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Pushy Parents. Please Help!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by jameswalker12, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    I have about five or six 'pushy' parents in my class who constantly bombard me with questions, advice and generally anything they can think of. At first, I was willing to accommodate them, however, it has become very frustrating as they ask questions at the most inappropriate times i.e. first thing in the morning while I am setting up and a lot of my time seems to be spent 'spoon feeding' these parents. I am a Year 2 teacher and I understand that their children are young, but this is one of the reasons I want to teach in the higher primary school.
    So, my question is: how can I deal with these types of distractions? What strategies can I use? Have any of you encountered the same problem? If so, how did you deal with it?

    Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Hi all,
    I have about five or six 'pushy' parents in my class who constantly bombard me with questions, advice and generally anything they can think of. At first, I was willing to accommodate them, however, it has become very frustrating as they ask questions at the most inappropriate times i.e. first thing in the morning while I am setting up and a lot of my time seems to be spent 'spoon feeding' these parents. I am a Year 2 teacher and I understand that their children are young, but this is one of the reasons I want to teach in the higher primary school.
    So, my question is: how can I deal with these types of distractions? What strategies can I use? Have any of you encountered the same problem? If so, how did you deal with it?

    Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi James,

    As a 'pushy' parent myself (or just someone who wants to know that my child is getting the best out of their education) I would say that the time we get to see the teacher in the am or pm is exceptionally important. Some of it might be needless information, but when you have your own children you want to know that the teacher in that classroom has enough information about them to satisfy them for the entire day - which is a long time for a parent when the children are young - it may not be important to you but it obviously is to them. Take the bits that you feel are important and satisfy the parents with the other things by listening and being understanding, whist feeling lucky that these parents actually want to offer you information to give you a holistic view.
    In addition, IMO you really shouldn't be trying to set up whilst the children are walking in. That just sounds like poor organisation to me. Try setting up the night before or earlier in the am so that you don't feel rushed when talking to parents.

  4. Hi Gilbert - I too have the T shirt for being a 'pushy' parent in the past. I always try to be available for parents before and after school. However, in James' defence, if he is without a TA or extra support, time spent with parents at the beginning of the day is time not being spent with his pupils.For all you know, he could be a very organised teacher (these parents may be arriving early) and your comment comes cross somewhat condescending.I realise you are speaking from a parents' point of view, but I am interested to know if you are a teacher also.
    To James - This can be a challenging, but take some comfort in the fact that were you to be dismissive of these parent's concerns, they would probably take up more of your time than they do now. Maybe you could send a note out, to all the parents of your class, explaining that you feel it is important to be available for your pupils as they enter your classroom in the morning, and that unless they have serious concerns or need to inform you of something important that cannot wait, that they speak to you after school or make an appointment.[​IMG]
  5. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    I do not get drawn into lengthy conversations at the door in the morning. I am quite happy to have a quick chat about something that is relevant to that child that day (e.g. if they'd had a poor nights sleep and the parent wanted to tell me, or had been feeling a little peeky etc) but I would not use this time to talk about a childs progress for example, as my priority is bringing the children in and having them registered. I would suggest to anyone approaching me that they could speak to me after school or if only mornings are convenient then we could make a pre arranged time slot so that I have advanced notice and can plan my other tasks around them.
  6. I agree with the last two posters. It might help you if you send out a little leaflet at the beginning of this half term explaining what the children are doing and then add on a bit about talking to the teacher. Emphasise that you are always willing to discuss children's progress with them but that the morning is not appropriate as you need to spend the time with the children.
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Hate to disappoint you, but it doesn't get any better the higher up the school they are. I'm in year 6 and have similar! I'd not describe mine as 'pushy parents' as that implies what they ask has any bearing at all on their child's education. Mostly it doesn't and they just want a chat or to tell me something utterly nonsensical.

    We are lucky in that we have a corridor between the playground and our classrooms. The door can lock from the inside (it isn't a fire exit) and so on a really busy morning we just leave it locked until we are ready to go out. However, before I get accused of being totally out of order, that doesn't happen often and usually we go out onto the playground about 10 mins before the bell, so any parents want a chat or to tell us something useful can do so. As we are out there early most days, the parents don't seem to mind the odd day of a locked door.

    You can't stop parents wanting to talk to you, and probably most of the time don't want to. But by being ready early and then outside to talk to them, means they get to see you and so don't feel the need to come in. Are you just finishing half term? You could send a letter home to say you want the children to start being more independent, so can parents start to leave their children at the door and not come in. Make sure you are near the door to encourage this. Couple this with you being outside most mornings for a chat (luckily the weather is improving) and parents won't mind.
  8. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    I am a parent too and still don't think that morning registration is an appropriate time to have lengthy discussions with the class teacher. A quick 'he had a tummy ache last night' is fine but anything more, no thank you! Luckily my children's parents seem to apply common sense and generally dont try and nab me while im lining the children up to go inside. I do get my ear chewed off most afternoons though :)

  9. gilbert24
    I don't think anyone is saying don't speak to the teacher in the morning. I am generally at the playground door for at least 5 minutes for emergencies (like the dog was put down last night, she's got an emergency dental appointment this morning for example).
    However, my job is to deal with the children in the morning from the time the bell goes, not parents on non-emergency questions. These are better dealt with at the end of the day when I have time. If I have to deal with parents then no-one is with my class and getting them settled ready to start the school day.
    There have been occasions when I have been late - and the head has taken the register for my class. These, however, have been serious and parents really need to talk to me then.
    You need to make a distinction between this and less immediate concerns. At the end of the day there could be 30 children in the class and, if every parent stayed for a couple of minutes chat, the class would not start anything meaningful until 9:30 at the earliest.
  10. upsadaisy

    upsadaisy New commenter

    I do agree that the younger they are, the more parents want to talk to you about every little detail. Like can you make sure Suzy puts a tissue in her pocket today, she has a cold.

    I used to find it difficult to get into school on time when we used to collect from the playground.

    Now we let in from the school and have 2 TA's stationed at the door and if it a small message they take it and pass it on. If the parent needs to see me, they ask the reason why and then come and get me if necessary. That TA then supervises my class while the second stays at the door. It's also handy as the children hang their coats up and come into the classroom quickly as the TA's are there.
  11. I suppose this depends on the school processes. At my son's school they have a large foundation/reception unit and allow parents to stay until 9:30. Most parents are gone way before this and the children self register and are registered by the TA as they come in. The teacher is then on hand for any queries and parents are able to settle the children instead of dropping off and leaving.
    It works really well, especially while children are learning to find their way when they first start school. Then the longer they've been there the more idependent they become and the less time parents stay. By the end of this year I would expect my son to be able to sort himself out, including changing his own book.
    I guess that is the point of them doing it like this.
    It is not expected that every parent will need to talk to the teacher every day, but it's there in case you need to.
    This doesn't run throughout the school, however, just in the Foundation Unit.
    I know that this isn't the case in all schools and the OP was talking about Y2 children (or parents of). I suppose it comes down to educating parents on the distinctions between what the teacher needs and doesn't need to know.

  12. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    You all sound very generous with your time. I'm a parent (and have taught in the past, but much older than this age group) and I don't want to speak to the teacher in the morning unless I really really had to ...... and I can't think really what this could be as if the child is in school it can't be that desperate whatever it is. And generally there are children (one's own included) and other parents earwigging so it's not a great time to talk about anything that really matters.
    I'd rather drop the teacher a quick note, or speak at the end of the day. But then again, if it's something that really matters, the end of the day isn't that great either as there are listening kids and parents yet again.
    Our children have homework diaries. Part of the idea of these is that if you have a question you jot it in there, and the teacher can answer briefly in person or writing at a time of their choosing. It's great in theory, but not in practice. I've had a helpful answer to one question in three years - the rest I've had no answer to, or answers which were more evasive than the average politician. But it stops the teachers' time being wasted, and is an official route of communication to be commended by ofsted.
    What is it that the "pushy" parents the OP talks about are wanting to know? And are you answering them ....... if you don't maybe they are asking you the same things again and again in the hopes of eventually getting an answer?
    I am a pushy parent (as in I would like my children to do their best and am happy to help at home to help them achieve this) and would like to know roughly what is being covered in school on a weekly or fortnightly basis so that can touch on relevant things at home if necessary. But our school does not like to tell us much (bland statements about what is being covered that term is the best we are treated to) and doesn't like us to look at children's exercise books except twice a year at parents' evening. If you want anything more than this you are flattened verbally by the headteacher and deputy head and given a copy of the school complaints procedure.
    I guess if I dared I'd pester the life out of the teacher at the most inconvenient time every morning until I got a sensible answer but I know that will never be forthcoming so I gave up very early in the reception year. I, for one, will find secondary school more informative than primary school.
  13. mystery10
    That's sounds a very sad experience of primary school. I would want every parent to feel welcome. At the first parents' evening at my current school, I put all the children's books in their trays for parents to look at - not knowing that it wasn't done. It is now though!!
    I offered my help at primary school (not necessarily in my children's classes) and went on to be a reliable volunteer who was often called upon for visits etc for lots of different classes. This gave me a great opportunity to find out about the school and how it worked. I know this is not an option for all.
    Sadly though, I don't think you will find secondary school more informative. Mine isn't and I would probably rate it as one of the more parent-friendly ones.

  14. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    How selfish.
    In my school, parents are welcomed into nursery and allowed to stay and play for as long as is necessary. We often have to shoo guilt-ridden mothers out and deal with their misery when they discover that their children have not cired for them all morning - kindly, of course.
    Our Reception class also welcomes parents/carers but expects them to leave more quickly. Of course, most parents leave straightaway. Some have to be grabbed before they run away without important information. Anyway, it's not a problem. We like to talk with parents because we are looking after their precious children who are, after all, mostly below the age of compulsory school entrance. It's the start of a relationship that willl, hopefully, last until the end of Yr 6.
    BUT, mystery10, your post suggests that you have no regard for the rights of other parents or the smooth running of routines such as registration.In our school we make it plain that anything that needs to be discussed can be done after school by appointment.
    Of course, you're probably at work at that time.
    Just as we teachers are at 9 o'clock.

  15. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I forgot to say that, from Yr 1 onwards, parents are not allowed into classrooms in the morning. Use your common sense and imagination and you will soon see why.
  16. I have one who routinely hangs around until I am actually doing the register, smiling and waving bye about 50 times. I just give her a cold look occasionally and ask a child to close the door but most of the time I ignore her- what the hell else can I do?! Her poor little girl is a wet blanket thanks to her doting mother. I have tried to word it very tactfully in her report that the little girl needs to develop some independence- give the child a chance, more like!! I know not all parents are like this of course and like I said I am more than welcoming of parents in the mornings- before register, even the one in question- and particularly those who have something important and worthwhile to say. Agree with the poster who mentioned the tissue in the pocket- that's the sort of nonsense we have to deal with every morning!
    To the parent who wants to know what is being covered every week- give the teachers a break. Are you a teacher too? Would you be able to keep this up? Is the child's homework not linked to what they are covering? Don't you have weekly tasks such as reading/spellings/numbers to work on?!
  17. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Perhaps I've been unfair by concentrating on the last sentence of your post but it shocked me.

  18. of so many of those who have posted 'as parents' - your poor kids' teachers
    are you still going to be helicoptering when your child goes to uni?
  19. Referring to me, inky? If so can you please clarify as I don't get what's shocking about that. Teachers set tasks for parents to help their children progress and if half of the pathetic parents who roll up at my door each morning helped their children with reading, spellings and numbers- particularly reading- the children would fare so much better. As it is, and perhaps bizarrely, they don't. Tissues in the pocket are far more important.
  20. Agreed.

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