Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Parent Phone Calls (And how I hate them)

Goal for the week: Proximity. So far, it hasn't been going that well. I've been having to spend my time controlling a few classes (or rather a few kids in a couple of classes) and that is sucking up my time when I could be walking around and using proximity from stopping problems before they start. I'm a HUGE fan of stopping problems before they start. I hope to eventually be good enough at it to stop most problems before they start.

Today's topic for discussion: involving the parents. I have a student in one of my classes who is a handful. He's intelligent (very) but one of those kids that is a classroom management problem like pulling teeth is painful. I don't think he means to be. Actually, that's a lie. I think he thinks it's funny and he's bored because he's intelligent. He gets done with his work in record time and wants to disturb everyone else in the room by being funny.

I was at my wits end because he was literally making it so that I dreaded one of my classes out of the 6 that I teach. Every class has their ups and downs, but when he was there it was like pulling teeth and when he wasn't there they weren't quite angels but it was infinitely better.

I decided that I needed to involve the parents.

I'm scared of doing this because you never quite know what you're going to get. You could get the type of parents that think that their child could never do anything wrong or you could get a parent that is willing to sit down and listen. I think it's all in how you present things. If you walk in with the attitude that their kid is trash and that you don't want them in your room, then of course the parent is going to get defensive. I think that if you have a relationship ahead of time then it is so much easier. I want to show all the parents that I really do like all of my students and that I want to see them get good grades and have fun in my room. They have to be there, but that's no reason not to have fun and get something out of it in the end. That way, if something does go wrong - they are more willing to work with me.

I need to keep the end goal in mind and tailor how I act in order to get my end goal. I need the kid to behave in class so everyone can work. So I call the parent and talk about how much I like their kid (even if it isn't true at all) but how much they are being disruptive so other people can't work and we can't have that.

End result - parent is confused and on my side. Child gets changed. Win.

Mom always said that sometimes you need to act in order to get what you want. Even if you want to strangle the child - he/she is the most important thing in the world to somebody and that needs to be respected.

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