Teacher parents

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by Miss_J, Oct 28, 2006.

  1. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    Oct 28, 2006

    I have a parent who is a kindergarten teacher at another district. THis is my first year in Kinder (I was in 5th last year) and she knows this. Every week, she sends me these passive-aggressive e-mails that seem to be questioning my procedures. I always answer them quickly and she seems ok with my responses. I am just not sure what to do to relive her obvious nervousness/distrust of me. I send home weekly newsletters and have a home-school folder. But, nothing seems to be enough. She e-mailed me about our Halloween party and wanted a minute by minute break down of the day!! None of my other parents are like this.
    Is there anything that you could recommend I do for her? Is this normal or am I messing up somewhere?
     
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  3. teachall

    teachall Rookie

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    Oct 28, 2006

    Hey! I had this problem last year. Is this student an only child? My was and the mother was a first year high school teacher in the same district. She would question my grading policy, and other things. I would say just continue to be positive and answer her questions. I would also put at the bottom of your replies that if she has any concerns to let you know. Maybe invite her to come and volunteer when she has time.
     
  4. corps2005

    corps2005 Cohort

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    Oct 29, 2006

    If she has such a problem with you, then she should just take her child out. She needs to remember that she was once a first year teacher too. There is a way to give advice without seeming passive aggressive. Can you do some research to find out if she's a good teacher? Because you could use her as a source of information if she is, kind of like a mentor teacher. :D I like to pull information from whereever I can.

    Other than that, I think you're handling it well and very politely.
     
  5. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Oct 29, 2006

    cc. your administration a copy of all of your responses to this parent to let the parent know that you have shared her "issues" with the adminstration. Maybe she will bother you less once she knows that other people know about her e-mails.
     
  6. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    You could, if you have a mentor teacher, share the e-mails with that person and inform the mom that you have shared your e-mails with your mentor as a guide to your training. It is frustrating to have a parent/teacher who questions every move but you seem to be handling this situation well.
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    It may have less to do with her distrust of you and more to do with her thinking she is being a good concerned parent with a good parent/teacher communication relationship. She may not know her role yet. This would especially be true if it is her first born or her only child. There are lots of reasons parents go overboard with communication.
     
  8. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Remember, she is also a teacher. How would she feel if a parent questioned everything that she did?! I was also thinking that this may be her first born/only child but she is going a bit overboard. I would cc your responses to her e-mails with the admin. It is one thing to ask about classroom routines but to ask for detailed lesson plans....
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I missed that part. Oops. She is a mom first though. However, she really shouldn't be asking detailed questions about a lesson plan. You will have parents of all kinds. I don't have much advice because although I see it, although I am a mom, I haven't really dealt with it yet. I will leave that for the veterns. :p
     
  10. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Oct 29, 2006

    I had a parent like that last year. She wasn't a teacher, but half her family was, and she was always asking them things and then telling me about it. It was my first year. She also camped inside my classroom with the younger siblings for most days.

    Finally, she felt comfortable enough to type up a two-page "observation and suggestion" list for me (who couldn't do that, when you sit in the back of the classroom and do nothing but critique??)...I promptly passed it on to the principal, who called her in and asked her to come only on her volunteer day. Whew. That was stressful. I hadn't realized the amount of tension she caused me.

    I have since gained a lot more confidence and would now be able to nip that behavior in the proverbial bud. It is challenging, because you don't want to offend--but you have to retain your sanity too!! :-D Your parent really should know better. Maybe you should be a little passive-aggressive back to her...."Is there something that is bothering you about my class structure?" "I suppose your class make-up of students is a little different from mine....boy, you should see how well my class does in this center...."

    Best wishes to you!! I truly feel your pain.
     
  11. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    Oct 29, 2006

    Thanks for all of your positive feedback. I feel a bit less like a failure now. This is her first child to go to school and I have been ccing all of her e-mails and my replies to my principal. I will keep on doing what I am doing and hope that she can relax a bit as the year progresses:)
     
  12. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    Oct 29, 2006

    has the principal said anything, any comment to you?
     
  13. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    Oct 29, 2006

    No, he hasn't said anything other than be carefull she is a teacher too at the beginning of the year.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 29, 2006

    Very often,other teachers are the worst parents to deal with. I don't know why, but it's pretty much fact.

    I keep hoping that my kids' teachers aren't thinking that about me!!
     
  15. Rosieo

    Rosieo Enthusiast

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    Oct 29, 2006

    I answer all of my email from parents but right away at Meet The Teacher night I tell them to give me 24 hours to respond to email and phone calls. Most times I answer much quicker than that but I need to set a timeframe so parents don't expect an email back instantly. I wouldn't jump and respond to her any quicker than you would any other parent. I am busy during the school day and sometimes can't get back to a parent until after school or the next morning.
     
  16. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    I don't jump, I usually wait with her a bit any way just to think what I want to say VERY carefully. Our district gives us 48 hours to reply discounting weekends and holidays. I try to stick to the 24 hour rule myself.
    I have another parent in my class that is also a teacher and she is great! Very supportive. I don't think it is all teachers. I think this might be a case as people have mentioned that it is her first child to go through and maybe she is trying to find her role. At least, that is what I'm going to choose to see it as:love:
     
  17. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Oct 29, 2006

    I have had a number of teacher's kids through the years. They have ALL been excellent because they KNOW how hard it can be to teach. This woman has issues.
     
  18. diro.pams

    diro.pams Companion

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    I agree to cc the emails to your principal. What if you turned this input around on the mom? What if you found some idea you thought was clever and email it to her and request she return the favor. Or ask her to send a blackline for some project or mini book. It's a risk to go this direction. But maybe it could win her over as a comrad at the same grade level. I have seen many teachers use projects that they gained when their own child was in that grade.
     
  19. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Oct 30, 2006

    I had a teacher/mom(who was absolutely fantastic as a person,) give me some books she had at home from her earlier years in teaching. She was always so helpful.
     
  20. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Oct 30, 2006

    I've had both the super-supportive teachers as parents in my room AND the annoying, controlling ones. I hope that my kids' teachers view me as the supportive type. I do know that my 2nd grader's teacher told me that having me in the audience at back to school night made her a nervous wreck! I'm apparantly intimidating. (My kids go to the same school where I teach, but PreK and K had a before school back to school night, whereas the rest of the grades had one a week after school started...)

    Anyway, if I were you, I'd be as professional as possible in your dealings with this mom, and, just to keep yourself sane, I'd initiate a couple of those emails myself...you know, send one that says, "Kate did a great job in this center today, I hope she tells you all about it!" or "Kate just did the most amazing thing..." Maybe if she feels that you're going out of your way for her, she'll back off. Of course, that could always backfire - and she could expect even more from you.

    Kim
     
  21. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    This is such a challenge. Last week, her daughter forgot her coat one day. I missed it as I was in a rush and things were just nuts. I had about four e-mails about this incident last week alone. Today, she called me about it. She wanted my procedure for dismissal, told me that she would feel like a terrible teacher if she sent a child home without a coat and that she can't understand how I could have missed it. I told her that I was very sorry about the situation, that I have tried to change my procedure, and that I am still learning. She just kept on with the "I just don't understand" and "I would feel like a horrible teacher if this happened to me."
    I can't take!!!! She had to do all of this right after I had decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.
    I messed up!! Do you have to make me feel like dirt about it?!?!?!?!
    I'm thinking that maybe I should just get out of teaching, I cannot deal with parents like this. I am a "blue" person and we avoid conflict like the plague. She has me so upset right now that I cannot eat and have been crying since I got off the phone with her. It's a shame too, because my day with the kids was FANTASTIC!!
    I don't know what to do!!
     
  22. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    It honestly seems like she is putting herself on a pedestal and trying to make you look like nothing compared to her...since you are both K teachers. It seems like she is comparing you to herself negatively.

    I would suggest arranging a meeting with you, her, and your principal and make sure he/she has your back before you meet.

    For one, she should know that those words would hurt you since she is a teacher herself. She is way overcrossing the lines and she needs to chill out or teach her child herself in her own classroom!

    Second, her child should know responsiblity and she should be getting on her CHILD about her coat, not you!!!
     
  23. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I can name dozens of things I've done that were much, much worse than "letting" a child forget her coat. Like last week, when one of my lovlies hit his head and needed 5 stitches...or the time I actually left a kid inside (in the bathroom) when we went on a fire drill. She needs to lay off. If leaving your coat at school is such a huge deal, I can't wait to see what happens the first time that child skips school or comes home drunk from a party!

    I would tell her, in a letter that the principal approves, exactly how phrases like "I'd feel like a horrible teacher if I did this." make you feel, and how that impacts your ability to feel like you and her are a team in this child's education. I'd bet you wouldn't believe how quickly she backpedals.
    Kim
     
  24. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    kimrandy1 has a marvelous suggestion. Draft a letter, let it sit for a day, reread it, revise it if need be and let the principal read it. Make sure the principal is aware of EVERYTHING this parent has said in phone conversations. Sounds like you are already sending ccs to cover yourself. There is no reason to put up with this for the rest of the year. Don't degrade yourself either, parents like this can destroy your self esteem, you need to nip this in the bud asap. SUggest moving the child to another room or to HER room. Send home a note to all parents, that you are trying to instill responsibility in their child by making sure the kids check for their belongings in their cubbie and take it home. It will be great practice for first grade. UGH!! I am so sorry you are going through this.
     
  25. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Foward the "horrible" emails to your Principal and ask him/her how to handle this professionally. Explain that you feel bad, but also feel that enough is enough (say it differently of course). Ask for feedback.

    If your principal sees not only is this teacher asking way too many details, but is attacking you...he/she may back you up and go to the teacher for you (if the principal is the supportive kind).
     
  26. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    My principal is VERY supportive and will tell parents their place. We had a parent last year who would go into rooms when teachers were not there and riffle through the things on their desks. After two warning, the principal told him that the next time he would call the police and have him arrested for trespassing. That stopped him.
    I have set up a meeting with my principal for tomorrow. I will let you all know what he says/does. I will be asking for him to sit in on the conference. I feel like the conference might turn into an attack on me. I want reinforcement.
    THanks for all of your support. I feel a LOT better. I am going to focus on the positives that happened today because there were sooooooo many.
     
  27. diro.pams

    diro.pams Companion

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    Why not have the principal run the meeting with the parent? It quickly sets a tone that will get the parent to knock it off. If you run it, you may communicate the lack of confidence you are feeling right now. It may cause the parent to attack further.
     
  28. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    Ok, I spoke with my principal today and he said very similar things as all of you.
    He had me write the whole incident up for him so that he could refer back to it if needed.
    He is going to call the mother and explain her role as a parent rather than a teacher. He told me that she is expecting too much.
    He also agreed to sit in on the conference with me.
    I feel so much better.
    :) :thanks:
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2006
  29. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    YAY! That sounds great! Sounds like you have a great principal.
     
  30. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    Oh that is wonderful. It is great he will support you and help you. Please do not be surprised if the mother takes a poke at you for bringing the principal into it or fblames you for blowing it out of proportion. She has some mom/parent issues to straighten out. Let us know what happens
     
  31. AllysonKinder

    AllysonKinder Rookie

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    I have an "overly concerned" parent as well but nothing like this! WOW! I am glad everything seems to be working out for you!
     
  32. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    I have to say that my principal is awesome!! I am so glad that I work with him.
    I will keep you posted, she has still not returned his phone call.
     
  33. diro.pams

    diro.pams Companion

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    My mom is a retired teacher. She recently told me how she had a coworker's profoundly deaf child in her class one yr. When conferences came up, the parent asked, "Where does my child sit in the class?" My mom showed her that the boy sat near the back. The parent asked, "Would you mind moving him closer to the front, because he reads your lips while you teach." My mom was aghast and responded, "I'm so sorry!!!! Johnny carries on so well in class, I had FORGOTTEN he was deaf." The parent responded with, "Thank you!" She was delighted that her son's disability hadn't been a crutch nor a hindrance in class. My mom really felt bad, but was impressed with how the boy was raised to deal with this. Mom said, "Do you know what he does for a job today? He's a MUSIC TEACHER!"
    I thought of this thread and what a contrast.
     
  34. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    I just thought I would update everyone.
    My principal took care of the situation.
    My conference went very smoothly.
    No more e-mails or phone calls from her except one about her daughter being sick that day.
    All is well:)
    Thank you to everyone who responded, your support during this challenging situation was greatly appreciated.
     
  35. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    How great that you have a principal who's so supportive! My own principal is a lot like that, and it makes it such a pleasant school in which to teach!!
     

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