Verbally sucker punched by a parent at curriculum night

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Toast, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. Toast

    Toast Companion

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    Aug 23, 2012

    deleted

    Didn't realize this post would attract so much attention and start a debate about best practices. Wishing to delete it.
     
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  3. Jeky

    Jeky Comrade

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    What exactly was his argument?
     
  4. Mathemagician

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    The only argument I could see being viable against that system is I'm not a huge fan of warnings per se. For some situations, yes, but other things need a more immediate consequence. That said, no matter what the argument was, that was not the place to discuss it.
     
  5. Toast

    Toast Companion

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    The argument was that 1 warning was not enough warnings and sending a kid to another classroom for a little bit would be humiliating.
     
  6. Toast

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    I don't mind if he disagrees with the program and would want something else for his kid, but attacking me in front of the group was uncalled for. He should have conferenced with me privately with a list of ideas of what he wanted instead.
     
  7. Mathemagician

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    Ah, the exact opposite of my argument :)

    What did you tell him?
     
  8. Toast

    Toast Companion

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    "I hadn't thought of it that way. What do you think would be better".

    His response was "send him to the principal's office". lol

    Whatever.
     
  9. AZMrs.S

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    I'm sorry that happened to you! Sounds like your response was good for being totally caught off guard though!
     
  10. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I do think that sending a child to another classroom after one warning is a bit strong. But that is just my opinion. If this is something that teachers in your school do as a norm, then at least you are in compliance with how things are done as a whole and you could refer the parent to admin. for questions. Sending the child to the P's office does seem extreme. That was not really a healthy solution from the parent either. And, you are right. It is not nice to feel attacked in front of a group of people that you are trying to impress. You are in public education and as such the "public" feels like they can often ask questions that probably should be asked in private. I think I would have said, "I will think about that and we can talk later in private. Thank you for bringing up your concerns." Good luck. Who knows... this might end up being your biggest supporter as the year progresses. I sincerely hope so!
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Did he call you names? Sounds like he just questioned your system. I wouldn't call that a verbal sucker punch. I'm still not seeing the attacking you part.

    I don't agree with your program either. It isn't a teaching program but a punishing one. I also understand not sending a kid to another classroom and here is why. If a child disrupts the current classroom and is removed to the P's office, the children in the class where the disruption already happened will be aware already. By sending a child into some other teacher's classroom a whole set of students that know nothing of the incident now know that Jimmy is being sent out for being bad. They don't know why, all they know is that Jimmy was a bad boy. That is humiliating. I completely get the parent's POV.

    I also understand why this parent asked in the context he did. What he knows is that this is applied to all students and more than just him may not agree with it. If he asked you individually, you would be able to say whatever you want and just ignore his issue. Bringing it up in the group of parents possibly garners support.

    You should be able to defend any system you put in place. You should be able to discuss how the system is beneficial for the student in learning to correct behavior and ultimately better than other options.
     
  12. TeacherNY

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    This was probably the parent of a kid who got into trouble numerous times during last school year and he was tired of getting called. Instead of dealing with his child to improve his behavior he was hoping for a more lenient teacher.
     
  13. Tek

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    Sorry to hear OP, but your answer seemed very reasonable. Also agreed that unless his tone was condescending, he was moreso questioning the system than you, per se.

    I had BTS night last night, and the parents were very supportive.
     
  14. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I've not had a parent confront me like that, but I do think that, depending upon the infraction, one warning may not be enough. Also, where are the positive consequences? I offer consequences for good and bad behavior - both can result in a phone call home. Instead of taking all of recess, I tend to take it by minutes, because they NEED to move, especially the wigglers. I understand your being caught off guard, and I'm not questioning your discipline system. You might want to make it a little more "kid friendly," though. As to sending the kid to another classroom, I have done it, but not often. Luckily, the other first grade teacher and I teach the same things (not always the same way), so the child isn't missing instruction time. It is a resource when (1) the child needs some time out, (2) your principal expects you to "handle" discipline yourself, without help, and (3) you are fairly certain that the "offending" child won't cause a disruption in that class. I hope I'm making sense... It's been a loooonnngg week, lol.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

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    Yes--he should be able to question your discipline plan, but in my humble opinion, that wasn't the appropriate time to do so.

    I would've probably said, "We can discuss this privately after my presentation. Due to time constraints, I don't have time to answer individual questions at this point."

    Here's the behavior management system I use. Parents seem to love it because students can move their pin up or down depending on how their day is going: http://www.newmanagement.com/products/clip_chart.html
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    As a parent who has this kind of situation (with an IEP), that's quite an assumption to make. I don't hope for a lenient teacher at all. I do, however, hope for one that is compassionate and approaches the child for himself. I also hope for one who is flexible. But I would be looking for something a bit more child-centered. As a teacher and a parent, would not like the sending the kid out of the room to another room situation either for the reason that it puts a public spotlight on the child in a way that is a bit too much. I do, however, know it is not an uncommon technique.

    Having a child with the needs that my child has, I would have questioned it. I may not have said something to you at that moment but that's mostly because I'm a teacher and I know what it is like to put on one of those presentations. Keep in mind, however, that during these presentations teachers DO tell parents that if they have any questions about their policies, to ask. It's a mixed message if we say that they shouldn't do it right then and there. He's not asking something that is child specific, thus technically it is the right time to ask. I think you handled it well.

    Now having said all of that, I DID have a set up like this written for my child, but it was not for the gen ed classroom but a special education classroom. Often there were very few and sometimes no kids in that class. He had a place to go that felt safer for him and less stimulating and someone was there to personally help him through his crisis and get him back on track. They also let him have the choice to send himself there if he felt he needed it. That's a child-centered approach focused on therapeutic means and less focused on punitive.

    I'm not against punitive consequences when necessary but they should be used sparingly. The focus, instead, needs to be on community building, preventing behaviors from starting, and how to help students solve their behaviors. That's not to say that consequences don't have their place, but often logical and natural consequences work better.

    As for parents asking at inopportune moments, I don't find this dad was off the mark but in general you will face it at various times. You did well and handled it with grace. That's all you can do.
     
  17. Cerek

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    Even though the question caught you off guard, I don't feel the dad was out of line. You described a class policy to the parents and one of them questioned it. I think "Open House" is a legitimate time and place for that, especially since other parents might have the same question(s), but be less willing to speak up.

    Despite being caught off guard, I think you handled the situation well and gave a good answer.

    As for the discipline plan itself, I don't really see anything wrong with it. I personally disagree with sending a kid to another room, both as a parent (it causes extra embarrassment for the child, as mentioned earlier, which I feel is inappropriate) and as a teacher (sending a behavior problem to a different classroom just transfers the problem to a different teacher instead of actually addressing and correcting the behavior).

    As for the warning, I think one is plenty. I do get a bit tired of people (parents and teachers both) suggesting kids should have extra warnings. As a parent, we all know that if you don't follow through on a warning the next time it happens, the child quickly learns your discipline isn't that serious. Since they normally already know the behavior or action is against the rules, I think one warning is a gift and is definitely more than sufficient. The next time they break the rules, there should be a definite consequence.

    I also don't feel the need to explain my system of "positive rewards". I DO praise the kids frequently in my room, but I also feel the focus of always trying to make the kids "feel good" has led to the growing sense of entitlement we are seeing in our society.

    If a child misbehaves, breaks the rules, disrupts the class or disrespects the teacher, they deserve a consequence for those actions. There is nothing wrong with giving them a fair warning the first time it happens, but the second time, they need to receive a consequence appropriate for their action.
     
  18. Mathemagician

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    This part isn't necessarily true. I never did it, but my cooperating teacher occasionally sent students from her low track classes to the honors class by agreement with the other teacher (and then she could do the same). The kids did not keep up the charade in an unknown situation with all well-behaved, attentive students. The audience wasn't there. Now sending them to another low-track class probably wouldn't work.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    About a student feeling embarrassed being sent to another room...

    I don't necessarily like sending students to another room simply because it could and probably does to some degree every time disrupt the other class, even if it's just the minute or so when the student enters. But the student being embarrassed because of it? I guess sometimes I just feel all "old school" so my response at the moment to that concern is: and? He or she isn't sent to be embarrassed. If the student feels that way, that's a natural response when your their choices are noticed by others.
     
  20. Cerek

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    As a2z said, the other class doesn't know the circumstances that led to the punishment. All they know is that "Johnny was a bad boy". That could lead to teasing or mocking of Johnny by the other students who don't know why Johnny was sent to their class.

    Let's look at it another way. Suppose you happen to oversleep and show up for work late one morning. Instead of sending you an email about it (as happened with YoungTeacherGuy), your P decides to address the issue during the staff meeting that afternoon and uses your tardiness as an example. Will you still feel the embarrassment is just a natural consequence?

    I've never really agreed with this policy, even when I was in school. It became personal for me when I discovered it was being done to one of my sons with ADHD. His behavior could be disruptive at times when he was in elementary school and couldn't control his impulsive responses very well. I worked with the P of the school to develop an acceptable solution for him AND the teacher. We all agreed removing him from the situation to a quiet room was the best solution for everyone (including my son) and the P used a room in the office for this purpose. That removed the disruption from the classroom (allowing the teacher to continue with the lesson) and gave my son a quiet place where he could work on the assignment without the stimulus that upset him and still allow him to be supervised. We had been doing this since 1st grade and it worked well. Then, when he was in 4th grade, his older brother came home one day and said "Brother got sent to my classroom AGAIN today." When I questioned the older son, he told me Brother had been sent to his room 2 or 3 times and made to copy pages from the dictionary for the entire day. So, not only was the teacher NOT following the plan I had established with the P, she was also giving him useless work to do, which meant we still had to do ALL his work at night when he got home.

    His mother and I both went to see the P the next day and it was the one time in all of our meetings that I was "that parent". I made my feelings on the situation very clear and told the P I would be happy to approach the teacher myself if she didn't want to do it. She said she would take care of it.

    While I do feel students should feel some natural embarrassment from acting foolishly or breaking the rules, I don't feel I should give them a consequence designed (at least in part) to increase that embarrassment among their peers. If they misbehave in my class, I have no problem calling them out on it, since their classmates have already seen the action, but I would not send them to another room so another group of classmates could also know that "Johnny" was a bad boy in my class.
     
  21. SCTeachInTX

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    I have to agree... when you are stating policies in a public forum, where you are asking parents if they have questions... the parent had the right to question you in front of everyone. His tone could have been confrontational and I think that judging from your post it was. We have all had to deal with parents that question in inappropriate ways. Always say... "Thank you for your concern. I will think about that and we can talk about it in private at a later time." Validate the parents concern and move on.... It sounds like you the issue deflected fine.
     
  22. mrachelle87

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    Our principal suggests that we send children to other classrooms that we have peer agreements with for discipline. I have never had a student picked on or called names for being placed on it.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This does raise some interesting notions, although the way it was done is a little rude. One of the schools where I subbed had what could be considered a "time out" room. It was staffed by an aide. It usually had two or three students who just couldn't hold it together but weren't so out of control that a trip to the principal was warranted. Perhaps this is something other schools could consider.
     
  24. JustMe

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    I think intent is huge here...I don't think they are sent to cause embarrassment but to remove a particular audience, provide a "breather" or "do over", and so forth.

    Sometimes we sent students to another room to take a missed test or something along those lines. So it doesn't have to mean bad choices were made. If the child did make poor choices and tends to do that, thus making it pretty clear to students in the second room he is there for that reason, well...
     
  25. Cerek

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    Well.....perhaps it will have more meaning if it ever happens to your child.

    Yes, my son made poor choices sometimes, but most of the time, his reaction was due to his ADHD and could not be fully controlled. It's similar to the meltdown video we saw not long ago of the bipolar college student. No argument that her behavior was inappropriate and deserved a consequence, but there is also no argument that she could not control the meltdown once it started.

    The bigger issue, for me, was the teacher ignoring the system the P and I had agreed on for more than 2 years; a system that did remove him from the classroom so instruction could continue, but put him in a room where he could calm down and also do the work he had been assigned. Once he was removed from a situation, he normally calmed down within just a few minutes. The P initially would just take him for a walk outside. By the time they got back to the room, my son was ready to go back into class.

    Once he calms down, the incident is over and forgotten. It's in the past and it's done. It's almost like a switch. Once that happens, he is perfectly capable of returning to the room and continuing with the lesson and/or work.

    I was upset the teacher sent him out of the room for the entire day (completely unnecessary) and had him copy pages from a dictionary rather than sending his work to be completed (absolutely useless and non-productive), but I was most upset that she took it upon herself to implement her own consequence rather than following the established with the P for 3 years.

    When I was in school, teachers would sometimes send kids to another room or sit them in a desk in the hallway. Everyone in the other room or anyone seeing the child in the hallway knew they were there as a punishment. We may not have teased or mocked the kid openly, but we certainly did talk about it among ourselves ("Did you know Johnny got put out in the hallway again today? I wonder what he did this time?). Frankly, that could be considered a breach of confidentiality today.

    If a child is sent to another room to take a test or complete a missed assignment, that is completely different. I often had to send kids to a different room - or even the office - to take a test they had missed due to absence and the kids sometimes had to use the ISS room to do the test just because that was the only room available, but they also got to leave as soon as they were finished, so it was clear they weren't there as a punishment.

    Sending a kid to another room for a brief "timeout" is a little different, but I can understand if the other teacher agrees, it is part of the school policy and the parents have been informed of the policy and agree with it.

    Sending a kid to another classroom for the entire day and having them waste the entire time doing useless "busy work" is just inexcusable to me. Actually, even "busy work" worksheets would have been better than the copying the dictionary, because he would have at least been reviewing and reinforcing class content. Copying the dictionary, though, was just a useless waste of time.

    If sending the kid to another classroom is school policy, then the teacher can justify using it as a consequence, but from a parent's perspective, I'll still be meeting with the P to discuss a different consequence for my kids.
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I agree the teacher didn't use the strategy appropriately. Copying the dictionary all day makes for a very, very long day of no learning.

    But I still think it can be done...

    And as for sitting desks out in the hall, I find that to be an acceptable practice in many circumstances.
     
  27. Learner4Life

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    The phrase "depending on the circumstance" has been said several times here... I think we all have basic discipline plans that can be adjusted when circumstances deem necessary. If a student is getting teased or finds being moved to another classroom too embarrassing, then circumstances deem it necessary for the teacher to change things.
     
  28. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I feel the same way. This doesn't apply to students with IEPs, and those who are genuinely dealing with an issue and can't really help it.
    But I'm talking about the student who just chooses not to do work, disrupts the class, makes a scene, disrespects and defies the teacher! Sending him to another room may be embarrassing? So what? Not anything less embarrassing than the scene he just caused!
    Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not on the side of humiliating / embarrassing students, but sending them to another room has a purpose. what about detention? We shouldn't give detention either because it's embarrassing?

    I feel that often we're babying the kids and creating bigger problems on the long run.

    At my school when someone gets in trouble, they make him wear a construction vest, a bright orange one. Talk about embarrassment! It's in a different setting, obviously, the students are all dressed the same, but I don't see the reason for it. They have other means identifying a student (they wear wristbands, badges) and the vest could be taken off. So I think the only reason for this is the embarrassment. I don't agree with it, there is nothing we can do, this is probation's turf.

    But I see those kids coming in my class, and sometimes I can tell they hate it. Sometimes I even told them, they can take it off in my class, they didn't get in trouble with me, so i don't care. A lot of them say that they think they're gonna easier be getting in trouble, since they're already branded as trouble. I always tell them I don't care if someone wears a vest, I see the student.

    They actually get a consequence, so i don't see the need for the embarrassment.
     
  29. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    But many kids will suffer in silence because they have NO POWER in the situation. They can't control the teasing kids. Most times when kids are being teased schools do very little to fix the problem, especially when their methods are instigating the issue. A seriously embarassed child won't tell the teacher that sent them there. So, when will these "circumstances" come to light? If mom comes in and talks to teacher/admin about how embarassed the child is, will this procedures stop for this child or will the parent be seen as over-protective? I say over-protective and the parent will then be one more reason why the child misbehaves or can't comply with all the rules at this time.
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Our principal reminds students with detentions on the afternoons announcements. If they find that friendly reminder embarrassing, maybe they should make better choices.
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Bingo.
     
  32. Cerek

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    I also feel we baby our students too much and, for the most part, if the consequences of a student's action causes some embarrassment (due to the action, not the punishment), that is fine. But I draw the line when the desire to create embarrassment is PART of the punishment - as it was in the case of my son.

    Despite his ADHD, we never asked for an IEP or a 504 because he was able to function normally in the classroom setting most of the time. The one accommodation we asked for was that he be sent to the room in the office (with his work) when he needed to be removed from the classroom. I never tried to excuse or condone his outbursts and agreed he should be taken out of the room when it happened. That accommodation was followed for 3 years, then his 4th grade teacher decided to use her method instead. That was not acceptable nor excusable to me.

    In general, I simply feel sending a kid into a different classroom is a bad idea, especially when there are alternative consequence that will accomplish the same thing - removing the child from the classroom. It just puts another body in the room for the other teacher to watch in addition to their own. I understand it can work in some situations, but I still believe it is better to have a room in the office or a "time out" area where the kids can go instead and still be supervised.
     
  33. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aside from the possibility of shame factor, wouldn't a whole new set of stimuli in an unfamiliar classroom trip a student's ADHD even worse? I hadn't thought of that until now.
     
  34. Cerek

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    I also admit this issue is very personal to me. Not only did it happen to my son, I had a college teacher who also decided to make an example of me by trying to embarrass me in front of the class one day.

    Needless to say, she found out that wasn't a good approach because I stood up to everything she said and made several comments to her in exchange.

    So I realize I'm biased on this issue, but putting that aside, I still feel it is a bad practice most of the time.
     
  35. mandijyn

    mandijyn Rookie

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    (1) the child needs some time out, (2) your principal expects you to "handle" discipline yourself, without help, and (3) you are fairly certain that the "offending" child won't cause a disruption in that class. I hope I'm making sense... It's been a loooonnngg week, lol.[/QUOTE]

    We employ eachother this way for exactly the reasons you numbered here! Our P does not allow refferals and took away lunch detention so that her statistics will look shiny to district. Let's face it - sometimes with difficult customers WE need a time out from a child.
     

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