Peer Groups

    Re: Angry/difficult parents and meeting

    Thank-you so much for your encouraging post. I have not had
    home internet for a while as there is some glitch with the cable
    company and I just got it. Thank-you so much for your support.
    You are right, I have felt hurt and discouraged this year.
    Hopefully, things will get better with experience.

    On 12/07/08, Ellie Mae wrote:
    > I am very sorry that you have had this bad expericience.
    > Unfortantly, moments like that sometimes are part of our job.
    > I'd like to address a few things you said.
    > 1) Concerning your lack of a mentor. Everyone needs
    > someone. I had a poor mentor my first year. Several times
    > she came to me. I found myself an "unoffical mentor". This
    > woman is still my mentor, and she always will be. It doesn't
    > matter how accomplished I become, I still go to her. Why?
    > Because every one needs a sounding board they can trust.
    > Find yourself a mentor. Just choose someone who is
    > experienced, effective, and has a good attitude.
    > 2)Yes, there is something you can do to have better
    > relationships with your parents. The secret to all good
    > relationships is communication. My parents are my first
    > objectives every year, yes, even before my students. Why?
    > Because their child's success and to a large degree my
    > success depends on their support. I call every parent
    > at the start of the year and introduce myself. I always end
    > by asking this magic question, "Is there anything that you
    > can tell me about Johnny that would help me help him this
    > year?" Keep a notebook handy. You'd be amazed at what
    > they'll share! Keep the lines open all year. I send a daily
    > email to 21 addresses everyday.
    > You sound hurt and discouraged. Remember this is your
    > calling and you're changing lives! If you'd like to talk
    > more, please email me at
    > On 11/22/08, teachinNC wrote:
    >> I have had a very difficult year with a few parents this
    >> year. I have had a lower/challenging class and I have
    >> noticed that some teachers have an easier time making
    >> parents like them or at least not making them
    >> dislike/making them mad. Do any of you veteran (or other)
    >> teachers have any tips you have learned over the years
    >> about how to handle parents, esp. of low children? I
    >> notice that if the child is doing well then the parent
    >> likes/loves me. If the child is a struggler/low student
    >> sometimes the parent lashes out/dislikes/wants to blame
    >> me. I did not have a good mentor at all for my first year
    >> of teaching. My principal just explained to me this year
    >> not to mention the word retention at all in at-risk and
    >> other parent meetings. No one, not even my teacher
    >> education program had ever taught that to me.
    >> Yesterday I had a difficult angry parent meeting with the
    >> parents and my principal (who is wonderful/backs her
    >> teachers 100% thank-goodness). of a boy who ended up as a
    >> 1/2 running record last year. (I teach 1st grade). The
    >> mother seemed to hate me to start off with. She was
    >> seething venom. She wouldn't even make eye contact with
    >> me. Part of it stemmed from a meeting 6 weeks into the
    >> school year in which I told her her child was 2 reading
    >> levels behind and might have to be retained. She suggested
    >> a tutor and I told her a tutor was no guarantee (meaning
    >> we would have to have him reading a lot, staying in Title
    >> I, etc.), but I offered to get her some names in case she
    >> wanted to try and I did. She turned that around to say
    >> that I said nothing would help him, not even a tutor. When
    >> I realized my mistake about him being retained and that he
    >> would not be retained no matter what because examining his
    >> file more closely I realized he had already been retained
    >> in another state and finished part of his second year with
    >> us, so our policy is to not retain again until the 3rd or
    >> 4th grades. I called her to tell her that and calm her
    >> down (she had had a meltdown and called the guidance
    >> counselor and talked her ear off after our first PT
    >> meeting). She said she felt I had washed my hands of him
    >> after 6 weeks of school. She threw that in my face at the
    >> meeting with the principal even though I had explained
    >> that to her already--she was obviously out to get/wound
    >> me/make me look bad in front of my boss. I am trying to be
    >> nice to her and forgive her even though she complained to
    >> the principal about me. When we had our meeting I took
    >> responsibility for my error/apologized to her that we had
    >> gotten off on the wrong foot and did point out that I
    >> stayed on a Friday night at 5:00 PM to call her up and let
    >> her know that no matter what--he would not be retained and
    >> that we would do everything we could to catch him up. Now
    >> I am walking on eggshells and hope I never see the woman
    >> ever again as long as I live.
    >> I am hoping next year that I
    >> can do better at getting along with parents of
    >> academically low students. It is Saturday and I have also
    >> felt very depressed about all of this, feel the woman made
    >> me look bad in front of my principal and wonder if I will
    >> get re-contracted next year since there are budget cuts
    >> (my state has a 15% budget shortfall and I am not tenure
    >> yet.) Any advice or encouragement would be greatly
    >> appreciated, I feel somewhat down and defeated as there
    >> have been other other unfair things done to me by parents
    >> this year that have nothing to do with this situation: For
    >> example: On the first day of school I had a parent try to
    >> talk to me while I was helping 6 other children put
    >> supplies up and the rest of the children were waiting on
    >> me--it was a stressful time. I met her child and spoke to
    >> her for a few moments. The child had a happy first day but
    >> at the end of the day the parent asked the principal if
    >> she could have a different teacher. She didn't feel I
    >> would be "loving enough" for her daughter. The principal
    >> said the child's kindergarten teacher felt I would be
    >> great and refused to move her. Mom got stubborn and left
    >> one child at the school and put that child in a different
    >> county because mom and dad were separated due to a
    >> divorce. This is an example of the kind of upsetting
    >> things that have been happening this year with parents.
    >> Another parent who is white trashy--a moocher who lives
    >> off of different relatives until the get tired of her told
    >> the principal that she didn't want her child in my class
    >> because a parent of a boy told her I have reading contest
    >> where children are expected to read 5 books a night (a
    >> lie) and that she didn't want to do any extra reading like
    >> that (He does no reading at home beyond maybe his basal
    >> sometimes.) This was also a few days into the school
    >> year). This is another child who had previously been
    >> retained. The principal reassured her and got a copy of my
    >> homework sheet which was like everyone else's and the boy
    >> stayed in my class. I am starting to wonder if this is
    >> normal (nasty, nasty complaining parents) or God wants me
    >> to quit teaching?!!!! No wonder people leave this
    >> profession after the first 3-5 years! My husband would
    >> love it if I would quit but I don't think it would be
    >> financially responsible to do so, plus I like teaching
    >> most of the time.