"just stopping by"

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 2ndTimeAround, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    How do you all feel about parents that "just stop by" before or after school? They're dropping off/picking up their kids and it is a convenient time for THEM to have a parent conference.

    I admit that when my children were young I would sometimes walk into the classroom, not knowing how disruptive it could be to the teacher.

    I'm in a FB group where one woman told another to just stop by and confront a teacher about a mistake she may have made. I suggested that she email the teacher and ask if there was a time that would be best to meet. Someone ELSE said no, the teacher might pick a time in the middle of the day and that wouldn't be convenient. So I asked what if it wasn't convenient for the teacher to meet at pickup time? I got quite a few responses along the lines of "that's what the teacher is PAID to do!" "I pay taxes - the teacher works on MY timeline!"

    At the high school level I don't have this happen a lot, but it does happen. I have had impromptu meetings with parents where there wasn't any inconvenience for me. But I've also had to tell parents that I could not meet with them at that moment and offered up a different time. Usually they get pi$$y when I do that. A couple have left my room and stomped straight into the principal's office claiming I refused to meet with them. Once a dumb-butt administrator called me to the front office via the school-wide intercom. I called the front office from my room instead and told the admin that I was on my way out and would have to meet with her the next day. She said a parent was in the office and we needed to all meet then. I repeated that I was on my out and we would have to meet later at a mutually convenient time. Didn't win me any points with the administrator but I think the parent got the point.

    I have even had parents stop by during class time and want to discuss their child.

    I would never expect a doctor, lawyer, even hairstylist to be available the moment I walk into their place of business. Why the expectation that teachers should be?
     
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  3. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I suspect a lot of these people do actually expect a doctor, lawyer...etc to drop everything for them.

    I suspect they get into express lanes 10 items or less with a full cart, know it, and could care less.
     
  4. The Natural Log

    The Natural Log Rookie

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    It's actually never happened to me. They wouldn't get past our security guard, and my room is in the back corner of the school far from the main entrance. Our security would refer them to the main office, who would then call us and ask if we were scheduled to meet or not.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Not allowed at my school. There's one entrance/exit for kids/parents and they're not getting past my principal or me (whichever of the two of us is standing there).

    If they tried to use the front office and not the front gate, they wouldn't get past the secretary. She's like a security guard!

    If a parent happens to say that they have an appointment with the teacher, we radio the teacher (or call his/her classroom) to confirm.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Our admin does that too! We can say no, we're not available if we want. I love our admin team.

    I do usually drop things to meet with parents though. I'm pretty used to just dropping things to meet with parents, students, other teachers, etc. anyway.

    If I'm really busy, and had to turn down a meeting, I've never yet had a parent who wouldn't take no for an answer.
     
  7. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Ugh happened to me a lot at the beginning of the year and every single time I said "My conference hours are from 9:55 to 10:45" while not even giving eye contact or stopping whatever I'm doing. Most times the go into the principals office and request that I meet with them right then and there. The awful part is that my principals will actually find someone to cover my class. I think that's allowing the parents way too much control.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If any kids are left in the room, I send them to my neighbor and "ask if I can borrow the website login." That's our team code for Help! The teammate then immediately comes over to remind me about our after school meeting with the principal.

    If no kids are left in the room, I lock my door, turn out my lights, and walk to the office for five minutes. That's always enough time for parents to go away.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    To be honest, your conference hours seem fairly unreasonable. That's smack dab in the middle of the day.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    And? Have you not gone to a doctor's appointment smack dab in the middle of the day?

    Many teachers on here have commented that their only prep periods some days are 30 minutes before school and 30 minutes after. A 15 minute impromptu meeting with a parent takes 25% of that prep time away.

    As a parent I had/have no problem with mid-day conferences. Just as it is important enough for me to take off to take my child to the pediatrician, it is important for me to meet with a teacher.

    At my school I do not get to choose my planning period. Because I have a generous one, though, I don't mind meeting at 8am or 3:45pm. IF I have notice. If I don't have notice there is a good chance I've already planned something else for that time. I might just be grading papers so I can leave on time for a change, but that doesn't matter.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I don't know about you, but there's nothing in my contract that says my prep time must absolutely be used for planning and only planning, and none of the other aspects of my job like teacher parent conferences.

    If you don't want to use your prep after school, then you should stay longer than your contracted time to allow parents to meet with you if possible after your prep (if it's after school). I consider my prep a time to do ALL of the aspects of the job that need to get done (parent contact, emailing other teachers, planning, grading, etc.)

    Also in the case of a doctor's appointment or whatever, I ALWAYS am able to schedule it for a time that works for me where I don't have to miss any school because most offices are open until 5 at least. Even if it's not immediate, I'd rather wait until I can get a time where I don't miss school (if it's not an emergency). Only allowing a parent to schedule appointments during one hour of the day smack dab in the middle of the school day is NOTHING like making an appointment at a doctor's office where they have availability all day.

    It's one thing to say, no I'm busy now, please come at a different time, and saying, the only time I can see you is for the shortest window of time that is completely inconvenient for you, and I will make no compromises on this time for the entirety of the year.
     
  12. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    I don't pick when my conference hours are. 98% of the parents at my school are jobless which is why they pop up at all hours of the day. Also, we do not have a prep time. We have that one planning/conference time from 9:55 to 10:45. We do have after school conferees every 6 weeks and we are lucky if a measily two parents show up.
     
  13. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I'm not in a happy place right now, so take this for what it is worth-
    They are not willing to adjust their schedule to meet with me when I am available (aka prep time), but they expect me to stay after work, unpaid, to meet with them? I didn't have the child. I shouldn't be doing the accommodating/sacrificing. I would never go into their place of employment and demand to be served after hours, especially while expecting them to do it for 'free'.

    Just Monday I had a student tell me 10 minutes before dismissal that his mom was coming to talk to me after school. I told him that today didn't work for me- I had an appointment- and to have his mom email me so we could set up a time. I booked it out of there at contract time (5 minutes after kids leave), and I haven't heard from his mom yet. We had P/T conferences two weeks ago and she didn't bother to respond to my multiple attempts to schedule. I'm not accommodating her. I'm over being the used and abused push-over.

    ETA- The parent I'm speaking of has done this all year. I've had at least 8-10 impromptu 'drop-in' conferences with no notice. She didn't come to either fall or sprint P/T conferences. I probably would have been (slightly) more accommodating with a different parent.
     
  14. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    PREACH! AMEN AMEN!!! I REBUKE THOSE PARENTS AND WHATEVER SATAN HAS SENT THEM TO DISCUSS AFTER HOURS!
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Exactly.
     
  16. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I think you're supposed to feed them, clothe them, and buy them school supplies too (or so I hear) :rolleyes::lol:
     
  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If you schedule a doctor's appointment at 4:45, that doctor will get paid for the appointment. If you convince your mechanic to let you bring your car in before hours, he will charge you for it. If you go to a dentist who is open on weekends, he makes money for letting you come in then. If a parent wants to come in on my off-contract time... I let them come in for free?

    Doctors don't keep late hours out of the goodness of their hearts. They do it because they like having extra ducats in their pocket.

    I get the fact that I have to put in time before/after school and on the weekends. I do. But a parent shouldn't have the right to make that decision for me.
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    If a parent stops by a few minutes after school, I don't mind. I find most parents who stop by unannounced, have a quick question or a small concern. I am sure I inconvenience parents when I call them during my prep time, but they tend to understand. I want to show the same courtesy to them, that I want them to show to me.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Really? You are sure that you inconvenience them when you call about THEIR CHILDREN?

    Do you have children of your own? Children that are in school?

    I cannot fathom how, under any circumstances, a teacher calling me about my child would be an inconvenience.

    ETA - I have had parents seem inconvenienced when I called them. But it wasn't about the timing. I'm pretty sure they felt any negative call would be inconvenient as it was my job to handle their child during the day. They do enough the rest of the week. Most parents, thankfully, appreciate hearing from teachers.
     
  20. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If my daughter's teacher calls me at a time when I'm busy, I just don't answer the phone. Or more likely, I never know that the phone rang until a time when I'm not busy. I'm reasonably certain that my daughter's teacher will never show up at my classroom door at 3:55 expecting a conference right then and there, also.
     
  21. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I agree. Also, I see your point. I just know that the tiny bit of inconvenience to meet with parents after school is well worth it to me. If I show an interest in their child and meeting with them, most problems stay small (yes there are some exceptions). Parents are at school often to pick up their student after school, so that does seem like the right time to drop by.
     
  22. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I completely agree. In general, when parents drop in for a conference, it's usually something quick that can be handled and we can all move on. I'd rather just deal with the issue then spend time wondering and worrying.

    I have only had one parent try to come for a lengthy, spontaneous meeting after school. I didn't let him into the classroom, I stood at the door. He wanted to talk about an issue that had already been dealt with, so I refused to have another conversation about it. Then a colleague popped by to remind me about a meeting (really, truly we had a meeting!) and I booked it out of the classroom. The parent fully received this message and requested a scheduled meeting the next time he had a concern to discuss.
     
  23. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I have a few random thoughts, coming from the parent perspective:

    While I don't think a teacher should have to drop everything to meet with a parent during the day, I do think it's rude to not even give them the courtesy of speaking to them and explaining that you do not have time now but would be happy to meet at x y or z. Someone mentioned a hairdresser or other service not being available. I agree, but if I saw my hairdresser either run out, tell someone to say I wasn't there, or ignore a call from the receptionist I would be highly offended and find it unprofessional.

    Speaking of, I have a severe neck issue that I HAD to see a doctor for pronto. I called at 8:10, and there was not one appointment available today. But, my doc AND her nurse agreed to come back early from lunch and see me exclusively, because it was important. So other professions do, on occasion, make exceptions.

    I might suggest creating a form of some kind, like a "while you were out", that you could hand to a parent while saying "I'm unavailable to meet with you today, but if you could complete this form and give it to the office, I will take a look at your concerns and get back to you at the soonest moment I am available. This way I can be prepared for you."
     
  24. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    can I put in my 2 cents as well. Even though it's a little bit off topic.

    Just want to remind you about a thread I opened, eh, some 3 years ago. I was then a struggling parent who happened to be the main "therapist" for my daughter's Selective Mutism in her school where the staff was absolutely ignorant of the problem.

    I don't feel like searching for that thread now, it's too lengthy anyway, But the point is, most of the thread was indignation from teachers how come I EXPECT the teacher to spend 5-10 min early in the morning once or twice a week alone with my daughter in the classroom.

    Back then I didn't read this forum as closely, I mostly participated as a parent. So, I was AMAZED at why would the teachers get so defensive about those 5-10 mins.

    now I see it's due to other parents, the ones who often don't get the message and keep pushing their issues without stopping at anything. And that does spoil it for us, the well-meaning parents.
     
  25. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    The only access to our building for parents is through the front door and through the office. A "drop in" parent won't get to the teacher without consent--the office will call in to us to see if we are available.

    My preferred time to meet with parents is 20 minutes or so before school--it provides a natural time to finish up the meeting. I also find that it works well for many parents.

    As far as meeting in the middle of the day, that isn't a possibility for many of our parents. They work at jobs where taking time off isn't a possibility (several years ago, we had a parent lose their job when the Special Ed teacher insisted that they had to come in for a 10 minute meeting in the middle of the day). I want the parents of my students to see that I am eager to work with them for the benefit of their children--sometimes it means inconveniencing myself just a bit.
     
  26. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I've had very few parent show up at my door,mother secretary would stop them. One was a newly single dad who taught I our parish. Others knew him and assumed he was coming in to meet with one of the teachers over school business. It was never a bad meeting, but he was unsure and expected a lot for his son. It was frustrating at times, but I understood and dealt with it. If parents show before school the secretary will get in the PA and ask if we can meet with them. The problem is that the parents hear us respond, so it makes it hard to not meet with them. In the past few years they are actually there s out a coworker, but they're in my home room, so they meet with me. The coworker has NO issue telling me and the parent that she doesn't have time to meet with them, their child should learn to stay in his/her seat, and stop talking. Then she walks away and I get to deal with the fallout. That's a topic for a whole other thread lol. If the parent gets in touch with me ahead of time, I have no problem meeting with them before or after school. If the only time they can come isn't my planning period, my principal will work with me and get my class covered while I meet with them. On the topic of phone calls, I teach in a rural district and many parents work jobs where it's not easy for them to come to the phone. Some of them have had problems because of the phone calls. They don't complain,but the kids have told me, so me calling during the day is sometimes inconvenient for them. I e never had a parent complain or tell me not to call.
     
  27. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    This is a good point. Some parents go overboard and spoil it for everyone else. I had a parent calling at least once a week right before we left for lunch. I guess it was HIS lunch time so he was free. Well, getting a classroom full of students with autism and other disabilities ready for lunch when I'm on the phone is NOT doable. I told him to call either before or after school 8-8:30 or 3-3:30. If he called at 11:30 I would let the voicemail take care of it and I called him back later. I guess he didn't mind if his child was late to lunch because he decided to call when it was convenient for HIM. :dizzy:
     
  28. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I don't mind being available during my off contract time, and I understand why you might, but I was mostly addressing the statement that you shouldn't meet parents during your prep.

    Our school seems to be unique in that our contract time extends about 45 minutes past the dismissal bell, so meeting parents after-school is fairly easy for me.
     
  29. Go Blue!

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    This is common and encouraged by Admin at my school. Parents never show up for Back To School Night or Parent-Teacher Conferences; so, they are encouraged to drop by/pop up whenever they can and most do it during the school day.

    I don't like it, but I understand and I am always willing to stop what I am doing to accomodate and talk to the parent. It is what it is.
     
  30. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I really like this idea. That way, the parent knows that you are interested in hearing what they have to say. You could also have some of your generally available times to meet marked on it, so parents could indicate what would work best for them. Then you could more easily schedule a meeting.
     
  31. Go Blue!

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    Many parents have told me not to call them during the day - while they are at work - which is when I make my parent calls. I have also had parents tell me not to call at certain times because they were working. I think they do view me calling them as an inconvenience although, I do agree with you that many parents just don't want to hear about or have to deal wth their own child.
     
  32. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    I generally don't mind if parents want to have an impromptu conference. in fact twice in the last month I have dropped everything and had the conference just because I felt it was important for me to see the parent because of the ongoing issues these two children seem to be having. At least one of these parents has made every attempt to be at school for my conferences so I felt like it really wasn't an inconvenience to meet with them.
    What I do mind is if a parent who hasn't bothered to contact me not once during the school year suddenly decides that today is the day to find out why my student has been struggling all year. Or to blame me or the school for their child's attendance problems. A few weeks ago I had a grandparent come down the hallway AFTER the lights were off and I was actually leaving to confront me about attendance issues. I was told by my principal I didn't have to talk to her since she isn't the child's guardian. I told this person that and still I was called a liar, and that it was my fault for her child's absences. I also HATE when parents stop you at Walmart or sporting event to have a conference. Last weekend I had another grandparent who I haven't seen at school conference stop me at Walmart to tell me his grandson's absences were the schools fault. ( we sent him home because of severe asthma multiple times) and that he WOULD be retained. All I did was stand there and listen to him rant and rave. ( I know i could have walked off)
    In general I will do anything for a parent who has made the effort to help me help educate their child. If I haven't seen or heard from that parent at all during the year I will treat them like they have treated me.
     
  33. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I don't mind being available off contract time, or during my prep. I DO mind a parent just showing up and thinking it would be a good time for a conference. If a parent wants to meet with me during my prep, I'd be happy to schedule it. With that knowledge, I'd be able to handle prep at a different time. Similarly, if a parent wants to meet after school, I can let my family know I'll be later than normal, I'll let the babysitter know I'm running late, I can make alternate dinner plans in advance, etc. I can't do that if a parent just shows up.
     
  34. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I agree. Parents should schedule meetings. I just think that a teacher has a responsibility to offer a reasonable time (reasonable being after school or before school - not in the middle of the day).
     
  35. Backroads

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    My contract day starts 20 minutes before the kiddos start and ends 45 minutes after they leave. I've no complaints with parents popping in during those times--probably because I've yet to deal with a psycho parent this year.

    While I understand we all have times where we work outside of contract hours and it's just part of the teacher life, I still believe those contract hours should be generally respected. Yes, emergencies come up and it can behoove us to make exceptions when it's reasonable, but crazy meeting times should be a rare thing.
     
  36. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I'm still just of the belief that there are professional ways to handle things, and flat out wrong ways to handle things. I just don't think that saying "It's not in my contract time to talk to you now" is the right way to deal with it. It's not moving the profession forward.

    I am thinking about other professions I deal with on a regular basis. I try to not be an ******* to any of them, and they usually return the favor. For example, I'll go back to my neck issue-keep in mind here, I do live in a small town so I know a lot of people personally outside of their jobs-but I had to have some relief immediately. I called my PT at home at 7:00 am. Did he have to answer? No. Could he have said "I'm not working now, call me during these times"? Yes. Basically, he did, but in a nice way. He told me what I was feeling was not normal and he would make time for me that day but he wanted me to see my regular doctor first, so to call him after I made an appointment at my doc.

    I've had to call our eye doctor before at 10:00 pm because my husband got metal in his eye-he came in immediately and met us at his office to get it out.

    My hair stylist prefers me to text her when I need an appointment, at any time.

    I'm not in any way advocating that teachers make themselves available 24/7, I'm just saying there is a professional way to deal, and there is an unprofessional way. I wouldn't just show up at my PT and demand an appointment, and I know that is what parents are doing sometimes, but like what my PT did-I think teachers can find a way to take back the control in the situation, and do it professionally.
     
  37. Backroads

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    Of course teachers should handle it professionally, but a big part of being professional is acknowledging your own time matters. I completely agree we can handle these things professionally and politely, but I do caution people to avoid the bend-over-backwards reaction.
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This type of scenario rarely happens at my school. I have occasionally gone to the office after school and run into a parent there, and we've talked briefly about some minor issue. I don't mind this when it's something small (and it has always been something small, at least so far).

    If it's a bigger issue, though, I would prefer to have some notice so that I can be prepared with grade printouts, student work, behavior records, or any other relevant documentation. I think it's fair to tell a parent that I'm unavailable at the current time but would be happy to reschedule for another day.

    My prep period is first thing in the morning, and we have no built-in time after school for meeting with parents. Aside from the sort of short conversation I mentioned above, I would not be willing to stay late to meet with parents after school, even if the parent wanted to schedule the conference ahead of time. Six minutes after the final bell, I am off contract and unpaid. During the school day my time belongs to my students, but after school my time belongs to my own family. I won't take what little time I do have in the evenings for my family and give it away to someone else for free. If it matters to a parent that we meet in person, then that parent will need to find a way to come see me in the morning during my prep or be content with an email-based discussion.
     
  39. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I completely agree with you. I was more addressing the idea of hiding from or not acknowledging the parent at all.
     
  40. Backroads

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    Apr 23, 2015

    Yes. That's inappropriate. If you have a truly psychotic parent, there are other professional steps to deal with that.
     

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