Parents evening..how would you feel if..

(131 Posts)
seeker Thu 25-Apr-13 08:59:54

....one of your child's key teachers said they couldn't attend parent's evening at all because it clashed with their own child's parents evening at another school?

I'm an MFL secondary teacher with a child at the same school. For parents evening, I made appointments with DFD's teachers before I dealt with my pupils, then gave my pupils free choice of the appointment slots I had left in which I wasn't due to be on the other side of the desk. Had DFD's parents evening been at a different school on the same day, I would have gone to hers and given the parents of my own pupils the choice of an email or a phone call. I don't have a partner who can attend in my place.

At secondary level the child tends to come to parents evening along with the parents (at all the schools I've worked at, anyway). If I were to sacrifice DFD's actual parents evening to do parents evening at the school I work at (if DFD were at a different school, for argument's sake) all of her subject teachers would be spoken to over the phone by me, which wouldn't give her the chance to have a three way conversation with myself and her teacher about her progress for any of her subjects. If I were to go to DFD's parents evening with her and miss my pupils', they would get this in every subject but mine. I think that's the fairest way of doing it on both my daughter and my pupils.

Theapprentice I think it's very different at primary level. It's much harder to arrange to see 9 or 10 teachers on a different evening, plus you don't get the child-parent-teacher interaction as I mentioned before. The teacher also can't whip out your child's GCSE mock paper along with annotations and corrections over the phone, and talk both you and your child through it together.

Another point to make is that as both a teacher and a guardian, my priority is my one foster daughter, not the 29 in my class. Of course I want my pupils to do well and will do my utmost to help them do so, but ultimately my own child comes first. Yes teaching is my job, but ensuring my own DFD is making progress is also my job as her guardian. In more than 20 years of teaching I've never known a HT be unreasonable about a teacher missing parents evening for their own child's provided they offer the parents of their own pupils an alternative way of getting a progress report, such as a phone call or email.

TheApprentice Sun 28-Apr-13 12:21:11

Not read whole thread, sorry, but felt compelled to reply. I think the teacher is out of order. As a teacher myself this situation has happened twice this year - my school's parents evening have been on the same day as my sons'. I simply arranged with my sons' school to see the teachers on a different day - they were very accommodating as they understood the situation. Granted its a primary school so probably easier when its just one teacher to see per child, but I really think you have a professional responsibility to put your job first and sort out your own arrangements with your dc's school.

Roseformeplease England Sun 28-Apr-13 12:12:16

My attendance is agreed a year ahead so even if I had to go to another school, I couldn't. So, my point wasn't aren't I great, attending both at the same time. More, I will never be able to go round as a parent for my children - my husband will always have to do it. I think the job has to come first. That said, schools are reasonable places and, as I said above, for a vital meeting, most would be flexible.

Yellowtip Sat 27-Apr-13 23:14:03

Where parents teach at a school that their own child attends, their attendance qua teacher is a slightly red herring. I also think primary parents' evenings are pretty easy to catch up on since there are fewer teachers, inevitably. As a non teaching parent I have full sympathy with a teacher of a secondary school child at a different school wanting to attend their own child's evening and offering e-mail or telephone communication instead.

Roseformeplease England Sat 27-Apr-13 21:36:34

I teach at my son's (and soon my daughter's school. When there is a parents' evening, I am talking to the parents of their classmates. No way of missing it - the dates are agreed a year ahead. However, an appointment at a primary, with ONE teacher can easily be rescheduled.

Feenie Sat 27-Apr-13 00:18:04

As a teacher, I can tell you that most parents' evenings are a waste of time- the ones you need to see don't turn up and the rest well- there is little to say usually.

I find that comment to be hugely bizarre coming from a teacher, I really do.

Feenie Sat 27-Apr-13 00:10:46

But back to the point, I'd be wondering what the teacher's spouse was doing that afternoon/evening that was so important that they couldn't go to their kids' parents evening

Ever heard of single parents?

hmm

Feenie Sat 27-Apr-13 00:09:49

Exactly!

greyvix Sat 27-Apr-13 00:05:14

As a teacher, I have always prioritised my students' parents' evenings over my own children's. I have had to make alternative arrangements in case of clashes, ie DH attending. (There always were clashes, as I taught/teach at the school my DCs attended.)
It is directed time for teachers; they don't have an option.

Feenie Fri 26-Apr-13 23:59:41

This happened with mine and ds's parents' evening. I phoned his teacher up and explained, and she gave me a separate appointment. Didn't occur to me to do anything else confused

OK, I see there have been lots of rather random comments...

But back to the point, I'd be wondering what the teacher's spouse was doing that afternoon/evening that was so important that they couldn't go to their kids' parents evening. If they're both going, well they don't have to, one can go, and if only the teacher is going, why isn't the spouse doing it instead? of course they might be dead or something

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 26-Apr-13 23:57:55

Not at all. But consider - you asked for signs that you are not relaxed. I suggested one such sign. And your reaction has been ......extremely non-relaxed and downright snippy.

I'm possibly the least relaxed person one could ever hope (fear?) to encounter. And I don't, for what it's worth, think you are even remotely as unrelaxed as me, from what I see in the limited amount of browsing I do on mumsnet. But you do strike me as somewhat unrelaxed (to use survey speak) for the reasons I have set out. That's all. smile

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 23:49:19

Well, good for you.You obviously have it all sorted, and have no need to ask for advice. I am pleased for you.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 26-Apr-13 23:29:33

That's 6 more threads about your kids' educations, that you've started, than I have about mine. And I have 3.

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 23:27:19

Russian- 6 including this one in the last 50. I have two children. And that includes a joky one about teach speak on reports. Hardly excessive, I would have thought!

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 26-Apr-13 23:01:09

Do teachers think it's important for parents to attend parents' evenings, or not? If they do, then surely that means they have to attend their own kids' parents' evenings if there is a clash. Otherwise, what message are they giving out? I can't remember one parents' evening for either of my older two kids where there hasn't been at least one teacher absent. Neither school tells the parents why, but if sometimes it's been for their own childrens' parents evenings, then fair enough.

Seeker - you do start an awful lot of threads about your kids' educations. Perhaps you don't realise it.

EvilTwins Fri 26-Apr-13 22:43:22

us.

EvilTwins Fri 26-Apr-13 22:42:34

I am always happy to talk to parents about their DCs, and do call them just to say how well their child is doing. Parents have been known to call for a general conversation. In my school, we have "phone home fortnight" each half term which is useful- he expectation is that form tutors will contact all parents of students in their tutor groups, and that subject teachers can do the same if they wish. Attendance to parents evenings at my school hovers around 50-60% so we're keen to keep lines of communication open. It works for.

teacherwith2kids Fri 26-Apr-13 22:42:24

Directed time for me, too.

If I needed to see my child's teachers and the parents' evenings fell on the same night, I would make alternative arrangements - or send DH.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 26-Apr-13 22:39:08

It's directed time for me, so a contractual as well as (I think) professional responsibility. If schools have an alternative system, then that's five. But parents expect to see me when they come to parents' evening.

teacherwith2kids Fri 26-Apr-13 22:38:10

That's an interesting perspecyive, Evil. Because I would never ring up DS's school and say 'can I just have a chat to the music teacher about DS' - the 'has to be quite important for that to happen' barrier is v high. Whereas at a parents' evening, I feel it's OK to discuss much more minor issues - and it is that 'being practively available' rather than 'willing to react to an issue' that is important to me as a parent (as well as a teacher - but primary is perhaps different).

EvilTwins Fri 26-Apr-13 22:31:59

Professional responsibility to engage in conversation with parents about their DCs. Not professional responsibility to only do it on that one evening.

teacherwith2kids Fri 26-Apr-13 22:25:38

In seeker's defence, her DS is in a school where his ability (as measured e.g. by his SAT results and general performance rather than a 1 off 11+ exam) is rare, and is therefore having to be very involved in order to ensure that he gets all the opportunities he needs to progress.

Other parents of 'gifted in their specific context' children post for support and information about e.g. challenges for able children, access to specific facilities for extra-curricular art / music / dance on Mumsnet, and are not generally flamed [except where ability seems purely in the imagination of the parent, and in seeker's case, SATs result etc seem to back her view up].

Seeker is, it seems to me, having to engineer an education suitable for a bright child out of a school that specialises in the lower portion of the ability range plus other opportunties that she identifies. That's hard work. My parents did something very similar for my brothers - and for me during primary - and it was hard work then, too (I remember belonging to every library in a 30 mile radius of our small rural town, pulling an piano teacher out of retirement because she was the only one who took pupils after Grade 5, travelling monthly to regional NAGC meetings to try to meet up with some peers). A certain amount of obsessiveness comes with the territory!

TheFallenMadonna Fri 26-Apr-13 22:24:34

My child may be more important to me than students, but I have a professional responsibility, and if I wanted the flexibility to prioritise my children's school activities, I would be in a different job. Where I would probably have to use holiday childcare. As it is, DH has the flexibility, and I have the holidays.

EvilTwins Fri 26-Apr-13 22:20:24

As a teacher and a parent, I can categorically say that MY child is more important to me than YOUR child. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

If there was no alternative, then yes, I would go to my own DC's parents evening.

And those of you claiming that this would disadvantage "80 sets of parents", please- how long are parents' evenings at these schools? We get 30 appointment slots, so inevitably have to call parents who couldn't be seen.

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