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Angry confrontation with parent

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by janem1, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. I have a post-16 student who is under achieving across the subject. They have never approached me for any help or for any meeting to broach any worries or receive some extra coaching, despite it being offered on many occasions. They are a quiet student and I have thought for some time things weren't right but when I asked if everything was ok they always answered yes. I have mentioned to their tutor that I was worried about their progress. Her mother asked to see me at parents evening and within 2 mins I was quite firmly in the firing line. Any attempt by me to discuss their poor progress or ask about how much independent study was being done was firmly side-stepped. Apparently I have put their child down, that they feel stupid and can't ask me for help. The parent fired questions at me and then interrupted and talked over me, said as 'the service provider to their customer I should be delivering a better service and also take on bored that I need to change' . When I said that in my observations I always scored 'outstanding' for student relationships they said that they were aware that a teacher could fake anything for an observation'. At one point I had spent 20 mins being cut across and talked over so the next time they did it I kept talking (actually to the student) and they said that when someone is rude and cuts in (ie them) then I should shut up and listen I expressed how sorry I was for anything I may have done that that made the student feel that way, how sorry I was that they felt they couldn't approach me and I offered a meeting with the HOD or the student a change of class. They said they didn't want to change class and they then said the reason the hadn't come before was that I was (quote) " a really lovely person and I didn't want to hurt your feelings'. I asked at the end of the meeting (40 mins in a 10 min slot) if they wanted to talk to the Head and they said they would leave it for now. I obviously now need to take their comments on board, assess how I teach that class and deal with this student in the future, but I am concerned that I am now firmly 'under their spotlight' and one wrong word or look on my part is likely to bring Mummy or Daddy straight back in. I'm not sure what to do next - I have spoken to my Head of Subject who suggested they talk to the student. I'm concerned that the relationship may now not be salvageable and I will be on tenterhooks every time I teach that class - should I move her to another class? ( I have taken on students who didn't get on with other teachers). I'm also an NQT - should I speak to my co-ordinator (the VP) about this? Sorry for the ramble but this is my first horrible experience ( and it the exact opposite of all other parent experiences I have ever had) and it's left me a bit shaken. Any advice appreciated Thanks
     
  2. I have a post-16 student who is under achieving across the subject. They have never approached me for any help or for any meeting to broach any worries or receive some extra coaching, despite it being offered on many occasions. They are a quiet student and I have thought for some time things weren't right but when I asked if everything was ok they always answered yes. I have mentioned to their tutor that I was worried about their progress. Her mother asked to see me at parents evening and within 2 mins I was quite firmly in the firing line. Any attempt by me to discuss their poor progress or ask about how much independent study was being done was firmly side-stepped. Apparently I have put their child down, that they feel stupid and can't ask me for help. The parent fired questions at me and then interrupted and talked over me, said as 'the service provider to their customer I should be delivering a better service and also take on bored that I need to change' . When I said that in my observations I always scored 'outstanding' for student relationships they said that they were aware that a teacher could fake anything for an observation'. At one point I had spent 20 mins being cut across and talked over so the next time they did it I kept talking (actually to the student) and they said that when someone is rude and cuts in (ie them) then I should shut up and listen I expressed how sorry I was for anything I may have done that that made the student feel that way, how sorry I was that they felt they couldn't approach me and I offered a meeting with the HOD or the student a change of class. They said they didn't want to change class and they then said the reason the hadn't come before was that I was (quote) " a really lovely person and I didn't want to hurt your feelings'. I asked at the end of the meeting (40 mins in a 10 min slot) if they wanted to talk to the Head and they said they would leave it for now. I obviously now need to take their comments on board, assess how I teach that class and deal with this student in the future, but I am concerned that I am now firmly 'under their spotlight' and one wrong word or look on my part is likely to bring Mummy or Daddy straight back in. I'm not sure what to do next - I have spoken to my Head of Subject who suggested they talk to the student. I'm concerned that the relationship may now not be salvageable and I will be on tenterhooks every time I teach that class - should I move her to another class? ( I have taken on students who didn't get on with other teachers). I'm also an NQT - should I speak to my co-ordinator (the VP) about this? Sorry for the ramble but this is my first horrible experience ( and it the exact opposite of all other parent experiences I have ever had) and it's left me a bit shaken. Any advice appreciated Thanks
     
  3. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    This more or less sums it up. The parent is a bully and is picking on you because she might be aware of your circumstances and see you as an easy target.
    A couple of things to bear in mind:
    Is what she is saying relevant in any way? If so, take on board what has been said and try and change it. If not, then in your mind tell her to go to hell and stick to your guns.
    As for your relationship with the class, you do not need observations to tell you how things are. Do you feel that there is a problem? If not, then do not change. Don't be afraid of what you are doing ( the school wouldn't have you teaching the class if they didn't trust you ) and do not be afraid of upsetting the class and don't treat the student any differently except for trying to increase her involvement in the class.
    It is often the case that if a student is underperforming - for whatever reason - that rather than accept themselves as being the cause of the problem they will blame the teacher. This tactic would never have been tried with an experienced teacher as they would have cut the interview short and directed the parent to a senior member of staff and left it at that.
    In my first teaching position I had a parent complain that his daughter was underperforming in my class. She had just got 97% in her exam and had come second in the whole year group.
    Put it down to experience and forget about it. Some people are just bullies.
    ( Although in my case the parent came in to school to apologise for his letter and told me that he had been misled by his daughter )
     
  4. There are far too many people who seem to walk around at just one degree below rage. It takes next to nothing to go to all out irrational behaviour. I think that this is at the base of roadrage. I had a difficult relationship over a couple of years with a particular lad. The problem being that he was a typical lazy y 8/9 toerag and his parents thought that the sun shone out of his proverbial. They always turned out 'en famille' grandad, dad, mum, lad and younger sister for parents' evening.
    To my great relief he went on to be someone else's lazy toerag. However younger sister was in my y7. She was conscientious and doing well if not spectacularly. I quite looked forward to seeing the family in easier consequences. They arrived and sat down en mass, and looked at me expectantly.
    I delivered what was the first time a monologue because they did not feel compelled to defend her every action or inaction. I was completely positive about their little Amy. They got up stone faced and left. Sometime later the HT came and sat at my desk. He explained that the family had been to see him about me because I had not spent enough time praising Amy. There are some people you can't please any of the time whatever you do. I know just how you feel. You feel that you have done your level best and wonder what else you can do. Well sometimes there is n't anything, some people are just unpleasant and bloody minded.
     

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