Let me guess...this is a B or C student thats mother wants to be an A student. Instead of her child doing the work, mom is just going to bully everyone into giving her an A. This mother is not teaching her child about hard work or success while she is under her roof. A friend and I discussed this last night. We were talking about students like this that had graduated and went to college. Most of them returned home and either quit college or went to community college because they couldn't handle it when mom wasn't there to fight their battles.
As my title states, I just had an unbelievable half hour phone call with a parent.
She basically completely bullied me about her daughter's grade. First, it was about her daughter failing a recent test and complaining that students didn't have enough time to finish: yes, there were about 5 or 6 out of 30 who did not finish, but that to me is a reflection of how well they know the material. I had a good spread of grades on this test, which I explained to her, so its not like everyone did poorly (which, I DID have on another test, and I gave them a chance to earn points back). She complained because her daughter stayed after with me to review and basically still failed, and then went on about how she "needs" to do well for when she applies to colleges next year, and she thought this fact was "cleared up" when she spoke with me about conferences. Her daughter's math skills are [I]weak[/I]. She stays after with me sometimes before a test, which to me is not enough, so I suggested she sets up weekly appointments at least. Then, even though she was somewhat pleased with this solution, the mother turns it against me and asked why it took a phone call for me to propose that solution.
Um... what????? I was SO angry and wanted to argue with her so badly, but I'm a new teacher and have NEVER been put in this situation as of yet. Grades to me are not a hand out - they are about performance. If you're upset with a grade (and meanwhile, she is NOT failing the class), arguing with me isn't going to change it. I did NOT say this to her. I basically said I will have to talk to my supervisor to see what I can do about this recent test she took and if theres any way to earn points back.
There was a lot more... she said that perhaps my teaching abilities were not up to par and threatened to have a meeting with my "boss". That hurt me VERY badly - like I said, I'm completely new, and just started this position in January. Frankly, I would not be worried because my supervisor has even praised me on my abilities and particularly my communication with parents.
I just really really really needed to vent, and I guess I'm looking for advice too. I've been crying since that phone call, though I don't even really know why. I think its because it was just so hard getting beaten up like that, but feeling too cautious about my job security not to cause a stir
(thanks if anyone read all of this!)
Please don't allow parents to bully you. What difference does it make if you are a first year or a seasoned teacher, no matter what, parents will complain when there children does not receive the grades they feel are deserving. Hang on in there and don't allow parents to change your classroom rules and the way you are teaching. What you need to do is explain to the parent that the student is having problems in certain areas of math and maybe a tutor is necessary. Job security should not be the issue at hand. Speak you mind and stick to your beliefs.
I couldn't agree more with the previous poster: You can't let a parent bully you. There is respectful and polite, and then there is doormat. Never let yourself be the latter.
You have the degree in education, you were hired to teach, not the parent. Most parents, just like most members of the general public, have absolutely no idea what it's like to educate children. Many of them think they know because they've all sat in desks, but they don't know.
Education is every bit as complex and intellectually challenging as medicine or any other important field. You don't call your surgeon to challenge him on the finer points of surgery. Don't let a parent challenge you.
I had one of these recently. It was on a day that I'd had a panic attack in the morning, tried to call in but my administrator wouldn't let me because it was the day after spring break, and was really just not ready to deal with any additional stress. A parent actually came to the school with the intention of walking down to my classroom to yell in my face, but they stopped her at the door and made her call from the attendance office (thank goodness!). She was mad about her daughter being marked absent "every other day" when she was always at school. The student chose to work in another teacher's classroom (we plan together and our rooms are connected, so we frequently let students go back and forth like station work), and when they do that it is their responsibility to check in with me. That day, she did not come and check in with me, and since she was always so good about it, I assumed that she must have been absent. So the parent calls and is screaming at me, told me I was an idiot, made fun of me when I had to repeat myself because my voice was hoarse, and threatened to have me meet with the principal (in a meeting that I "wouldn't like"). I never got the chance to say anything productive and she hung up on me before I could tell her that I hadn't marked her child absent since January. This was a student that I had worked with A LOT and brought her grade up from an F to a B, and I was really hurt that her mother would treat me like that.
Needless to say, I excused myself from my classroom, asked the teacher next door to listen in on my kids while they did their work, and sat in the teacher's lounge and cried for a bit. It sucks. It caught me completely off guard, but I'm better because of it. I sent a note home with her daughter the next day along with a copy of her attendance record to clear up the issue and I haven't heard from the parent again (as a side note, she was completely out this morning, and I am holding my breath and waiting for another phone call...).
Keep your head up. Don't let these parents intimidate you! These kids have a huge sense of entitlement and some of their parents are no better. Just don't let it get to you. If you need to take a breather and get your emotions out, do it, but get right back up on that saddle.
A guardian came to see me one day because I took issue with a student taking the lords name in vain multiple times a day and refusing to stop (in a Catholic school). The guardians had already been in because this student's behavior was always out of control to the point that it prevented the other students from learning. This guy actually sneaked into the back of the building and came to my classroom with the student telling me that I was wrong and that there was nothing wrong with him saying that. I repeated to him that the student's behavior needed to improve immediately and he agreed but not with me just the theory. I kept telling him that he was more than free to go discuss the matter with the principal and he refused. I would never have an issue with a parent going to a supervisor especially when I'm right. Needless to say the student's behavior did not improve and actually got worse. The day after the incident when the student was acting out I asked the student if I needed to speak with his guardian again he told me that I didn't speak to him, he SPOKE to me. The kid didn't come up with that on his own. Sometimes students are not what there parents had hoped for and they try to force them to be, other times students are just a reflection of the people around them.
Thank you so much for all of the advice, definitely helped me to focus back that *I* am the teacher and quite frankly, this parent doesn't have the right to demand a grade for her child.
I spoke to my supervisor and she was completely on my side - what I agreed to do is give an extra credit assignment on material from *that* test the mother complained about, to EVERYONE in the class, and they can use it towards any test they want for this marking period (which is actually just a ploy to make them feel like they have a choice... their grades are on a point system, so it gets factored in the same, regardless). I have every intention on making it challenging, and completely worth the points. I wrote a very courteous but direct email to the mother (because I wanted it documented) saying what I was going to do, and also that I would like to go over the test with her daughter so she can do better next time, and will refer her to the school's tutoring system so she is guaranteed to get one on one attention and practice. This seemed to please her - so I'm glad this situation is off my plate (for now), and I didn't have to give in to her crazy demands!
Wouldn't you know, I went over the test with my student, and the main issue was that her algebra 1 skills are weak. Once again, why I reiterated that peer tutoring would be a good option for her.