Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ambush!

I had the wonderful experience of being ambushed by a parent today during my homeroom.

Mrs. Faraway apparently told the front office that she needed to go with her daughter to get something out of her locker. The front office, being short one secretary and dealing with a late bus, didn't think anything of it, poor dears. The locker wasn't the deal...she wanted to argue with me about a few things.

First off, she didn't like the fact that she didn't know what, exactly, we did in my class every day - this despite a weekly email that all my parents get that outline what, exactly, we're doing in class every day. This despite a posting on my website about what, exactly, we're doing in class. This despite my weekly and sometimes daily uploads to www.k12planet.com that let the parents know what, exactly, we're doing in my class.

This is apparently not good enough. In addition, her daughter apparently cannot fill out her agenda with her classwork and homework to let her mother know what she did every day.
Keep in mind this is the girl that has a look on her face as if she's a million miles away and truly doesn't seem to be connected with much of anything that's going on. Mrs. Faraway said that I should know that her daughter has these problems and that if I were a good teacher I would take the time to type out everything I write on the board, especially my classwork and assignments, and hand it to her daughter daily so that it can be stapled in her agenda and sent home.

I am aware that her daughter has these problems, I've read the IEP after all, but no where in there does it say that I have to fill out her agenda for her. Considering that is probably one of the very few things that she actually has to do in my class that involve writing, and doing something on her own, I don't think it's too much to ask that she actually does write in her agenda. After all, she gets a study guide, she gets a copy of all notes, she gets modified tests read to her, she gets copies of all the stuff the other kids write on their foldables so she can simply cut it and glue it on her foldable. In short, she's spoon fed more than any other kid in the school. In the other classes, where there is an inclusion teacher, Mommy expects that teacher to open her book, write in her agenda, and basically babysit her. And it's all because Mommy is a bully who wants us to do everything for her, and at the same time expresses the belief that Faraway Girl can grow and become independent.

Her mother is also incensed that I have the kids trade and grade workbooks, and that some "other child" graded her daughter's workbook (which was, by the way, removed from my room without permission - I don't like them to leave the room because they don't always come back). I think what really upset her is that the workbook was full of X's because, in two days of group work, her daughter actually completed 7 of 28 questions. And this is work that she had help with. In her words, "It's the teacher's responsibility to grade the papers, and you have no business letting children do it for you."

I guess I'm just a meanie who's abusing free labor...and here it is I thought I was using it as a good review tool and a way to grade 130 workbooks in ten minutes...Granted it takes me several hours to then review them and enter them in the gradebook, something Mrs. Faraway didn't want to hear.

The kick was all of this is happening in front of my homeroom class, in front of her daughter, and the kids are standing there with their mouths open. Mr. Social Studies was, thankfully, lurking outside the door in case it got really ugly and he heard most of it. I did point out that Faraway Girl could probably get more done if she quit socializing (she has, after all, discovered boys) and Mommy responded that "I've taken care of that." Really? Last I looked Faraway Girl was busy gawking at the blonde across the room and talking to her lab partner when she should have been FILLING OUT HER FREAKING AGENDA.

I finally drew the line in the sand, told her she really should take her complaints up to the office and schedule a meeting. She said she'd do that, and she left.

I feel sorry for Faraway Girl because this horror of a mother never, ever lets her do anything on her own. She has her so used to people doing things for her that she's lost the skills, if she ever had them, to even open her agenda, fill it out, or complete a worksheet.

I dashed off an email to The Principal letting her know about the ambush, and to give her a heads up.

Her response? A huge apology and the words that we all live to hear..."I've got your back."

5 comments:

Mrs. T said...

What. a. nightmare. I'm so glad your principal backed you up.
I hate encounters like that- and then to turn around and teach your class who has just witnessed that scene?
Grrr.

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

I had that happen once. I told the parent I was teaching and if she would like to make an appointment I would accomodate her, however I could not discuss her child in front of 30 others during time I'm contracted to teach. The parent would not make an appointment and would not leave. I walked to the phone and called the office and explained the situation. While we waited I ignored her and continued with my class. The resource officer and principal showed up to escort her out.

What I don't understand is I'm having more and more parents like this who don't seem to think I actually teach during the day. They just show up, and they all want the same thing.....special accomodations for this child. Children that can do what I ask the to. If we continue to dumb things down we are going to get dumb kids.

Jennie said...

Oh, I feel your pain. It's truly awful to have a parent ambush you at any time--but, in front of a class? She seems to have serious boundary problems. We have two "helicopter" parents in our village who practice morning ambush tactics, and it's very stressful! Good job for staying professional and calm--it's tough sometimes!

flykimmie said...

What's funny is that this girl/student probably needs an individual aide in which the school has denied b/c they are short-sided and have no clue about what it takes to teach a special needs child - as is the case, obviously with this teacher.

I find it disgusting that people commend this teacher on being professional and calm...This disgusting display of childish tantrum throwing is professional?

Obvious NO special needs child should be placed in this teacher's classroom b/c this teacher does not have the patience and educational background to be fair to those with special needs.

If my son were required to write in his agenda, nothing would ever get done BECAUSE HE'S NOT MENTALLY CAPABLE OF DOING SO. Did you ever stop to think that it's above and beyond what this girl can do?

Since we don't have all the facts, just some rant from an unprofessional teacher-all too common-I feel it's really unfair for anyone to comment on the girl's abilities.

If I were the parent, this teacher and school would get a hell of a lot more than me arguing with them. Can we say legal and loss of your job?

How pathetic! Glad this teacher isn't in my school district! I feel genuine sadness for any child/family that has to deal with such a worthless "teacher"...but with times so tough in finding decent educators, districts take what they can get and turn their heads when problems arise.

Anonymous said...

{{HUGS}}FlyKimmie-
Yes, as a special needs childs MOTHER-there is nothing WORSE than the ol CIRCLING THE WAGONS that is clearly going on here. All to familiar.....
I dont think this teacher has any idea what it IS like to have to deal with a WHOLE SYSTEM that doesnt understand what we as special needs families go through each and every day......day in and day out......
Just one suggestion-yeah...Id hold off on that family of yours Mrs Bluebird! Clearly YOU need to be taught just a couple things on tolerance and understanding before you embark on the journey yourself....