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Parent Teacher conference in USA experience

Discussion in 'General Discussions - USA & Canada' started by skalluri, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. skalluri

    skalluri Gold IL'ite

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    Hi friends,
    Please no criticism, I am posting here to vent out and get your views to see if I am thinking too much on this, but not to show any racism on these people.

    little background: my son is 5th grader studying in catholic private school from this year. He recently got small fight (not physical) with his classmate and kids used hard words on each other, after coming home when my son explained the situation, I told him all positive ways and tried to calm him down. I also told him that today you may fight and next day you will become friends again. Don't worry, also it is not good to lose the self control what ever is the situation. I didn't take the issue serious .Next day principal gave me call and told other kids mom is very angry for my sons behavior and thus principal warned that my son may get suspended if it repeats. I am shocked. What...? I can't believe these people can make hill out of mole. I was dumb and listened to her because I didn't expect this reaction from principal and other kids mom. In the evening I called the principal and told that is it just because I didn't complain on yesterday's issue , that means my son is culprit , is it just because other kid got listened by teacher first, they will take other kid's words and not my son's words. I am not defending my son but tried to make her understand both kids involved equally and blame came just on my son. I know my son's nature, he is polite, respectful, friendly, God-feared, (like you know our Indian culture kids), anyway.. to make it short finally principal said " your son is friendly and trying to make friendship with other kids, but the other kid is serious guy and wont take things easy, so it is safe to be away from other kid, no more friendship with this kid " , at least she listened to me and came to that conclusion ,that's it, there ended the conversation.

    after few weeks, yesterday there was a parent teacher conference, this is second time I am meeting my son's teacher, she is very serious young lady , no smile, no warm receiving , no cheerful smile at least when I went inside the room, she tried to advise me to make my son meet social worker in the school for the above situation. I am like shocked again. when I told her that issue got resolved then she twisted the topic saying it will be helpful to him in the organizational skills which he is lagging when he meets social worker. I said, for that I am ok. when I am signing the form to give the permission, principal joined us, again no cheerful smile or hi from her. both are kind of very formal and just taking on what he needs to improve instead of showing happiness and encouragement that he improved a lot. ( I actually see lot of improvement academically) and when I am leaving the room also they didn't say bye or thank you.

    How should I take it? I am little embarrassed why did they behave like that . I dont want to dig it , may be I am taking it sensitively or may be they still keep in mind about previous incident, I didn't talk about it again as it will impact my son, but when they are not cheerful and very formal it hurt me , I felt like we are different and isolated in this country, they cannot mix with us, is it because I am not their religion.

    Just venting out friends... it is good experience to me...

    thanks for listening
    SK
     
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  2. kiran.P

    kiran.P New IL'ite

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    Its very difficult when we are Indians and the school we send kids to are majority white. Racism and hatred for us will always exist (speaking from my personal experience too in UK). I would keep a log of all the conversation your son had and you had. If it gets out of hand at least you have all the notes.
    Its best for your son to mix with those whom he gets along with. Try his best to fit in where he can and if hes old enough to understand then explain to him the situation.
    You need to get some local advie too.
    Its good you came here too. Hope someone can be more of a help them myself.
     
  3. SurekhaKrishna

    SurekhaKrishna Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi Skalluri,
    My DD goes to a Christian private preschool.During my DD's parent teacher conference I have seen her class teacher will talk only few things in a 20 minutes time slot.she will be in a hurry to cover up all her points listed out in progress card and tried to answer my questions as much as possible.In my opinion teacher will have work stress to manage all her students' parents in just a day right from early morning till the end of the school hours.My DD class teacher does not wish me in morning drop off.but she does her best in teaching her students :) this is also my Indian friend review about DD's present teacher.
    How was your rapport on normal/less hurry school days with the class teacher and principal.Do they have a cheerful smile and gives you a warm welcome.
    i am not supporting unpleasant behavior of teachers in anyway.please don't take it to heart.
     
  4. CrayoNess

    CrayoNess Platinum IL'ite

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    I would imagine that teachers in a Christian school are not the most cheeriest bunch of people. When my daughter (when we lived in the US) was in school there was an incident when she argued with a boy and raised her hand. She did not hit her but the boy felt that she threatened him. It became a big thing, she had to go to the principal, they called us etc. It was explained that they have a 0-tolerance policy regarding bullying. My daughter apologized and the incident was forgotten.

    One thing is also if you have an accent. Many (some) americans are very uncomfortable speaking with people not having English as native language. They become shy and conscious what they are saying.
     
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  5. NMag

    NMag New IL'ite

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    Hi SKalluri,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Please don't apologize for it. It takes a lot of courage to discuss these things. You are a concerned and caring mother.
    I would have felt the same if I was in your place. With that said, would I do anything about it? Yes, of course. After all, the teachers are responsible to educate your child and you have to feel comfortable with the environment they are providing. These are the steps I would take:
    1) Connect with your child and talk about his day at school, his experiences with his teachers and other classmates. It is important to know how he feels about the school and the teachers. Instead of asking direct questions (kids don't like to answer any direct questions), start a discussion or ask open-ended questions.
    2) Set-up meetings with the teacher and the social worker to discuss his progress and of course to maintain a working relationship. When you meet them outside that 20-minute slot, you may be surprised!
    3) Try not to transfer your stress about the situation to your child. He must be working hard to adjust and fit in. It is not easy for him either. Also, not to put any pressure on him to do anything to "fit in". As he is working on his social or organization skills and ensuring that such a behavior is not repeated, it is important for him to remember that if there is a difficult situation he has to stand up for himself. And that dear mommy, would be your job to remind him.

    Last but not the least, dress-up smartly when you go for school meetings and not worry about your accent. If you are feeling confident (show it even if you don't feel), they will see it and respect it.
    Good luck!
     
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  6. armummy

    armummy Platinum IL'ite

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    I would suggest be very careful when you accept social worker intervention . Find out who else takes it and for what reasons .

    Some parents are very aggressive and pushy , they are used to the school system and try to safeguard and get maximum advantages for their children .
    When we come across a situation like that we need to be good advocates for our children and try our best .

    you don't need worry about attitude in meeting but do make sure your child gets treated normally in the class .
     
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  7. 1Sandhya

    1Sandhya Platinum IL'ite

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    Interesting situation. The social worker angle is a new twist.

    In general op, when the teacher or principal talks about the child's behaviour, do not try to minimize, excuse or defend your kid. Just keep your thoughts to yourself and hear them out completely. One thing I learnt (also the hard way!) is that our 'chalta hai, kids will be kids' attitude we bring with us from India is out of place here. Most schools have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior. And if it is private school it is 100% in force. People will not pay money to put their kid in the school for any form of this kind of behaviour. The minute you hear about any kind of incident from your kid, receiving end or giving end, you should follow up with the school and express your concerns.

    This is simply my guess and I may be wrong here but... could it be that because of your excusing the school may have escalated the issue under the impression that this kind of behaviour is permitted in your house since you were excusing him. I could be wrong do not take this personally.

    They will not smile because this is not considered a laughing matter. This kind of thing is taken very seriously. They will misunderstand if you try to laugh and joke in that meeting. In general, the 'boys will be boys' excuse is frowned upon. Dont use it. Even if you feel so, just hear them out silently. It is their school and their rules. So you have to comply. I am not lecturing you -- All this is info which I have picked up while living here and I am merely sharing it with you in a friendly way..

    The way to know all the things, what is permitted or not, in the private school is to call up the school office and request a copy of their parent-student handbook. This will contain all the info you need, list of expected behavior, the rules, the punishments, the escalations what happens when etc will be clearly listed out there. First read what their rules and procedures are for this situation in the parent-student handbook. Usually there will be lighter consequence for first offence, stricter for next one and so on. See what is written there first. Try to discover some loophole to get out of the social worker intervention. Then you and your husband make an appointment with the principal, be very formally dressed when you go. No smiling, minimum talking. Talk to the principal citing the rules in the handbook and try to get out of the social worker intervention. Also have a detailed discussion of what this entails, whether it will affect the child, etc, etc. Try to get out if it. If you cant then go through wit it without showing too much resistance, anger or frustration.
    Finally after a while depending on the further experiences, you may want to pull your kid out of this particular school
     
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  8. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Agree with everything @1sandhya has posted above.
    I have a question. Was your son in a public school prior to this? Since you mentioned he has been here only a year, I was wondering if this is a switch between a private school/public school issue. There is a very strict zero tolerance policy in all private schools. I'm sure the other parent knew and did report the matter in earnest so as to not get her kid in a muddle. I am a special needs parent and in a special needs social group. From the group moms I found out the first person to report gets heard. Also, don't have any phone conversations with anyone with such issues. Email the teacher and keep a record of what is being said back and forth. Phone conversations cannot be submitted as proof later on in the event of an issue. Even if you talk on the phone, follow up with an email saying as per our conversation this morning, this is what I understood. Even if they don't respond, you have proof that the conversation happened.
    Btw, what was the paper you signed? Never sign anything on the spot. You have a right to refuse, bring it home, read it and ask someone before signing it. If you have a copy of the paper, read it carefully and see what it says. If you cannot understand find someone who can(in my case I would find a special needs advocate because usually we are denied services pushed back etc).
    Yes, there are varying degrees of discrimination in schools but that's not always the case. Sometimes, other parents know the system better and take advantage of it.
    I also think you need to get together with the social worker, see exactly why your son is being sent there and find out what is in store for him. I would have the meeting without your child present.

    Like 1sandhya suggested, you may want to start looking at other options. Just because you don't want someone with negativity towards your child being his teacher. I just pulled my little guy out of a private Montessori because his music teacher said something negative about him in front of him and the entire class. I found out because his shadow therapist was in there and she heard it. I spoke to the principal, gave her a very stern talk(no smiling understanding whatsoever). She was apologetic and dramatic too but I have a zero tolerance policy for my DS's teacher. He can't talk for himself and I'm his voice. I told her I'm pulling my son out, this is the reason and emailed her to follow up. These things are all best when documented.
     
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  9. 1Sandhya

    1Sandhya Platinum IL'ite

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    additional thoughts:

    yes you should be the advocate for your child. However, be the advocate by citing their own rules to them or loopholes therein. If you simply argue with them about the consequence they have levied, because in your mind you are defending your child, if the consequence is per their rules then they will think you are disrespecting or openly flouting their rules. THis will cause further problems. So this is a pitfall/misunderstanding you want to avoid.

    Per my observations: this 'boys will be boys' rule works from preschool up to kg or first grade max. After that as they grow older the kids are expected to know better. Definitely by Grade 5.

    There will not be a single male kid who would not have gone through some kind of minor behaviour violation like this. So dont be depressed. Try to handle it carefully that's all.

    Personally I am astounded the principal even unbent so far as to tell you what she did about the other boy. That is pretty unusual but maybe you were too worked up and distraught at the time...
     
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  10. skalluri

    skalluri Gold IL'ite

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    thanks ladies for valuable suggestions. Yes I can relate myself to whatever you said. I am maintaining balance and not showing my anger or frustration while talking, thanks for suggestion to maintain email conversation for proof, I will make a point.I did not defend my son before principal, so far principal understood that my son is innocent and that other kid is sensitive and have behavioral issues (not in the groups, suddenly moves out of the group and sit down to calm down himself, or cries for silly things etc), unfortunately he showed that on our son for couple of times. Now situations are OK, no concerns, I am asking my son once in a while how is he feeling at school, with fellow students etc.

    coming to social worker invervention, like I said before this is not for any behavioral treatment, but for organizational skills , fluency skills (he jumbles up the things while explaining something which is not clear to audience) that's what they told me, anyway he is meeting her once in 3 weeks or so. I will try to take appointment with social worker to see for what he is meeting her.
    thanks again, that helps me a lot.
    SK
     

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