Year: 1996-1997
Month: October
Leader: Group A

Situation/Case Study:
STUDENT/TEACHER/FAMILY ISSUE

Description:
The situation chosen by the group was the handling of the disruptive boy in 6th grade art. As a punishment, the class was asked to put away the art materials and spend the class period with their heads down. One boy continued to be disruptive so the teacher took the hand of the student and walked him down to the principal's office. His mother sent a brief and confrontational note after the incident. She felt her son was "pulled" down to the office and that the teacher's directions were not very clear. Since this incident, student's behavior has improved.

Hypotheses:
I think the teacher in this situation felt frustrated and hurt. He is trying to do his best and this disruptive student is being disrespectful and giving his parent the incorrect message of what happened. If a parent sends a note to the teacher like this, the teacher may feel frustrated because the parent is not supportive. The teacher may feel frustrated because he provided the student with several warnings. The teacher may feel frustrated because it was an attack on him. A teacher in such a situation might feel frustrated because she/he is not comfortable with the feeling of having to defend himself/herself in front of an angry parent, especially when he/she felt the situation could be interpreted differently by different people. A teacher in this situation may feel frustrated because in dealing with a situation that needed immediate attention, a choice was made to escort a student. But, the teacher was judged by the parent solely on the student's side of the event. A teacher in this situation might feel frustrated because he did not feel supported by the parent in this difficult situation. A teacher in this situation might feel overwhelmed with trying to follow through on behavioral concerns because of the number of students he services. A teacher may feel frustrated in this situation because of lack of parental support because their child could not be wrong. A teacher may feel frustrated because the issue of the child's inappropriate behavior was being hidden because the parent focused on "how" the child got to the office and not why! A teacher in this situation would feel frustrated and angry because the situation may not have truthfully been explained to the parent and the parent in turn lashed out at the teacher with a caustic note that once again angered and upset the teacher.

Theories behind practice:


Impact on others:


Solutions:
Call parent. By talking person-to-person, the message is clearer. Since the student's behavior has improved, the teacher could start the phone conversation on a positive note and then, go into the past. When facing a similar situation, call the office and have them help. Each school seems to have a team in place. The student needed to be dealt with immediately. The teacher escorted the student to the office in order to let the principal know what was going on, but realizes that he could have called the office. "I'm a parent, too." Children need to learn respect. Remember to always have compassion, even in the worst situation. There is a reason why children do things. Before we jump on kids, maybe we need to find out what's been going on. Call the parent and state that you want to work as a team to have a good yearly experience. I do have expectations and respect is at the top of the list. View Lee Cantor's video, How to Deal with Difficult Parents. Maybe there needs to be compassion for the parent. Parent wants the best for his/her child. It is more difficult for the specialist to deal with students and parents. The parent did acknowledge student's behavior with a note.

Comments:
Participants were eager to offer suggestions from their own practice and from workshops.