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Problems w/ Parents- PLEASE HELP!



I could really use advice regarding the following situations:

a) A parent came to school requesting that her daughter be removed from my class because I had not met her needs. The parent claimed that I failed to provide a sound and secure emotional environment for her daughter.

b) The students refuse to sit next to a particular female student because she has hygiene problems. However, the student's parents are claiming that the students and I are prejudiced against people from their country.

c) Another student's parents reported me to the principal for harassing their daughter. At the meeting with the principal, everyone spoke in Spanish, and I had no idea what was going on.

Please give me advice on how to cope with these issues. I am a 1st year teacher and I am very overwhelmed.



I'm so sorry for your situation, You can get through it.

For problem a) have a meeting with parent and principal. The parent does not deserve what i'm about to say, but i think it's the only way for you to come out on top:
Say that you feel terrible that this parent is under the impression you are not being supportive of his/her child. Say how much you have enjoyed working with him/her...give a specific good quality of the kid.....Say that you understand how important it is for this child to be in a supportive environment. Give an example or two of how you've done this and say that you are open to all feedback and suggestions, that you really want to make this work.

For problem b) try to get the advice and help from the school nurse.

For problem c) tell the principal how important it is for you to make yourclassroom the best possible place. Thank the principal for meeting with you and the parent. Ask the principal to tell you what the parent said as you don't know Spanish.

Good luck! You can get through.....


Senior Member
Hope this might help

1. Insist that the principal gets and interpeter or interperts fopr you. You should be able to have your concerns expressed in Spanish ,and the parents need to know that you understand their concerns.

2. I ,like the previous poster, suggest the nurse handle that issue with the child and parents.

3. I saved the most alarming for last. Meet with this parent and child with the principal. Sometimes the kid will tell parents things that are happening at lunch or recess while you are not there to suprevise. Other times the kid or the parent have an axe to grind over issues that are home based but blames on teachers because we are the new fall guys. Be sure where and when things are happening. I think child should be there so child knows that everyone is on the same page.
Hang in there. :)


Full Member
Parents Requesting Transfers

I would say to parent a, I'm really sorry that you don't feel that my class is meeting your child's emotional needs. I certainly hope that you will find a better fit with your child's new teacher.

I know it is harsh, but not every teacher and child are a good match. You don't want a parent in your classroom (especially the first year) who is going to make your life any harder than it already is. This is not your failing and I would probably take the time to explain to your principal what you did to try and meet that child's needs, but ultimately, parents will do and think what parents do and think.

I had a child removed from my classroom my first year because he had behavior problems I couldn't deal with. At the time I was devastated and felt I had failed the child. In retrospect, he really just needed to be out of my room. Our battling was bad for the entire class. I just didn't know how to ask for what we needed.

I agree with the rest of the responses that tell you to discuss problem B with the nurse. I would also agree that you should request a translator if you are required to sit in meetings that are held in Spanish.

It is difficult to negotiate cultural differences. I am a white teacher in a school where over 95% of the students are black. I am blessed with teachers who respond to my questions generously and try to stop me before I make any serious mistakes.

Good luck and don't give up. :o


Senior Member
the situations

Regarding situation #1, let the parent move the child. It won't cost you anything. I know this sounds kind of flippant, but I had the same situation occur in my classroom one year. I just let the child go, and both of us were happy. Also, she might also find out that the other teacher doesn't "meet her needs," either, but you can only smile and say to yourself "I told you so."

#2: Turn the issue over to your school's nurse. Hearing it from more than one person might help, especially from a health professional. Body odor is a sign of poor hygiene and possible disease carrying.

#3: It was rude of those people to speak at the meeting and exclude you. The next time such a meeting occurs, insist that the meeting be conducted in English, with an interpreter to help the Spanish-speaking parents. Be firm in saying that you will not participate unless the meeting is conducted in English. You are the teacher, an English-speaking one at that, and they should let the meeting be conducted in English with the parent being filled in on what's going on, not the reverse. This is not Mexico (sorry, I don't mean to offend anybody), but the United States. English is the norm here, not Spanish.

Being a first-year teacher is tough, because people will try to take advantage of you. Once you are in your second year, I believe that you will have more respect from not only the educational community, but also the parents.


Senior Member
For situation A, I would want to meet with the parents and principal to discuss exactly what happened. Maybe it's a misunderstanding. Also, parents sometimes make claims that are untrue, and they might back down in front of a principal. I would think that switching teachers this late in the year might be hard on the child. If they are firm on moving, go ahead and give in because it might be more trouble than it's worth.

Situation B - Fill your principal in on what's going on, since the parents are making claims of prejudice. Then call on the nurse to help you out.

Situation C - Ask the principal for a written report on what was said at the conference. All of our teachers have to fill out a conference sheet when we meet with the parents, and you need to know what was said. Request that all future meetings be in English but with a Spanish translator for the parents. I agree that this is the U.S., and the teachers here speak English. We should not cater to their lack of English by enabling them even more. If your school continues to have conferences in Spanish, they are not only alienating the teachers, but providing no reason for families to learn English.


Senior Member
You poor thing.

I am so sorry, I have had a few parents request transfers but it always ended up being about them not being catered to and not the child.
I would let the child go. The class needs your attention and walking on egg shells will not help anyone. I would meet with principal and discuss these issues and express concern about the meeting not being held in a language you are fluently speaking. I think that was unfair. I would ask the nurse about the hygiene issues. Maybe another voice expressing the norm for the community would help. Good luck to you.


Senior Member

I agree with the others, you don't need this esp. your first year.
Can you say "adios"? They were rude speaking in Spanish when they knew you wouldn't understand. The parents might be the prejudiced ones.


New Member
I agree to a certain point...

I agree that there should have been an interpreter there for the meeting, but I then think just how many times we do the same thing to Hispanic parents. We conduct the meetings in English and they have no idea what we are talking about, unless their child interprets for them.



No advice, exactly, just a caveat. Regarding situation b: I don't know what country the family is from, but be a little careful as this could be a cultural issue. There are different norms for different cultures and they may feel they are doing as they should and criticism would therefore feel like prejudice.


Full Member

I agree with pizwit. It is true that we do this parents of other languages constantly and there is no reason that we, as professionals, can't bear the burden once in a while. Particularly since parents from other cultures are already on the defensive in a school where they can't understand the language and with a problem they can't readily communicate. I think it is fair that the meeting be conducted in Spanish as a kindness to non-English speaking parents, if:

1. You are provided with an interpreter and time is taken to assure that you understand the content of the meeting.

2. Written products are translated for you, or for the parent.

3. Real communication happens. Honestly, if there is a concern about your class, you need to participate in the discussion actively to resolve it. And so do the parents.

4. There is a plan for follow-up resources for you to use to communicate with the parents.

Personally, I wouldn't sit in a meeting where I couldn't participate and was being held responsible for the outcome. This does need to be addressed with your administrator.

Good luck.