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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sparta363, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. sparta363

    sparta363 New commenter

    I have been asked to attend a restorative meeting with parents, after their son has complained in essence, of me “picking on them”. SMT are supportive of my side of the story, but is it wise to attend this meeting? I’m worried I’m going to set myself up for a confrontation from the parents. I don’t feel I need to defend myself so to speak?
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    If you don't attend the parents will think they're right - you are picking on their son - and trying to hide it.

    If you go, take someone with you - HoD, HoY, AHT - and state very clearly what has happened. I note you write "restorative meeting" - clearly SLT are concerned that this could have future repercussions and its best to try and communicate to get on a better footing.
  3. mothergoose2013

    mothergoose2013 Occasional commenter

    Recognising how uncomfortable this must feel, it could actually turn out in your, (and the students), favour, particularly if SMT are supportive. If I were you I would prepare a summary of incidents, work, (home and school), general attitude, and then allow the parents to give the side their son has given them. In my experience it is usually easy to offer contrary 'evidence'. Be prepared for them to suggest other pupils have not been treated the same way etc. Confrontation is unlikely if your records are presented in a neutral and calm manner. I get that you don't feel the need to defend yourself but you can avoid this by acting neutrally and factually in the meeting and showing that you really don't need to defend yourself. What has always worked for me is agreeing to stay in touch with the parents as much as possible, (ideally via e-mail as it is less time consuming), initially this may be frequent but it very rapidly reduces as the pupil realises you are working with the parent and nothing is being omitted.
    Good Luck
    agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  4. sparta363

    sparta363 New commenter

    Very reassuring words. Thanks!
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. aypi

    aypi Senior commenter

    I reported a road traffic issue involving a child the other week, he could have easily been killed. The parents complained that the council were picking on them. It is a tactic to deflect from the offending action.
    Have the meeting, but have a time limit so they cant keep saying the same rubbish. SMT to be present, and SMT to know of the child's behaviour elsewhere.
  6. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Picking on them - how many times was I accused of that because I insisted the students shut up and did the work? Is this a pupil who is disruptive or doesn't do the work and when you try to get them to do something you're 'picking on them'. If they did as they were told there wouldn't be a problem.

    When you're sat with your HOD or other supporter, get the student to give examples of your 'picking on them'. It will be easy enough to explain why you took the action you did, they were messing about, distracting others, disrupting the lesson. I wouldn't give an inch or concede that ANY action you took was not to encourage the student to do the work. Once you've conceded that one or more of your actions was not justified, they've got you and that will be dragged up time and time again when you try to exert your authority. 'If you make me do that I'll complain to …… and then you'll have to admit you were wrong again.'

    Hold your ground and then if the parents have any sense they'll see that far from you picking on their darling child, the child is simply being a toerag.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Asked? I bet it's not really a request.

    Just go. But I'm going to counsel a somewhat different way of approaching this.

    Say very little. Be relaxed, smile. Do not go on the offensive with a list of what the kid has done wrong. That certainly will make you look as if you've got it in for the lad. Let the parents do the talking. Let them show themselves up as the unreasonable ones who are being petty about perfectly reasonable disciplinary issues.

    "A detention for doing x? Yes, that's right. I'd given him the usual warnings and then, if students persist, school policy dictates we give a detention. Absolutely."

    "A spell in isolation for y? Correct. Quite so. School policy, you see. I had no option."

    Broken record technique. Don't justify yourself other than repeating that x action merits z consequence and so on. Don't go on too much though. It'll make you look as if you are only too keen to get on his case.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    1 Bring the students books,targets, and current grades
    2 Bring details of uncompleted work
    3 Bring details of any reported issues
    4 Bring details of how work can be improved
    5 Bring details of hmm done and not done and ascertain if he is working at home
    6 Explain you are trying to help
    7 Find out if there are issues in other subjects as well as your' s (the student may claim it is only with you)
    8 If necessary ask for work/detention to be completed.

    Good luck
  9. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Restorative meetings only work if both sides buy into the process. If the parents see this as a way of getting at you, and behave that way, then the meeting should stop immediately (and this should be made clear at the start of the meeting.) Equally, if you don't feel that there is any merit in the meeting then you should be perfectly in your rights not to go. Meantime, SMT should be meeting with the parents first to establish their point of view, then you to get yours, before your meeting with the parents happens.

    It sounds a bit like someone has heard of "restorative meetings" without actually looking into what needs to happen.
  10. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    Link behaviour to progress and explain you are concerned the child will not achieve in your subject...
    agathamorse, Shedman and install like this.
  11. DIPS1

    DIPS1 New commenter

    Im sorry, but tgis is absolute nonsense. IF you chose to attend, you are setting yourself up for future failure. It will validate the child and the parents just by you attending.

    Where does it end? The next day you will have little johnny and all his friends making false accusations against you and their parents will be requesting meetings too because you've asked them numerous times to behave. Parents talk, especially with social media spreading news even before your 'Restorative meeting' had finished.

    You'll be known in school as the teacher that bullied a little innocent kid and word will spread like wild fire amongst colleagues and kids.

    DO NOT GO TO THIS MEETING. At best a conversation with SLT and pass on your concerns about this child.

    You have no obligation to go. Your HOD / HOY should be dealing with this nonsense well before it ever gets back to you.
    JohnJCazorla and grumpydogwoman like this.
  12. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Agree with DIPS 1 - do not attend unless they are coming to apologise to you!
    afterdark likes this.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If it's a genuine request rather than an instruction to attend then I think @DIPS1 is right. And, come to think of it, I don't quite see how you can be directed to do so unless it's in the working day between (say) quarter to nine and half past three.

    Your line manager can easily do it. Or HoY or Pastoral Welfare person. Whoever. And just follow the line that it's not the kid. It's the behaviour. Nothing personal. Nothing that a dozen other kids aren't having to undergo in an effort to get them to fulfil their potential. Yawn. Don't justify, don't explain any individual instance. Your manager should tell the parents they have every confidence in you and that the parents' fears are ill-founded. Let them offload.

    But you shouldn't have to attend or waste time on this.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  14. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    Well, it shouldn't have come down this far to you really.

    This should have been picked up by the HoY, HoD or whoever else. Still, whoever is in charge at your place has done what they've done, so here's what I reckon.....

    Find out what the parents are like - if they are known to be argumentative and convince themselves that little Johnny never does any wrong, then it could well be a waste of time.
    If they are supportive of the school, then you may get somewhere.

    Either way, I would attending.

    I'm assuming that you'll have parents evening at some point? I wouldn't want a discussion like what could take place in this setting.

    I also have my own kids as well as being a teacher. If one of my kids told me the teacher was picking on him, I'd politely ask for a meeting to get to the bottom of it.

    I'm a bit old-school myself. I always prefer to do things face-to-face. I'm also not daft. I know that at least half of what my kid says about certain things is at least exaggerated. I'd hope to meet the teacher to help them out with methods to improve my kids behaviour.
    As a previous head of year I've spoken to hundreds and hundreds of parents. The vast majority want what I described above - the same as I'd want for my kids.

    As a teacher, if a kid thinks I'm picking on them and tells their parents, I'd give the parents a call to set them straight.
    I'd also have a discussion with the kid.

    I think a few people here are being a little overly cynical, if I'm honest.

    Some kid's a bit of pain and moans to the parents, the parents want to get the teachers side of things.

    It would probably be easier done over the phone, mind.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  15. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    TBH. I have only had a couple of meetings with parents and they have always been constructive.
    Probably a different type of parent - the sort who wanted their child to succeed and were very annoyed to hear that their kid was disruptive and off task. The students (young adults) were usually in attendance and usually didn't have a lot to say for themselves when placed in an adult environment. One student refused to attend which says it all really.
    Unfortunately, I also had a couple of screaming shouting kids who complained to slt that I was picking on them. I was reprimanded. Their parents weren't hauled in because I believed them to be 'anti' teachers.
    Try to get the student in attendance and make them, quietly and respectfully, state their case. If you have to apologise just say 'I'm sorry you feel like that but...'
  16. Sharpie123

    Sharpie123 New commenter

    I'd be wary. This only happened to me once in my long (and I like to think) successful career. The HOY and my HOF came in to 'support' but I felt just ended up grovelling and making excuses for me 'She is a good teacher really ....' I found it humiliating - I didn't need to be 'defended', I needed the parent and child to be challenged. It was an apology fest, in which I said almost nothing. Every comment I had ever made was taken out of context and used to beat me - the parents weren't interested in anything other than having a go.

    It still holds a sting - probably because I generally had fantastic relationships with parents who appreciated my 'no nonsense' approach. As did the students if I'm honest.

    A phone call ('due to time pressures') might be better when you listen to their concerns, say little, have word with the student afterwards and then ignore them in class? Put in writing to TL and parent what has been agreed? Focus to them on how your responses are all about raising their child's achievement? Agree to follow up on Parents' Evening when your TL is about to move things along?.

    Don't be bullied into a situation in which you are uncomfortable.
  17. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    If SMT were supportive you wouldn't be facing the parents.

    Go along, apologize.

    The little siht and its parents will kick-up elsewhere and SMT will have to do the job properly. You really are powerless to do the job properly yourself.

    It is only bitter experience which makes me recommend such an outrageous solution.
    saluki likes this.
  18. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Make sure before the meeting that the staff team in the meeting have a clear strategy, know what the outcome is expected to be, know who will speak when and say what. The pre-meeting meeting is important - even if it's very brief.
  19. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    At best it will be a complete waste of your time. At worst it will be an exercise in appeasment and victim blaming. It's the sort of anxiety inducing situation schools should not put staff in. In the topsy turvy world of the modern school the teacher is all to often the one being picked on!
    Dorsetdreams and agathamorse like this.

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