to think that teachers should wait to see all parents even if they are running late

(70 Posts)

I went to my 14 yo DS2's parents evening last week, we had to book appointments online but teachers were over-running by quite a bit. I went to my 6.05 appointment but she was busy, with people waiting, I returned to my 5.55 appointment (who was running late), waited a bit longer, returned to the 6.05 - still busy, back and forth, managed to see my 6.20 appointment but when I went back to 6.05 she had gone home. Now I know that parents evening is supposed to finish at 6.30 but she must have gone out of the door as if there was a rocket up her a***! and I still haven't managed to get hold of her to find out how DS2 is doing. I took an evening off work so I could find out how he is getting on in school and it wasn't MY fault that teachers weren't running to time. In fact it took 2 hours for me to see 6 teachers! AIBU to think she should have checked whether I had signed back out before leaving.

One thing I noticed at last night's parents evening is that the teachers were all gathered in one building, instead of in their usual classrooms across the whole site.

Done to minimise parents having to traipse miles while trying to get to the next appt, and it reduces no-shows and people running late, according to the school. It certainly made things easier for us last night.

Pitmountainpony Wed 24-Apr-13 01:18:10

As a former teacher I do not miss the endless parents' evenings after a long day at work- talking for 3 hours and then having to get up the next day and talk again.....if you really wanted to see her you should have sat and waited- teachers have limited control over people sticking to the 5 min limit so you are best off just waiting and don't bother making appointments with all the teachers unless you have genuine concerns- believe you me the teachers will insist they see you if they have issues with your child.
Often there is very little to say about the majority of good students.
You know now- just wait if you are that desperate to see the teacher.

Thank you to all the teachers on here who work hard in a job that most people could simply not cope with..Those parents evenings are dreaded by most teachers, like some awful overtime at the end of an already long day where each person you see expects you to be full of energy and knowledge of their child- the only one for the parents of course but one of 200-300 for some teachers who barely know many kids names by the spring parents evenings, let alone a really authentic sense of how their child is doing in their subject-I say this for the subjects where they see them once a week.

nokidshere Tue 23-Apr-13 23:58:49

I dont think its teacher bashing really so much as finding a better system. No-one has any control over parents evenings because everyone is dependant on everyone else and thats the problem. Someone, either the teachers or the parents, are always left feeling disgruntled because of the time constraints.

I would not be happy though if I went and found I had to spend longer with one teacher because they were telling me something I didn't already know. If my child wasn't performing in class, or was struggling with the work I would expect to have been told long before parents evening to be honest. Similarly, If I noticed a problem with any of my childs work I would call the teacher as I did recently. He called me back the same afternoon and we had a proper chat about my son. At parents evening it will then just be a case of did the plan work.

clam Tue 23-Apr-13 23:41:46

Oh my word. Have just added it all up Twice a year (not counting open evenings where just need to be available if required for informal chat) x27 years as a teacher. Plus around 20 for ds (year 12) and 18 for dd (year 10). That's over 90 parents' evenings I've attended.

<<faints>>

MidniteScribbler Tue 23-Apr-13 23:36:23

I loathe parent teacher nights and the teacher bashing that seems to inevitably come with it. I've already been at work since 7am, and I'm still sitting there at 9pm. I'd like to go home so that I can get some sleep to be back there at 7am the next day, bright eyed and bushy tailed to spend the day on my feet teaching your children. Somewhere in there I have to prep the next days lessons because I've missed out on the several hours of prep I normally do at night after my son goes to bed.

There should be no need for these evenings at all. Any good teacher should have already had plenty of communication with their students parents during the year, enough to make them completely irrelevant. I have a checklist and I make sure that I have either spoken to or emailed every parent personally several times per term about their child to update them. Obviously it's a lot more communication if the child is having difficulties. There's really no new information I can give them in that ten minutes that have been allocated and would rather everyone just go home and spend the time reading or playing with their children instead.

cricketballs Tue 23-Apr-13 23:17:06

whether or not there is an appointment system these are my observations of working in schools with both appointments or a 'free for all'

* unless the parents sign in the same room as teachers are sitting in we can not be aware of who is here or not
* whilst we are in discussions with a parent we are not scanning the room/door to see the other parents are waiting
* I teach 3 option groups of year 10s and we have a parents evening tomorrow lasting 3 hours. It is an impossibility for me to meet every parent of every child I teach
* we also have a life; my DH is working away at the moment therefore I am relying on childcare for my SEN son. So I need to get home at a reasonable time in order for my son to see his mother

clam Tue 23-Apr-13 23:16:08

You can only invite the next lot in if they've arrived early. I'm talking about cases where there was no one else around to come in.

BackforGood Tue 23-Apr-13 23:11:49

Clam All parents evenings I've attended as a parent (LOTS), and all I've attended as a teacher (21yrs worth), it's always been standard practice to just invite the next people on the list in if they are there and the "owners" of that slot aren't there. I can't imagine sitting around for several minutes 'waiting' for them. They then get fitted in quite soon as you are obviously running ahead of time by having invited the next parents in.
Avril I think that is something that should be taken into account when timetabling the staff though - so they don't have 6 classes from the same year group. Obviously in subjects such as music, say where there are fewer teachers it might happen, but lots of parents aren't bothered about seeing the music teacher (sorry music teachers ! but you know it's true wink). In a subject such as English or maths though, the school needs to find it's own way of ensuring there are enough appointments for parents that want them (and it will rarely, if ever, be parents of all children).

My Yr 8 DS has to book his own appointments (so he only books them with the teachers he wants me to talk to . ie the subjects he's good at hmm )

So by the time I insist he books a time with his English teacher, French teacher etc, we are rushing from canteen to library to classroom.

They have 4 teachers in a classroom. So four sets of parent/child plus those waiting.
In the hall it's even worse.
You can hardly hear yourself think <<sigh>>

clam Tue 23-Apr-13 22:52:23

aftermay that's a good idea. Might try that next time.

aftermay Tue 23-Apr-13 22:50:58

There may be 2-3 evenings of appointments, plus not everyone books in to see the teacher. We missed out on our daughters recently because we simply couldn't make any of the dates, despite the long notice.

Fargo86 Tue 23-Apr-13 22:49:37

Aren't parents evenings becoming antiquated? Why can't schools set up skype conferences between parents and teachers? Or something else similar.

AvrilPoisson Tue 23-Apr-13 22:48:24

I don't understand how they're supposed to do it though... 5 minutes per pupil's parents, they can only do 12 an hour, if there are 150 in a year, or 180, or even more... how on earth could they see everyone? confused

aftermay Tue 23-Apr-13 22:48:13

Clam - or offer to see them at the end of the appointments so the other parents don't have to be delayed. See if they'll wait or if they'll go.

clam Tue 23-Apr-13 22:45:15

With my teacher's hat on, it is pretty annoying when, having worked hard to stay within time for each appointment, you then get a parent who's late (no other appointments over-running - we're talking primary with no siblings) and I hang around for nearly the whole 10 minute slot. The moment I decide to bring the next parent in early, the 'late' parent will invariably turn up (frequently with no acknowledgement, let alone an apology) but insist on having their full 10 minutes. Which pushes everyone else back later...
Dh always says I should just say, "sorry, I can only give you 2 minutes" but that's easier said than done.

tiggytape Tue 23-Apr-13 22:42:27

Unlike a GP though, nothing urgent or very complicated should be left until parents' evening and hopefully nobody is going to suffer an terrible emergency on the night that cannot be ignored.

If parents (or teachers) need to discuss complex situations or problems, a separate appointment should be made as soon as that issue comes to light since a 5 minute slot once a year is not at all adequate for that type of situation.

aftermay Tue 23-Apr-13 22:38:37

There shouldn't be surprises at parents evenings. If my DS has been doing FA at one subject I go in expecting to hear some pretty poor things. I have a feeling for the subject he works at and the ones he hates as we still check his homework, sadly.

aftermay Tue 23-Apr-13 22:34:21

Yes, like patients at the GP. Someone may take longer because their situation is more complex. Doesn't stop patients from getting annoyed with the waiting. Of course the dr doesn't just up sticks and go, just to say everyone would rather it worked on time.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 23-Apr-13 22:32:13

She should have stayed. When I am fully booked, I start early and leave late to accomodate everybody. If the parents cannot make the slots available (and some do have a very limited availability) then I phone or email instead. I teach a Core subject, and often have more than one class per year group, so I do a lot of talking!

tiggytape Tue 23-Apr-13 22:31:06

I agree aftermay - the parents that can see the place is packed but still somehow believe they're there for a full 30 minute consultation are just baffling. Never mind bells - there should be electrified seats to move them on!

mummytime Tue 23-Apr-13 22:30:19

After may - I had one teacher who said everything twice, she had the longest queue quite quickly. But it is usually parents who make things run late. However it can be that there are surprises at parents evening, which can want you to discuss further.

Blissx Tue 23-Apr-13 22:26:06

Just what I was about to say, aftermay! I never voluntarily go over the appointment slot, if I do,it is because a parent(s) doesn't want to leave and keeps asking questions or wants to keep talking and I always apologise to the next parent. (just want to point out to the poster that thinks we need to know every pupil, could you know 245 pupils, see some of them 1 hour per week and know them by the time an autumn or spring parents eve comes round? I have their data, know most of them but it's bloody hard. Good grief!) sorry rant over and back to marking work....

soverylucky Tue 23-Apr-13 22:17:33

bigbuttons that is the same problem at my school. Please contact the head and encourage other parents to do the same and then maybe a better/alternative system can be used. I have to double book all appointments giving each parent a very small amount of time with the promise of a follow up call or email if they need more info. It is the only way I can fit everyone in and it is not ideal at all.

bigbuttons Tue 23-Apr-13 22:15:21

My last parents' evening with ds2 (13) was infuriating;3 teachers didn't turn up for various reasons . I can NEVER get an appointment for English, they are always fully booked ffs. So they don't have enough slots for each child.

aftermay Tue 23-Apr-13 22:12:47

The teachers running late don't do so because they've been talking too much but because the parents have been too slow or with too many questions etc. I'm sure the teachers would love to work to time. Keep it brief, people.

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