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thread: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    SE Melbourne

    Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    Last week, I had my first parent teacher interview for my youngest DD Hayley who is in Grade 3. This is the first time I have ever met her teacher and I have to say that I was totally unimpressed! We went over her report and she pointed out the area that Hayley was below standard, which is Maths, apparently, I need to make more of an effort to catch her up in this area. I need to be working with her on her tables and other things and then she went on to tell me how to teach her properly....well, sorry that doesn't fly with me! If she hasn't learnt it from their way of teaching her, then perhaps their way isn't right for my child, which I politely pointed out and maybe I should try something different. She was insistent that I teach her their way! Whatever!!!
    Next we moved onto reading. Hayley is well above where she should be in reading, but apparently she isn't reading the books that they want her to. She should have read 12 books by this stage and has only read 5 and her comprehension wasn't at the required 85%, she was only at 84%, she was worrying about 1 damn %, seriously??? I told her that it was only 1% and I wasn't worried about it at all. I agreed to make sure that Hayley read the correct books from now on!
    She then tells me that at the start of term Hayley and her best friend got in a lot of trouble, spent a lot of time in the principals office for being naughty. Things like throwing wet toilet paper in the toilets, and throwing wet sand at flyscreens, and blocking sinks with mud! I am totally shocked as I haven't heard anything about this at all! She tells me that they realise that Hayley was just the follower not the instigator and that they dealt with it at school, the other girls parents were called in and spoken to, and that the girls are no longer allowed to play together at all! I haven't heard anything at all about this, and if I had known this, Hayley would not have gone over to this girls place for a sleepover a couple of weeks ago! She said I really need to discourage this friendship! Well, perhaps the school need to keep me informed so that I know about these things!

    She then tells me that even though I work, I need to spend more time with my child. I need to help her more with her homework and make sure that she is getting everything done that she needs to! I need to give her more one on one time, especially to help her with her maths!

    So, anyway, I walked out of there, feeling like I was a total failure as a mother and I had let my DD down. It wasn't until I had sat down at home with a coffee that I realised that this teacher had not said one positive thing about DD, not a single thing. Everything was negative and I have never had an interview like that before, ever! Surely there is something good that my DD does? I know there is! She has improved in so much according to her report, and she is reading 2 years ahead of where she should be, but that wasn't even mentioned!

    I am really upset that there is such a lack of communication from the school to me, we have a communication book that she could use at any time but she is choosing not to use it! I would have assumed if there were problems she would have written a note in it for me but there has been nothing!

    So now I just have to work really hard with DD on all this stuff! Even though this teacher made it seem like I am an absent parent all the time! I work mostly school hours so that I am home for DD!

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2007
    Middle Victoria

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    is she an experienced teacher? a parent?

    i would be tossing up whether to ask some other parents with kids in the same class how their interviews went, or to talk to a coordinator/principal.

    what s your gut instinct? does she have valid points but is a poor communicator OR is she misguided in her assessment?

  3. #3
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2007

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    What does your daughter say? How does she feel about her teacher?
    Is it worth seeing if you can speak with her teacher again and address your concerns? Or a welfare coordinator?
    At the very least I'd be checking in with the principal as to why you weren't told about your dd's bestie

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Feb 2006

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    Can I ask why you haven't gone to school to meet her before this interview?
    I understand you work, but I'd never leave it 6 months to meet my child's teacher, communication goes both ways, if you can't get to school then simply emailing or ringing her monthly would be advisable, she may be frustrated that she's never met you.
    Schooling doesn't stop at the school gate, it continues at home.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Sep 2008

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    I totally agree that schooling doesn't stop at the school gate - but unless problems had been indicated (and seeing as isn't first year at school either) it would never occur to me to contact the school - let alone email or ring every month (I asked DH and he agreed with me), and if I was a teacher the last thing I would want is parents contacting all the time - I would want to have that time to communicate with the students that really needed the extra support so I could have that time to contact their parents, or to focus on actual teaching.

    A teacher being frustrated that has never met the parent - well why not use the communication book to prompt the contact.

    Communicating is a two way thing - but it should always be initiated by the party who actually knows there is a problem (e.g. the teacher), a system where this is not the case is always going to disadvantage those children who don't have a focus on education at home (I am not referring to Dinky here but in general).

    Dinky - Personally I would also be upset at the way it has been handled - starting with the lack of use of the communication book, you should have also been informed about the problems with your DD and her friend - even if she was the follower.

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Feb 2006

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    See IMO school doesn't really work like that! Email communication isn't just for when there is a problem or your child needs extra support, believe me your opinion will probably change once you have children in school.
    Would you not meet your child's teacher? Would you not bother to check in with a teacher in a whole 6 months?
    Would you bother to make sure your child was happy and settled in school? Kids don't always tell parents what's going on, hence the need for parents to communicate. If you can't communicate it teaches the child not to communicate and that you don't value it.

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Sep 2008

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    In all honestly, if there was a communication book, and I didn't happen to bump into teacher at all, I would be totally happy not meeting the teacher (after foundation year). Yes these days we have email, but should we be using it for 'check in' communications I am not sure, teachers are under alot of pressure these days and I am not sure that it is a valuable use of time (this is based on some conversations with teacher friends also).

    So my daughter is her 3rd year at childcare (4yr old kindy now), have I bothered to check with them she is happy and settled - no I haven't, I can see it and I trust that childcare would be in touch if there was an issue, we have parent teacher interview coming up.

    If school doesn't work like that and unless you 'check in' all the time, you won't know what is going on - then school isn't set up right in my opinion. Why wouldn't it work like that? If there is something parents need to know then school get in touch with parents, or vice versa, why should it be the parents who need to iniate it, it is a two way street like you say.

  8. #8
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2008

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    I'm just going to make an observation here about communication in schools in general (which is some what uneducated because I don't have any at school yet).....I get the feeling that probably in the past (when I was in school) the teacher/parent communication was much more formal, and probably minimal i.e. only if there was a problem, or at formal interviews. I feel like the OP is describing a teacher that is more comfortable with this approach, maybe a bit of a traditionalist who likes their numbers, charts, strict lesson plans and methods of teaching and maybe likes hiding behind them.
    I think a modern school environment is much more collaborative between teachers and parents, keeping in touch more often and dealing with things early on before they get to a 'formal discussion when there is a problem' stage. Lots more communication of a regular basis even if there isn't a problem. Much more like a team effort. So yes, check in emails/calls/notes and the like.

    I think the disparity coming through in this thread is a bit about different peoples experiences with different era's of schools and parent teacher communication.

    As for the original post, I think I would have been pretty unimpressed if I had of had an interview like that. Not giving any kind of feedback to you about the bad behaviour choices doesn't sound right to me, even it she wasn't the instigator I think it was probably a good opportunity for you both to talk about it all and her to learn about appropriate/inappropriate behaviour and good and bad choices and what things she could have done instead of following the crowd i.e. talk to a teacher, talk to you, talk to another staff member of the school, work out a plan of dealing with it etc.
    But I think to make the best of a bad situation, it may be time to be in a bit closer communication with her teacher throughout the year so when it comes to an interview this information isn't coming as a surprise. The teacher may not be your cup of tea (and I don't think she would be mine either) but you may need to find a way of working with her old school approach so you can work together to iron out the bumps.

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Sep 2008
    Gold Coast

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    I would expect the teacher to notify me if my my child had been sent to the principals office for any reason.
    I would also expect the teacher to notify me if my child was falling behind in any areas.
    I will be making the effort to meet and introduce myself to my child's teacher at the start of every year, I will also make it clear to them that I expect to be notified of any issues outside the ordinary.
    Then I will let them get on with their job. I shouldn't need to micro manage every step of the process.
    I would be very grumpy to arrive at a parent teacher interview and find out my child at been having issues and this was the first I heard of it. I would be going back to the teacher and requesting another interview. One where you both end up on the same page with a solution to helping you child move forward.

  10. #10
    Nothing like a cuddle from DD after a hard day's work!

    Oct 2007
    in my own world

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    I would be really upset too if this was the first time I have heard about the issues.

    I definitely think the teacher should have emailed you or rang you and spoke about the situation when it was happening.

    I think as soon as a principal gets involved then the parents should absolutely know.

    Did she mention anything about the situation to you or your dh? About her and her friends not allowing to play with each other anymore?

    Maybe let her know that she needs to tell mummy the good and the bad at school.

    I know when i ask my dd about school she usually answers with one word "good". So i usually have to break it down with more specific questions who did you play with today? What was your fav thing about school? Least fave?

    Huge hugs hope you sort it out.

  11. #11
    Registered User

    Jan 2006

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    I'm sensing a lot of judgement on working parents. I not only don't get to be a playground glitterati mummy, I drop Liebs at school before his teacher gets in and pick him up after she has gone. Yet I trust her to do her job without having to email her weekly. Or introduce myself. Or pester her at the shops. Or via her friend's brother that I know from church. Or whatever else the glitterati are doing.

    And because she is a professional, we met before parents' evening to discuss problems Liebs was having. Otherwise, I wouldn't have met her for months and wouldn't see how that was a negative thing. If Liebs is happy, I am happy. We talk about his learning, but often he "doesn't remember" and that's ok.

    I think you working is what works for your family. I think this teacher is the problem, not your job. And if the school does not have regular meetings on "how to teach your child (cos that's not our job)" that you can attend, you shouldn't be told off for not doing the teacher's job. Ffs, I'm a teacher and won't teach Liebs his school stuff: I am not trained for those skills and that age range.

    Anyway, the teacher is at fault here and I would write to her and the head about the bad surprise that was sprung on you, as well as the negative attitude.

  12. #12
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2010
    Land of Dreams

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    Hugs, I'd be mighty peeved at everything that went on in the interview, too. I sense your school is similar to the one my eldest 3 attend. Almost feels as if you're on a 'need to know' basis, and you didn't need to know of any issues... Until now, due to reports?

    Week 2 of the school year we have a meet the teacher/parent night, just to address any issues with the teacher s/he may need to know about and vice versa. My DD2 had been telling stories that were very upsetting to me. It was taken to the principals office, and until this night, never told to me (and the stories were about my existence). I was so angry, the next day I spoke with the principal and demanded I be called should anything happen again.

    Now, 2 weeks ago we had parent teacher interviews, like yourself due to reports. DD2 (grade 1) was struggling in class and I had no idea. She never speaks up and I thought she was going super well. 6 months into the school year and not once did her teacher say she wasn't coping. Furious again!! I'm now expected to pick up the slack at home. Whilst I don't mind, I send my kids, to school to be taught by a trained professional.

    As as for a PP comment of calling or emailing, works for some teachers/schools, but not ours. No messages get passed on, calls aren't returned, teachers don't give out their addresses. All communication is done by booked interviews that suits the teacher. If I have an issue, I have to write a letter, they read it, then teacher contacts me.

    I really really hate the school

    If I was you, I'd be trying to arrange a meeting with the teacher + principal, after the holidays and bring up all your concerns and feelings

  13. #13

    Jun 2010
    District Twelve

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    My child is ultimately my responsibility. It's up to me to take the initiative to make sure she is happy and progressing in her learning at school.

    To me, children's education (this includes learning and socialisation) is a partnership. It doesn't begin and end at school. Both teachers and parents (and the kids too for that matter!) should be working together to achieve the best outcomes for the child. I honestly can't imagine not having a working relationship/partnership with my child's teacher. It would never even cross my mind not to meet them within the first couple of weeks of the school year.

    I am a working parent. I have always been a working parent. But nothing is more important to me than my child's education. If I worked every single hour the school was open I would either fake a sickie to go into the school and meet the teacher, or phone the teacher to introduce myself and establish lines of communication. At the absolute least, I would email or write a note.

    After all, why should my child be interested in her education if I can't even go and introduce myself to her teacher?? What message does that send about how much I value the importance of her time spent at school? How otherwise does she know I care about what she is doing with the bulk of her time?

    Olive is totally correct. This is how schools work. Even secondary schools. Parental involvement is paramount to successful education.

  14. #14
    2014 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.

    Feb 2012
    Melbourne , Victoria

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    Hugs Dinky.
    It sounds like this teacher has an agenda and is full of unnecessary judgement.
    Has she not heard of a feedback sandwich???
    I recon meet with the principal ASAP.

  15. #15
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Sep 2008

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    Working parent or non-working parent is completely irrelevant. This thread is not about (in my mind) parents not wanting to be involved – it is about a school not involving the parent. It is the school which has not fulfilled its role in the partnership, not the parent. The school has a communication book – it hasn’t used it. I assume the school hasn’t defined how it wants its working relationship/partnership to work as “parents must visit the teacher or email or phone on a monthly basis to track the progress of their child” - (I would be very surprised if any school explicitly said this as most teachers I know wouldn’t want 24 parents emailing or phoning them on a monthly basis just to check everything is going smoothly) . By having a communication book the school has defined some of the terms of the working relationship/partnership, but has then failed to use it (I might suspect that somewhere the school has defined the terms of use of the communication book) – the original poster hasn’t not followed up on things they have been notified about (that would suggest a lack of parental involvement), they have never been told.

    Say the OP had emailed after 6 weeks, and only at that point been told about issues with the friend and the principle during week 1 at that point – would that have been acceptable – no, the school should be communicating with the parent at the appropriate time.

    If this is how schools work – then the school should define this e.g. “parents must visit the teacher or email or phone on a monthly basis to track the progress of their child, and find out about any issues that are occurring, it is up to the parent to contact the school, the school will only provide information on issues once/twice a year at the designated parent/teacher interviews”.

    It is a perfectly reasonable assumption for a parent to make, that if there is nothing in the communication book, and their child has not voiced any issues that everything is fine – and if that is not the case then a school should be explicitly stating what is required of a parent in terms of getting in touch with the school (do people really think it is fine for a school to not inform parents that this is what they need to do, what about those who have arrived new in the country and are used to different schooling systems, those who are less educated, it is hardly an equitable system where children of parents who "check in" at the school all the time get the most out of the system). A lack of parents chasing up the school all the time does not equate to a lack of parental involvement – and I think is extremely unfair to suggest it does.

    After all, why should my child be interested in her education if I can't even go and introduce myself to her teacher?? What message does that send about how much I value the importance of her time spent at school? How otherwise does she know I care about what she is doing with the bulk of her time?
    If my child decided how much I value their education, based on how often I interacted with their teacher (via email, phone or in person) or made any judgements about how much other parents value their kids education based on how frequently their parents see the teacher etc. I would think I have not done a great job as a parent, what is important is what you do with the info you are given, how you react and move forward not the method by which you request it.

    It is a very sad state of affairs if teachers are judging parents and their view about their child’s education based on whether the parents are “checking in”, but if that is the way it is – then let the schools state that explicitly – I suspect confronted with all parents “checking in” in all the time (as most parents do want to be involved in their children’s education, and will do "check in" it if it is defined how the interaction should happen) – then suddenly using a communication book, or just notifying parents to come in for a chat etc. when it is appropriate will seem like a far more attractive proposition and better use of time.

  16. #16
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Dec 2007

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    Wysiwyg, just wondering about the communication book you are referring to? I am envisaging the book at daycare where you are told of the days happenings..

    However I too would be upset if this was the first I heard of any issues. I personally do get to my child's school as I don't work f/t, however I have friends at the same school that can't get there in school hrs, and all have had contact from teachers for various things. So I don't think them contacting you is too much.

    I would suggest having another meeting with the teacher and escalating it if you are not satisfied after the next meeting.

  17. #17
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2006
    Adelaide, SA

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    I can not believe there are parents out there who think it's perfectly acceptable to not communicate with, or even meet with the person who is in charge of your child and their well being for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week... I honestly don't understand it.

  18. #18

    Oct 2004
    In my Zombie proof fortress.

    Re: Disappointing Parent Teacher Interview

    Our school has now started Interviews at the start of the year so parents and teachers can meet. There was the opportunity to discusses various expectations and how the teacher works (communication books, folder, newsletters)

    It was started as it had been noted, by both parents and teachers, that a large number parents did not get to meet the teacher till the mid year interviews.
    Initially I thought it was odd, but really did find it helpful.

    It might be something to suggest to the school for future years.

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