Year: 1998-1999
Month: October
Leader: Group E

Situation/Case Study:

I’m concerned about this student who is frequently absent. She was gone the first day. She had to have her nose re-broken. Then later she broke her foot. She comes back from absences concerned, but she never follows through by doing anything. She doesn’t use the advisory time she has for makeup work. Her parents did not show up for conferences. But I heard from her mom later. She had called the school eight times trying to get me out of class to talk to her. She was upset that I expected the girl to stay after school to take her test. She hung up on me when I suggested the girl not miss so much school. Before hanging up she said that every year there was one teacher who got it in for her daughter. The mom really talked down to me. Today a sealed note came from the mom saying the girl was not to take her makeup test during advisory time, even though the girl had volunteered to take it then. Later she came to the school and demanded to see me. She directed us toward the lounge room that was empty. I was alone with her. The mom covered for the girl, then the poor communication between the mother and daughter became apparent. I suggested that maybe the girl could get a tutor. The mom said they had tried that and it didn’t help. I suggested the girl join the after school homework club and the mom said she didn’t want the girl staying after school. I said I would print out her grades to send home and that I wanted a plan back from her about how she would get the projects done (I’m mad that I broke down and allowed her to do the makeup work that was way late). I think it was disrespectful the way the parent dealt with me. I’m angry that I’m seen as the one creating the problem. I’m mad that the mother took my team planning time and my paper correction time. I’m frustrated by this mom and daughter. I didn’t get to set the boundaries on the meeting and being alone with the parent was not a good way to have a meeting with an angry parent. No one checked on me. I’m frustrated by student absence and I wonder how they are going to effect the graduation rules.

an event might feel frustrated because she may feel that such behavior is a reflection on her teaching style. A teacher might feel incompetent because she feels that they can not resolve the situation. She might also feel angry because the behavior is disrupting the learning of others as so much attention is directed at this one student. The teacher is also conflicted because she is dealing with issues outside of school and does not know where to draw the boundaries of who is right/wrong. A teacher in such an event might feel betrayed by the student because she was not communicating with the parents and the teacher has been doing what she should be doing. She might feel backed into a corner and pressured since the meeting was not planned. A teacher in such an event might feel alone on an island wondering if anyone else has ever had to deal with such a problem. Wondering where is the support of staff or administrators? Wondering what is best for the student, for the teacher, for the rest of the class. A teacher in such an event might feel like she needs a whole new play book and priorities by which to deal with such a situation. A teacher might feel frustrated because she had attempted to accommodate the student but the student didn’t do her part. A teacher in such an event might feel angry she had been the teacher singled out by the parent. She might feel pressured by being put on the spot to deal with the situation and have to lose her prep time and feel conflicted while accommodating the student’s special medical needs while also trying to maintain fair, consistent guidelines for all students. She might feel angry because she feels she is doing all she can to help this student. A teacher in such an event might feel helpless because she was put in a pressure filled situation with no warning. She might feel locked in a box because there is already so much anger out there that it doesn’t matter what she does. She might feel mad that she is the only one who really has to deal with it; feel pressured to do what she feels is correct; and feel sometimes you are forced to make decisions that have no clear cut right/wrong.

Theories behind practice:
Helping students. Time on Task/Repetition. Parent Relations. Displacement. Communication Theory. Who is My Client. Absent Students. Grad Standards. Avoidance. Counselor Role of Teacher.

Impact on others:

Try to show more empathy. Try to use "This is my job, this is your job" statements to girl and mother. Don't go in room alone with a parent. Consider using a staffing meeting with team members and the parent.