Thursday, May 24, 2012

6 (school) days until summer!

And O.M.G. are the natives restless.

So are the parents.

I arrived at school this morning, early, because I had agreed to cover someone else's morning duty, to find a lovely email from a parent to an administrator, asking to meet with us about "events in the classroom."

No mention of what said "events" were.

The administrator had responded to the email before I had a chance to see it, stating he was too busy in the next couple of days, but would be happy to meet after that.

I freaked out. This particular parent always thinks she is right. (I'm sure she really is always right. The problem is that I always happen to be right, as well.) This particular parent likes to make a big deal about everything. This particular parent does not have a history of letting go of issues that have already been settled.

After I freaked out, the bell rang, and I realized I was already late for covering the other teacher's morning duty. I walked down the hall to count bus students as they lined up for breakfast, where I ran into the administrator.

He wanted to know what the mom wanted to talk about. I wanted to know the same thing.

Since he wasn't going to be able to meet quickly with the parent, my team teacher suggested I try another administrator.

And boy, did I ever get lucky. The TOUGHEST administrator from my school was the only one available to meet this afternoon with me and the parent. I filled her in on the child's recent behavior in my classroom, coupled with my potentially very controversial refusal to help him with a graded assignment after he didn't pay attention to the instructions, reminded the administrator of recent interactions with the child's parents, and sent a very kind and upbeat email to the child's mother, letting her know that we were available to meet with her and could we please have more information about what we were meeting about?

Her response? There was no particular event, just a lot of events that had been going on in my classroom all year.

All year?

And you've waited until there are six days of school left to address these events?


Note to parents: Please address any situations that make you uncomfortable with your child's performance in school, disciplinary actions taken at school, etc. as soon as you possibly can after they occur at school. It is not helpful to your child, yourself, or your child's teacher to wait until there are only 6 days of school left before summer.

So I was nervous all day at school, and hence extremely unproductive during my planning time and after school time, waiting for the meeting to start.

Another note to parents: Let your child's teacher know what you are upset about. The teacher probably needs time to collect his/her thoughts about what the circumstances were whenever what you are upset about happened. Just like you are, the teacher is human and may not have a perfect memory. (I mean, really, he/she is only responsible for educating a whole room full of students who all have their own personalities, academic strengths and weaknesses, in addition to managing a bajillion random things that make life better/more fun for your child on a daily basis, all while trying to ensure that another little darling doesn't hurt any other little darling emotionally or physically....)

My administrator ROCKS. She let the mom vent a little bit, let the mom rant, and then supported me ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. Even in my controversial decision to not help the child on the graded assignment since he had refused help the day before. She backed up both me and the other administrator about several issues that we thought had been dealt with and put to rest with no consequences to the child more than a month ago.

And then the mom? She thought it would be smart to chime in about how much her adorable, sweet, conniving little angel always begs her to help him with his homework, to do it for him, to let him use a calculator instead of showing his work....And how, once she is sure that he knows what he is supposed to do, SHE WON'T HELP HIM.

She was NOT pleased when I pointed out that I was using the same strategy.

My administrator, smart lady that she is, changed the subject. And she managed to cut the mom off of her rant, since she couldn't let ANY of the previous issues this year go. Even though we had dealt with each and every issue as soon as we knew that they were issues.

After the meeting, I profusely thanked the administrator. I mean, really. She kept me from being rude to this mom, from digging myself into a hole, and from quitting my job.

I'm sure you've heard that most new teachers quit within their first five years? If I didn't have such a great administrator on my side, I would have already joined that statistic, especially with the group of kids I had last year.

Fortunately, I'm still employed.

And I had good (emotional) fuel for a run this afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. That is excellent - I hope I can be that type of administrator!