Parent drop-ins

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mrs.Giggles, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. Mrs.Giggles

    Mrs.Giggles Companion

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    Is it normal at your school for parents to drop in and observe their child. I'm learning at my school, this is a fairly normal practice which I love and I hate.

    Last week, I had a parent pop in around noon to observe her son. We had been talking on the phone, and she told me that she was thinking of dropping by on Friday. The observation went well, and she noticed many of the concerns that I had been sharing with her.

    However, on Thursday I had another parent pop in at 3:25 without me knowing about it until 30 seconds before when the secretary informed me over the phone. Keep in mind that this was a VERY rough afternoon (as most afternoons are), and dismissal is at 3:40. She was there to observe her son, but stared at me the whole time. I had three of my kids crying which caused all of my kids to get crazy and wild. It was terrible and I was mortified. He wasn't at school yesterday, and I don't know if he was sick or if she just thinks I'm some awful teacher.

    I HATE that she had to see my classroom like that, and I HATE that I struggle with behavior the last hour or so of the day. My instructional specialist said that he would have politely told her that he was preparing for dismissal so she would need to wait outside. I want to have a true open door policy with parents, but now I just hate that I now look like a fool to one of my moms. :(
     
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  3. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    No, this isn't common. Parents can do this upon request, but not with only 30 seconds notice.

    I am not sure if it was as bad as you might think. The parent is a mom and so has experience with children. When she saw kids crying and other challenges maybe she saw that your teaching task isn't so easy and had some empathy for you. What mother hasn't gone through some challenges with their own children?
     
  4. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I'm high school, but here it DEF isn't normal. Once, last year, a fellow teacher was struggling with a student's behavior and the mother decided to "drop in" to observe her 16 year old son. However, it was with the teacher's advance knowledge, just not the kid's who was very surprised to come barging in the room, already acting a fool, and see him mother there. :p

    That's the only time I've heard of it though.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It would not happen in my school.
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I don't like them but they usually turn out ok. I don't like when a parent comes into the classroom and disrupts it. It distracts the other children and makes teaching impossible (Mikey looks thirsty, do you have something for him to drink? Maybe you can get him a cup of coffee...Oh and some cookies)! Yes, this happened :dizzy:
     
  7. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    No, although often the administration will require it for parents with students with extreme behavior issues. However it's always per-arranged and often the school guidance counselor accompanies the parent.
     
  8. Preschool0929

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    This happened to me a lot last year. Our policy is that parents can come observe their child only for a ' reasonable amount of time', but I hate when a parent comes in and just stares at me the whole time. I think it's good to want parents to feel comfortable to come observe their child, but with prior arrangement and a legitimate purpose.
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I am always uncomfortable when parents drop in to observe, I am uncomfortable when ANY adult comes by. With that said, I encourage ALL parents to drop by without notice to observe the class and their child. IMO, it is really the only way for them to know whether I am a "good or bad teacher" in their eyes. I would rather a parent that praises me, have something more to base it. Same with parents that are unhappy with me, if I haven't seen them in class, then I don't put much stock in it. So while I encourage it, I don't really like it when they take me up on my offer.

    Unannounced visits are the only way to go.
     
  10. RadiantBerg

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    This goes against your usual stance that high-stakes testing should be used to evaluate teachers.
     
  11. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    This can happen at my school. While it may seem ideal to have an open door policy, the reality is that there are times when it can be inconvenient for a parent to show up unannounced. I either allow it or not, depending on the situation.

    I have had parents come in without going through the office. Most of these times have gone off well, but once a mom came in at a time when things went a bit south. I had everyone put their heads down on their desk, and instruction was at a standstill. She left shortly after, but I felt as though she had witnessed a small snapshot in time that was not reflective of our normal day. Like you, I was unhappy with what she saw.

    Crying children are my weak spot, and if I had three crying at once I would want to jump out the window. I can definitely commiserate.

    While it may have been embarrassing to you, and while it's possible the mom may not have liked what she saw, these kinds of things can happen to anyone.


    Maybe it would be helpful to brainstorm with us about some ideas that will make your last hour or the afternoons overall go more smoothly.
     
  12. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    No, high stakes testing is part of it for sure. I have NEVER implied that high stakes testing is the ONLY characteristic to look at to determine whether a teacher is effective or not. But again, if I teach multi-digit multiplication for 2 months of the year, you better believe that they should be able to do it on a test.

    I am more or less referring to parents who say "you are such a great teacher"...really? You have never seen how I treat your kids. "You need to be more strict with my child" really? Haven't seen you in class.

    Or my favorite, "my child needs to be challenged more, he says it is too easy" really? Pop by and see what the other kids are doing during our math time, using relational thinking, distributive property, manipulating equations..while your son is just chug and plugging numbers. He is not doing what he has been asked to do, not exploring or thinking about mathematics.

    Observations should 100% be a part of evaluations. However, I don't care how great observations go, if they are not achieving(when they should), there is a problem that the observations are not showing.

    All official observations we have are prescheduled, so let the dog and pony show begin. Unannounced observations are really the way it should be done.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Parents are allowed to come in and observe in their children's classrooms at my school, but they have to make arrangements ahead of time. No one would be allowed to just "drop in".

    I have had two parents come in and observe my classes during my teaching career. I am fine with it, mostly because I know that 100% of what I do is on the up and up. Both times that parents have come into my room, it was because of behavior issues with the students and the parents wanted to basically force their children to behave. It had nothing to do with parents wanting to catch me doing something wrong or anything like that; rather, I think they wanted to catch their kids doing something wrong.
     
  14. RadiantBerg

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    Did the students behave the same with parents in the room?
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    They weren't problems in my class, so they behaved the same as they always had.

    In their other classes, they were on their very best behavior, as anyone would be with mom or grandma staring at them all period.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

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    I've only had one parent come during class time and that was pre-arranged. And at my request. I was a new teacher and I had a student who thought he was going to run the show. I had everyone else under control but him. In my defense, he was a handful in other classes too, but the other teachers either had lower standards (one) or were more comfortable ignoring his outburst (two).

    His mother was awesome. I changed seats the day before so he would have an empty spot next to him. She came in about ten minutes into the class and sat down next to him. She was a nursing student at the time and actually asked a couple of questions during the lesson. That kid was gold for the rest of the year! lol.
     
  17. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Yikes. No, parents aren't supposed to just pop-in at my school. If I had plenty of advanced notice, it could happen.

    Confidentiality is a bit of an issue in our ED room. Even though Mom is there to see Johnny, she'll be seeing Tommy as well and she doesn't really <I>need</I> to know Tommy's issues.

    ...come to think of it, that should be an issue in every classroom....
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Having parents in to observe is very uncommon. It would absolutely need to be pre-arranged; "drop-ins" would not be allowed.
     
  19. Go Blue!

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    Yes. In fact, if a child is a real trouble maker, Admin will sometimes invite parents to come and watch their child "act a fool." Few actually do this, but I have had some parents drop in when I taught MS.

    Of course, once the child sees their parent, all of a sudden they turn into an angel and we, the teachers, look like the fools. Thus, I think its pointless.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Do they really phrase it like that???
     
  21. yellowdaisies

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    No way. I work at a closed campus. We are not in the nicest of areas, and safety is of primary importance to the entire school staff. Parents would never be allowed to roam the hallways and come into classrooms with little or no prior arrangement. I have heard of parents visiting classrooms, but always after making plans to do so at least a day or more in advance, and the office must always know about it.
     
  22. Blue

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    Interesting. Parents were in my classroom all the time. I taught PS and Head Start. HS is officially run by parents, so maybe that is the difference.
     
  23. Go Blue!

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    Yes. My P is from the district where I teach and, at times, speaks the "local lingo." She is very big on being direct with parents about their child's behavior and I've heard her use it plenty of times with parents. In fact, many teachers in my school say this; I've told plenty of parents that I can't teach when all their child does is "act a fool and cut up" during class. (Our) parents get it.
     
  24. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I've had the office call & ask if a parent can come observe. Depending on what's happening, I either say yes or no. There are just times that having a parent is not going to work.

    Parents are allowed to walk their child to class so they will sometimes stay for a few minutes. I always tell parents that their child will behave differently if they know that their parent is watching. I have a window next to my door and I will suggest that the parent look through there & hopefully the kids won't see the parent.
     
  25. YoungTeacherGuy

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    Parents may not make unannounced drop-ins. They can, however, schedule a day/time with the teacher. Admin and office staff must be aware that the parent will be observing and teacher must be in full agreement that it's fine for the parent to be there.

    Another thing we do is have the parent fill out a form so we can check the CA registry of sexual offenders (to ascertain that they're okay to be around kids).
     
  26. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    This isn't common in my current building, but where I began teaching this was not all uncommon. I usually had a few parents come in each year to observe their child. I agree that their child always acted like an angel with them there. They would then leave and things usually returned to normal. Sometime things improved a bit. A few times the rest of the class was bad when the parent was in there and I felt it looked like I was a terrible teacher. Most of the time though the other kids in the class also acted a bit better when a parent was there.
     
  27. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    When my son was in 6th grade I got a report he was acting out in computer class. It was during my planning, so I started going over each day. He hated it, but the teacher hated it more. I discovered while my son wasn't helping the problem, the real problem was the first year teacher that had no discipline and allowed three little cute girls roam the halls all hour. After a meeting with the administration, the assistant principal started sitting in her classes everyday. They discovered that my son's hour wasn't the worse. She was put on an improvement plan and was let go at the end of the year.


    Personally, I have had a few drop ins. Most are parents there to support a discipline problem. I don't care, it doesn't change my teaching style.
     
  28. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    What did the three girls have to do with your son's behavior? Is that what you brought to Admin's attention?

    I always find it interesting when parents come up about their child's behavior and then want to bring up issues the teacher is having with other children as a way to prove a point. I wonder why ...

    NOTE: I am not attacking you as a parent, just expressing my opinion.
     
  29. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Nothing,and no. One of the three girl's mother subbed. She brought it up about the girls to the administration. My complaint was boys were held to different standard. My son was accused of being disrespectful. I have an ornery boy, but I had never heard that word from a teacher. So I wanted to see what the problem was. My son's side of the story was he got in trouble when he complained about the fact that the girl next to him deleted his assignment. She thought it was funny to hit the delete key. The teacher told him to "quit being a baby and man up." He said something about her discipline. She sent him to the office. My husband and I had always supported the teacher, but when the assistant principal stated she couldn't calm him down (he was crying), I knew there was more wrong.
    After sitting in the class everyday for two weeks and seeing the same behavior from the group of girls verses boys, it was clear that the teacher was the problem. Was my son innocent? No! But he had had enough and I got why. I had taught the group of kids in 2nd grade. Everyone's story matched..these three girls could do what they want and when you reacted the teacher got on to you. When the mom of one of the girls subbed in the room, she was horrified at the behavior of her child.

    And the original punishment for my son stood..he handled himself wrong and deserved it. But he also deserved a learning environment that allowed him to work. And my observation was his ADD did not allow him to ignore the constant movement and silliness of these girls. The principal decided that he could bring his iPod and headphones to class and he could wear them to block the noise. That made a big difference to him and his work.


    By the way, as a new teacher she was assigned a mentor...by me. I was the president of the teachers' association. I was just as upset that we weren't giving her guidance to improve her discipline. And because my son was in the room I felt I might be biased. That is the reason I went to administrators. They took over the job of reassigning her a mentor based on a teacher that had different planning so that teacher could spend time in her class and work with her. In the past we tried to keep mentors on the same schedule and in the same subject area so they could plan together. She needed someone teaching her what the college didn't. But in the end, she either didn't or wouldn't improve. I am not sure which. I was in a different building, so I only worried about my son...not her. She was released from her contract at the end of the year.
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    No drop in parent visits of any kind in my building. It is disruptive to instruction and, more importantly, is a security issue.
     
  31. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    If a parent would like to observe class they need to give the teacher at least 24 hours notice. As long as they give notice and arrange it with the teacher they are welcome to come in.
     
  32. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I've not known a school to do this.

    I asked at a meeting when my daughter was in elementary if the schools screened for sex offenders. The answer was no. At the time there was a step-parent who was on the registry. I only saw him in the building once, and that was at an evening event with 100's of people. I don't remember if the office knew or not. He was okay to be around kids.
     
  33. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    After what happened last year at our schhool our principal spent many hours talking with our school lawyers. Our parents are welcome on campus, but if they are there to academically observe their child they can only do it if they have spoken with her. They can can only observe one hour per day and only 5 hours per school year. This was put in place because we had three sets of different parents come in and park themselves in classrooms for days and weeks at a time. One was in my class and it actually turned into a very volatile situation where the cops were called several times.
     

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