Moving forward parent harrassment

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by loveschildren, May 26, 2009.

  1. loveschildren

    loveschildren New Member

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    May 26, 2009

    I need help moving on and getting over the grief?

    I quit my teaching position three weeks before the end of my 3rd year of teaching. I could not handle the harrassment from a parent/coworker any more and my principal would not help me at all. My superintendent has done everything he can to make sure my certification is not compromised, but no one can take away the depression and loss I feel.

    I have worked at a small parochial school since I earned my certificate. This is also the school I did my student teaching in, worked as a Title 1 para, and sent my three daughters to for the last six years.

    We got a new principal last year, and this year he asked us to teach a strange rotation in the upper grades. We were supposed to specialize in two content areas and teach these subjects to 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. What a joke? I was beginning my third year of elementary education what specialty could I possibly have. My degree emphasis was in math and science, but because the other teachers preferred to teach these areas and I was the low girl on the totem pole that was not possible. So, I was given reading and language, two of the three subjects tested for NCLB in our state. The parents were unhappy and the principal dihonest and non-supportive. He actually promised indivualized lessons for every student and daily emails from teachers for all 50 students. On top of this my daughter was in my class, as was an extremely aggressive family with a son accused of bullying other boys for the last two years.

    The families' harrassment started the day school started and occurred almost weekly from there. By the end of the year, they had undermined my every attempt at discipline, and made it absolutely clear that I was not to expect any respect from them or their son, and that if I so much as looked at their son wrong I would hear from them. I was not to address any of the instances of other students accusing their son of bullying and I was to enforce his every "cry for justice" when he tattled on others for being out of uniform or any other small infraction.

    Two weeks ago on Monday, the boy was uncooperative and would not participate or do his work. At the end of the day he was bragging to a buddy that he didn't have homework. I insisted that he did have reading to finish as he had not done so in class. He said he wasn't going to do it, he didn't have time. I made a mark in his student planner indicating he had homework for the night and dismissed the students. The next day he came to reading class and said I didn't do my homework. I said I'm not surprised. He disappeared to find his mother, something he frequently did if he decided he didn't want to listen to me. The next thing I know I am being told how hateful I am and that all the students know I hate them.

    I tried to talk to my principal about the situation, but it was obvious he was more concerned about the boys father coming to yell at him than my emotional well being. I said if you aren't going to support me maybe it is time I leave. He said maybe it is, and so I left. He had implied three times since January that I needed to leave, and another coworker who he is close with implied the same thing two times.

    So I left and I pulled my daughters from the school also. The problem is, I know I didn't deserve the harrassment, but I should have been strong enough to endure three more weeks. Now I don't know how to stop worrying, crying, and beating myself up about it. I let my students down, and I let myself down. How do I move on? Do I need to quit teacdhing altogether
     
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  3. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 26, 2009

    If the community (faculty, parents, and students) won't support a great teacher like yourself, they don't deserve you. I know this is very painful, but honestly why would you want to be a part of a community that treats people like that? And heaven forbid, your own children grow up to act like that. If that's the kind of reputation they want to have, dust off your shoes and don't ever look back Sweetie :)
     
  4. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    May 26, 2009

    Your story is horrible, I am so sorry! I wouldn't quit teaching altogether just find a more supportive school. Good luck!
     
  5. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    May 26, 2009

    I am saddened that this sort of behavior seems to be becoming more common - not just in school, but in society. People bully, threaten to sue, and are just plain rude. Students & parents are allowed to treat teachers however they wish. When I taught in Catholic schools I expected it...however it is the same in public schools. I'm sure there are places with supportive admin. where this isn't as much of an issue. Good luck! :hugs:
     
  6. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    May 26, 2009

    Your post could have been about my first year of teaching! I had some horrible bullying parents. Don't give up - there are plenty of great schools where the administration will support you! (I found one!)
     
  7. loveschildren

    loveschildren New Member

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    May 27, 2009

    Thank you teachers, I truly needed to hear something positive. It is so good to hear that this is not the way all schools are. I love teaching and I love learning with children, but no one deserves this kind of harrassment.
     
  8. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

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    May 27, 2009

    You may not want to hear this now while you still feel hurt, but this is probably for the best. You know the old saying: When one door closes, another one opens. Also, things happen for a reason. Both my husband and I have experienced similar disappointments, but have had even better opportunities because we left bad situations. Stay strong. Good luck!
     
  9. Irma

    Irma Companion

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    May 27, 2009

    I am sorry that you had to experience this- I was at a private school (parochial in fact) that I left because a parent group was very intent on ridding the school of staff they didn't see eye to eye with- made me realize it wasn't the place for me and I left. I was upset because I loved the school but in the long run (11 years later), it was a good decision.
     
  10. EiffelTower

    EiffelTower Comrade

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    May 27, 2009

    I'm sorry to hear what a nightmare of a year you've had. I think that all of us have been in your shoes at some point and can sympathize. I've had my share of difficult parents and I definitely let their comments take a toll on me. I just came to a point where I realize that it was the parent who had the problem and not me. I've had lots of parents thank me for all that I've done for their child, so I need to keep that in mind, rather than the one or two parents that want to complain about everything and nag at me. Of course, it's easier said than done. I definitely need to grow a thicker skin, which is coming with experience. I wish you the best of luck in whatever path you choose to take. :)
     
  11. SuperBug!

    SuperBug! Rookie

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    May 27, 2009

    Wow, that was difficult to read. I'm so sorry that happened to you. Trust me, not all districts/schools are like that. I quit my last district and started a new one this year, and I've never been happier. You will be happy with teaching again, I promise!
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    May 27, 2009

    Oh, I have felt the same pain. It will get better. Hold your head up high, and use this time to recover. As a poster said, this door has closed and another one will open. You now have time to look for that door.
     
  13. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    May 27, 2009

    I feel for you. I was at a small public school and had a similar run in with a grandparent of one of my kids. I worked with the grandparent. The child had some issues that needed to be dealt with, but apparently I was intent upon picking on the child from day 1. I never did anything that I wouldn't have done for any other child, even my own, but apparently, I wasn't supposed to do anything but ignore every inappropriate behavior even if it was disruptive to the learning of the others in the room. My principal wasn't as non supportive as yours was, but you could get the vibes that I was just "supposed to leave things alone" and not rock the boat. Everything I was called on by the grandparent was found to not be true. I hate to admit it, but you just have to endure. I was able to leave the situation/school about a year later and left it on my terms in my way. I think for the sake of your own sanity, you have to handle situations the best way you can for yourself. Remember, your sanity and peace of mind are way more important than any other thing or any other one. Just know you did what was right for yourself at that moment in time. Don't beat yourself up and don't look back, move forward, learn from the experience, take something with you, and become the best that you can be for the future students you are charged with teaching.
     
  14. Epiphany

    Epiphany Rookie

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    May 27, 2009

    The Principal is definitely in the wrong role (showing no management skills, educational nor with the school community) you won't be the last teacher they mess with. I'm sorry this happened to you. Don't give them the satisfaction of allowing them to continue to hurt you they don't deserve it! Instead feel sorry for their children who are never going to keep down jobs or stable loving relationships as adults...
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    May 28, 2009

    I went through the same kind of thing early in my teaching. There were some parents who just didn't want their "babies" to have to toe the line. I feel parents should support a teacher in any case, unless the teacher is truly abusive, and then they should go through a process with the teacher and principal and try to work things out.

    I will tell you it took me a long time to get over the hurt. But I did get over it! You will be able to move on. Don't fault yourself for leaving. Sometimes we have to make drastic steps to preserve our very selves. This was abuse and you were SO RIGHT to remove yourself from the situation.

    Give yourself time to grieve and hopefully forgive and put it behind you. I went back to teaching several years after that bad experience and I was a stronger teacher and person. Now, nobody would get away with treating me the way those parents did when I was a young new teacher. There are phrases you need to practice for these mean parents - pm me if interested!

    God bless you and please know that many of us have had similar experiences. You will be able to go on and enjoy teaching again, tougher and wiser, and able to put these bullies in their place!
     
  16. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    Jun 1, 2009

    Boy, do I know what you went through. Last year, I was moved from pre-k to 5th grade. It was the principals way of getting rid of teachers at her school. Well from day one, students and parents were allowed to treat me like garbage. I was yelled at, followed to my car and told that by a student that he wished I was dead, on a daily basis. Every day, I was called to the office for whatever issue. Once it was because a parent said that I was accusing her son of bad behavior when he was a perfect angel. During the meeting with the principal and the parent, the coach came in saying that the student has just urinated on the lockers in the gym. Some perfect angel right?

    Well, I was under so much stress from this treatment, that I had to resign for medical reasons. This year, I got a position in the best district in the state. I am treated with respect by parents and faculty alike. I have not been called into the office even once for complaints. The other day, I was wearing my school shirt at the local store and I ran into that parent. She asked how I was doing and I told her that everything was wonderful.

    Payback is overcoming the @$*&%$# I was put through and coming out on top. Have faith in yourself and you will succeed. There are wonderful schools out there and because of what you went through, you will appreciate them.
     
  17. fatherNteacher

    fatherNteacher New Member

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    A lot of teachers have these horror stories unfortunately. I was at the same school for 9 yrs. I am a bit unorthodox in my teaching, and teach to my strengths and my students. I helped out my grade level in whatever way they needed, but I did/do not follow a lot of the rules shall we say. Most of my administrators have always looked the other way because my kids succeed and end up with great test scores (hate standardized tests though). Two years ago my principal retired and we got a new principal. She came in with about 2 months left in the school year and promptly ran off our AP. She is currently on her third AP after this past school year. I sure you get the picture. This year she asked me to move from 4th down to 3rd grade to help with their test scores. I agreed largely due to a child I wanted in my class, I had taught an older sibling of the child for 2 years, was close with the family, and had known the child since kindergarten. So I agreed to move to a high pressure grade, my district requires third grade to take 4 standardized tests though out the year, and made the best of it. This principal had been writing me up for silly stuff since she got the job (example: turning in my attendance 9 minutes late, or having drawings on the window on my door, or too many pictures on the wall) and making my life miserable. I thought, foolishly, that if I made this move that she would leave me alone. She didn't, she continued to harass me. My teacher's organization would not help me when I asked them to help get her off my back. My area director didn't do anything. She agreed that there were no complaints about my teaching, but that my principal did have the right to write me up for those things because they fall under the professional behavior heading. I ended up quitting at the end of the year. I don't have a job lined up for next year and there are not a lot of systems around me hiring right now. I am going to stay home with my children and be a stay at home dad for the time being and I am looking forward to it. Things will be tight for my family until I find a job but I have no regrets. Standing up for what you think is right and for what you need to do to make you happy is never easy, but hopefully it will work out in the end for both of us.
     
  18. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Jun 2, 2009

    Part of the issue is that we usually feel we have to accept positions because we need the job! Then we can end up in a school that really doesn't match our philosophy or values, or has a mean admin or coworkers - they are everywhere!

    Here are the DVDs I was referring to that can help by teaching teachers how to deal with difficult people, and how to diffuse a raging parent!

    No Thanks, I Had a Banana which was written for jr. high students to learn how to deal with mean kids. But a lot of it is useful in real life for everyone.

    The other is made specifically for teachers by Jim Faye, who developed the Love and Logic series. It is called Putting Parents at Ease. My friend told me it took several times listening to it to internalize the information.

    I recommend these to everyone! Parents are so often irrational when it comes to their kids, and we need tools to diffuse situations and calm parents down without having a fight or getting angry yourself. If any of you gets these please let me kow what you thinK! I had to learn the hard way, through experience.
     
  19. cmgeorge626

    cmgeorge626 Companion

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    Jun 3, 2009

    I'm so sorry this happened! Hang in there if you still feel that teaching is your calling. I was shocked by how supportive my admin is/was when I've dealt with similar situations. If I can find a great school, so can you!

    The thought that has helped me in these situations is that at the end of the day, teaching is about the KIDS - not the parents! Keep looking up!
     
  20. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Jun 4, 2009

    I had a situation like that. I had a kid that started off really great, then his behavior deteriorated until he was uncontrollable he would crawl on the floor, be mean to others, make loud noises so I couldn't teach, stomp his feet and shake his desk to disrupt, etc. His parents claimed he was perfect and constantly would tell me how well behaved he was at church (so what?). He was only a second grader and was on his third school. One private school kicked him out and one school recorded him to show the parents how awful he was. And to make matters worse he had a twin that acted the exact same way. I had to loop with my class and his behavior only got worse. He would run out of class with his cell phone and call home whenever I asked him to do something he didn't want to. And then they got mad at me because I was always calling them. He also started to throw books across the class and verbally and physically abuse the other children. He weighed 150 as a second grader, so he was far bigger than the other kids. His parents said it was actually the other kids and myself picking on their kid. They accused me intentionally not passing papers to him and when I went to his desk and retrieved all of them they accused me of planting them. They also resorted to calling the police and filing false reports on several of the staff at our school. The police could immediately tell the twins were lying and the police stopped coming when they called. One of the parents snuck into the school one morning and pulled a 4th grader out of class (a tiny girl) and threatened her for picking on her son-had the child in tears. I could go on and on they were SO ridiculous. Notice I didn't mention administration? They were useless.
     
  21. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Jun 4, 2009

    And that same year I taught third I had another boy that would GO OFF on me whenever I asked him to do anything:
    Me-William, turn in your home work (it's sitting on his desk).
    Him-No
    Me-Well I'll take it, it's done, you need to turn it in for credit.
    Him-creaming at me, hitting, biting, taking paper back and ripping it up.

    His mom told me just to never collect his papers and to never put my hands on him. So of course he failed. Sometimes I would have to put my hands on him, to defend myself from him. Or hold his hand so he wouldn't go after any of my other 3rd graders. Of course he would attack me, but it's better than him attacking them.

    He would look for opportunities to run out of class and he would just be gone. The school was only 12 classrooms, so it wasn't huge. He would go hang out in the office or the cafeteria and the adults in there wouldn't send him back.

    Administration was once again non-existent. My classroom management was NOT awful, but when your principal tells you just to not ask him to do anything all day-What am I supposed to do with that????

    UGG-I had nightmares about these two boys (see previous post) I would have taken a job at a chicken shack before I came back to that school. Luckily I got job at a school w/supportive admins. Now when I have any issues I know that I will be backed up. That is truly makes the difference in a school to me. And I know for a fact if any of those kids ever move into my district and get placed in my class all I have to do is ask and they will be moved. I already suffered through them for two years. I could not take one more second.
     
  22. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jun 4, 2009

    What happens to kids like these? Do they grow up to bully themselves into prosperity; or surcumb to lazy nothingness?
     
  23. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jun 4, 2009

    Bless your heart!!! This school definitely does not deserve you! I agree with all of the other postings. Pray about all of this and ask God to heal all of these bad feelings you've been harboring. I tend to beat myself up over things,too. You need to let this go. You don't deserve it. Spend some time focusing on the good kids and the successes you've had. Write them down and hang them on your bathroom mirror. This shows that you are a good teacher and are, indeed, meant to teach because you care so much about this.
     
  24. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

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    Jun 4, 2009

    ...focusing on the good kids and the successes you've had. Write them down and hang them on your bathroom mirror.

    Beautifully said. Great advice for anybody!
     

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