Do you tell parents about behaviors or leave it alone?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by VANewbie, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,141
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2011

    I need some advice. I am still early in my teaching career and I have been given a lot of advice here and there. One piece of advice I got was not to tell parents about their child's behavior unless it is severe.
    I guess they were trying to tell me that most parents don't believe it, or don't care etc.

    Well I have been going by this rule/advice and it has worked out fine. I have not had any severe issues with students.

    This year I have been contacting parents more. Just for random behavior problems. I have run into the parents who do not believe their children have done anything and its just become a bigger issue now that I have brought stuff up.

    What do you do? Do you let things slide and just handle it on your own?
    Am I going about this the wrong way?
     
  2.  
  3. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Messages:
    2,483
    Likes Received:
    204

    Feb 23, 2011

    I often tell parents when their very well mannered children start to be not-so well mannered.

    However, I always explain that I often like to tell parents when a really well behaved child starts to slip. I do that more, actually, than report severe behaviors. With the severe behaviors, it's often the case that child doesn't respond to what the parents normally do. That's why the child behaves that way.
     
  4. brandyrollins

    brandyrollins Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2011

    As the mother of one very well behaved child and one borderline heathen, I always appreciate knowing when either of my children fall below normal, expected behavior, with the understanding that it's very different for each girl.
     
  5. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,084
    Likes Received:
    64

    Feb 23, 2011

    I don't believe parents should be surprised and left in the dark. I sent home daily behavior charts and would write a brief explanation as to why the child received a certain low behavior grade for the day.

    What's minor for one child (or one parent) may be a huge issue for another child. If a student is constantly working on Math when it's Science time, I will leave a note letting that parent know. I don't believe it's good to let things wait until they have gotten worse.

    What I also did was keep a behavioral notebook where I documented any misbehaviors throughout the entire day. Student A, off task, student B, too loud in hallway and attitude etc.

    I number the pages and provide a date. So when it's time to see a parent, I can say your child is on pages 5, 8 , 10, 12, 15 or whatever and have the specifics of what happened, the behavioral chart will also match what happened, and if I sent a note home or made a phone call, that would be documented as well.

    I don't have to speak to parents about most of the issues, but definitely don't let things slide. Document everything to keep a paper trail, and send home a behavioral chart or whatever each day so they can already know what type of conduct grades their child is earning.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    573

    Feb 23, 2011

    I teach high school so what I do I believe should be radically different than what you do. I tell the students on day one that I like to handle things between us whenever possible. I make it seem as though I'm more their advocate and I have to follow through with consequences when they don't do as expected.

    So I will dish out detentions, take away cell phones, etc, before I contact MOM. And they thank me for it! lol. Same thing with office referrals. I believe that it goes a long way toward mutual respect.

    However, I get a lot of emails from parents asking me to let them know about every little thing Johnny does. I have close to 200 students a year. I simply can't do that. As a mother I want to know before behavior gets out of hand so I can nip it in the bud, but I can't spend the time contacting every parent about every child every time something small happens.
     
  7. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,141
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2011

    So I should tell them. Most of the parents act like their kids can do no wrong.
     
  8. canellen

    canellen New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 23, 2011

    I think that Kindergarten definitely has it the toughest, as they are on the 'front lines' as they are usually the first person to let them know that 'johnny is no saint!' That being said, I gladly share as much info as possible with those parents that truly WANT to know, and tend to spend a little less time 'sharing' with those who remain in denial...
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    573

    Feb 23, 2011

    Then welcome them to stop by for a visit. Tell them one of two things will happen - Johnny will behave because Mommy is there or Mommy will see what Johnny does during the day.

    I would say that behaviors that are acceptable at home may not be acceptable in a learning environment around 20 other students. And pull out specifics. Johnny got out of his seat without permission eight times Monday morning. Johnny called the girl next to him a "stinky poopy head" three times during recess. Johnny refused to walk with the class to lunch on Tuesday.

    Teachers do make mistakes. Teachers sometimes only see part of the story and sometimes the part they see is radically different from the actual truth. So it is worth considering the possibility that you are wrong with an isolated incident. But having actual documented data to show a parent during a conference will go really far. Especially if you are young and look like a new teacher.
     
  10. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    3

    Feb 23, 2011

    Learning appropriate behaviour is part of the K day. Unless it is a major event, it should be treated as part of the learning process. It happens, you take care of it, and life goes on.
     
  11. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    121

    Feb 23, 2011

    I generally think..."If I were this child's parent, would I want to know?"

    I have made cutesy template notes where I can fill in the blank:
    I thought you would appreciate knowing that...(lost a tooth, forgot shoes today, complained of a sore toe, etc).
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,070
    Likes Received:
    1,886

    Feb 24, 2011

    I agree--as a parent, I don't need to know if Lauren was talking to her neighbour, ran down the hallway, forgot to put her name on her paper, was chewing gum in class, or used the wrong exit door at the end of the day. If, however, any of these behaviours are chronic, or if she is disrespectful to a teacher or a peer, then I need to know.

    I keep small infractions between the student and myself. I do let students know that if behaviours continue, or worsen, parents and administration do need to become involved.
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 24, 2011

    That's what I was going to say too. I let the minor infractions go-talking in the hallway, etc. But if a child hit another child or something like that, I would definitely tell the parent.

    I think it's like anything, if you are hearing day after day your child is talking in class, you can reprimand the child at home, but ultimately as a parent you are pretty helpless as to how they act in the classroom. Eventually parents just get frustrated and don't react to it at all.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,272
    Likes Received:
    2,170

    Feb 24, 2011

    KinderCowgirl, you described parental reaction to calls about small infractions well. The other part of this is that constant informing over small infractions gives the parent the general feeling that you can not handle your classroom.

    If you are going to contact a parent about persistent behaviors that you can't get under control, be factual and objective, give the methods you have tried, and don't tell the parent what they should be doing at home or suggest they should be doing something at home. The ones that believe home consequences might work will have home consequences and will give them based on the objective information. The ones that won't won't regardless of what you tell them because they believe little infractions are for the teacher to handle. Now, if you do try to tell the parent what to do or try to give reasons why the child is behaving a certain way, you will be sure to push a wedge between the parent and yourself.
     
  15. minnie

    minnie Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Messages:
    763
    Likes Received:
    53

    Feb 24, 2011

    If I have a student who does something small like forgetting to raise his hand and yells out, I'll give him a warning and that's that. However, if he is doing it constantly, then I'll just jot a little note on their behavior log that gets sent home every day in their folders and just let the parents know that their child is having a hard time with this rule. This way when the parents get report cards and see that their child got an average to mediocre grade in behavior, they won't come to me saying "You never said there was a problem!"

    So, if I were you, I wouldn't worry about telling Mom about every little thing that goes on. It makes you as a teacher look ridiculous. If a certain behavior gets in the way of you teaching, then let them know.
     
  16. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Messages:
    2,030
    Likes Received:
    6

    Feb 24, 2011

    I think it all depends on how much parent communication you are comfortable with. I tend to try and handle as much as possible within the confines of my four walls. I go to parents when I feel I have to, but I avoid it as much as possible.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Feb 24, 2011

    I firmly believe that there's a very limited amount of authority in the world.

    Every single time I ask someone else to handle a discipline problem in my room, I give a little of it away, leaving less for myself.

    So, sure, if I need to I give a detention, a referral, or call a parent.

    But if it's something I can handle on my own, I do. I would hate for my kids or their parents, or the administration, to think that the bulk of my authority came from my ability to rely on someone ELSE for help.

    I haven't given a single detention all year. Not one. (Of course, I've been blessed with some wonderful classes this year as well.)
     
  18. Rox

    Rox Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    19

    Feb 25, 2011

    I always try to be mindful of the approach I'm using with parents. Instead of saying "Johnny's behavior was awful today." I might say "I noticed Johnny was upset about several things today. Have you noticed any changes in his behavior? Perhaps he's had (lack of sleep, changes at home, an upsetting event)? What can we do to work on this?" Perhaps the parent has suggestions or an explanation.
     
  19. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,061
    Likes Received:
    538

    Feb 25, 2011

    I let parents know when I notice a pattern. Everyone is allowed a bad day, but when the number of "bad days" out number the good days, I let the parents know. I usually start by soliciting the parents' advice on how they handle the behavior at home.

    Severe behaviors are handled by admin, and they contact parents.
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Feb 25, 2011

    I only have so many minutes in the day—if I contacted parents for minor things I simply wouldn't have any personal time. What I do contact parents for would be for changes in behavior, major single instances of misbehavior, or when students get to a certain point in their discipline file which requires parent contact.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. ScienceZions
Total: 471 (members: 2, guests: 446, robots: 23)
test