Parent problems

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Guest, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Jun 23, 2003

    Oh my goodness! The one thing that college did not prepare me for was dealing with parents. I have a student who is very intelligent. He is in 1st grade, reads novels and knows his multiplication facts. I was met in the parking lot at school several mornings having to start my day with complaints. One morning she met me to talk to me about a Christmas caroling trip we were taking. The other 1st grade teacher sent a note home with all of the 1st graders the day before. I was gone to a reading conference so I was unaware of the idea. Anyway...we were going to walk to the elderly homes behind the school and sing Christmas carols. This parent met me in the parking lot with the note in her hand. First, she pointed out a grammatical error. Then she questioned me about having no permission slip. I happened to know the answer to this one. Our principal told us that since it was just by the school and we weren't getting on a bus, we needed no permission slips. This mother also complained b/c she had gotten the letter the night before and couldn't get off of work to go with her child. I apologized and told her that it was a last minute idea. I also told her that her son could sit in the office if she didn't want him to go with us. Of course, she wanted him to go.
    Now...to top off the year, this mom came to my room the last day of school with a copy of each of the reading tests from our series (not tests that I make out). She had circled grammatical errors, including spelling and verb tense! She also pointed out a map question. The question said "upon entering the gate of the park, what do you pass first a. the boat dock, b. woodland trail?" She then asked me "what side is this boat dock facing? You can't truly answer this question without being told what side it's facing." I reminded her that this was 1st grade. After being scolded for about 20 minutes, I told her that if she was so unhappy with the series, talk to the principal. I had no control over what series we use.
    I'm a first year teacher. I think I have about 50 ulcers now!
    How do you more experienced teachers handle situations like this?

    This child would come to school and tell me things that his mom would complain about. For instance...one day he told me that his mom said she was so tired of seeing stupid smiley faces on his papers! ARGH!!!
     
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  3. Margo

    Margo Devotee

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    Jun 23, 2003

    Oh boy! The dreaded parent problem. There is always one of these each year you teach. They don't go away. I think your first year is probably the most difficult when dealing with parents because they know you are new and assume you don't know anything and that they know more than you. This parent obviously feels that way. Each year that you teach gains you more experience and the parents realize that. By the time you have taught for several years, the parent complaints decrease (they never go away, though). I don't have an easy answer for you on how to deal with these types of people. The best thing I can say is make sure you have talked to your principal about these complaints so when the parent goes to him/her (as they most likely will) the principal is not in the dark and can support you. Sometimes parents just need to vent and even if you have no plans to accomodate them, they feel like they have accomplished something by yelling/intimidating you, etc. Just listen, act understanding and when they leave forget about what they said. I hope that it gets easier for you. I am sure there will be others on here that can offer more suggestions and encouragement. Good luck.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jun 23, 2003

    Don't you hate it when the kid is more mature than the parent? I agree with Margo. It will get better. True, it is inexcusable for an overbearing parent to pressure a new teacher. It is also rotten that she complained about the school or you in front of the child. But I think that you can still keep the upper hand in an appropriate way. Try to respond with the things you can agree upon. You might say, "Oh, isn't it awful when standardized curriculums contain errors? It bothers me, too." Or, "I certainly hope the late notice won't prohibit little Johnny from joining in on the caroling trip because I know he will just love it." Be sure and recognize the child's strengths to the mom - without being prompted. This mom is needy. If you can do this genuinely, it will help to defuse the oppositional situations.
     
  5. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Jun 23, 2003

    confidence

    Half the problem is confidence. ANY parent who approaches me will probably hear the same comment. Sounds like a great idea, let me think more about that. I am not certain, let me have some time to find out the answer to your question. How silly there is a mistake, maybe we can write to the publisher to point the editing error. I dont care if they are unsure, and insecure and control freaks to allow me to do MY job. But it is nevertheless, still MY job. I am certain i made many errors and needed administration help with talking with several parents each year. I think i got to about my fifth year when i didnt feel defensive and could conjure a great answer on the fly. I think the key was to remain as professional as possible and dont take it personally. The attacks are not because of you- it may be related to something you DID NOT do but the way the parent approaches you is THERE fault. ERRORS are FORGIVEABLE. Read recent posts on 'whos teaching our children' This parent thrives on finding the errors. There are some children you may not be able to make a difference in their lives. There are some parents who will STILL not like you even after teaching for over ten years. Remain professional.

    I dont care about errors but i see them ALL day long. On the highway a typo on the lane closure sign, or at the grocery store a hand written deli sign or even in my insurance hand book for work. I just catch them so easily where other people (like my husband) only sees what we were intended to see. Life is too short to be living in this world with a negative outlook on life.
     
  6. Carla

    Carla Companion

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    Jun 23, 2003

    Parents come and go. Parents a lot of times want to just vent. Something I would advise you to do is to keep a log of everytime a parent confronted me about something. Tell what the parent said and what you told them in return. Keeping good notes and records is a must. Especially if a parent does ever come to complain to the administrator. Also, after about the 3rd time I'd talk to the principal to see if they would mind sitting in a conference with you and this parent. It will give you some moral support. I'd ask the parent to have a conference. This will take some of the heat off of you. good luck. Not all parents are like this, but you will have them occasionally
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jun 23, 2003

    I know how you feel... I have at least one a year that can be a pain about the least little thing. I don't know what is worse... havin a parent that complains to you all the time OR have a parent you think is happy/content only to find out they've gone to the principal over something not really worth blinking twice at. I've learned to hold my tongue and just nod at times. In 20-something years when it is my last year and I'm going to retire, I'll speak my peace with those complaining parents then... start off with "You would think after 25+ years that I would know how to run my class and deal with whatever without a parent finding something to complain about..." yada yada yada... LOL

    As for those stupid smilie faces... try something like :p or :D or :eek: or :rolleyes: HAHA Give him a smiley sticker and then just use a check mark on papers .... make a note on it... CHECK MARK = SMILEY FACE! LOL

    Lori
    Being sarcastic as usual :D
     
  8. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jun 24, 2003

    The worse parents are those who are nice to your face and the 2 mins. later are in the principals office complaining about something you did! They of course won't say anything to you.
     
  9. Bookworm

    Bookworm Companion

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    Jun 24, 2003

    My way to deal with difficult parents is to remind myself I will only need to deal with them for 9 months!!!! (This also works for difficult children, but I remind myself I won't have to live with them when they are 15 years old.) Also, as much as possible try to ask a parent who catches you in the parking lot, etc. to schedule a time that you can sit down to talk. You are a professional and can be expected to be treated as one. I would be surprised if parents would feel comfortable approaching their child's doctor in the parking lot. For safety reasons schedule the meetings for when others are around in the building. Good Luck! Don't let one parent get you down and don't take it personally chances are the next teacher will deal with the same things.
     
  10. Brenda S.

    Brenda S. Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2003

    It does get easier to take the comments, nod and go on. Act like you're interested then go back to what is important. - Teaching!

    Be glad this kid is so bright that will pass to the next grade! Let the next teacher enjoy this genius and his mother!
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 24, 2003

    This parent has issues- It's not you! I had one like this one year- I was teaching kindergarten and she was reading to her child: "Red BAdge of Courage" She felt like her child wasn't being challenged enough after all her kid knew how many halves were in 7 bagels. The child was really cute and truthfully was the dirtiest kid on the playground! He just wanted to dig holes!! He loved Lego's and snacktime-typical kindergarten stuff. I kept telling her that he just needed time to be a kid, not to rush him, Fractions and Red Badge of Courage were not in the K curriculum- but how 'lucky he was that she provided such a rich homelife for him" Yada, yada, yada...Unfortunately mom was putting undue pressure on him. I think she ended up homeschooling him the next year. Be glad you get to pass this one on to someone else next year!!
     
  12. Tara19

    Tara19 Companion

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    Jun 25, 2003

    I hvae never actually had any problems with parents lickily- KNowck on wood-lol. Tara
    P.S.> Lori, hwo amny more days until your wedding or will it be a while?just curious
     
  13. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jun 25, 2003

    wedding update...

    Tara,

    The wedding will be next spring... May 30th if we can decide on where to have it and if that place is available for that date.

    Next week I am having gastric bypass surgery (july 2nd). I wanted time to get this weight off and find me a skinny dress. I've been married before and had the big dress that I almost had to squeeze into and the big wedding pictures. This time I want to be skinny for my special day... well skinny for everyday for that matter... LOL... or skinnier than I am now.

    :D Lori :D
     
  14. Tara19

    Tara19 Companion

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    Jun 25, 2003

    Well, I hope you have a great day on your wedding being skinny! lol
     
  15. Fran

    Fran Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2003

    To Lori....

    Lori,
    Congrats. on your wedding plans...Also, would you give me some infomration on the gastric bypasss surgery....I am overweight and would like to consider that option. I have been on a weight plan for several months inlcuding exercise and still can't get the weight off.. It's beginning to affect my self-esteem and my relationship....
     
  16. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jun 28, 2003

    Fran, I sent you an email with several links and a message :)

    Lori :D
     

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