still has some time where they sit to have a story and sing songs for a few minutes.

    The kids might not be perfect angels, but there is some awareness of interacting in a group.
     
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  19. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Apr 25, 2018

    Pick up a few copies of “Young Children”, the peer-reviewed, scientifically based journal from NAEYC, and keep them in your desk and/or teacher’s lounge. ;)

    I’m a Professional Provider in IL. Need some CPDU’s?? Happy to put on a workshop for you & your Flinstone pals. Or, I could dig up some Vtgosky, Piaget or Erikson quotes you could toss out here and there! :rolleyes:
     
  20. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Apr 30, 2018

    Maybe they mean nothing is on your permanent record? I get parents who complain when their kid misbehaves and gets a consequence such as detention for breaking school rules such as cheating on a test. Those don't go on your record as far as I know. I think it has to be a legit complaint.
     

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