Interview Question Help

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Chelseacat12, May 30, 2018.

  1. Chelseacat12

    Chelseacat12 Rookie

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    May 30, 2018

    Hi! I was recently in an interview for an elementary teacher position and I got a question that I was unsure of since I'm a recent college grad. They gave me a scenario: A scathing parent emails you at 10:30 at night upset over something that happened in class that day. What do you do? This question was followed by: Would you involve administration?
    I was stuck on this because I was told by a fellow elementary teacher to always apologize to parents to calm them down, but when I said this in the interview they did not seem like that. I'd love to hear how other teachers would answer this question, or what type of answer they would be looking for. Thanks!
     
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  3. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    May 30, 2018

    My answer would be to not respond right away. I would most likely forward it to admin, if only to give a heads up that someone might be on the war path. An apology may be warranted, but that would depend on the situation. The best thing you could do is give an example of what you would do given a specific scenario. If they were upset about a mistake that I had made, I would apologize, if they were upset because of something that a student said about me, I would clear up the misunderstanding, or look into it.
     
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  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    May 31, 2018

    I would have definitely made a point to say that I’d wait until the next day to respond. They were looking to see if you are impulsive and reactionary or calm and collected in your dealings with parents. I also would not automatically apologize. I would only apologize if I felt that I had done something inappropriate. I might say that I’m sorry they feel a certain way or that there was a misunderstanding, but I wouldn’t apologize for my behavior unless I truly thought I was wrong. Instead, I would let the parent know that I hear them and then explain the situation- to a point. I wouldn’t be defensive, no matter how much I may want to be, but I would share the facts of the situation. Depending on how upset the parent is or how severe the situation is, I may or may not involve administration.
     
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  5. Curriculum Chef

    Curriculum Chef Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2018

    Chelseacat 12,

    First off, I would not email them back that night. Parents need to know that you are not at their beck and call. You do have working hours.

    The response will vary depending on what actually happened.

    Second, NEVER apologize for something that you didn't do. You can say, however, that you hear their concerns and will work with them to find a solution. Start positive. Early the next morning, write something like this:

    Dear So and So,

    Thank you for reaching out about your concerns. The bullying incident involving your child that took place at recess on yesterday is an unfortunate situation, and I will do my best to find a solution so that it doesn't happen again.

    or

    Dear So and So,

    Thank you Mr. Blah Blah for reaching out with your concerns. Regarding the issue at hand, yes, I asked little Johnny to take a five-minute time out because he was being a distraction to others. Though he is often well-behaved, yesterday he was a bit active and distracting to others during the math lesson. Time out is one of the behavior management strategies that was discussed during Open House at the beginning of the school year, and it has worked effectively. After the time-out, little Johnny was okay. He continued with the lesson fine. When arriving home, it seems that he expressed something differently with you.

    If you have further concerns or questions, we can schedule a time to meet about this. Thank you for your understanding.

    Best,

    Ms. So and So
     
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  6. Chelseacat12

    Chelseacat12 Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2018

    Thank you so much for the advice!
     
  7. Chelseacat12

    Chelseacat12 Rookie

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    This is great thank you!
     
  8. Chelseacat12

    Chelseacat12 Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2018

    thank you for the help!:)
     
  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jun 2, 2018

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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  10. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Jun 2, 2018

    I would invite the parent in if it's serious. Sometimes I would ignore e-mails, and say they ended up in my spam folder if the parent called
     
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  11. Chelseacat12

    Chelseacat12 Rookie

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    Jun 2, 2018

    Haha I'm asleep by then too! Thanks for the advice, this really helped!
     
  12. Chelseacat12

    Chelseacat12 Rookie

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    Thanks for the advice!!
     
  13. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jun 3, 2018

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  14. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 3, 2018

    While I agree that you shouldn’t respond until the next day, sometimes you are better off calling the parent to discuss their concerns. So much tone gets implied in text (reading a tone when their isn’t one), and by having a conversation with the parent, you will have a better understanding and chance of correcting the conversation. You do not need to forward every negative email to administration—they want to know you have the capability of handling issues on your own. The only emails I discuss with admin are those that have a high chance of going above me or that I truly cannot handle on my own.
     
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  15. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Jun 3, 2018

    I agree about not including admin in your response unless really truly necessary, but I will say that sometimes I initiate email correspondence with parents to inform them of a problem and depending on the situation I will sometimes cc relevant administrators. Not the principal, usually, but the person in charge of behavior stuff for my school. When we submit behavioral referrals, we are supposed to have contacted the parent, so it's both a way of covering myself and showing that I've made that contact. I do phone calls as well but sometimes a quick email is easier in the middle of the day, and I like the paper trail it gives me.
     

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