Ever lose your cool with a parent?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Moldy Peach, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Moldy Peach

    Moldy Peach Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2012

    :help:

    I had a less than wonderful run-in with a parent this morning in the parking lot.

    At approximately 7:45 I pulled into the staff lot to park my car. There are two lanes in the lot: one for parking/drop off, and one for moving vehicles. I was on the moving vehicle lane, wanting to pull into a spot, when the woman in question cut me off with no warning or turn signal. I raised my hands in frustration. She sneered back at me, spouting off some unkind words, very upset. After finally getting into my space (when she moved out of the way to let me in), she continued to stare and shout at me. I was so caught up in the moment that I acted irrationally by 'flipping her the bird'. Of course I immediately regretted this decision, but at that point it was too late.
    I gathered my belongings from the car and walked to my classroom. I could see from the classroom window that she was leaving the parking lot, but pulled back around to come in again. I have had my car vandalized in the past, and I wasn't about to let it happen again. I went back outside to the parking lot.
    She immediately ran by me, taking photos with her phone of my car, screaming and shouting about how she was going to call the police. I tried to calmly talk with her, apologized for acting irrationally by giving her the finger, but she was absolutely livid, screaming to anyone who would listen, including parents who were driving by in their car, "Call 911 right away! Please! This man is harassing me;" and to students, "Do you know who this teacher is? What class does he teach?" What is his name? Can you tell me his name please." Every time I tried to get a little bit close to explain she would run away, as if I were planning on attacking her or something, "Go away! Stay back! Go away from me.!" At this point, one of the interpreters/aides, Jill, saw this going on and was just as perplexed as I was about her huge reaction. By that point, the 2nd warning bell had rung and I had to get back to my classroom to let my students inside.
    The reason I came back outside the 2nd time was that I was afraid she was going to vandalize my car in some way, to retaliate. Fortuantely my car has been untouched. I did try to say in a very calm manner that if she so much as touched my car or tried to damage it in any way that I would press charges. I also snapped a photo on my phone of her. After checking a bit later on the car I was relieved to see no damage had been done. I have not heard from the woman since.

    _______
    Followup: I had to meet with all 3 principals, head, vice, and assistant (who happened to be in a meeting at the time) to explain my side of the story, because this woman really DID call the police, school district, and the school itself. So they had already known about it when I sat down to meet with them. Of course she construes the story to make ME look like the bad guy, the one who was out of control and "angry".

    Now I know I am partially to blame for this, and I am not seeking your advice about what to do in this situation, I was just wondering if you wanted to share your own story of confrontations similar to mine or "close calls"...(I almost slapped the hell out of him!).

    Just wondering if you wanted to share your own stories! :)
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I have nothing remotely similar. But I am curious about your admin's reaction! Very curious. :)
     
  4. Moldy Peach

    Moldy Peach Rookie

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    Well, obviously they said that I handled it not as great as I should have (as I admitted to them and on here), but were understanding of the situation. Because the woman actually phoned the police and stuff, we now have to go through the "appropriate channels" and get it taken care of. I have emailed them my statement of the incident. (pretty much verbatim as above)

    I doubt much will come of this, they are aware of the situation but didn't seem sore or upset with me in general. If anything they were slightly sympathetic on my side, because they deal with parking issues themselves in their own admin lot.
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 24, 2012

    Ouch. I always try to get to school really early so I don't have to deal with any crazy parent drivers or traffic, so I haven't really encountered this.

    All I can say is best of luck with dealing with this. From hearing your side of the story, it certainly does seem like she overreacted.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Wow. No. I've never reacted unprofessionally to a parent...not even when they act badly. I've been threatened and cursed at during dismissal duty but I've always maintained a calm, even tone. Flipping the bird on school property is inexcusable for anyone...as a teacher, well, just :wow:.
     
  7. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I did have parents complain to the SB about me, wanting to go after my certification. I had missed an AIP meeting. I was at my mother's funeral. The parents insisted that I was allowing my personal life to interfere with their child's education, and that I should not be in the classroom. (Needless to say, the SB did not entertain them.)

    And parking lots... well, that's always fun. Especially on game days. Had a parent yell at me to hurry the f*** up while I was getting my stuff into the car to go home. I might have kinda sorta turned around and said, "Oops. Left some papers in my room" and turned around and walked back into the building. And stayed there for 20 minutes :whistle:
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sorry, I've never been part of anything remotely close to this.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    :lol::lol: I would have been tempted to do that as well!

    Thankfully I've never had anything like this happen. I'm always very cautious about how I act in general though! I do tend to get road rage from time to time...
     
  10. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Ummm... No, nothing remotely has happened that caused me to act unprofessionally to a parent even when a parent called me a racist because her son lost his recess for slapping another child. My P told the parent that according to district policy, the child should have been suspended even though the child was in first grade. I, then, informed the parent that her comment was especially harmful because I am a minority myself... Hispanic. The parent apologized and I never had any other problems. I know you are not looking for advice, but on this forum when people post their situations, you might just get some that will help you learn and grow from your mistakes. Just think... "Mistakes are the proof that you are trying."
     
  11. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Sep 24, 2012

    Not as a teacher, but as a social worker.....heck yeah! I once almost got into a knock down drag out with a parent in her home. The other social worker who I was with had to drag me out of the home. You wouldn't believe if I told you the story.

    (side-note)
    I think my social work experience is what helps me truly understand the kids. Unless you experienced it, you have no earthly clue what goes on in some of these homes. NO. CLUE. AT. ALL. (I didn't either until I saw it with my own 2 eyes.)
     
  12. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 24, 2012

    While I've never been in this situation, I am sympathetic to what you went through. You got angry and did something wrong, which you acknowledged (and hey we're humans and will mess up sometimes- even teachers- I'm not at all for holding teachers to a higher standard than everybody else just because we work with kids)- it's a shame that the parent couldn't act like an adult and talk to you like an adult and had to freak out. That's where there's greater immaturity than what you did.

    I hope everything gets taken care of and you can get on with your teaching :)
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Sep 24, 2012

    I like that quote!
     
  14. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Use it... I saw it a few years ago and I have it on the wall in my class. It gives kids the courage to try something new, different, or hard. When one of my kids is struggling and decides to go with the option of doing nothing... I just point to our sign and they almost always try. It works on kids and adults.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Yes, it was too late. When you displayed the Universal Salutation of Contempt, you reduced yourself to her level, and in my opinion, lost all credibility with regard to who was right and who was wrong in the altercation.

    Cyclist flip off aggressive, inattentive motorists all the time. I don't. I just smile and wave. They either think I'm an idiot, or they get the irony, which probably frustrates them even more.
     
  16. PurpleTeach

    PurpleTeach New Member

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    Wow, all of these comments are really judgemental. People make mistakes. We are tired, overworked, underpaid, and don't get enough time with our families. Sometimes our better judgement can get clouded like any other human. Our brains are not designed to be constantly "on stage" and held to a higher standard.

    I've never been in a situation like that, but I could see how it could happen. I'm sure plenty of people have lost their cool over email or in class. I respect your honesty to admit your fault. It's not easy to admit so openly that you did something that you shouldn't have.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I agree! While I've never been in a remotely similar situation, I understand it happening given the fact we're human.
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I love this quote in the right context. In this context it doesn't apply.
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Sep 25, 2012

    Yes, everyone makes mistakes and says things they shouldn't. However, in this situation, I don't think it would be unreasonable for the admin to ask the OP to apologize to the parent.
     
  20. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I don't disagree...I can't imagine flipping someone off in the school parking lot...I have only done it once or twice in my life and felt terrible guilt...what if a child I love saw me do it?:wub:
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    What about a child you didn't love? Or an adult that respected you but has little respect for people that use vulgar gestures?
     
  22. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Nope, not yet. :rolleyes:

    Most of the time when I have an irate parent it just surprises me to the point where I don't know what to do/say. One time I had a parent scream at me on the phone and I was just shocked. I was like "is this lady seriously screaming at me over nothing?" jaja
     
  23. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Thanks.
     
  24. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    You are on a roll.
     
  25. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Not at school, but at a 4-way stop. This guy was irate when I went before he did, so he followed me at a high speed down the highway and when he got up next to me, HOLLERED, some obscenities. I burst into laughter and he didn't know what to do, so he drove off! I laughed all the way home.
     
  26. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    I don't flip the bird anymore because I am always afraid that person will have a gun and shoot at me. haha

    Anyway, we've all made mistakes -- don't beat yourself up about it.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    You are welcome. :D

    Regarding THIS mistake showing he is trying... How does this quote apply to the OP's situation? What exactly is he trying? Is he learning how to communicate in the adult world in a professional capacity and the flipping of the bird shows that he is trying a new skill but failed?

    Fact is, for students that are fearful of trying new things and are attempting them but getting them wrong, I think it is a wonderful quote. But again, in the OP's situation of flipping off a parent IN THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT, how is this quote relavent?
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Regarding not wanting to flip someone off in front of a child you love.....

    Again, I was interested in learning if you find it acceptable to do this in front of strangers or children in general? I found your qualification very interesting leaving me wondering if you find it acceptable in the case of the non-qualified part.

    If you find it acceptable, so be it. But I found it interesting you qualfied it.
     
  29. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I have not, but I had a dream last night that all the parents hated me and administration called me into the office to explain myself.
     
  30. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    My job description includes the following bullets:

    Work tactfully and harmoniously with staff, parents, students, and/or public
    Maintain composure
    Maintain a high standard of professional conduct

    I feel that if I had responded in such a way to a parent I would have been suspended pending a competency hearing. I may not be fired, but my evaluation would certainly make it so that they could fire me at the end of the year. Teachers have been removed from my school for far less severe things. If a student behaved that way, they would be suspended for at least three days and likely put on a behavior plan. I find the behavior inexcusable, and I think the OP will be lucky to continue in her current position.
     
  31. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Although I have been sorely tempted, I have not reacted in that manner toward anyone, parent or otherwise, during my teaching career. If I am not mistaken, my district (and many, many others) have morality clauses in teacher contracts that could be used against a teacher who committed such an act. I'm not saying that your district will use it against you. Just that it is wise to consider such things - some teachers have been fired because of unwise statements or posting pictures on FB that were found objectionable by parents/admin. Like it or not, we are held to a higher standard of behavior.
     
  32. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Actually it was me you were baiting. I think you knew what I meant...but for the record, I don't feel that it is something I would or should be proud of doing or want any child to see me do.
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I wasn't trying to bait. I really wanted to know why you specified 'a child you loved'. I really wanted to understand why that child would be any more important than a child you didn't know.
     
  34. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I bet most everyone else understood mrachelle's message...
     
  35. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    That's great, justMe. I didn't understand why she clarified it. I still don't understand why she clarified it. So, since you understood so well, why don't you explain why a clarification of 'a child I love' seeing that is any worse than a child that is a stranger.
     
  36. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Why don't I not bother...
     
  37. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I didn't expect you would. You just wanted to insult me with your previous comment and play superior.
     
  38. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    :rolleyes:

    I won't respond further.
     
  39. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Of all the people we could accuse of acting superior on this board, you are going to call out Just me? Seriously?

    I haven't been on this board as much because I have been visiting a lot of wedding boards. Coming back today, I seriously can't believe the judgment on this board. We usually start to get snarky with each other in the spring as the school year wears us down - this is September. By spring, we are going to be ripping people to shreds. One might be above giving someone an arbitrary finger gesture, but that clearly doesn't make one above these sanctimonious, smug little comments. Why do you have to comment at all? Is there a rule that says you have to apply to every post? Do you have a post # you are trying to get to? The OP was asking for people to share similar stories - if you don't have one, GO TO THE NEXT THREAD.

    I'll be over at wedding wire. This just isn't a nice place to be anymore.
     
  40. mclaugcr

    mclaugcr Companion

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    :yeahthat: I had been away for a couple of years, but came back this summer b/c of a new job. There is WAY too much snarkiness on here anymore. I think I will be finding a new place that is more tolerant.
     
  41. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Please check your PMs.
     

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