Sunday, December 11, 2016

Passive / Aggressive

My friends at school call me the passive/aggressive queen. I know being passive/aggressive isn't always a good thing. But when dealing with annoying parents or administrators, it sure comes in handy. I wasn’t always like this. I had the passive part down pat, but when I began my career – and for the next eighteen years, no one would have ever called me aggressive in any way.

Then I grew up. My protective partner retired, and I was forced to stand up for myself. Fortunately, that was about the time I began blogging. The joy of writing and support I got from my friends here, not to mention my closeness with Nick made me a whole new person. My current partners can’t picture the wimpy me who always kept her mouth shut and never, ever wanted anyone to be upset with her.

It was that last boss that I had that really helped me hone my passive/aggressive skills and I haven’t needed them nearly as much now that he’s gone. But Thursday morning I received an email from a parent and I just couldn’t help myself. I’m posting the mother’s email and my response. Names were changed to protect the stupid.

Mother’s email:

Little Precious explained to me why she has an F in your Social Studies class. She said that she was talking when she finished a test and you took the test from her and gave her a zero. Because she was talking during a test I asked her where she sits in your classroom and she told me that she doesn't sit close to you. This was something that we discussed during the 123 plan meeting. I said that sitting close to each teacher would be better for her. She would pay attention and be less likely to misbehave. Preferential seating is written on her 123 plan under classroom aides. Is this not something that you have to follow? It is my understanding that her seat is close to the teacher in every other class she has.

Idiot Parent

My reply:

Dear Idiot parent,

Little Precious’ choice to talk with another student while the test was still in progress and she still had her test at her seat was her choice and had nothing to do with where she was seated.

Preferential seating means that the student needs to be placed in the best seating for that student. For some students this is at the back and slightly isolated for them to concentrate and do their best work. For students with serious behavior problems it’s often best for the student, and the safety of the class, that they sit right next to the teacher. I felt the best place for Little Precious was on the other side of the room away from my less well behaved students and in the front half of the room so that I keep her attention well. Since she had a B last nine weeks I feel that this seating was working well. Her current seat is closer to the front than last nine weeks and closer to where I often stand when I teach. However, since I often move around the room as I teach it’s hard to say.

I will move Little Precious right next to my desk for the next six and a half days I’ll be teaching. If this is not where you prefer her to sit, please take it up the teacher who will take over the class when I retire.

Slightly Pissed Teacher

The next day I had a reply from the mother:

I know that it was Little Precious' choice to talk during the test I never said that it wasn't but where she was sitting had a lot to do with it. I also know exactly what preferential seating is, I did not need you to tell me. I was just asking you a question about the 123 plan. I will make sure that her plan is revised. 

I think that the three page paper she has to write to bring her grade back up is a little extreme for a sixth grader so I'm letting her decide on whether or not to do it. 

Because I only have a few days left I decided not to let it go - I've done that too many times when I really wanted to say more.

My reply :

I agree it should be Little Precious' decision. I told her that when I gave her the chance to improve her grade. The other two students had ask for this chance to bring their grades up, so I only thought it was fair to offer it to Little Precious too. These others brought in the 2 1/2 to 3 pages the next day. Neither seemed to think it was excessive. There is no requirement at all for Little Precious to do this. It's totally up to her.

I know I should have probably let it go - but darn it felt good to simply tell the truth, reasonably politely, and not worry that it will come back to bite you in the ass. 

Written by PK at 6:00 PM



At 1:08 AM, Blogger Roz said...

Hi PK, good on you for not letting it go, the parent needed to be told. I think you handled it very well, just telling it like it is.

Not much longer before you no longer have to deal with idiot parents :)


At 2:49 AM, Blogger missy said...

Hi PK. As a teacher myself I can both relate to your post and sympathise with your frustration. It made me feel mad just reading it and I am glad that you chose not to let it go lol. Enjoy the next two weeks 😊 missy

At 3:15 AM, Blogger lindy thomas said...

Good for you PK for sticking up for yourself and not letting it go. Little Precious sounds like a right royal pain in the B.U.M. and her Idiot parent is just as bad.

Only a few more weeks left before you retire hang in there.

Hugs Lindy xx

At 3:37 AM, Blogger an English Rose said...

Oh how great to be able to stick up for yourself and say what you want. I have put up with idiot parents for years too and when I stopped teaching dance that was the best bit, getting rid of them.
love Jan,xx

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Leigh Smith said...

Good for you. The fact that Little Precious is a brat is evidenced by her mother. Obviously, LP is never held accountable for any wrongdoing and unfortunately those who come in contact with her are the ones that pay the price and get bullied because it couldn't possibly be LP's fault.
LAST WEEK COMING UP - Hooray, Hooray

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Ella said...

PK, I was positively snorting while reading this. Good on you, my friend! Anyone who has been a teacher has stories like this one.

In elementary school we were expected to work with the teachers in the next grade to form the class lists for the following year. We created a little profile of each child on large color-coded index cards before we started sorting. We had an agreed upon code we used for parents like the mother of Little Precious. PIAP stood for "Pain In the Ass Parent."


At 10:33 AM, Blogger Meredith Malloy said...

Right with you here! Let these last days be ones of blazing glory.

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you! I always thought the one thing I underestimated and that wasn't mentioned enough in our teacher education were those parents. My first class the parents were horrible. Right now I'm blessed and I enjoy it as long as it lasts.
And now don't leave us hanging here - is there another reply (I bet there is) and did LP write those 3 pages???

Greetings from Germany - and enjoy your last days.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger abby said...

As we often said at lunch in the faculty room...our jobs would be so much easier if our students were orphans......Yeah for you, every teacher dreams of this.
hugs abby

At 7:13 PM, Blogger PK said...

Thanks Roz, when I think of the number of time I've just kept my mouth shut when I really had more to say. I guess I better have my say quickly.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger PK said...

Hey Missy - I'm alway surprised to realize how many of us here are, or were, teachers. I know we all share this frustration. And it's not two weeks, it's four and a half days!

At 7:16 PM, Blogger PK said...

I'm way more annoyed at the mom than the kid. LP is really just an average 6th grader. Of course by the time she's grown I'm betting mom will have ruined her.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger PK said...

When my partner retired I remember her saying, "I've love teaching, loved my colleagues, loved the kids - hated the parents!"

At 7:20 PM, Blogger PK said...

LP is fine now but she'll be living with mom long enough for mom to convince her nothing will ever be her fault and the world should rearrange itself for her. This should be a great week!

At 7:21 PM, Blogger PK said...

LOL! Love your code! I've often said as siblings have come along, 'I've already had those parents. I'll not do it again.'

At 7:22 PM, Blogger PK said...

The joyful feeling of saying exactly what you want to say!

At 7:27 PM, Blogger PK said...

New teachers definitely need to be taught how to handle parents. I've been teaching Mollie for years, but I found it was much easier when I got older than the parents.

I told her I would have to have the paper by Monday morning. So I'll come back here and up date you. I'm guessing she doesn't have it. So far no further emails from mom.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger PK said...

You are so right! I used to tell them I'd be happy to have a class of 40 if they were all orphans.

At 10:39 PM, Blogger Laurel said...

So great to be able to respond and not worry about it. Good for you and good luck to the new teacher!

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Cat said...

Hate to be the one to tell ya this, PK but I have been on the receiving end of passive/aggressive most of our life and that was not passive/aggressive. That was diplomatic honesty. That mother needs a barn burner. Might consider sending paddles to all the parents when you leave. ;)

Hugs and blessings...Cat

At 2:22 AM, Blogger missy said...

Oooo lucky you. We don't break up until next Wednesday. 8 days and counting 😊

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Baker said...

I really enjoyed how you took care of this situation.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Rosie Jones said...

My daughter is a teacher, she often wants to strangle the parents. Good for you, not letting it go.
Only a few days now...
Rosie xx

At 11:32 PM, Blogger PK said...

It really did feel good!

At 11:32 PM, Blogger PK said...

Oh wouldn't that be fun! A little going away gift!

At 11:33 PM, Blogger PK said...

It was fun for me too!

At 11:34 PM, Blogger PK said...

Saying what needed to be said was so freeing. I wish your daughter all the luck in the world!

At 11:34 PM, Blogger PK said...

No more word from mom and LP did turn in the paper for extra credit!

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Terpsichore said...

just a few more days... :-) Hugs

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admit I was wrong about Mom (maybe she thought it wasn't worth the effort with you being gone so soon?) However I thought that LP would turn in the paper. As you said she's not the main problem here (at least not yet) and especially if she knew other kids did it as well, I expected to see the fairness in it after all.

As an aside, I was positively surprised by a parent today. As I said, right now I'm lucky.

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you'd have to make sure that it's for the parents, not the kids...

At 9:16 PM, Blogger PK said...

You are so right!

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Oh PK! :) AWESOME job!!! What a great way to go out! That mom needed to hear exactly that. You did her child a big favour! Good for you!

Thinking about you, and am so So SO excited for you re: your retirement! OK, I am definitely excited for all of us too, as that means more wonderful books to read in the coming months and beyond!

Lots of love, and congratulations on your retirement! I've told you before, and I will tell you again- every student that crossed your path was lucky to have had you for a teacher! You are a wonderful lady!

<3 Katie


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