Teachers! I have an excellent parents' evening tip for you.(157 Posts)
1. If you have a 10 minute slot and you are still talking after 25 minutes to a parent there is quite obviously an issue that needs to be discussed further at a later date.
2. May I suggest you get a timer? Put it on your table. Set it for 9 minutes. If after the allotted time you are still talking, hand over a card with your email on it and suggest the parent book a further appointment to see you.
At my school parents have 10 minute appointments. A senior pupil stands outside the door with a stopwatch and knocks on the door when 10 minutes are up.
If the parent doesn't leave, they give it another minute and then knock again and open the doorl
As the teacher, I stand up and thank them for coming and show them to the door.
This thread has reminded me to put in writing the superlatives our DS (year 11) regularly mentions with regard to his teachers. I did manage to mention to his English teacher when I bumped into her how much he loves her lessons and apparently she was so chuffed she thanked him at his next lesson .
And more to the point - we aren't enamoured when his school's system of 5 minute appointments that overrun, but we've never blamed the teachers, just overeager parents. We're super-conscious of the teachers working a 12-hour day, especially how tiring it is doing so in such an intense setting - being switched on and clued up on dozens of students. I find it astonishing how much they seem to know about our child personally, despite being responsible for so many others.
Like it! Just as long as all teachers at the school do it. Pity some other professions could not have the same so that appointments are on time for a change.
I don't think the OP was being anti-teacher - more encouraging them to stand shoulder to shoulder with the normal parents and deal swiftly with the parents who feel the need to discuss their speshul snowflakes for 5 times longer than anyone else.
I think we all understand that there will be times when an appt over-runs because of something unexpected coming up but that doesn't appear to be the case when I've sat behind the PFB brigade.
Cory - I'm sorry to hear about your DD and I hope she and you are getting all the help you need.
Hmm. I have to say, threads like this remind me why I found becoming a parent of a school child so intimidating.
Reading teacher threads on here I am always a bit shocked by the sheer vitriol directed towards parents.
Some of you teachers must be parents yourselves, so how does that work? Are you always perfect in that role?
I have a friend who is a teacher, and when her oldest started school she was quite freaked out by realising how different it feels on the "parent" side of the equation.
Not teacher bashing btw-I support teachers and know they work very hard.
I also bring biscuits to parents evening, partly because I am starving coming straight from work too!
I just don't like the the tone of discussions like these. It reminds me of how harshly I used to judge customers when I was a waitress. Especially the ones with kids, God help them!
We are most of us trying to do our jobs in the time frame we have to do them, and we most of us have kids, so can we ever drop the "us and them" attitude?
I'm not proud of this fact, but I got banned from parents evening because they thought i might argue about the teacher's methods of dealing with my daughter who has SpLD.
Her method was to ignore her so they tried to ignore me as well.
New school is working so so much better but it's left me very nervous of parents evenings!
Last parents eve I arrived 10 minutes early and teacher was free - he invited me in and I jokingly said "hopefully you get get out of here earlier than planned!" He did however say he'd booked a longer slot for me and had further appointments. Bless him - he wanted to show me how well my DS has been doing and what they have put in place (he has SN and SEN). Its these things I really appreciate as I'm sure he does have better things to do of an evening
Boney Especially when you had no-one booked in for the previous three appointments.
teacherandguideleader really, you want to be thanked for thanking parents for an e-mail, acknowledging receipt and telling them you will get back to them . You really want your in-box clogged up with inconsequential shite. I would say thank you when you have replied with an answer; I certainly wouldn't thank you for acknowledging my e-mail.
My personal favourite is the parent who books the last appointment of the evening and then doesn't show up for it, what fucking fun that is. How we laughed not
Cory. Only just read your post. It has illustrated my point. I don't think you need to be concerned about people's tea getting cold. It puts things into perspective really, doesn't it.
I'm sorry you are having to deal with this x
OP! Please understand that sometimes a fellow parent raises something that it is impossible, as a human being, to deal with in 5 minutes or even to dismiss until a future meeting. For example, the parent who discloses a life limiting illness and their concerns for their child's future (whilst in floods of tears). Yes, every appointment after that one ran late. Luckily, the parents at my school are generally reasonable people who understand the difficulty of running to time, and usually are magnanimous in accepting my sincere apologies.
Not every appointment is a quick "these are X's levels, this is what she needs to do to move on, she's settled in well and there are no issues". Unfortunately. Whenever there is an appointment or queuing system there is the potential for having to wait sometimes. That's life.
I'm glad my school doesn't operate a buzzer system. I think it would feel quite hostile.
I can just imagine the doctors kicking people out of their offices at the sound of a buzzer - I bet that would go down like a lead balloon.
Y7 parents evening is the worst for parents dragging it out. They sit down, make themselves comfortable and launch forth into a monologue about how little Johnny wasn't good at maths until Y4 when he had a good teacher then he got moved to the top table and blah blah blah. Parents evening just goes in a blur and I remember nothing when I get home (obviously I make a note of anything I need to action). Even parents who say 'little Johnny is loving maths this year and that's down to you', please put it in writing!
I feel horribly guilty about having burst into tears at the last parents' evening I went to, thus wasting valuable time for other parents who wanted their tea. But then- my daughter had tried to kill herself.
Of course I had already made separate appointment with the HoY and pastoral support to discuss the overall situation. But I also needed to discuss her GCSEs in maths and science and French. And then I burst into tears...
I apologise to anyone whose tea might have got cold.
I know what you mean made. I have also never understood why both parents are necessary.
DS1 came back with a list of one teacher who wanted to see us. It was about Maths Sets. V quick.
I was looked at in absolute shock by two mums of my DD's friends when I said I wasn't going to parents' evening this time (I had asked in her planner if I needed to - she is Y8 - and we would only have been able to see maths/English/languages/science anyhow.. answer "no- all is fine" )
Both parents whinge about "wasting an evening turning up and hanging around to be told they are fine, working hard, no issues"
I said "Why go then?" - you would have thought I'd suggested skinning babies and serving them for dinner -
Is parents' evening REALLY that important to folks whose kids have no issues - in Y8? It is not as if our school does not communicate, tutors put comments in the planner all the time, work is marked with comments, books come home etc... I know exactly how DD is doing - SO DO THE OTHER GIRLS' PARENTS - so why go?
Why should we use a buzzer? It is wonderful sitting there being ranted at by a parent who will not leave because their pfb is the most important person in my class and feel the need to pull me over the coals about everything I do. I love it! YABU.
I accept it is annoying to be waiting around a school hall for an appointment and you see parents hogging a particular teacher but there can be many reasons why appointment slots aren't stuck to and often something comes to light on a parents evening which either the teacher or parent has no idea about and then has to be discussed In a little more detail than 3 or 5 minutes allow. (Btw would love a bell to say it's time to move!) I had a parents evening last week and as per usual I was one of the last ones out. Why? It was a Year 10 and Year 11 combined parents evening, no appointments made and I teach 4 groups as well as having a tutor group in Year 10. No one else had as many groups!
I was the busiest teacher there - regarding number of pupils I teach - and even though I started at 4.30pm I didn't get out until 8.00pm after starting work at 8.00am. This is quite annoying when a set of parents turn up 5 minutes before the close of play and expect to speak to every teacher.
I would say, OP you do have a genuine annoyance but trust me no one is more annoyed about parents evenings that drag on than the teachers. If your school doesn't operate the speed dating bell I suggest you mention it to the head teacher - they make the policies not the regular class teacher who has to put up with parents discussing the minutiae about little Johnny's life in and outside of school.
ILikeTrains Your teacher booked you in as last of the day because she knows you'll go on time and she'll be able to get home for her tea at a reasonable time!
I think a Graham Norton style chair with a huge lever next to the teacher could help?
Also, does the fact that my daughter's teacher has made our appointment the last one of her day mean that really she wants to marvel at how wonderful my daughter is unhindered by time restrictions? That's how I interpret it anyway (I'm only joking - please don't flame me)
6th form parents evening has always been great. All the teachers sit in the hall at desks, with chairs in the middle, and everyone can see each other.
The teachers don't have so many to see as in the lower school,so they can take a little bit more time. If you turn up early, you can nip in quick,and still not put the rest of the appointments out....you learn this by experience!
Further down the school at parents evening the teachers are grouped by dept so there are 2 or 3 to a room. This way they can support each other if it gets a bit overheated with anyone!
And again, with experience, you can work the system to your advantage,without putting anyone out . Without trying to boast, my children have always have good reports and don't need the teachers to talk about 'issues' as such so, it is a quick nip in and out.
The worst parents are the ones who come with spreadsheets/forms with headings they want to fill in. Not kidding. Had one dad stop me talking so he could telle what box he needed to fill next! His form was negatively-weighted: one box for overall comments and others for "areas to improve", "behaviour" etc....
I've had one colleague actually recorded on a dictaphone too.
I now make less appointments and only see the ones I need to- the rest can email or wait for glowing reports.
We have a queuing system. I teach the challenging children, I never have a queue
One thing for parents, when you email me with an issue, and I email straight back saying 'thanks, I'll look into it' then email back ASAP with more information, a quick reply saying 'thank you' would be nice. If I hadn't got back to you, I'm sure I'd get one demanding to know why!
DS's parents appt (primary school) will be done by DP, as I'll be at work that afternoon. DP is usually fine, but I have had to gently steer him out of the room to keep to time before.
As for DD, her secondary school has most of the teachers sat at tables in the main area to make going between them easier, and an online booking system that prevents appts being made right next to each other. It's set up to ensure a 5 min gap between each appt to allow parents to get between teachers without too much overrun/time lost.
Works mostly okay, although on one occasion we swapped appts with another set of parents as the parents before them had overrun and it allowed them to reach another appt on time and come back. We did make sure the teacher knew so they weren't surprised.
I also only book appts with the subjects that are either necessary or are the subjects that DD is considering for options (Yr 9). She hates PE, is bottom set, but as she still gets complimented and receives points for her good attitude and effort in the lessons, she and I have agreed she just regards it as her necessary keep fit. I don't bother going to see the PE teacher.
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