Hailing Fellow Teachers, How Do You...?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 30, 2009 2:18 PM GMT
    How do you keep yourself motivated to stay in this profession?

    I've been teaching 3rd grade since starting graduate school, I absolutely adore my kids, but am sometimes at a loss with derelict parents.

    How do you balance your love for teaching, children, and educational-theory with parents who blatantly disrespect/make your job more difficult?
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    Nov 30, 2009 2:35 PM GMT
    I'm not a teacher, nor am I planning to be one, but from experience the really good teachers had the greatest impact on me. With you as their teacher, at least they don't have derelict parents and a derelict teacher. Besides, there are difficult people like this everywhere. Would you rather put up with it in a job that you don't nearly enjoy as much?
  • kietkat

    Posts: 342

    Nov 30, 2009 3:08 PM GMT
    This is definitely the MAIN reason why I teach college students... don't have to deal with over-zealous parents or PTA lol. It's a shame that some parents interfere rather than be constructive with the teachers; they're just making it hard for everyone including their own kids. You won't believe it but even in college some parents even have the nerve to contact me when their kid fails an exam icon_rolleyes.gif.
  • Stephan

    Posts: 407

    Nov 30, 2009 7:07 PM GMT
    Its hard to deal with the parents at times, but I always explain to them how important it is for them to be involved in their child's life.
    Explain to them that by help them at home helps them to greater potential in school.
    I always ask the parents how much involvement they are committing to their child because I do have to focus on all 25 kids that are in my classroom.
    I also teach third grade and also working on my master's in Ed. It can be tough but you will find ways of dealing with these parents. Ask help from your principal or other teachers to give you advice on what they do in those situations.

    Hope this helps~icon_wink.gif
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    Nov 30, 2009 7:32 PM GMT
    It's disturbing to see what priority parents give their children's education. I feel for you guys. As a parent who has been to back-to-school night and had 6 kids out of 30+ represented, I know the apathy. The child loses all around, the teacher loses through frustration and the parents lose by failing their children. The best you can do is to encourage the child to keep running the race and keep presenting fun and challenging ways for them to learn and maintain the desire to learn. Forget the parents as much as you can and work to build a cohesive classroom that works well together and challenges one another. Whatever you do, you have to make it fun for the age group. And, as a parent, the number one priority of all teachers should be to ensure that the children can read! READ, READ, READ. It won't happen at home unfortunately but the more they can read at school, the better they will be in the long run. Upper class teachers will thank you profusely! The main building block of learning, in my opinion, is learning how to read.

    Good luck guys! I could NOT do your job in a million years and have a great deal of respect and admiration for what you do.
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    Nov 30, 2009 7:52 PM GMT
    I myself am not a teacher however when school is done i hope to be. However my mom has been a teacher for almost 15 years now at an elementary school in my home town. this school though is in the particularly rougher part of our town, aka rednecks, white trash, etc etc. a lot of the kids themselves aren't bad but like you're saying the parents make the job that much harder b/c a child being successful in school requires effort and work and support at home from the parents and family too. however these parents are rather counteractive to this effort. I've heard tons of horror stories from my frustrated mom about idiot parents at her school. she just says she tries to do her best to remember who she is there for, the kids. she just tries to remember how hard the kids work and how willing and excited they are to learn, even if their parents aren't as into it. give that a try and good luck I guess
  • joxguy

    Posts: 236

    Nov 30, 2009 7:54 PM GMT
    I was in the profession for 32 years. I taught high school, was a vice principal, principal, superintendent, and ended my career as a principal of an alternative high school of high risk kids.

    Most of the kids in my last school were from parents who just didn't know how to parent. So in your case, remember it is not your job to be the kids’ parent. You should be a good adult role model. Show the kids you care. Teach across the board-which means teach them the curriculum, but also teaching them appropriate manners etc. The big thing with the students that you teach is to teach them the love of reading.

    Get them to enjoy reading and they can over come bad, stupid, uninvolved parents. I know that you know this but let me remind you, how successful a kid will be in school is set in the foundation of grades one through three. You have an important job, do your best. Lift up those who are ignored. Push those who seem lazy, finally remember you can't save them all, but what the fuck, it doesn't hurt to try.
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    Nov 30, 2009 8:20 PM GMT
    As someone new to the profession, I'm having trouble staying motivated in looking for work during this time of major cut backs. I enjoy teaching and working with students, but will probably have to look for work else where.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Nov 30, 2009 9:13 PM GMT
    I found that I have to surround myself with the things that make me most proud of teaching-- notes of thanks, hard work from students I pushed beyond the capabilities they realized they had, etc.... Sometimes you just need a reminder that you're doing something great.
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    Nov 30, 2009 10:11 PM GMT
    I started teaching high school at age 21. I was hired during my student teaching due to the teacher who had my job before me having a relationship with a student. There were a LOT of struggles to be taken seriously on all sides so I hope that my experiences can help you out. There was a major shift in education somewhere along the way and many of us have struggled to stay motivated on this side of the shift. I dunno about you but when i was in school, if the teacher called and it wasn't a good conversation I was screwed. My parents and the teachers were the home team and I, the student, was visitor. Now I can't tell you how many parents team up with their kids to defend some of the most blatantly ridiculous claims. Some of my favorites include "The homework takes too long" when it's 5 questions and "you can't say that to my child" over comments like "you aren't trying" "stop cheating" and a host of other crazy things.

    For me I had to shift my focus in the classroom to something beyond pure curriculum. Your job is to create an environment of success and a deep understanding of how to achieve it for the students not the parents. I shifted the focus towards character based education. I made students of all ages learn about their own roles in the successes and failures and made sure that my classroom policies supported and praised attitude over aptitude. Say I've got a parent who doesn't help their kid with homework. I tell the child they are responsible for getting through the assignment and writing down their questions for any problems they had trouble with. As long as those requirements are met it shows me that the student is trying and I can answer any questions in class or after school. Their effort and commitment to learning allows me to make sure they get the help they need without focusing on the parents role or responsibilities. Also keep flawless records of interactions with parents and students so that, should the need arise you have data supporting your position on student development, lack of effort or parent role in student successes and failures. That's a good place to start.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 30, 2009 10:20 PM GMT
    Thank the lord for our teachers - you all do a great job given the challenges of today. I'm not a teacher but do have two sisters who are.

    Please don't get me started on the issue of parental involvement (or lack thereof) in a child's education. icon_evil.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 30, 2009 10:57 PM GMT
    Let it go and move forward.

    Some people are just suffering so much, they take their pain out on other people and when I view it in this way, I just feel sorry for them.

    Seeing people in this direction helps you not take it so personally.

    guhd luck.
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    Nov 30, 2009 10:59 PM GMT
    theantijock saidI'm just curious, when learning in college how to teach, before you have so much life experience, is there coursework specifically targeted towards dealing with their parents?


    My classes talked a bit about how to work with parents but in my experience successful teachers tend to have a bit more insight into how to teach and how to deal with parents than their life experience should allow for. Also remember we've been with teachers a HUGE portion of our lives. We've been observing educational methodologies (both successful and unsuccessful) for all of that time. It's a well of wisdom to draw from.

    My first day as a teacher I went to cafeteria duty. A table of 6 guys where throwing french fries at each other and the new freshmen. I went over and told them to stop and asked who threw the fries. They looked around smiling thinking they had gotten away with it. My solution? I told them that 4 out of the 6 had detention and they had until the end of the period to tell me which 4 were going to serve it. They started pointing fingers and trying to get out of it. I walked away and by the end the 4 who were serving it walked up to me. I called their parents and explained the situation and they thought it was not only fair, but brilliant. Instinct counts for a LOT.
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    Nov 30, 2009 11:59 PM GMT
    I teach for the kids, not the parents. They have absolutely no clue how things work and what it means to be a GOOD teacher. The people who most appreciate me in this profession are parents who are current or former teachers.

    Parents are definitely the worst, but as a teacher you look passed it "for the students". After a certain point it is unbearable, but keep trucking along. There have been countless others who have dealt with worse, that is what I tell myself. It's the success stories that shape your methodology not the horror.
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    Dec 01, 2009 12:07 AM GMT
    Thanks for the input folks.

    I'm wondering if my problem is unique to my area. I work at a Title I school (low income, poor socioeconomic conditions, etc) and often see parents in and out of jail, jobs, and the like.

    Eeek
  • nadaquever_rm

    Posts: 139

    Dec 01, 2009 12:07 AM GMT
    Take a deep breath, close the door, and teach the hell out of those kids.

    Also, spend one entire day per week doing absolutely nothing related to teaching.icon_biggrin.gif
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    Dec 01, 2009 12:08 AM GMT
    ucla_matta saidThanks for the input folks.

    I'm wondering if my problem is unique to my area. I work at a Title I school (low income, poor socioeconomic conditions, etc) and often see parents in and out of jail, jobs, and the like.

    Eeek


    I might be teaching next year. I wonder what it'll be like. Hopefully not like that.
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    Dec 01, 2009 12:22 AM GMT
    ucla_matta saidThanks for the input folks.

    I'm wondering if my problem is unique to my area. I work at a Title I school (low income, poor socioeconomic conditions, etc) and often see parents in and out of jail, jobs, and the like.

    Eeek


    You're probably the only thing between them and a break in the 'cycle' of their lifestyle. You are probably the most important and vital link to give them a chance to succeed, especially from a Title 1 school.

    I would suggest that every time you confront or get frustrated with a parent of one of the kids you teach, look at your class and realize that if you get through to just one of those 30 some kids, you will have won the battle. If you get through to all 30 some then even better yet. Persevere my friend, you hold the future of some pretty special 3rd graders in your hands. Help them succeed.

    You're a great guy, you'll do fine.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 01, 2009 1:50 AM GMT
    ucla_matta saidThanks for the input folks.

    I'm wondering if my problem is unique to my area. I work at a Title I school (low income, poor socioeconomic conditions, etc) and often see parents in and out of jail, jobs, and the like.

    Eeek


    I taught six years at a Title I school. I took a year off of teaching because I needed a break. I am starting to miss it, but I was burned out. All of the stuff that you described was too much for me. I was complaining and bitching, which isn't like me. In a year or two, I plan on returning to the profession.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 01, 2009 2:09 AM GMT
    Kudos to you for teaching the little ones. I couldn't deal with them! I stick to high school.

    What I figured out a few years ago is that some of these kids come from a horrible home and school is the only stable part of their lives. I also discovered that great kids sometimes came out of these horrible homes. What they all had in common was an adult in their lives from outside the home that inspired them to try for something better.

    Someday I may be that adult for a student.

    As for the parents: I keep it in perspective. I don't take much personally. If I'm right, or think I am, I'm very firm and don't let them push me around. If I'm wrong, I'm very proactive in apologizing and putting things right.

    Teaching requires that you be simultaneously sensitive and caring as well as tough and aggressive.
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    Dec 01, 2009 4:39 AM GMT
    You've got your chance to make that difference while the students are in your classroom. Once they leave, hopefully you've inspired them to take that extra step to get things right.

    Teachers will get burnt out quickly if they take things personally. You know yourself if you've done the right job. Students that are lacking that motivation usually need some concrete goal to work towards... not just passing the class.

    Surround yourself with those who have a true passion for teaching and avoid those that use their classroom as their daily dose of drama.