Cried tonight...

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Roobunny, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Roobunny

    Roobunny Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2012

    I apologize in advance if this is a long one...

    I've had a parent who has been "on top" of me since the beginning. Her child tested out of 1st grade and was moved up a couple of weeks ago. He came from a Montessori environment and the transition has not been easy. Several times during a lesson I have to stop instruction to redirect him back to the group. He never wants to do the work that is asked of him and when he does work, the end result is usually sub-par. He is also fairly immature, which I am assuming is due to his being younger than the rest of my students.

    Is he gifted? Sure. But the majority of the students in the two classes I teach are reading above level so he's no longer the brightest in the class. I am currently trying to set up Daily 5 in the classroom and I explained what this was to mom so that she knows he will eventually be getting a "choice" of what to do, which will work well with him coming from Montessori.

    Anyway, a couple of days ago the child left behind his folder (probably the 3rd time it happened in a week) and mom drove him back to school to get it. I happened to be there late (as I always am) and was passing by his HR class when mom stopped me to ask about his spelling. Her child had mentioned that two students in his class were getting a different list and she wondered why he wasn't. One of these students is reading at a 5th grade level with 80% comprehension and the other is reading on a 9th grade level, so yes...I am giving them a different list. I also mentioned that we are about to start Words Their Way so once we get him placed we will determine what list he will get...

    Tonight during a school-wide event, mom was there and stopped by with a friend she had brought whose child went to the same Montessori school. While I was trying to serve a large crowd food (by myself, mind you) the friend found out I taught English and began to ask specifics regarding my English instruction. Then the conversation turned to...spelling! Meanwhile, my line of parents and students is getting longer...

    After the event, one of my team teachers came to me and mentioned that she overheard the two of them basically talking bad about me and the school.

    I was so upset. I feel like I am doing everything I can to be the best I can be. On average, I put in 12-13 hours a day during the week and countless hours on the weekend. My fiancee and I have had arguments because he feels like he never sees me anymore. Do I make mistakes? Sure! I admit to my mistakes...I know I've taught some poor lessons, but I've also taught some really engaging ones too.

    I guess I just don't know what to do. I feel like I cannot please this parent no matter what I do. I honestly don't think her child is as brilliant as she thinks. While doing my IRIs a couple of weeks ago, I assigned my students a story out of their textbooks and had them complete some comprehension and vocabulary worksheets in response to their story - he bombed. Granted, a lot of the students did poorly (and this gave me a good idea of some strategies and skills to teach), but at the same time my G/T kids did really well so why didn't he?

    How do you handle a parent like this? I feel like she is going to eventually go to administration. Actually, I know she already has because I got an email for some link to a G/T website from one of the admins. Apparently, I am supposed to be doing what a G/T pull-out teacher would do for him if we had a G/T pull-out program up and running (which we don't right now).
     
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  3. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    Sep 21, 2012

    I'm not in my own classroom yet but this mother is a bitch who thinks her child is a special snowflake. YOU aren't doing anything wrong at all. However, I am impressed by the children reading at a 9th grade level and they are only in 2nd grade. That's amazing.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 21, 2012

    Go to administration first. In the vein of "just so you know" fill them in on the problem and on mom's behavior.

    That way, when mom does go to administration, they have a more balanced picture of the situation and are better able to back you up.
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 21, 2012

    This mom sounds more impatient than anything else. You will be doing things that involve more independence and personal choice, but you have to build a foundation first. I echo Alice's suggestions for tipping off administration from your POV.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 21, 2012

    I agree with Alice and cat. Parents always think that they're child is at the top of the class and when faced with the reality that they are not, find someone else to blame beside their child. This mom sounds like no matter what you do (or any other teacher does) it will not be good for her little precious pants. I'm sorry that you have to deal with a parent like this.
     
  7. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Sep 21, 2012

    Just because a child is able to test out of a grade level, doesn't mean that the child should be put in the next grade.

    Give admin a heads up!
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 21, 2012

    If this child is gifted, then most likely the mom has been made believed that her child is the brightest all around. That could have been the case at the other school. But she needs to realize her child is not a genious and not even the brightest at this point, especially since he moved up one grade.
    At this age 1 year is a huge difference, so having a 1st grader in 2nd will be a little difficult. (my daughter was the youngest in her class due to her birth day and it was so hard! she was not ready).

    It really sounds like you know what you're doing so don't let her make you doubt yourself.

    And definitely keep admin in the loop, because if she starts complaining, then you'll be on the defensive side. It's better to be the first one to inform.
     
  9. JasonS

    JasonS Rookie

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    Sep 22, 2012

    First, Just BREATH.... You will occasionally run into demanding unrealistic parents. Unfortunately that is a fact of all teaching situations, public or private. So, breath through it - catch your breath and know you are doing your best.

    Done wrong?
    Two things. One, allowing a single parent (and friend) to stop your line when serving a group. That just shows they are feeling superior to both you and the other parents. Anyone who will do that type of thing will always be unreasonable. That tells you that they will not be reasonable about what you are doing in or out of the classroom and will not just expect extra special attention, but will demand it.

    Two, you are making a habit of working too many hours. Of course there will be days when you need to put in extra hours. And days that you will be required to do extra duties - great! But making a habit of long days at the school are not productive. I speak as a long time head principal of a private international school system with 9 schools in 5 cities. You will burn out in a year or two and not be the great professional teacher you want to be. Learn better teaching systems, don't put in Herculean hours.

    What to do?
    Go to admin, talk to your principal, now! Don't wait, go now. Your principal should have dealt with these types of parents many times. That means he or she should be on your side. If they know what is coming they will be much more prepared to deal with it. If you don't say anything they will be blind sided. Trust me, a parent like the one you describe can be very persuasive as well as demanding. You don't want your principal to face that unprepared. Show your principal that you are a part of the administration team by bringing them into the know.

    Last, as said by the previous post, at this age one year is a huge difference. Read the first couple chapters of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell for a very good understanding of what one year at this aged does. As a teacher in your circumstances now, and that will be faced with this type situation again (trust me) the information in this book will arm you with some excellent knowledge that will serve you well.
     
  10. Roobunny

    Roobunny Comrade

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    Sep 24, 2012

    Thank you all....

    For the very encouraging words. I plan on meeting with my cluster head to give her a head's up about the situation. I have also been documenting issues with this particular child so I have evidence that precious class time is sometimes wasted because of his behavior.

    Jason - I will definitely check out the Gladwell book. I agree with you about the hours, but at the same time I find it hard to find a balance. I guess that takes some time though. I am still quite the newbie...
     
  11. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 26, 2012

    Just wanted to quickly share is that I've taught Montessori students before when they start into a more traditional and structured classroom and they always BOMB. They're coming from a very different way of going to school and you may want to learn more about how they were "taught" to better understand your student. Normally, my students took 2-3 school years to get back into the norms, so you really just have to have a ton of patience and repeat classroom procedures with the child. You might even want to consider having a special set of classroom procedures for this child as he transitions into your classroom- keep Mom up-to-date on what you're doing and she might come around in seeing that you really do care about her child and want him to succeed in school.

    Secondly, you will not please ALL parents- become okay with knowing this. It's hard to see a parent upset and I always try to find some kind of solution but sometimes parents are cranky and they just want to complain about things.
     
  12. HOPE-fulTeacher

    HOPE-fulTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2012

    I agree with finding out more about how Montessori schools work. They are very "choice based" and, from my understanding, as long as they complete a certain number of things in the morning and a certain number in the afternoon, they can pretty much choose what they work on and how they choose to work on it.

    The student I had that came from a Montessori school had a VERY hard time transitioning to a regular schedule because they didn't understand why they had to do things when everyone else was doing them. They told me that at their old school, they'd play the same math game everyday. (So, making them do different things each day during a specific period of time didn't fly very well.) They actually fought it by going over and getting other things out while I was teaching! Eventually, though, this kiddo settled into our routine with the help of a visual schedule and social stories about what they needed to do during certain times of the day.

    Just a thought, but if the schedule transition could be behind the behaviors, what about giving that child a "free choice break" after he completes a certain number of tasks? Say, if he reads for ___ minutes during reading, then he gets 3-5 minutes to do a choice activity- whatever motivates him. (Maybe a special "Montessori" game that he liked at his old school?) Another idea is to get the contact info from his old teacher at the Montessori school and talk to him/her about what they saw and ask for suggestions with how to push him academically. It could be that the Mom really liked the Montessori way, but for whatever reason, her son can't go there anymore, and now she is just having sour grapes about it. Incorporating some of the "old way" might please the Mom and help the son's transition.
     

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