Parent complaints to admin

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by cjven, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. cjven

    cjven Rookie

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    Dec 23, 2016

    Hello.

    I am currently in my 11 year of teaching and just started at a new district this year because it is closer to home.

    Anyway, on Wednesday, I was asked to stop by the principal's office because he wanted to run something by be. Turns out, 7 parents have called and complained about me in the last month. Out of the 7, only one parent actually contacted me. He gave me a copy of his notes and has a few questions that I am suppose to respond to in writing over break. It doesn't say that it's an improvement plan, but it sure feels like it. In the meeting he seemed supportive, but with a new district/admin I'm just not sure (eval in October was fine). In 11 years, nothing like this has happened to me before.

    I'm so hurt that none of these parents talked to me first. Most of the issues seemed to be centered on communication. I assigned a project that was due several weeks out. I gave my HALE students a different due date because they were not going to be in class that day and instead in a HALE pull out (this was given to those students in writing). Two students approached me about extenuating circumstances and I gave them extended time. So then, the rumor mill gets started and nobody knows when the project is due. I tried to be accommodating to all learners, but it seemed to have backfired.

    He suggested sending out a weekly email to parents about what is happening in my class and CC'ing him on it so he is in the loop. This is fine. I already post homework on the homework calendar, so no big deal. I just feel really crappy and that parents are trying to run me out. I'm wondering if I need to be worried about my job.

    Thanks for reading! Thoughts/suggestions?
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 23, 2016

    I don't think you need to worry. As long as you justified your actions to your P and they were reasonable (which they seemed to be), you should be fine. There will always be people who want to go straight to the higher ups, sometimes it's because they're so used to not getting their problems solved at lower levels. It sounds crappy though. Just follow your P's suggestion about the weekly email, and don't worry about this.
     
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  4. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Dec 23, 2016

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 23, 2016

    I think being a new teacher at this school also plays into this. You don't know what you stepped into, the school culture, or the previous teacher could have been very confrontational and defensive, or very bad at solving problems, or even worse at communication (not saying that you are bad), and they might not have wanted to take a chance with you.
     
  6. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This.

    I doubt communication is the issue, you can take it off the table by increasing the communication, but the issue will change from communication, to management to instruction, to rigor...etc.
     
  7. cjven

    cjven Rookie

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    Dec 23, 2016

    I would agree that it is a school culture thing. At the beginning of the semester several teachers told me they had very vocal parents, but I assumed the proper channels would be followed (teacher first).

    I'm coming from a high poverty school to a wealthy suburban district. Very different cultures.
     
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  8. Secondary Teach

    Secondary Teach Companion

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    Dec 24, 2016

    Unfortunately many schools you teach with will have their own sets of problems. If it's not behavior problems and disrespect to the teacher then it's helicopter parents, or rogue administration, or too much Common Core testing etc. I also teach at a school with helicopter parents flying all over the place, a catholic high school. While my students are generally well behaved, some of their parents aren't. Solutions I use include maintaining a classroom google site with a parents and students' center, newsletters, and posting assignments and due dates with an online gradebook. I use the Thinkwave online software and assign students and parents a login name and password. Best of all it's free. My admin has noticed that since I've been maintaining communication with parents through all these venues that I receive far less complaints than other faculty members. While it does get hard at times, I love my students and I know the parents have the very best of intentions. Like with any teaching position, your second year at this new school will go over much better.
    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  9. Sharon J.

    Sharon J. Rookie

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    Dec 24, 2016

    So sorry this has happened to you! Good to know that you are at a completely different school, demographically. I also agree the more proactive you are the better. Have a calendar on your teacher blog to show due dates, blog posts about the project (expectations, guidelines, etc.). Too bad the parents didn't just talk to you directly. Yes, I also agree with other comments that maybe being a new teacher at your school, parents may feel more comfortable going straight to your P. Are you at a public school? If so, there's no need to worry about losing your job since you're unionized. If not, I don't think you can lose your job due to these circumstances. Maybe talk to your P and see how you can set it straight w/the parents so that it won't happen again. Then, for next year, if you don't have a blog or some type of newsletter, get that ready so that the communication is clear & there are no misunderstandings. Hope it all goes well! Hang in there!
     
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  10. cjven

    cjven Rookie

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    Dec 24, 2016

    Yes, it's a public school and I'm in the union.

    Besides increasing parent communication, I will also start documenting EVERYthing as some of the later complaints included things that I did not say. There is a para in my room for three periods and she has also corroborated my side. It makes it less of a he said/she said situation.

    Thank you for the responses. It is just making for a terrible break!
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Dec 24, 2016

    This might be your new reality. Learn to let it go. You cannot overcome snowflake syndrome. But you can cover your butt. Good luck!
     
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  12. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Dec 29, 2016

    Yep, I deal with this a lot. Parents telling me I need to accept their child's late work. They go the principal too about it.
     
  13. NewTeacher2016

    NewTeacher2016 Companion

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    Dec 29, 2016

    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017

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