Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by tough, May 28, 2009.
May 28, 2009
Do you find it a waste of time to call the parent (s)?
I'm not really in a bad school. I've been in schools with difficult parents before, and I think it is always in your best interest to contact the parents. If you find calling is not working, try meeting face to face. There are always crazies, but generally, most parents want the best for their child, and will work with you if they understand that you are willing to work with them. Many parents also don't know how they can help, and are more than willing to take advice from someone who is seen as an equal (but they will get their backs up if they feel you are talking down to them).
I met with one kid's parents and I said this: All I am asking is that he behaves and is quiet in class, is that too much. His parents said yes.
I had another kid who was so bad I sent him to a guidance counselor and she told me he has a right to misbehave in my class since I told him to shut up once.
My school last year was about as bad as it gets. I tried calling home, but could never get through. That's when I realized the parents had all put down fake phone numbers... It took me a really long time to figure that out, though. It just isn't something that I would ever do!
I have worked in schools considered "bad" schools. I found that the phone calls made and the conferences arranged worked well the majority of the time. I also found that if the phone numbers listed did not work and I really needed to get hold of the parent the children would know numbers or I would call the emergency numbers listed. When relatives start contacting mom and dad about the teacher calling them; mom and dad contact the school. The worst response I have had from parents came when working in an affluent neighborhood's school that is considered a "good" school.
If the words you have quoted as what you say in conferences are an accurate quote I can see why you are having problems. The "All I am asking is.. Is that too much?" Sounds aggressive, condescending, and as if you are already assuming the parents will not support you. It sounds like you are accusing the parents of working against you. That does not seem the best way to convey to the parents that you want to work with them to facilitate the learning of their child.
I think the calls work best when you develop a relationship beforehand. I start the year and term by making positive phone calls and sending positive notes home. That way, when I have to make the bad call, parents know me and are receptive.
And I work at GREAT schools that serve traditionally underserved students. Keep in mind, parents may not be trying to trick you by giving you fake numbers. It just may be that their phones are pre-paid cells or frequently turned off.
Apparently they all live in Daly City, CA, but want their children to go to school in San Francisco because we were the only school to cater to Filipino-speaking families. So they did it for the area code. Apparently. I didn't have many instances when I had to get a hold of parents urgently, but our first step on the discipline ladder was to have the student call their parents in front of the classroom. Well, that doesn't work well when the kid pretends they don't know their parents' numbers and all you have is a fake number on the emergency card.
May 29, 2009
Assuming I actually have a working phone number to call, it usually is helpful if I get a hold of someone. I find the voice mail messages I leave are only returned maybe 10% of the time. But if I get a live person from the get go, I've had success.
Was that type of discipline employed because the embarrassment factor is supposed to bring about change in behavior? I would be soooo offended if I had to work in a school that chose that type of discipline. I can see why you had problems with them!
Yeah, it was suppose to embaress them. But really, it only served to completely stop any momentum I might have built in my SCIENCE class, caused riots if the students didn't want to call and had support from their peers. There were a bunch of other 'steps', such as crouching down low to them and asking them to stop, allowing them five minutes 'time out' in the corner and then sending them to another room for 15 minutes. If you sent a student to the office, you had to fill out a form stating you did all these steps first, which took MORE time, and the kids would sit in a chair for 5 minutes before being sent back (our principal was never in the building).
This was an inner-city middle school, where kids were bringing guns to school. Our math teacher had 409 put in her coffee and nothing was done. Nothing.
I grew up in an era when teachers were respected and my parents felt that the teacher's word was bond. Thus,if the teacher called the parent something was done immediately.
Today in many cases the parent believes and stands up for their child or has little effect on changing the behavior of their child.The sad thing is in some cases the administration is more afraid of the parents,than they are of the teacher and will support the parent over the teacher.One phone call to a parent,and the parent should be contacted at least once, will pretty much tell if it is worth contacting the parent again or you are on your own in looking for ways to handle the situation.
May 31, 2009
This sounds a lot like the school I am at now. The admin is afraid to rock the boat with parents so the kids in turn get a way with things and it just escalates to the point that there is violence between the students - kicking, hitting, pinching, etc.
I find it a waste of time to make sweeping generalizations.
Sure, you are always going to have some who are not supportive (at any "kind" of school). Building relationships from day one is so very important. I make it a point to speak to parents BEFORE the first day of school if at all possible. That way, if the first day is truly awful, at least my first contact with them is not a problem.
And, yes, it IS too much to ask for some students to sit quietly. Some simply cannot do it. When I have issues with a student, I first ask parents what works from them. I treat them as allies. If they don't have any suggestions, then I present a plan.
It's never a waste of time to try and inform parents of what is going on in school with their kids. Sure, you may work in a district where the kids' have homelives that are not great, where parents don't seem to care BUT you have the chance to get through to someone. Not all kids in 'bad' schools are the same, not all families in 'difficult' neighborhoods are the same. Don't give up on the kids or trying to reach out to their families- if and when you do give up, it's time to get out.
I find it a waste of time to call the principal...
Unfortunately in many schools the administration does not want to be bothered with discipline problems.Teachers soon learn they need to handle all but the most severe problems on their own. A friend of mine was just asked to resign because he was sighted for poor classroom management.He had the nerve to contact security when a fight broke out in the room.
Jun 17, 2009
I think it's important to call home with good news too. If you can build some kind of relationship with the parents and be able to let them know you do notice the specialness of their child, you may be more accepted when you have something not so good to say. A lot of work, yes. You may not get through every time. If you reach out to the families, don't give up on them, and let the families help you (they are the experts on their children), it all may just become more positive.
Jun 20, 2009
It depends on the student's parents. When I was teaching some wild eighth graders last fall, calling the parents did not help at all because they simply didn't give a ****. When I called the sixth grade honor students' parents last spring, it helped a lot because the parents did give a ****.
Yes, this was at a bad school where the administration mandated a no referral policy. The principal would hold staff meetings in which she said that good teachers never have to write referrals. She was in complete denial about the students' out of control behavior and the students knew it. This gave them power.
As the spring semester came to a close, it was clear that the inmates were running the asylum.
This sounds like MY middle school! This really burns me up.
Don't the administrators realize that they are creating the problem? The students know, they sense it even, when the administration does not support the teachers.
I have worked in an inner city high school as LTS where the administrators ran their school like a tight ship. If a student received 3 referrals they were suspended, period. Needless to say classroom management was a breeze because the students were cognizant of the fact that the adminstration has a zero tolerance policy and that they backed up their teachers.
If the words you have quoted as what you say in conferences are an accurate quote I can see why you are having problems. The "All I am asking is.. Is that too much?" Sounds aggressive, condescending, and as if you are already assuming the parents will not support you. It sounds like you are accusing the parents of working against you. That does not seem the best way to convey to the parents that you want to work with them to facilitate the learning of their child.[/QUOTE]
I didn't see it that way. MY impression was the teacher did not preface her speech with,"All I'm asking..." I think she said it out of exasperation because the parents were not getting it. I think it's unfair to blame the teacher for expecting their child to be quiet unless he raises his hand.
I think the parents are to blame here as evidenced with their obstinate, petulant and immature response to her simple request. Clearly, their child is a reflection of them.
Jun 21, 2009
Often, all it takes is one conversation with a parent to learn why their children act the way they do. I've also had parents say their children don't have to respect me until I've earned it.
Aug 10, 2009
Of course….I am totally agreed with Dfleming. if we talk the parents face to face then we can handle the situation simply.
Aug 15, 2009
When I taught in a "bad school" (Reserve) I never met the parents of kids I taught. They never answered the phone. If they did, they agreed with everything I said, and then nothing changed, though on occasion the parents sent the kid to live somewhere else.
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