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Is it me?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by mychuck, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. mychuck

    mychuck New commenter

    Do any other Heads out there feel that the constant teacher bashing by the media, the Government and OFSTED is leading to parents getting ruder and more aggressive over the slightest little thing. The time I've spent on minor things built into major erruptions by parents is exhausting.
    Email has made us so contactable and parents feel that they can use the exclamation mark at will.
    Time to put my foot down I think or is it just me?
    Happyregardless likes this.
  2. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    totally agree. Our staff work their backsides off and often do much more for the children than their parents do ( including feeding end clothing them ) still it's not enough. Last weekend 5 teachers and a couple of support staff and I gave up the whole afternoon to accompany our children to a community event (I was actually stupidly busy that day and could've done without it, no doubt the others felt the same). On Monday in my inbox, a complaint from a parent who had attended the same event. They didn't think the teacher had "interacted enough" with their child!!! I pointed out that as we were in a performance and therefore supposed to be quiet, there were very few opportunities to interact and I was delighted that so many busy staff had given up their free time to support their children. Same teacher ran some workshops for parents on teaching methods - parents complained that they were too early and couldn't we start them at 8 in the evening for working parents? Just what you need after a full day In class starting at 7.30 am!
    Happyregardless likes this.
  3. mychuck

    mychuck New commenter

    Thank you for sharing that because now I know it's not just me. We've had a parent's workshop this week and a parent wrote that he would be attending even though it was in the middle of the working day (3.30pm) and signed it ...yours inconvenienced!! The same parent wrote on the workshop evaluation form that it would be better if the teacher submitted her planning to parents the week before to ensure that the lessons were appropriate. Unbelievable we are the professionals here and none of my teachers are submitting any planning to anyone other than myself and I know that planning is altered on a daily basis.
    A parent went ballistic via email yesterday and said that his child was being 'singled out' - the teacher's crime? She asked the girl to tie her hair back for a cookery activity. When the teacher didn't ring them by lunchtime to explain herself they rang school to say that it was unacceptable that they should wait for a response all morning. They were very unpleasant to the teacher and then left a message demanding to speak to me and access to the hair policy. My teacher was left distraught. I rang back and was on the phone for at least half an hour being told that it was unacceptable and that they wanted a face to face apology from the teacher. Over my dead body as she did nothing wrong.
    We have a policy of parents working in partnership to hear their child read and set weekly targets for children. Several parents have crossed out teachers comments about their children saying the disagree and crossing out the target sheet.
    Alll this a more is exhausting and taking my time and hard working teachers' time and depressing us. We're getting increasingly defensive and demoralised. Parents think they have access to us 24/7 and that we should jump every time they click their fingers and if we don't we're threatened with complaints to the governors and to County. I love my job but it's getting harder in terms of this. Sleepless nights going over conversations I've had with parents. All my staff are advised to have someone else with them when they speak to parents or to individual children. I've even had parents saying earlier this year that we are not allowed to speak to their child about incidents without them being present - I refused to do that point blank. There is not respect for a hard working profession these days.
    And before anyone comes on here saying that head teachers don't understand the demands put on teachers by heads; my poor teacher was presented with a bottle of wine this morning, a hug and told to enjoy her weekend. Yes it's a primary school.
  4. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I can totally sympathise. I've lost count of the number of times I've been threatened with the press, the la, the governors etc. I have had several formal complaints made about me when I've backed staff, none of which have been upheld but it is horrible, it's also not acceptable that staff have to put up with this. One thing I won't tolerate is verbal or physical aggression and parents are warned that if its repeated they will be banned from the premises. I've been on the receiving end of some very nasty threats and its horrible.
    I one solution which has worked with some parents is to say "mrs x when you chose our school you did so because you trusted us as professionals to offer your child the best education , if you no longer feel that is the case, perhaps we are not the right school for you". I've used this one several times and its had the desired effect.
    If all else fails, hand them the complaints policy- the procedure is a pain but the gb won't uphold such trivial complaints (unless they're fools) - parents may then realise how trivial and petty their complaint is!
    It's all so bloody wearing though isn't it?
  5. mychuck

    mychuck New commenter

    Hi. We have had two formal complaints to governors and county this year. I've lost three 'delightful' parents this term (yes this term!) because I said exactly what you said about, if you no longer think... we have gained more pupils than ever and our school has the most number of children on roll than it's had in the last ten years. I do have lovely pupils and some super supportive parents who make the job worthwhile, but it's the element of nit picking and believing that they are out to get you all the time that gets me down.
    I work across county in various capacities and I don't think I've ever seen the profession so brow beaten. The way it it is going it will only get worse I'm afraid. Anyway, the thought of chardonnay Friday is getting me through the day and of course the supporting words of people like you Curly[​IMG]
  6. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    And this is what you have to hold on to.
    Let the fools go, they'll soon discover the grass isn't greener.
    I once had one who did this, went to another local school, found out that they were even less accommodating and wanted to come back. I know it was wrong of me but I can't tell you how much pleasure I took from telling her that we no longer had a place available for her child but that she was welcome to join our waiting list.[​IMG]
    We were all getting a bit bogged down by this behaviour so I bought a big cake and we had a huge chat and a laugh together. We talked about all the good things people say about us and our school and all our achievements. It did us the world of good.
    Enjoy the weekend and remember "Nil illegitemi carborundum".
  7. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    Thank goodness other people are in the same boat. This term has been a nightmare so far and the parents are certainly not making it any easier!
    • One parent came into school to see me because her daughter's class teacher was 'forcing' her to do football in PE this half term. The child apparently dislikes football because she sees it as a boys sport. I showed the parent the teachers PE planning and then directed her to the National Curriculum where we have to teach a variety of sports and games. The parent remains un-satisfied but I haven't heard anymore. No doubt I will when she finds out next half term is tag rugby.
    • Five parents complained last week that we were not offering a residential trip to year 4 students this year.
    • One parent said 'I am entitled to see all the teachers planning for my son's class'...NO YOU ARE NOT!
    • I have received several letters from parents who would like to sit in and observe some of the teachers teach. When I asked why they talked about all the negativity the Media was giving education and they wanted to be sure that my school is better than satisfactory.
    The list is endless!
    I know there are probably some spelling/grammatical mistakes in this blog but I am too tired to care. I am off home early (for once). Roll on the pub...
  8. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Bless you! Enjoy your weekend - you (and all the others on here) deserve it.
  9. jellandy

    jellandy New commenter

    Totally agree and raise a glass to you all. You have given that much needed degree of perspective. Cheers and thank you all.
  10. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I'll second that. What's lovely as a primary class teacher is reading about how much you support your staff.
  11. I've just had a parent complaining that her child was left 'red and sweaty' after tag rugby. Errrr yes?
  12. No - it's not you. I''ve had a parent complain because I asked her daughter to wear an appropriate length skirt. Apparently she won't buy a decent one until I enforce the school's rules on skirt lengths. I did try to point out that this is exactly what I AM doing, but, well, you can imagine..... *sigh*. At least it's Friday!
  13. zannar

    zannar New commenter

    I agree. I have had a lot of support from my head with 'difficult' parents.
    I am feeling a tad guilty though because I haven't really said thanks. Went through the moment of thinking thats what they're paid for, that's their job, etc.
    Sometimes I forget they feel the anxt (sp?) as much as we do.

    Will make a special point of thanking my head on Monday for the support. I have worked for heads who are more interested in covering their own backsides than supporting their staff, so I really should know better! [​IMG]
  14. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    Glad you've thought again about the Head 'feeling the anxt too'.

    As a Head I don't feel the anxt as I did when I was a teacher - it is easily 10 times as bad as a Head!!
  15. zannar

    zannar New commenter

    Sometimes we get caught up with 'our world' and 'our moments' don't we?
    It is difficult sometimes to step back and look at the wider picture. Perhaps I should try and do this more often.

  16. Thank you everybody! I'm a new head with virtually all new staff and had an OFSTED 3 weeks into term! Parents going for it and staff needing a lot of support which i enjoy giving. Took today as a working at home day as it was getting to me! Feel much better knowing it's not just me,
    Have a great weekend one and all!
  17. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    As a secondary head in two schools, I can honestly say that there have been occasions when getting 'thank yous' from staff have made me tearful. Some have even involved tasty comestibles (those who've plonked chocolate or cake on my desk know me too well!).
    It does work both ways and I think at all levels the showing of appreciation is a good idea.
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    To all Headteachers who are suffering from parents, from someone who doesn't have to any more because I am too old:

    Best wishes
    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, every week in print in the TES magazine, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service seminars or individual consultations
    I shall be doing the Moving into SLT seminar on 13th October.
  19. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Strangely I have often tried to support heads and deps in the schools i have worked in........even going out of my way to say thank you, etc.Shame so often they have never said thanks,
    I think i appreciate the difficulty of the task.....and although i wanted to be a head once........I am so glad I am not one now!
    So i will say once agani thank you for doing the job to the best of your abilities...but it dont make me like some of the heads I have met![​IMG] For all those who have proved to be a positive leader and motivator I owe you much!
  20. In my experience, parent pressure and abuse toward staff has been far higher in schools serving a "higher demographic" area than those in areas of deprevation, where staff are desperate to engage with parents.
    Incidents of parents/govs bulying staff/heads is on the rise, as is the lack of respect for the profession. I spend much time supporting collegues who have suffered at the hands of these people of late, one school now spends much needed cash on retaining a solicitor to deal with many issues.
    Give me an area of high deprivation any day of the week, where respect for us is higher, parent complainst are normally not related to in school incidents and we ar left alone to get things done.
    I feel for all of you who suffer at the hands of middle class fools and their precious spawn!!!!!

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