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Parent Evening Fear.

(91 Posts)
daisybtw Mon 24-Sep-12 18:30:37

Parent's evening is coming up and my exp and I have come to the conclusion that the experience would be more beneficial if we went separately this year. Last year's meeting ended in me practically having a nervous breakdown and my exp talking non-stop partly to conceal our clearly uncomfortable relationship and partly to feel more included in our ds' school life.

Although my exp is an interested and good father, our own relationship was miserable and I had to put up with violent outbursts and intimidation on a daily basis. When my exp called the school office to make an alternative appointment they said we had to go together. They then called me and told me the outcome and when I complained they said that separated parents should go together for the benefit of their child. I don't think being pink and tearful when I pick up my ds is going to be beneficial to him. I don't think not being able to concentrate/hear how he's getting on at school is going to be beneficial to him. And not being able to communicate my opinions on his development is clearly not going to be beneficial to him either. As a result of this I won't be going to parent evening at all and I will make an appointment to see his teacher later in the term. When I told the school office about this plan they seemed aggrieved for some reason. As they won't give us two separate meetings this seems the only option, but still no support. Argggghhh! So, AM I BEING UNREASONABLE?! Rant over!

TheFallenMadonna Mon 24-Sep-12 18:35:39

We always offer two appointments if requested.

RubyFakeNails Mon 24-Sep-12 18:37:42

I understand time may be an issue on their part but I don't think its unreasonable to ask for separate appointments.

I personally would phone and ask to speak to either teacher directly, head of year, or failing that headteacher. I wouldn't want to discuss my relationship with office staff but I would explain to the teacher, although not in detail (I'd probably just use the 1st sentence of your second paragraph) the relationship with your ex and that while you agree it could be beneficial in this case it is not and that under no circumstances can you attend with your ex so please can you have a separate appointment.

If they still say no I would express very calmly that they were being inflexible, unhelpful and unreasonable and then do as you have said and see the teacher separately but then also possibly send in a letter of complaint.

sugarice Mon 24-Sep-12 18:43:15

If it's any help I have found emailing the teachers asking for an assessment of your your child's performance and attitude to be much more revealing and helpful. You can then act on what the teacher says accordingly and have written proof to remind yourself of what was said.

I hate Parent Evening, sitting waiting to pounce once the current Parent has vacated the hot seat so we can dive in while the teacher swigs back water and nibbles a biscuit! then apologises for dong such things! Nightmare!

alphabite Mon 24-Sep-12 18:44:28

My school used to refuse separate appointments. As a teacher I hated it as it wasn't fair on the parents. I used to subtly say 'perhaps dad/mum could pick Ben up one night next week and he might ask me how little ben is doing'

Would that be possible? A parents eve shoukd bring no surprises anyway as a good teacher wiuld tell you if there were ant problems.

londonone Mon 24-Sep-12 18:44:35

Well imagine if every couple did this. To be honest I think it is up to you as an adult to deal with it. Obvious exception for cases of clear domestic abuse I.e where there has been court proceedings restraining orders etc.

Sirzy Mon 24-Sep-12 18:46:05

Problem is if you have 5 pairs of parents per class who each want to go separatly that can add another hour or more to the evening. If they start doing it for one then they have to do it for all

daisybtw Mon 24-Sep-12 19:33:21

Thanks everybody! I think emailing directly is a good idea.

londonone I have dealt with it by asking for an appointment with my ds' teacher later in the term. However, I think it's important for schools to consider people's differing situations and how they are going to deal with them in a fair and proper way. Things are not so black and white as that. I think it's very narrow minded to assume that domestic abuse is only clear when there has been a court proceeding. When a child is involved, a sensitive issue like this sometimes has to be dealt with in a different way. The straw that broke the camel's back came after my exp throttled me until I passed out. I'm pretty sure that's considered 'domestic abuse'. The reason I didn't press charges is far more complex than you can imagine, but the main reason was because we have a child together who deserves to have a relationship with his father no matter what his father has done to me. I will point out that exp has never acted in a threatening way towards his ds. They adore each other. I really don't want to go into too much detail with school since it may have a detrimental affect on my ds and the civil relationship I have built up with my exp.

I understand that teachers can't fit everyone in, but I do think the school could be more supportive when I come up with a compromise. Just had enough of being bullied!

TheFallenMadonna Mon 24-Sep-12 19:37:58

There is no way I would expect a parent to provide me with documentary evidence of abuse before I made two appointments hmm

londonone Mon 24-Sep-12 19:38:44

You see you want the school to consider the ins and outs of every parental relationship. They barely have the time to deal with the fallout from kids who have been exposed to domestic abuse, let alone the time and resources to deal with all the parents issues.

londonone Mon 24-Sep-12 19:40:32

Maybe I am sick of having to parent the parents as well as the children.

whathasthecatdonenow Mon 24-Sep-12 19:41:32

Well, as I often teach upwards of 120 students in each year group, even with two evenings per year group I am not going to see all parents, so I certainly wouldn't be allowed to see them separately.

If the school don't know about the abuse, then they can't make an exception for you without making an exception for every other separated couple.

daisybtw Mon 24-Sep-12 19:44:21

londonone They should have some background knowledge of every child, yes and I don't want the school to consider the ins and outs, I just want them to support my decision to speak to my child's teacher without his father being in the room. Also, thankfully ds wasn't exposed to domestic abuse, since he was 10 months old when I left exp. You sound like a Daily Mail reader!

medievaljacqui Mon 24-Sep-12 19:44:26

I've always given separate appointments when asked for, although our appointments are first come, first served. This isn't usually a problem at GCSE as I often only teach 30 or so students, but can be an issue lower down the school. For example, in Y7 I often teach 120! However, if a students comes early enough and manages to fill two slots I see both parents. Times when this has not been possible I either see before parents' evening (ours start at 4pm, so may slot one in a ten to) or email/phone at a mutually convenient time. There should be a compromise.

londonone Mon 24-Sep-12 19:48:54

You are very naive if you think he won't have been affected simply because he was a baby. How the hell do you expect teachers to have background on every child hey teach.

Sirzy Mon 24-Sep-12 19:51:00

That seems a bit unfair if other parents have to miss out on anyone seeing the teach medieval surely second appointments should only be given if everyone who wants one has one?

TheFallenMadonna Mon 24-Sep-12 19:51:33

Blimey londonone. Bit much.

whathasthecatdonenow Mon 24-Sep-12 19:53:21

We don't do appointments, parents turn up with the child, get a name card, sit at a desk and we teachers wander round looking for a familiar face/name, then queue up. I'm expected to see as many parents as possible between 4.30pm and 8pm, then a bell goes. Then I'll try to squeeze in two or three more before a final bell and the caretaker then throws us out. I then repeat this with the other half of the year group the next week.

Our school has a blanket rule that there is one consultation with each teacher per child. Unless you actually tell the school the situation with your ex, YABU to expect them to provide separate appointments.

daisybtw Mon 24-Sep-12 19:56:41

That's the spirit londonone! Kick me when I'm down! My mother was a teacher (she knew a great deal about her pupils), my boyfriend is a teacher (he too has a good grasp of who he teaches and what their backgrounds are) and the teachers at my son's school make a huge effort to find out about each and every child. I have quite a score of teachers to refer to. Perhaps you're not a very good one? medievaljacqui You sound great! I think if I spoke directly to my ds' teacher she'd be just as helpful. The school office are failing to support me 'tis all.

daisybtw Mon 24-Sep-12 19:59:56

whathasthecatdonenow But I'm not! I just want to see his teacher at some point this term, but even that seemed too much to ask at the school office! I just don't feel very supported as though I'm being a bit mad not to want to go with my exp! Are you at a secondary school? This is a primary which is small-ish.

londonone Mon 24-Sep-12 20:01:23

I like the fact that the fact I prioritise my pupils over their parents now makes me a bad teacher! I can only assume your son is currently in primary and that is where your mum and boyfriend work as i don't know any secondary teachers who know the backgrounds of the 100+ students they teach.

Sirzy Mon 24-Sep-12 20:02:18

Why did you need to involve the school office then? I am confused why not just say to the teacher "his dad will be coming to parents evening, to keep things simple could I arrange to meet you in a few weeks instead?"

I do think the office had a point that wherever possible it is better for the children if the parents show a united front not always easy but as adults surely the best option? How do you manage hospital appointments etc?

medievaljacqui Mon 24-Sep-12 20:02:55

Sirzy - it's school policy to be flexible. If a student comes to me and my appointments are full I usually make one before the parents' evening starts. Lessons end at 3.15, so I have 45 mins to see any extras. Most of us work like this. I would rather do this than have a insecure Y7 stressed because they couldn't make separate appointments. In the 5 years I've been at the school it's only happened a handful of times. If that is an issue (such as parent not being able to make an appointment so early) I will usually ring one of the parents with two appointments and ask to re-arrange for earlier (before parents' evening) or do a phone appointment. There should be flexibility. Parents' evening are only 5 times a year, so I don't mind being put out those 5 times. If a parent wants to speak to me they can. I've never had anyone complain that they couldn't so it must work! (Our parents can be very vocal if not happy!) grin

medievaljacqui Mon 24-Sep-12 20:03:10

Sorry that was very garbled!

whathasthecatdonenow Mon 24-Sep-12 20:04:47

You are perfectly within your rights to make an appointment to see your child's teacher at another mutually convenient time. You make that appointment with the teacher so that the mutually convenient time can be agreed. The office won't have any say about this. You won't appear 'a bit mad' but if we didn't know about the abuse issues we might wonder why, if you have a 'civil' relationship with your ex (your words) you couldn't be in the same room together for the benefit of your child.

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