Overbearing Parent Volunteers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherrunner, May 11, 2015.

  1. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    May 11, 2015

    I'm long term subbing at a school in my district that is located in a very wealthy area. Most of the homes are at a minimum $800,000 and some are even closer to $1.2 million. This is the first time I have taught in a school that is wealthy and I'm pretty surprised at what I've seen.

    I am a brand new teacher who has been finished with my program for about six months. I subbed in various classrooms in the school I'm currently in before landing a long term sub job. The parents are very demanding bothering me with issues such as why a math problem was written a certain way or why I enforced a consequence for their child who was disrupting my class. Today however, they really crossed the line. A few children in my class were arguing when they were moving desks and one child was very upset and crying therefore I asked all three kids to come and meet me in the hallway to talk. The kids were yelling at each other so I told them to take turns explaining what had happened. A few parents were in the hall at the time and one of the parents accused me of "losing it" and yelling at my class which is completely false. She then went to my boss and told her what had happened. Then I was pulled in and talked to by my boss who isn't angry and who believed me but she could see that I was obviously upset that someone would say something horrible and asked if I wanted to take a half day so I took it.

    Now, I don't even know what to do. I guess this "volunteer" knows people who are up in the district and now I'm terrified that she is going to derail my opportunities to get permanent jobs regardless of doing nothing wrong.

    I'm sorry this is so long but I really have no idea what to do. I'm pretty hysterical because I don't yell at children and always behave in a professional manner at my job implementing best practices. I don't know if I can work at a school where parents that think that money is everything and act incredibly entitled as if they know better than you do.
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    May 11, 2015

    I'm so sorry. Sadly, that parent might have more influence than your principal does. I work in a district where money talks and it is ridiculous.

    I'd make sure that the parent volunteer was never in my classroom again. She would not volunteer and if she insisted on visiting to monitor her child's behavior (or mine), she'd have to go through the same hoops as any other parent that requests it.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 11, 2015

    I'm sorry this is happening. Is there any way you can just ignore the parent? Sometimes these parents like to pretend they have a lot of power. The teachers and the admin know otherwise, but usually just humor the parent.

    Other admin will almost always take the word of the admin you work with and not some parent who goes around spreading gossip.

    I don't think you need to worry. Just let it slide off your back, and avoid talking to this parent again.
     
  5. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    May 11, 2015

    I don't think you need to worry about it. Money does have influence, but I don't think anyone's going to take a parent's side over the side of your admin.
    Do you have a union you can talk to, just to be sure?
     
  6. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    May 11, 2015

    Yes I do have a union which is nice. The parent wasn't even one of my parents which is sad; you can't judge someone from their cover or tell someone how to manage their class especially when I treat my class how I would like to be treated and do not raise my voice at them.
     
  7. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    May 11, 2015

    I work in a similar situation and I am just sure to detail EVERY time I punish kids in any way or any time a child is misbehaving. A simple note home that says "(this chain of events) happened during class. (Child) should know that this is not acceptable and I encourage him/her to reflect on any changes he/she might want to make." I try to keep it as detached as possible. These reports make the parents believe that I am only about the facts and provide a really good paper trail.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 12, 2015

    Why did this parent get this impression that you had lost it and yelled at your class?
     
  9. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    May 12, 2015

    The kids were fighting and screaming at each other. I asked them to calm down and speak one at a time in a stern voice but not yelling by any means. One girl was yelling shut up so I'm assuming that's what people thought I said.
     
  10. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    May 12, 2015

    I work in a school like that and a veteran took me under her wing when I first arrived. The parents want to know what's happening and feel connected. Here's what I did and it's worked well.

    1. Weekly newsletter telling parents what's going on in class and how they can support their child at home. I use a voice like I'm an expert and they should listen to me.

    2. Have a volunteer sign up and list as many ways as possible to get parents into the class and helping out. This is a priority because if they are in the room, they know you don't yell and they'll defend you. This is a lot of work. You need to make sure that each of these parents have something valuable to contribute to the class. It will pay off for you. One of the parent jobs can be volunteer coordinator. That parent will make up a schedule based on the needs you have and take care of finding subs if a volunteer can't make it in.

    3. Have a class website where you post projects and activities your students are doing. This is actually self-promotion. You are making yourself look good so parents will listen to you.

    I would try to appear unconcerned about the annoying parent and at all times conduct yourself professionally. Keep your P informed of any misbehavior by this parent.

    All this is extra work, but it pays off. Your class will have tons more resources than the class in areas where the moms are all working to keep their heads above water. You'll be loved and respected by your rich moms.
     
  11. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    May 28, 2015

    You will run into those parents everwhere, not just wealthy schools. I have worked at very poor and lower middle class schools and had similar problems. I had a parent this year who told her child he didn't have to listen to me. I also had her act like another child was killing her child. It was severe seasonal allergies, she acted like the kid was dangerous.

    Her attitude to us was that she could do whatever she wanted and we could not do anything about it.
     
  12. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    May 28, 2015

    It's concerning that you were pulled out of class to discuss this and even more concerning that you were offered a half day. Were you very emotional during your interaction with the P? If so, that points to the idea that you were overly emotional with your class. Whenever I'm accused of things that are untrue, I just look the P or parent in the eyes, say, "That is absolutely not true" and move on in the conversation. You don't want to talk about it too much or you do look guilty, I think.
     

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