Help! I want to remain calm!

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by ilovekkids, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. ilovekkids

    ilovekkids Rookie

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    Oct 30, 2011

    Ok. Without giving all the gory details, I need advice on how to handle myself in a meeting between myself, an angry parent and my principal.

    The parent is constantly up in the air about something - a left lunch box, a missing paper...Everything is cause for a note (at least 1 at week). Every note that I have received, even about simple things, has been nasty, written in all caps and/or ended with excalmation points. Her current tirade is because her dear, sweet angel is not being recognized/rewared as a good citizen for the marking period. I don't make the policies, but I try to follow them as best I can. Every day has not been horrible, but there have been more not so great days than I think should be allowed to be considered as a "good citizen".

    I have been polite and have tried to be positve even in documenting this student's behavior in my class and have expressed my desire, in writing and in person, to work with her to try to help the child improve.

    The final straw was her DEMAND (with an exclamation point) to have this meeting. I feel that while I can understand her frustration, she has been very rude and uncooperative (meeting every comment with an excuse or even coming as close as she could to calling me a liar - "I don't think he would...") and has offered no support to me as her child's teacher. She has not talked with me directly, but has only written these notes.

    The child is rude, disruptive and defiant and I spend a huge chunk of my day just on redirecting him. This also happens when he is with other adults (fine arts classes, etc.), but I don't think anyone is documenting it even after complaining to me.

    So my question is, how can I deal with this meeting/parent in a way that will allow me to remain poised and professional when I really want to scream? I know that she is geared up for a fight, but I do not want to fall into her trap!

    Help!
     
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  3. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Oct 30, 2011

    I don't have any advice other than to take deep breaths. Begin documenting this child's behavior and show the notes to your principal. Ask your p to be involved in the meeting.
     
  4. ilovekkids

    ilovekkids Rookie

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    Oct 30, 2011

    We will all be meeting this week. I have quite a bit of documentation and began to cc my P a few weeks ago when I realized that this was potentially going to be a problem.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I'm breathing as I speak! :)
     
  5. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 30, 2011

    Just keep smiling. Try not to say too much-let her do the talking then address the concerns.

    I had the same thing happen last year-the parent wanted to know why some kids got more awards than she did-hello? that's what awards are, you have to earn them. At least your P will be sitting in-maybe they will be able to handle most of the meeting.
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Oct 30, 2011

    When all the other kids get "Outstanding Citizenship", "Excellence in Math" and "Outstanding Achievement in Reading" give him awards for "Working hard to make better choices" and "Improving his classroom behavior."

    Let's see if she puts those up on the refrigerator for Grandma to see.
     
  7. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Oct 31, 2011

    Breath, breathe, breathe! Take notes as the parent talks. This helps me focus and keeps me busy. It also helps me zero in on what I want to say when it is my turn to talk. State the facts without emotion. Don't rise to the parent's level if they start to get nasty. Remember TAP. Thank the parent for bringing up their concerns. Apologize...I am sorry you are so upset about this. Promise....I promise we will work together to solve this problem. TAP allows the parent to feel heard which usually calms them down. Have somewhat of a game plan as far as goals for the child and how the parent can help.
     
  8. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Oct 31, 2011

    I agree with the others and breathe! I can only imagine the things this child is exposed to, so no WONDER he is the way he is... he is just like his mom.

    I would listen and keep or bring as much documentation as possible! Say a prayer for them, she must be going through something.

    I love Sarge's idea of his own award. But if that isn't possible, then possibly suggest a daily behavior chart so we can monitor his growth.

    I remember one year, I just got off on the wrong foot with this one mom. She questioned everything I was doing, didn't approve of the school wide behavior program, and hated the school social worker. So when it came to parent conference time, I knew I didn't want to be by myself with her. So I asked my principal and she sent the social worker. MISTAKE! I listened and listened to everything she had to say and eventually, I stood up and walked out crying. I regret this moment most of all my teaching moments. I let her get me down. I knew what I was doing.. and I let her treat me poorly and she won. NEVER again! I am stronger. Of course she went to the principal the next morning to file a complaint. But big whoop! She had troubles the next year too! So I knew it wasn't just me. But she made me feel HORRIBLE!

    I hope the meeting goes better for you and maybe the principal can get an insight on what y'all should do to ease this parent so she isn't postal!

    HUGS to you!
     
  9. ilovekkids

    ilovekkids Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2011

    Thank you all so much for all the thoughtful and encouraging responses. I really like the TAP idea and the one about taking notes.

    Today was interesting as I checked the child's folder and the mom had for all practical purposes SCRIBBLED her name all of the bottom of his behavior record as a signature. I also found out today that the parent was irate and very ugly and confrontational with the teachers at the child's FORMER (as of a few weeks ago) after care facility. Again because of the concerns that the adults tried to speak with her about.

    One thing is for sure, if we do not make some headway tomorrow, the rest of the year will be rough. It seems impossible for the child to be able to have a truly successful year if his mom is in constant opposition to the teacher.

    I will say my prayers, try to follow the great advice given here and try to expect the best!

    Thanks again!
     
  10. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Oct 31, 2011

    Hugs to you! Parents like that are no fun. I have one this year. Make sure to document, with specific examples, leave emotion out of documentation. Not just, talking, but talking to another student while teacher was instructing. Or out of seat, walking around the room, when student was to remain seated.

    Keep your P in the loop! At my school we have an electronic gradebook. We can submit log entries that both the parent and the P can see. The log entry is emailed immediately to the P.

    I emailed my P Friday afternoon about my difficult parent, she was upset that we weren't having a Halloween party today. She didn't like my answer that it was school policy. I emailed him & so when she was in his office this morning he already knew what was going on. She gave him a hard time also, but he didn't change the policy & comletely supported me.

    Good luck!
     
  11. Dynamite Boys

    Dynamite Boys Companion

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    Oct 31, 2011

    In meetings like these, I always like to have our counselor present (but I teach in a middle school). One of the forms he has that I think works "miracles" is one that allows for every party present to take responsibility in a solution. We don't leave the meeting until we have a:

    "The teacher will . . . (sign the assignment notebook, check on progress during class, etc)."

    "The parent will . . . (check the assignment notebook, support the teacher, maintain positive communication)."

    And my favorite: "The student will . . . (complete work, not distract others, be respectful, listen the first time, etc.)."

    I have found by giving everyone a role in the solution, to include myself, that often times it works!

    Good luck tomorrow! Deep breaths. Remain calm. Remember, you're the teacher, you know what you're doing! Trust your gut!
     
  12. WhoDatTeacher

    WhoDatTeacher Rookie

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    I had almost the same issue with a student in my class last year. She often sent in/emailed nasty notes. As much as I got angry at this, I remembered to remain calm and handle the situation rationally. I let my principal in on the situation and explained to her what was going on in the classroom with this particular student, who was often a trouble maker and was complained about by the other students. I met the parent for the first time during winter parent teacher conferences and she was in attack mode. While meeting with her face to face though, she allowed me to explain how her child behaved in the classroom, and was surprisingly understanding. There will always be a difficult parent in your classroom, you just need to be rational in handling these situations.
     
  13. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Nov 1, 2011

    I've got to know how it went! Please keep us posted! I said a prayer for you today!
     
  14. ilovekkids

    ilovekkids Rookie

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    Nov 1, 2011

    Whew!

    Thanks for the prayers!

    It went really well. I was so surprised! She was not in denial like I'd thought and was really open to working with us - once she was able to express her frustration at her child receiving such low behavior marks each day. Rather than using my present system of faces (happy, sad, neutral) we agreed that I would develop another sheet for him because she feels that he is being negatively affected by the smiley face system. :) I am going to go to Jim Wright on-line to develop a sheet that can target the specific behaviors that we want to see corrected/improved. It will allow me to set up a number system for scoring his behavior on say, a 1-5 scale each day on each of the target behaviors that I designate. We are also going to work with the support staff to develop a behavior plan.

    Overall, she seemed positive and willing to be involved in that process. She even shed some tears. Poor thing. I think just like the rest of us, she wants her child to be successful in every single area. Sometimes it can really hurt when they aren't.

    Thanks again for all the support and prayers!
     
  15. ilovekkids

    ilovekkids Rookie

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    Oh, I have to add: It was probably very eyeopening for he when my P read aloud all the narritives from the other special teachers who work with him. They all sounded basically the same: busy, doesn't follow directions well, bothers others...
     
  16. Silmarienne

    Silmarienne Cohort

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    Nov 2, 2011

    Glad to hear it! For future reference, if you don't already, I would copy your P on all notes (photocopies, so s/he can see the CAPS AND !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) :)
     
  17. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    Dynamite Boys - thanks for sharing your approach. I like the "we're all in this together approach."
     

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