Email from parent-how to respond?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by princessbloom, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Oct 30, 2011

    A little background: This parent is overly protective of the child, from having me "sensor" what plays we attend IN school, to not having the student participate in any field trips because the parent is afraid the child will get lost. Our P is very aware of this parent, and so far I've been able to handle all situations without having to get the P involved. With this email, I don't think it's necessary to get the P involved, I just don't how to respond. The child that is being referenced in this email is one of my BEST students and I can't imagine this student would be saying anything harmful. But I'm afraid if I respond as such, parent would take it as me calling her child a liar. (Trust me.)
    I've received a few emails from this parent referencing other students in my class who are harmless. I don't know where the parents child is coming up with this stuff. I don't know how to handle it because I feel as if it's getting out of control. But if I speak to him, he'll go back to mom.

    As for the "nerd day" reference in the email below, Thursday the kids dressed as "nerds." Most wore glasses with tape on the rims, pants and socks hiked up. It was in response to say no to drugs week--"Be nerdy and say no to drugs if that's what it takes."

    I need help because I don't know how to respond to the parent anymore. I think I've lost my calm, neutral-ness and need someone from the outside. I will speak to student A tomorrow to see if any of this is accurate. Any suggestions on response and how to handle this with the parents child?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 30, 2011

    If you feel like things are getting out of control, then you need to get your principal involved. Your principal can handle it or advise you on what to do. That's why principals are paid the big bucks. :)
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 30, 2011

    Dear parent,
    Thank you for your note. I was planning on moving seats this week anyway, so I'll make sure that your on is no longer at a table with the student you mentioned.

    I'd forward both the parent's note and your response to the P. You mentioned the P is already aware of this parent's issues. Best to keep him in the loop.
     
  5. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    I actually did move the kids desks on Friday because it was the end of the marking period, and I always do that. Pure coincidence.

    What shall I say about the "glasses"? The parent will write back wanting a response because she always wants a follow-up.
    I do not know how to respond to that bit either--as little "situations" similar to these continue to arise with her.
     
  6. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Oct 30, 2011

    I would definitely consult with my principal before responding to the email. If he advises you to email the parent back, I'd absolutely "cc" the email to him.
     
  7. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    I kind of agree with this, its like a bad sterotype of nerds...not that you were the one to choose the theme for Red Ribbon Week in your school- Personally, I would find out who was on the committee (or the principal) and let them know that maybe they can do something different next year.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'd tell her that you will continue to handle behavior issues as they come up in your classroom, but as a professional you can not discuss other students with her.

    And cc the principal on it.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I would also ask for advice above because it is an ongoing issue.

    But on a different note, I kinda agree with the parent here on the whole idea of dressy nerdy may make others feel not so great. She does have a point.

    We also had parents upset last year for a choice of play in our school. Just because it is IN school, doesn't mean there isn't any validity in the comments or the school doesn't make foolish mistakes.

    Sometimes we make mistakes. We don't think things all the way through. It happens. When someone gets upset, it can make us open our eyes a bit and prepare better accordingly. Another situation that springs to mind is the treatment of "Indians" every year during Thanksgiving. It is traditional to dress up and have Pilgrims and Indians. It won't even cross many people's minds that there is anything wrong with it. Yet many DO get offended. That is cause enough to STOP, regardless of whether you are agree or disagree. If it never crossed anyone's radar, however, they won't know to stop. It is how you handle the knowledge of knowing it offends someone that truly sets you apart.

    That doesn't mean that every parent complaint has meat behind it but in our respect to them we must at least be open to whether they might have a valid point and act on it if they do.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Oct 30, 2011

    I agree with czacza's suggested correspondence.

    I also agree that the "nerd" thing can be offensive and for more reasons than just what the child pointed out.

    Academic nerdia doesn't stop drug or alcohol abuse these days. Not sure what the theme creators were thinking.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 30, 2011

    Dear parent:
    Seats were moved on Friday as it was the end of the marking period. I will continue to handle behavior concerns in my classroom as they arise, but as a professional I can not discuss other students with you. Thank you so much for your feedback on the red ribbon week theme. I will pass your thoughts onto the committee for consideration.
     
  12. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Oct 30, 2011

    Short and sweet. I think I like it. :)

    I have been stressing about this for HOURS today! (That's what I get for checking my email on a Sunday, huh?)
    After a few more years of teaching hopefully I won't worry so about these things and responses will come as naturally to me as they do to you all!
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 30, 2011

    Nicely said, czacza.
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    :agreed:
     
  15. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    *I am going to delete the email message now from the original post. No sense in having it up for someone to come across. (ie: parent)

    Does anyone else ever get concerned about parents making their way here? I do.
     
  16. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Oct 30, 2011

    Thank you czacza! :)
     
  17. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Oct 30, 2011

    czacza email is perfect

    and I would cc your P as well as either save this email in a folder or print it out for futher reference

    Good Luck . . .
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I hope things get better!;)
     
  19. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Oct 30, 2011

    When I get a letter or email like that (telling me about another student), I simply thank them for bringing it to my attention. I don't go into details or try to resolve the situation. That usually won't work. If they push to know how I will handle it, I just remind them that I can't discuss another child with them, just as I would never discuss their child with other parents. Good luck!
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 30, 2011

    I had a similar situation last week with an oversensitive student and an overprotective parent. Once I stopped crying (because I NEVER get negative feedback), I contacted my immediate supervisor and we crafted a response together. Working with the chain of command is an immensely good idea, if only so they can let you know that you are not in the wrong and are doing a good job.
     
  21. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    I know this thread is solved and all, but personally I disagree with stopping something just someone *might* get offended or does get offended. The world is becoming so bland and PC nowadays. i don't understand how someone would get offended about dressing up as pilgrims and Indians for Thanksgiving. Is that because the Europeans killed off the Indians eventually either through smallpox or war? What does that have to do with Thanksgiving?
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    :) You'll have to view related posts on why these kinds of lessons are a bit outdated, inaccurate and culturally insensitive.

    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=122983&highlight=indians+pilgrims
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=99262&highlight=indians+pilgrims
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=49253&highlight=indians+pilgrims
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=28876&highlight=indians+pilgrims

    While we can't please everyone, we should always maintain cultural sensitivity as much as possible. That's part of living in a diverse society and teaching students to celebrate diversity and appreciate one another. If we have culturally insensitive teaching practices, we will never reach our goals. That doesn't mean we don't teach it. But one doesn't have to be insensitive in how we present what we are teaching.
     
  23. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Oct 31, 2011

    Now that this is solved, may I request this thread get deleted? Thanks :)
     

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