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Kids are great, parents are more of a problem....

Discussion in 'Primary' started by rachboc, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. I've just started my first teaching job and have taken over this term from a really lovely, experienced teacher in a small yr2 class of a friendly school. I am really getting on well with the kids and love the job, but the parents just won't accept me. They are a "playground mafia" with a hard core of about 4 parents, who are intent on making life really hard. They come into my class in the mornings and disrupt registration, and are also difficult after school. Now, one parent, or a group, has even left nasty notes for me around the school, anonymously. I have asked the other teachers for advice, which has ranged from "leave it, they're a nightmare and its not worth it" to trying various methods of getting them onside. At the moment I am mounting a charm offensive, making sure I'm always available to answer any queries relating to their child (and there are always lots) and being very positive.
    Has anyone dealt with this problem, and what did you do to get the parents onside? One of the kids has started saying in the classroom how much they miss the old teacher, and how much better it was with her, and I'm convinced they are repeating things they have heard at home.
    I feel like I haven't had long to settle in, although already after 3 weeks I'm feeling more organised and that we have time to do more fun things, such as a story or song at the end of the day, but the parents commented that apparently I "shout all the time", so every time I have to raise my voice I feel like the kids are going to go home and tell their parents that all I have done that day is shout! Second guessing myself in the classroom is making life harder than it needs to be...
    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. I've just started my first teaching job and have taken over this term from a really lovely, experienced teacher in a small yr2 class of a friendly school. I am really getting on well with the kids and love the job, but the parents just won't accept me. They are a "playground mafia" with a hard core of about 4 parents, who are intent on making life really hard. They come into my class in the mornings and disrupt registration, and are also difficult after school. Now, one parent, or a group, has even left nasty notes for me around the school, anonymously. I have asked the other teachers for advice, which has ranged from "leave it, they're a nightmare and its not worth it" to trying various methods of getting them onside. At the moment I am mounting a charm offensive, making sure I'm always available to answer any queries relating to their child (and there are always lots) and being very positive.
    Has anyone dealt with this problem, and what did you do to get the parents onside? One of the kids has started saying in the classroom how much they miss the old teacher, and how much better it was with her, and I'm convinced they are repeating things they have heard at home.
    I feel like I haven't had long to settle in, although already after 3 weeks I'm feeling more organised and that we have time to do more fun things, such as a story or song at the end of the day, but the parents commented that apparently I "shout all the time", so every time I have to raise my voice I feel like the kids are going to go home and tell their parents that all I have done that day is shout! Second guessing myself in the classroom is making life harder than it needs to be...
    Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
     
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Not acceptable. Your HT should be dealing with this.
    Do you have a mentor?
     
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    What do your mentor and HT say? They need to support you and you need to keep telling them if it gets you down.

    Just teach as you know best. The children will eventually love you and respect you. The parents don't have to, but do need to be polite.

    Ask your HT if they can be near your classroom door every morning for a week so parents cannot come in after registration starts. Before yes, of course, but not after.

    Once the parents see that you and the HT are working together and he/she supports you then they will give over. Remember hindsight is always rose-tinted.
     
  5. My school is set up a bit differently, but my HoD is totally backing me and wanted to get all the parents in when she found out about the notes. However, she was overruled by Senior Management, who I don't think are actually going to do anything.
    My HoD came in one morning to try and hurry the parents out of the door but it didn't really make much difference. My parents seem to think that I work for them (fee paying school), and not that my classroom is exactly that - mine!! My mentor and I haven't actually met properly yet so he doesn't know whats been going on, though I have requested that our meetings start next week, and he's very approachable.
    Luckily I'm quite a strong person, but those notes could have seriously got me down. I'm determined not to let them beat me, especially as I love the job so far, apart from this one problem....
     
  6. My school is set up a bit differently, but my HoD is very supportive and wanted to confront the parents about these notes. However, she was overruled by the senior management. The HoD has been in the class in the mornings to try and hurry the parents out of the door but they just won't budge. Its a fee paying school and I think they think that they "pay my wages" and therefore can do what they like - thats the impression I get from some of them anyway.
    I know some of these parents have caused problems for other teachers. I really have given them no ammunition but it doesn't seem to have made any difference. Luckily I'm a strong person and I'm not going to let them spoil a job I love, but my life would definitely be easier if I could persuade them that I'm not some screaming harpy inexperienced NQT that is going to play fast and loose with their child's education!!
     
  7. argh sorry computer playing up.... ignore last post!
     
  8. boatmanco

    boatmanco New commenter

    It does not matter that this is a fee paying school, your Head should be backing you.
    Unfortunately, my experience of Independent schools is that the parents are very controlling and feel it is their right to judge you -they do pay the fees you know! This can have an advantage too but you need to be strong willed and be prepared to stand your ground sometimes. But always do that with a smile!
    Try not let this get you down -do the best job you can do and the children will come round.
    Go to your line manager -HoD?- and sit down and talk about it. Keep notes of all meetings with collegues and parents. Keep the notes from the horrid parents. Log EVERYTHING. Expect to be supported by your HoD. Try to get the parents out before you start registration -just a polite, "Right , thank you for coming in but we must get on!" Lead the parents to the door and close it. If they come in after it is closed just look up and say, "Can I help you?" If they request things/ ask questions etc, I always say, "I'm sorry, I am teaching now but I can see you if you'd like to make an appointment at another time or through the office". Maybe a note on the door saying "Please knock if the door is closed as we are busy working!" or something similar!
    I do always make myself available in the morning before the bell by mingling outside and chatting to the parents. This may also help them get to know you as a person. It takes time but smile and be friendly. Giving the parents LOTS of information about what their child is doing is also helpful. I give my parents curriculum notes for the week. What we will be covering and how you could help? type things in a communication book (I have infants). It is time consumming but the parents love it. If there is a school website you could put this information on there too. Is there a weekly newsletter -could you put information in there for parents?
    How old are your class? Should they not be leaving their Mummy outside! Could you not review how your children come in? Perhaps saying goodbye at the door? What is school policy?
    Leaving little notes around your room is bullying and should not be tolerated so you need support. Don't let this ruin your first teaching post! Are you an NQT? If you are make sure you are being given the time to complete your NQT year properly. This means non-contact periods to complete targets being drawn up with your mentor.
    I wish you all the luck! x
     
  9. Thanks for the advice!
    I am an NQT but I'm in an overseas school so its a little different and I don't get NQT non contact time, although there are lessons which are taught by other teachers eg music and language, so I get those as free periods.
    School policy is for parents to accompany the child to the classroom to put coats and bags away, and then to take them to a rec room until I pick them up before registration. On any given morning I have 3 or 4 kids in there and all the rest are having a general meeting in the classroom, parents chatting and kids running wild. I've been keeping out of the way but I will try staying in the classroom in the mornings to address any parent concerns and usher the kids (and parents!) back out again... by opening more general communication hopefully they'll see I've only got their child's best interests at heart.
    Children are yr 2 BTW.
     
  10. Is there any way you can lock your classroom door - or does it need to be unlocked for the coats/bags thing? If so, I think you need to take control and begin to ask parents to leave if they won't go, and clarify the school policy about where they should be taking their children pre-registration.
    I took over from a much-loved teacher in my current job, and had comments from childen about how they wanted MrsSA back and not me teaching them as they liked her more. You just have to develop broad shoulders and tell them that you are there to teach,not to be popular.
     

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