So I have this parent......(long)

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by txmomteacher2, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I have a parent that it is definetly going to be at the top of my list of parents that I remember. Most of you know that I have recently moved to a new comminuty and district. And in fact last week I posted about something. I had mentioned to the kids that after the first week I was not going to be as nice. I told the kids that I was pretty nice when they broke the rules the first week,I would gently remind them about what rule they were breaking and that would be the end of it. But starting the following week I would really begin to start enforcing the rules. Well this young man went home told his mom that I was going to not be nice and he wanted to quit first grade. We got out of school at 3:25 and by 3:50 she was emailing me. I emailed her back and things were smoothed over. Well true to my word I have been a little bit sterner with the rule enforcing this week. I had just given the practice spelling test on Thursday. I was grading them at my desk and calling each student over to my desk. I gave out the instuctions that they could read a book from either my tub or their library book but at this time I needed the whole class was to be quiet. I had put them all on a warning to ensure some quiet. hahahaha Well this student goes to get his book and on his way back to his desk he thought of something he needed to tell me. He starts blurting out and telling the story. So tell I tell him to move his bug from the tree. (my version of the green, yellow, red, light system. He looks at me and bursts into tears. The kids know that you can move your bug back to the tree within a few minutes if you just follow the directions that I give you. So I reminded him that if you follow the rules and get back on track you can move your bug back to the tree. I tried very hard to explain to him that I wasn't mad or upset at him but from now on he needed to follow the rules. he didn't stop crying and blubbering for at least 20 minutes. I wouldn't let him move his bug back until he stopped crying. He eventually got move it back but had a BAD attitude afterwards. Then his mom comes to get him for lunch so I speak briefly with her about the situation before she takes him off for lunch. They day continues normally after that. He comes back from lunch and is in a better mood. I act like nothing has happened from the morning time. Sometime that afternoon after I have left the school the mom emails me. I dont get it until the next morning. It wasn't a straight out mean and ugly email in fact it was all done in a positve way. (mom is a pshyscoligist) sp? But I could tell the undertones of the email. My son is perfect and you had no right to think other wise. When she came in the next morning I did tell her I had seen the email and would respond later. She apoligized if it sounded harsh she had written it the night before and that things were better with her son this morning. I have not responded to the email as of yet and I am not sure that I am going to. I am feeling like if I start giving into her "demands" she will be running my classroom by the end of the year. That I will be afraid to move her son's bug or even mark his folder. I have not spoken with my principal yet but I do plan on it next week. He has been out of the office the last two days at meetings. Ok this turned into a really long vent and I am soooo sorry. Any suggestions, help, vacation tickets will be accepted because I think it is going to a very long year for me.:dizzy:
     
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  3. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    Wow, that mom is ridiculous. If she is a psychologist, then she'd know the fundamentals of behavior. I think you were being too nice. I wouldn't let my kids go back on "the tree" or "green". Natural consequences work very well. I guess I'm mean. I would ignore her. Good luck!
     
  4. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Sep 5, 2009

    If I had a ticket for you, I woud give it to you.

    I would talk to your principal when he gets back, and ask him for his advice. It's good to get them into the loop. Often, when I have parents like this, I will have the principal, vice principal, or counselor read my email to make sure it sounds okay before I send it.
     
  5. NJArt

    NJArt Comrade

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    If I were you I would have the conversation with her on the phone or in person rather then writing it in an email. Tone is easy to misunderstand in an email, and you don't need her taking things the wrong way and having a paper trail to back it up. I would make a few talking points on paper for myself to refer to and talk to her directly.
     
  6. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I would agree with NJArt... IMO, you really do need to respond to this e-mail in some form, if only because you said to the parent that you would.

    After that, let it all roll off your back, but if you say you will respond to something, you should respond to it.
     
  7. 100%Canadian

    100%Canadian Companion

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    Sep 5, 2009

    We're discouraged from communicating by email for the very reason the NJArt mentions. I'd let it go and mention it to you P when he's back. Perhaps when you see the parent next you can talk to her informally about it then.

    For the remainder of the year though, I'd be on guard because this is going to be one of those parents that will shift the blame away from her child. Make sure you have the cannon fodder (ie. dirt about what her kid did) ahead of time so if you have to go toe-to-toe with her, you've got ammo. Good luck!
     
  8. MsX

    MsX Companion

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I also agree about calling being better than email.

    In my experience, some parents have a hard time understanding that I have to have different rules in my classroom than they do at home. For example, I CANT just have kids getting up and walking to the bathroom (even though that's probably what happens at home) because I'm dealing with 20 kids, not 1. I wonder if this parent needs that explained to her in a kind way. In other words, explain to the mom that you agree that her son is a great little boy, however, it's important that he adheres to your classroom rules so that things run smoothly... when he doesn't it would be unfair to him NOT to give a consequence because he won't learn the rules. I just find it helps to put the parents in my shoes a little bit and reinforce with them the fact that you also think their kid is fabulous (even though he may not be! haha)
     
  9. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I think you have to respond to the email because you said that you would...and at least the mom said she was sorry if the email sounded harsh- maybe she had a hard day too and got a little carried away. If her son has a problem again, I would make sure that you tell her before he does, if it is at all possible. You can't treat him differently, and the mom needs to know this- the sooner she gets used to it the better!
     
  10. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    MsX- I did make sure to tell the parent that her son is a great little boy and I did understand that he is an only child at home. She does know that I did have 19 kids. She tells me every morning she just doesnt understand how I can do it with 19 kids in my room. I also made it clear that I had to follow through with him moving his bug because the other kids were watching and listening to the whole situation. Like I explained to my friend in an email he is the golden child of his class and family. I feel like she is making my job harder by questioning my every move and thought in the classroom.
     
  11. MsX

    MsX Companion

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    It sounds like you did the right thing. Sometimes you can do all the right things, and parents will be on your back! Hopefully once you get into the year a bit more, this parent will realize her child is in capable hands, and back off :) good luck!
     
  12. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Stick to your guns. This little guy is testing to see who is in charge - you or him? Show him quickly and plainly that you are in charge. I even ask my students "Who is the boss in here?" or "Who is the teacher in here?" Last year I had so many bossy britches that I had to say "Who is the teacher in here? Me? Yes. After you finish high school and go to college for 4 or 5 years, you can be the teacher and you can be the boss. For now, just take care of yourself and quit telling others what to do!" They finally started laughing when I asked the question.

    But they got the message. This little guy will be so much happier once he accepts and submits to your parameters. Think of it that way. His mom should be able to understand "Yes, Johnny is a great kid and I am glad to have him in my class. I believe it is very important for a child's security to quickly learn the rules of the class and exactly what is going to happen when a rule is broken. I don't believe in keeping kids guessing. So the first weeks of school I am working hard to be consistent and extablish a secure environment for all the children. We will keep working on it and I know he can follow the rules if I remain consistent." Then smile and thank her for her support!
     
  13. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    I think you are handling it well as long as you respond soon. Then keep this kid in line. I would be consistent with EVERYTHING with him, and of course, every other child. Document behavior when you need to.

    I also think this might be a parent who needs to hear how great her son is doing every now and then. If he does something well, you should let her know. That will show that you believe in her kid as much as she does and she will begin to trust your judgment.
     
  14. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 6, 2009

    We use the same methods in our class. Only we make it a big deal to say how sorry we are that we didn't get the child a present. "If you had only told us you had graduated from college, we would have gotten you a wonderful present and we would have been glad to let you teach the class!" The class laughs but we get the message across.
    As far as the parent, the advice is correct that the student and parent both need to learn that he is no longer the center of his universe and that society has rules that we all must follow. ( I also would let natural consequences take precedence.)
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    This parent is a bother, no doubt.

    I do think, however, that your behavior management techniques could use some tweaking. Telling the kids that you are going to stop being so nice was probably a bit scary for some kids- they absolutely need to know what the expectations are and what the consequences are. Having kids help make a classroom code of conduct gives them some ownership of the 'rules'. Having some proactive strategies for making kids feel capable, contributing and connected also goes a long way in preventing big behavior problems. I'm NOT a big fan of correcting papers during instructional time and calling kids up one by one- the other kids really don't know what to do with themselves. Simply telling them to be quiet and read a book isn't quite enough. Having a mini lesson beforehand on what independent reading time looks like and sounds like might have been helpful for the kids-especially this early in the year. Still, I'd probably have corrected the spelling work during a lunch or specials period and then conferred with kids during an independent work time rather than simply telling them to be quiet and read. Kids know when you aren't paying attention to them- what were the KIDS getting out of the quiet time? Were they to practice a kind of thinking in their books or respond to their reading in a notebook? Seems to me that you were trying to simply 'buy time' for yourself, this kiddo craves attention which you weren't giving, and expectations weren't clear as to the purpose for reading....I think if you work on setting expectations and setting a purpose for the work the kids do, you'll be better off in the long run. :2cents:
     
  16. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    czacza- Thanks for the advice. The kids do know the expectations. We have talked about them for the last two weeks. Our social studies time has been totally devoted to being a good citizen, and what the school rules and the classroom rules are. They did help make the rules, so they know the expectations and the consequences. I agree my choice of words that first week were not the best. I did apoligize to the whole class and especially to this student for not making the best choices. As for the quiet reading time it is part of our curriculum to have AR time. We have to have at least 30 minutes of this time during our day. I usually try split mine up during the day. This was the scheduled time and they DO know the expectations and consequences of this time. My main vent was the parent not the kids. I know kids will be kids. But they also have to learn that there are consequences to their actions whether their parents like it or not.
     
  17. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    Yikes! I hope things get better! I would say that you definitely need to responde to the e-mail simply because you said that you would. But other than that, don't let her push you around too much. Talk to the principal (at my school I'd start with the AP) if that's who you go to and explain that you have a parent who is a little difficult.
     
  18. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    :agreed:
     
  19. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Well I reread the email she sent me this afternoon and was going to reply. Only I read it and it made my blood boil. Guess I need to wait a little bit longer.
     
  20. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I would suggest that she come in for a conference. Have the principal or counselor sit in on the conference. Explain that your first concern is all the children have a successful and positive school year. Then, I would explain the discipline system you are using. I would explain to the parent that children have an opportunity to move on or off the tree depending on their behaviors. Then, I would be very clear that you must treat all the children in the classroom in the same manner. It would simply be unfair for her child to have an alternate set of rules to follow. I would ask her to review the system at home with her child and to come up with some positive rewards for staying on the tree. Let the parent know that you are a team and that you are both concerned about her child's well being in the school setting.

    Hope this helps! Have another person in the conference with you. This helps to keep the lines of communication clear and let's the mom know that you are not going to back down on something as important as classroom rules and routines.
     
  21. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Thanks everyone! I did finally reply to her email this morning. I spoke in very positive words about her son and how phenomenal he really is to have in the classroom. He does bring alot because of his intelligence and his prior knowleedge to just about everything. Where we live we are 85-90% poverty so someone with his background does bring alot to the classroomm. She had mentioned something about him responding to positive reinforcement so I spoke of that. Yes we all do respond so much better when positively spoken too. I reminded her that we have sticker folders for individual and a classroom positive reinforcement chart. (they get a popcorn party after 10 smiliey faces) I briefly restated the events leading up to his infraction (not a real good choice of word here) and then told her what I will do in the future to ensure that EVERYONE in the classroom understands the expectations and the consequences. Wished them a great rest of the holiday and told them I would see them on Tuesday.
     
  22. slice1219

    slice1219 Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2009

    I think we can see where the little boy learned his reactive behavior. Regardless, you are right to want to see the tone of expected behavior for your students (and parents!!!) I agree that you should e-mail back just to say you did so even if it's only a quick elaboration of "per our conversation I'm glad things have been taken care of."
     

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