Phone calls?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by giraffe326, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Apr 17, 2009

    I'd like your opinions on an issue I had earlier in the week.

    First of all, I have a problem student. He has been a problem all year (and previous years). He constantly is disrespectful (back-talks and argues with me) and is a behavior problem. His mom avoids his teachers at all cost (doesn't show up for conferences), and when I inform her of his behavior (like locking a kid in the bathroom), she replies that she'll "talk to him about it." In the last month, he has been written up 5 times- once by me, once by the art teacher, twice by the music teacher and once by the bus driver. All for being disruptive and arguing with an adult.

    Tuesday, he asked to use the bathroom about 15 minutes into the day. No big deal. However, he instead went to the office and called his mom to come get him. He didn't like what we were doing that day. He did not ask to use the phone, and I would not have let him since he was not sick. I did not know he snuck in to use the phone until after he left (I became suspicious and asked the secretary who confirmed it).

    I was angry that he did this, as he is in serious jeopardy of being retained and should not be missing any days (he is already an attendance problem). I tried to call his mother immediately, but both contact numbers had been disconnected.

    Wandering the halls and going places he shouldn't have been a problem with him all year. Earlier in the year, he got in trouble for playing in the bathroom when he was supposed to be in the library. It has been discussed with his mother earlier in the year. I discussed the current situation with my mentor, and she suggested I have someone accompany him in the hallway so he goes exactly where he shoud be and comes right back.

    So, I wrote his mom a note and sent it home the next day. In the note, I suggested that she double check her contact information, as I could not reach her using it. I also said that he did not have permission to use the phone and I was disappointed in him for doing so. I also told her that he would now have a hallway buddy, because it is important for me to know where he is at all times (again, this was discussed earlier in the year, where I stressed this to his mother. If there was a lockdown or something, I need to know where he is. After all, I am responsible for him).

    Well, she was very angry, wrote me an ugly note (saying somedays he just needs a break from me) and went to my P. My P is angry with me and says that students can call home anytime they want- it is not my business. And, she is mad I didn't come to her (I told her that I went to my mentor and isn't that is what she is there for.)

    Was I out of line? Do you think students should be able to call home whenever for whatever? I feel that unless they are truly sick, they should not get to call home so they can go home.
     
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  3. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Apr 17, 2009

    I a sense I agree that they shouldn't be able to go home if they are not truly sick, but I disagree that they shouldn't be able to call their parents. When I am having a bad day, I still call my Mom for love and support and advice. Kids need to be able to do that to.

    I don't think you were out of line however, but I would suggest going over any discipline or parent contact with your Principal for awhile. I had a P do something similar to me - arranged a meeting with an angry parent during time when I wasn't teaching - I was on an 80% contract (this is a parent who was calling me at home three to four times a night), and then my P called me at home to get me to come into work (unpaid) so I could join the conference, and made it look as though I was being irresponsible for not being there for a meeting I knew nothing about (she later apologized because she had forgotten to call me). But for the next little while I went to every single time I contact that parent or had a discipline issue with that child.

    After awhile, she came to realize that I was doing all of the right things, and she left me alone.
     
  4. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Apr 17, 2009

    No, you were not out of line. It's almost criminal for the mom to come and pick him up on a whim, and even worse for your principal to go along with it. I would not let him leave class without a buddy. He shouldn't be able to lie to you and everyone else without consequence. I would also have the mom come in for a conference. I would have another person in the room, you mentor, or principal, or both. There are big problems that need to be worked out if he is to be successful in school-like actually being in school.
     
  5. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    Apr 17, 2009

    They abuse it if they are allowed to use the phone and call home whenever they want to, I don't get that at all. When I was in school we weren't allowed to do that and didn't think about calling mom or dad just because we wanted to. I don't think you did anything wrong at all. I have kids like you described to and if I let them -they would be running the school.
     
  6. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Canadian Gal, I disagree about the kids being able to call home whenever they want. Can you imagine the chaos if every kid got to call home whenever they felt like it, or called home to tattle on teachers for every little thing. I would agree to letting him call at a predetermined time (lunch or recess) that the kid, parent, teacher, and principal agreed with.
     
  7. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Apr 17, 2009

    Cheery - our kids can use the phone whenever they like, but they don't abuse it. They do have to explain to our secretary why they want to use the phone and if she doesn't like their reason then they have to explain to our principal. It isn't really abused, but we are a small school of only about 150 kids. They also tend to only call at breaks or lunch, but there are times when I've had sobbing middle school girls and I'd much rather let them call their parents or go to see our Youth Worker (now that's something our kids take advantage of!) then sit in class sobbing.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 17, 2009

    YOU ARE NOT OUT OF LINE. I think your principal is, however. Not knowing the entire situation, of course, I feel you reacted in a responsible manner. Unless you were rude (and I'm assuming you were not) I would have done the same.

    We have had students sneak and call for their parents to pick them up for no valid reason, and it is NOT okay for all the reasons you've already expressed.

    Ask, and 99% of the time I'll allow it from inside the classroom--actually, I'm pretty certain I say yes 100% of the time--but you cannot lie about where you are going and call home without permission.
     
  9. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Apr 17, 2009

    I think a child should definitely have permission to use the phone and those calls should be monitored by the secretary, etc. They could use the time to call anyone they wanted to and also I think they need to learn how to deal with things on their own. When this child goes to high school or goes to get a job he won't be able to call his mommy to come get him simply because he doesn't like the job he has to do.

    I also disagree with the P in her support of that parent. I would think the parent would want the child supervised at all times and not to be able to just wander where he pleases. I agree that maybe a sit-down with parent and administrator is warranted.
     
  10. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Apr 17, 2009

    Canadian, I can understand a more relaxed policy with a small number of kids. We have over 1,100 5th and 6th graders. They can't go to the office whenever they want and call home and we don't have pay phones. I will let them call home during break if they ask. This child in particular is being devious and playing his mother likes fiddle. She can not give in to him and send the message that his education is valuable.
     
  11. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I'm def. Not sending a kid to the office to use the phone. I let them use the phone if needed during passing periods. I've never had anyone try to abuse the phone, but if I had a sneaky kid I would definitely remain close by in order to monitor the conversation, and if needed I would ask to speak to mom before he hung up.
     
  12. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Apr 17, 2009

    Oh Cheery I agree with that in this particular case! I have a student who is not allowed to use the bathroom during class time unless he has a buddy go with him, because he can take 20 minutes to go to the bathroom (and we only have 150 kids in my school so its NOT a big school!), but in general, I do think that kids should be able to call their parents. Not during class time necessarily (unless they are really upset) but they should be able to call their parents.
     
  13. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I think that if they want to call they can wait. I can't send them to the office and if they call in the middle of class it's going to be a distraction to the rest of class. They need to wait for a time when it is appropriate to call.
     
  14. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Its also a distraction to the class if they are sitting there sobbing. I try to calm them down, but there are times when I have to teach and can't deal with a 12 year old girl who is crying because the boy she likes told her friends she's a fat pig. You try to calm them down, or send them out of the room, and if she wants to talk to her Mom, I'll let her.
     
  15. Arky

    Arky Comrade

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    Apr 18, 2009

    I agree with everything cheeryteacher said!! Our kids are never allowed to go use the phone whenever they want. If we did that the phone lines would be busy all day.
     
  16. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Apr 18, 2009

    All our kids have cell phones. If they are sent from the class they immediatly ring a parent who often then turns up at school demanding to know why their little angel is being victimised by theteachers! If we take a cell phone off a child (if they are caught using it in class) then we can only keep it until the end of the day! I normally lock them in my locker for safe keeping then 'disappear' at the end of the day so that either the kid can't get their phone back or has to hang around for ages until I turn up!
     
  17. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Apr 18, 2009

    I agree with the P being out of line, NOT YOU! I think the secretary should have called your room and asked what was going on before letting him call home. Better yet, ask where his hall pass or permission slip to use the phone is! The hallway buddy is a great idea. I wouldn't let kids phone home just anytime unless there has been some catastrophe for which they need reassurance. Even then, you may run the risk of parents coming to the rescue unnecessarily. In 26 years teaching, I've never had a reason to let a kid call home unless they were sick or hurt.
     
  18. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I've never had the problem of a crying kid wanting to call home. And honestly I would still make them wait. I would send them to the bathroom and let them get cleaned up, allow them to stay in the hall until they calmed down, and allowed them to call
    home after class.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I've also never had a problem with a student being so upset that he or (more likely) she had to call home. It could happen, of course, but it hasn't yet. Heck, half of my parents would tell their kid to suck it up and let them get back to work or sleeping.
     
  20. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    JustMe - that's what this girl's Dad did. Told her to suck it up, lol, but hearing it from Dad it actually worked. She cried through a whole class in the hallway and part of another class in my room (I only teach 40 kids - two classes so I have the kids over and over again) before I let her go make the phone call. Enough was enough.
     
  21. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Honestly, I think the P reacted impulsively because he was caught off guard. Our P wants to know everything that happens that could potentially be an issue so that she can properly defend us and know both sides of the story. It's embarrassing to be caught off guard and not know how to respond appropriately. It's quite likely that this is what happened. The parent probably spun their side of the story and since it sounded so good and plausible, then the P reacted accordingly. Had the P known about it ahead of time then the P might have reacted differently. Sure our mentors are there for us to go to but in the end the P is the one that has to field that call from an angry parent and should know what's going on before that parent ever picks up the phone.

    As far as the student calling home on a whim. I don't teach high school but I have never known that as an option so I don't think you were out of line on that one.
     
  22. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    OH please. I think it is perfectly reasonable that you wrote a note home. Especially since the child LIED about where they were. This is school... if the kid needs a break they need to have that arranged with the principal (we have a couple students who are allowed to take a walk if they start to notice they will be acting out in class). Picking a student up because they "need a break" from the teacher is irresponsible.
    I can understand the principal feeling caught off guard and I would have copied the note you sent home for the principal. The parent probably did spin it so that you looked badly. My principal is the ultimate teacher advocate but its even hard for those kinds to back you up if they do not know what you said.
     
  23. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Apr 18, 2009

    My P may have been caught off guard when she received the phone call, but it was the next evening that she said all these things to me.
    And I was told "you can not and WILL not deny a child to use the phone".
    I do not like being told I will not do something.

    Honestly, this is kind of the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I really think I need a change, and that teaching may not be worth it. Maybe I just need a new school, but with budget cuts and lay-offs, that is not a possibility right now :(
     
  24. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    You did not deny the child anything. They didn't even ask. and WHY can't you deny the child to use the phone... there was no reason... Thats just ridiculous! I would not want to be in than environment.

    There are a few charter schools in the area looking for HS teachers... And Kipp has a posting on Teachers-Teachers.com..
     
  25. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Apr 18, 2009

    Actually, I believe the children have to have access to a telephone on campus. The telephone can be the office telephone or a payphone. That doesn't mean it is ok for the kid to lie about what he is doing. I also think teachers can set the time when the child can make the call.
     
  26. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Apr 18, 2009

    No students should not go running to the office & call home. This has been such an issue in our school that they took the student phone in the office away. :eek: When students get mad or don't get their way they walk out of class & go to the office & call home. It is ridiculous & has become a safety issue b-c you can't always account for your students. I was nearly hit by the door this year when a student decided to leave class. I was trying to see what the issue was & almost got nailed. Now I let them leave, call the office, & lock my door. I told the office I will not have kids coming & going as they please in my room putting my job on the line! I feel for you. :hugs:
     

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