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Parents who refuse to attend parents' evening

Discussion in 'Primary' started by trinity0097, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    The parent is totally correct, if there were major issues with the child you would have already made the effort to speak to them. You will write (at least) one written report on the child, presumably the last report didn't highlight any huge issues. You would have already told the child what they need to work on to improve their work in class, through marking/feedback etc...
     
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Which is fairly true to be honest. Parents get so many updates and see what their children get as homework that they do have a reasonable idea about what is going on, without having to come to a formal parents' evening.
    Which would have been extremely rude and got you into very hot water indeed with your HT. The parent didn't say she didn't care, nor that she wasn't interested, just that parents evening wasn't for her. There could be a million reasons why not.

    Some parents cannot tell the time and just keep a look out of the window to see when others start making the journey to school and then join them. Means they get the children to school on time and can pick them up on time, but cannot manage things like parents' evening.

    Some parents know that their child is making progress, but isn't as clever as their friends. They know they should help more but cannot as they are even less able than their child. They are terrified you will insist that they do things like read with their child or practise tables, both of which are beyond them. For their own confidence it is easier for them to just not come.

    Not coming to parents' evening does not equate to not caring about education. Some parents come and some don't, that is how it is.
    I would say not quite sensitive enough to the needs/wants/abilities/parenting of this mother.
     
  3. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Well I wouldn't take it personally, and I wouldn't assume she's as bad as she sounds either - that in it's own way was quite a sensible reply she gave you as to why she wasn't turning up. Maybe she has had some poor experiences of parents' evening so far. And it's probably depressing turning up two or three times a year to be told your child is "lower ability".
    Maybe if you need her to do some thing or other different with her child at home you could communicate with her by some other means than parents' evening? Or somehow show her that this parents' evening things will be a little different from what she has been used to.
    Of course she just might not care, but there are certainly some parents out there who might be caring and interested but opt out of the experience. I can see a day when I might.
    I'm an ex-secondary school teacher, and have two children at primary school. I am extremely keen to support my children and know how they are doing at school. However, by the last parents' evening of year 2 I didn't care that I couldn't attend (had a medical appointment and the school changed the parents' evening at fairly short notice) and was very relieved that DH went without me.
    I will still go in future - I do so in case by chance I hear something useful which enables me to support my child better in some way. But this is a vain hope from two brief parents' evening per annum even if they did focus in on what I the parent would find it helpful to know.
    We go to a lot of trouble in order to both attend parents' evenings; it's awkward for my DH to commute back early for them, and we pay for a baby sitter, not easy to get hold of on parents' evenings, and expensive too. So far we have not found any of the information we have received about our children via the parents' evenings has merited the time or the expense. It's a shame also the teacher has lost at least one evening by having to attend as well.
    I have never yet heard anything at a parents' evening that could not have been written down briefly on a piece of paper, or told me by a teacher at drop-off or pick-up time, and I have rarely had a meaningful answer to any questions of mine. It seems to be a 5 or 10 minute recital by a teacher of something that doesn't really have that much significance to me which they have decided beforehand they have to say, and which so far has indicated they don't know that much about my child. And if it was to be a useful occasion, 5 or 10 minutes to cover a massive curriculum is minimal.
    Couple that with the poor timing of parents' evenings. The early Autumn one the teachers still seem to be getting to know your child so they don't have a great deal to say which is pertinent to your child -and the one part-way through the summer-term is too late to do anything about anything that you hear.
    The one good thing about parents' evening is to be able to see your child's work and tell them afterwards that you saw it. But the time pressure under which you are expected to look (in the summer) through a whole year's work is phenomenal and renders the whole exercise almost pointless. I feel very strongly that one's own child work should be much more readily available for parents to look at than this, but this seems to be typical of most primary schools and when I asked the school I was told this was adequate (never mind what I think as a parent).
    I thought the idea of home-school agreements was great when they first were developed some years ago. I don't sign one anymore as I see them as a one way street now. e.g. we are supposed to rehearse them every day for a silly spelling test at the end of each week. But in some year groups you don't even get the courtesy of seeing how they do in the test. We help them with homework when they are little, but we never see the feedback on it. I dutifully fill in a reading record every day, but in some year groups it's clearly not read, or if it is my occasional question which I put in is not answered ........ from time to time I get hopeful and write a question in the hopes of some two-way communication, but no.
    So your parent might not be as uncooperative as she appears. I do think the answer she gave you was really very well expressed, albeit brief, so there might be hope of some intelligent dialogue with her if you can work your way through the protective layer sooner rather than later.
    What do you think you are going to tell her at parents' evening that you could have communicated by some other method?
     
  4. BriarBabe22

    BriarBabe22 New commenter

    Minnieminx, of course I would not have actually said that to a parent, maybe just what I felt like saying to her - I probably should have mentioned that she was rude and agressive as she said it which is what wound me up so much - she certainly came across as a parent who didn't care. I was only trying to be helpful in offering her the sign up sheet in case she hadn't seen it earlier in the week.
     
  5. Lots of parents have a very negative perception of schools and teachers - sometimes this is because their own experience of school was incredibly negative. Because of this, it is definitely true that the parents you really need to see, are the ones who never come.
    Having said that, I am in the fortunate position of working in a school where almost all the parents come to parents' eve. I would say your parent has a point, as I could do without seeing about 80% of them. Totally agree with the timings being rubbish. What can I seriously tell you in October? There is some truth in the adage 'no news is good news'.
     
  6. If they all came - we'd be there till midnight ! Embrace the no-shows -They get you home in time for the cocktail hour !
     
  7. I think you're making some pretty big judgements here. Some parents had very negative experiences of school themselves, so feel intimidated by parents' evening and don't want to attend. It doesn't mean they don't care.
     
  8. Waterfin

    Waterfin New commenter

    Last year I made notes for my own reference at parents' evening so I didn't forget what I wanted to say, or I had some of their info in case their parent asked. One particular parent, whom I had wanted to speak to, didn't come. I had a few particular things I wanted to share so I sent my notes home in an envelope the next day.
     
  9. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Loads of parents don't want to disrupt their evenings for the sake of a 10 minute lecture from a 24-year old.

    When mine were at school, I didn't bother to turn up if I had no time for the teacher.
     
  10. Disrupt? Lecture? How old does a teacher have to be to be worth listening to then? Most parents would surely see it as an opportunity to meet their child's teacher properly,discuss progress etc- it's the chance for both parties to say anything regarding the child's happiness at school/how well they're doing/how they can be supported at home. . I wouldn't say it's a waste of time! Teachers spend a large proportion of the day with the children in their class and often see a totally different side to them. I rarely bother replying to such posts but this struck me as somewhat odd,coming from a teacher. All the effort we put in is surely worth ten mins?
     
  11. I would agree that the ten minutes is worth it myself, but you can't force them. Of course the only issue is if the child is genuinely struggling but his/her parent isn't aware of that, I would maybe have a word with her at the end of the day because if she can help him/her at home it can make all the difference. She may genuinely think that her child is doing fine because she's not been told otherwise.
     
  12. Look on the bright side, you'll get home ten minutes earlier :p
    We can't force them. I agree in that I don't understand why they wouldn't come if they have the time - but to a lot of our parents spending time alone with a teacher is uncomfortable and they don't like that experience, regardless of its purpose.
    I would perhaps feedback quickly to them as you send the child home - "Oh I've just written his targets down for you as you weren't able to make parents evening - he's doing really well but we are working on trying to make his writing more descriptive!" etc.
     
  13. BriarBabe22

    BriarBabe22 New commenter

    Thank you for your input lardylegs but it's a shame you felt the need to knock my NQT confidence by implying I'm not a teacher who is worth talking to! Oh, and by the way I'm nearly 40 so a long way from 24 and I've worked in schools for 6 years and have children who have been in the primary system for the last 8 years, so hardly wet around the ears.

    Thank you to others who have suggested I could send some notes home, something I think I will do having gone to the trouble of writing them. If the parent in question hadn't been so rude when I spoke to her I'm sure my initial reaction would have been different.
     
  14. From a secondary school perspective a big issue is that parents find it difficult to book appointments with teachers. So a large percentage 'don't do parents evening' but then there are some who can't actually get their children to make appointments. One solution we are trying is online parents evening booking systems. There are a few around the cheapest we have found is at www.onlineschoolbooking.com
     

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