Parents coming for unscheduled conferences

Discussion in 'General Education' started by scholarteacher, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Oct 29, 2014

    Do you have a lot of parents show up unannounced and tell the office, "I'm here for my conference with Ms. So and so"? This is the time of year we have conferences with every parent (end of 1st quarter), and many parents never return the conference sign-up sheet. Then they come at some unannounced time, say they have a conference, and are upset if I already have a conference at that time, or can't get an interpreter for their language right then. Is that just here, or do you have it elsewhere?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oct 29, 2014

    You don't see a lot of parents coming by at the high school level but it still happens. They often "just stop by for a quick chat."

    It is frustrating. Especially when it is a parent you really need to connect with but you have a million other things to do.

    I have said several times that I already made plans for that time but would be happy to meet with them at ___________ time on _________ date. Almost always they get a bit put out. Oh well. Sometimes those plans are simply me getting a jump on the week's copying. Sometimes it is because I want to stop by the grocery store on the way home. It doesn't matter. If I have limited time, an unexpected visit gets put at the bottom of the priority list.

    What gets me is when the front office calls over the PA system for a teacher after school, saying there is a parent wanting to meet with them. Is that supposed to obligate the teacher to stop what she is doing and run down there? Thankfully that has never happened to me but I'd be very tempted to call up front, say I did not have an appointment and am otherwise busy.
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Oct 29, 2014

    I had a parent two years ago that showed up DAILY, expecting an update on her child. Granted, it was a child that was struggling mightily, and even without her showing up, I would have been communicating more with her than any other parent... but still. Draining. Draining and unnecessary.
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    No, I've never seen that. If it happened here they would be out of luck. If parents can't follow simple sign up directions then I don't hold out much hope for their kids learning to follow directions.
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I would call down and ask who the parent was. I would ask to speak to the parent on the phone and ask what can I do for them? I would say I don't have time now but give them a few times/dates I was free. Unless it was an emergency I wouldn't stop what I was doing since I don't get planning time during the day and every minute counts after the students leave for the day.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 29, 2014

    That rarely happens at my school (high school). Our schedules are such that we are usually unavailable to meet with parents who show up unannounced. Even if a parent did just show up, I would be busy teaching and not able to meet with him or her.
     
  8. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Yes. Our school encourages this because it can be hard to get in contact with parents and even harder to get them to show up for face-to-face meetings. If a parent shows up because they WANT to talk; it is important that we make the time to talk to them then.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Our office staff does a great job of keeping this from happening. If we do have an appointment, we are asked to come down to the office to escort the parent to our room. I have nothing but full support from my administration if I am "unavailable" to meet with a parent who hasn't scheduled a meeting.
     
  10. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Oct 29, 2014

    And, who exactly is teaching your class while you drop everything to meet with a parent? We have so few instructional minutes as it is. I can't imagine missing class time for unscheduled conferences!
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I am extremely protective of my teachers' time. No interruptions (from parents) whatsoever are allowed during instructional time (unless prior arrangements have been made).
     
  12. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    It is extremely unprofessional on the parents' part. One wouldn't stop by one's dentist office and expect a quick cleaning just because one was in the neighborhood. One wouldn't even do that to one's hair stylist, masseuse, or dog groomer. Why should a teacher be any different?

    Having said that, you won't get very far unless the administration supports the idea that your time is valuable. My former P was one who would drop everything to meet with someone, so the support for a teacher to not do that was not there. Fortunately, we didn't have a lot of parents who would do that.

    In my current job, it happens all the time. I politely offer to make an appointment if I am unavailable. And yes, replying to emails makes me unavailable. If it is my scheduled time to catch up, then I am busy. I schedule everything.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nope. Doesn't happen. Some forget to show up for scheduled time but no one shows up unannounced.
     
  14. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Oct 29, 2014

    While it is not the case at my new district, it is common in contracts (and student/parent handbooks) around here that teachers have to be given 24 hour notice.

    I know the OP doesn't have that type of contract due to being in NC, but your school could include it in their handbook if they wanted to.

    ETA- I wish parents knew that even a simple conversation would be much more effective with notice. That way I could pull a progress report and other information.
     
  15. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    How weird! It has never happened before, but it's already happened twice this year! They just walked into my room after school and expected a "quick" conference. Most of the time, I have some sort of meeting or conference every day after school, so I'm not able to accommodate drop ins.
     
  16. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Yeah, ours happen after school, not usually during teaching hours, but we're pretty much expected to take them when they come. Most of our parents want to do things on their time frame, and it doesn't matter that we have X amount of paper work that is required the next day, or have an after school appointment. Yet these are the same parents that don't return forms sent home, field trip money, etc. It's the sense of entitlement--to our time, whenever they want to.
     
  17. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I just step into the hallway and talk to the parent, it is never more than a few minutes or so. Many of our parents have to take the bus or a cab to get here so we are not going to turn them away.

    It does not happen often - once or twice a month - but my school has enough trouble getting parents up here in general so we never turn them away.
     
  18. Mr. Nobody

    Mr. Nobody Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2014

    All the time. It's usually something minor that could wait another day or been addressed via phone call or a note.

    Mostly recently I had a pushy parent try to have a lengthy conference with me during dismissal. I'm passing out homework, writing notes to parents in agenda books, making sure everyone has been to the coat closet, etc.

    And here's this parent following me around trying to have an in-depth conference about her child.

    Finally I told her, "I'd love to talk to you but it can't be right now. I'm trying to get the children ready to go home."

    I absolutely despise our school's open door policy. I understand why it's in place, but so many parents abuse it.
     

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