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Cried for the first time this year



I've been having problems with a student and I've tried everything. I conferenced with his mom on Monday and thought it went very well. I check my email today and I have nasty email from her. I was shocked! Her son had just finished throwing a tantrum and calling me a liar. She said that she had observed me with my students and said "I'm cold!" She said that his problems did not develop overnight and he's not happy in this year. I emailed her back trying to be as professional as possible saying that I'm not an easy teacher but I'm not cold. (I'm sure you've seen my other posts.) I told her that I have rules, consequences, and high expectations for my students. I told her she may come and observe my classroom. I also mentioned that the problems did not develop overnight that I have documentation from years past. Oh, I wish I could've told her what I really thought! Anyway, this came out of nowhere. I left on my break, sat in my car at a gas station, and cried to my husband on the phone. I felt a little better as the day went on. I'm taking some comfort in the fact that she had a bunch of words misspelled in her email. But why do parents think it's ok to take out their anger on their child's teacher? How is this allowed?


Meet in person

I think it's so much easier for parents to be mean to teachers when it's through email or a note. They usually don't have the guts to be that mean in person. I think you need to meet personally with this woman, and request an administrator to be present. Our administration always encourages us to meet in person with these kinds of issues because email is so easy to misunderstand the tone of, it's a permanent record that can haunt you if you quickly type something without thinking it through, and it can be taken out of context.


angry parent

It sounds like this parent is taking out a lot of anger on you, when she should be more focused on her son's welfare and progress. Whew. I agree with Newbie, that you should meet with her in person with an admistrator present. E-mail or in person, you can't tolerate outbursts and harassment. Call in reinforcements.


notify administration

Print out the parent email and your response and show it to your principal. Tell the principal about Monday's meeting and how it went. Ask the principal to be present for any further meetings with this mom.

If it were me, in the future I would respond with any further emails from this mom with a request that she come in to discuss the matter.


I could write a book about this kind of thing

Hi. I'm in my 7th year of teaching, and although I haven't seen this kind of thing happen in a few years in my experience, I just wanted you to know, you are not alone. I am the "fun" teacher, but have also met with a few "redneck-ish" parents my first couple years of teaching, who liked to look for anyone to blame for their kids behavior, besides their kid. Oh, no, not their "little angel"....that's just proposterous. And, then they give you this look, like you just murdered someone in their family, or something. And, of course, from there, it matters not, if you were nice from the start of the conversation or not, because after that, all they're looking for is a fight...or should I say a bar room brawl. I've been there. Please make sure you have a principal present, when you're dealing with a parent, of a student with behavior problems. I had one parent threaten my job,(reason: her daughter made a "B" and not an "A" in my class) (and the principal literally stood between me and her, because she was inching towards me) (I was 8 months preg. at the time.) AND...I had to place a restraining order against one parent, because she threatened to "get me" after her kid didn't make a group I was the sponsor of.
In other words...been there...done that...all I need is the t-shirt and the complimentary gift mug.

good luck to you, and remember don't meet with them unless a principal can join in, because otherwise, it's your word against theirs.


Had similar woes my first year

It is amazing how abusive some parents can get in e-mails! Last year, I had a mom/dad chew me out over a misunderstanding - then they cc'd it to the principal! (Fortunately, the principal was just of the mind-set that "There's one every year!") Still, I was extremely upset, and did e-mail back trying to clarify things, but I also called, too. I decided that every time I got an angry or emotion-filled e-mail from anyone from then on, I would call instead. When I called, the mom was very civil, even apologetic to me. Rarely do parents have enough guts to be truly rude to you over the phone or in person!

I agree with the others, that if you need to meet again with this mom, insist that an administrator meet with you as well. Document every e-mail and phone call just to CYA, in case something comes back to haunt you!

Lastly, remember that it is not about YOU! Parents like this have other issues and they are taking it out on you, because it is easier that way. Once I realized that the parents I was referring to were not really upset with me, they were just freaked out that their child might have a serious reading problem (he didn't - he was just slightly below grade level), and that they were embarrassed that he wasn't reading as well as his buddies, I understood that they were frustrated and scared - and then it was much easier to deal with these parents. I ended up giving them weekly reports of their son's reading progress, and then I never got another disparaging remark from them again!

Good luck with this situation! I know how upsetting it can be!