Friday, May 29, 2009

Can we meet the teachers without meeting the parents?

I dislike Meet-the-Parent sessions. No, it's not because I'm adverse to seeing my kids' teachers. On the contrary, I see great value in hearing feedback about my kids straight from the teachers' mouths. Especially for Andre. I don't know if he's got HUH? syndrome or MAD malady (refer to this post for more elaboration on these disorders) but apparently, he has being attributing words to his teacher that she claims she has never said, as I discovered today.

I dislike Meet-the-Parent sessions because quite inevitably, I will be extremely irritated by some parents who think they are entitled to hog the teachers' time at the expense of other parents. Like today, I was waiting to see Lesley-Anne's English teacher, behind a parent who was grousing for 45 minutes about how the teacher was not making a special effort for her son. I didn't eavesdrop but I caught some bits by accident when I decided to stand conspicuously behind her so as to hint at my impatience.

In fact, other parents soon caught my cue and started queueing behind me. Much good that did. At one point, I dropped my decorum and interrupted the session to let the teacher know I had another teacher's appointment in 15 minutes. That parent didn't bat an eyelid and continued - unabated and unabashed. Another mum in the queue whispered to me, "Basic courtesy, right?"

Of course she eventually left (maybe her parking coupon was up). The teacher, understandably, looked tired and upset, so I felt I had to say some encouraging words to her.

Why do some parents do this? I mean, feel that teachers owe them the earth and sky? I don't know that child in question but you've got to wonder if the parent's attitude is a clue to the child's problems.

Ok, I've done enough grousing of my own. Luckily I've got a scapegoat - I'm blaming my low threshold for inconsiderate behaviour on the stress of the DSA process.


Veronica_L said...

Haha...the poor teacher must have been really hassled by that parent. There should be a time limit to deal with parents like these who take up the teacher's time in such an inconsiderate manner.

Wow, the other parents followed your cue? You must really have natural leadership bursting out of you!

monlim said...

Most parents self impose a 15 minute, at most 20 minute limit but some ah, really buay zhi tong one. This is not the first time I've encountered a 45 minute wait and this is not the only parent.

No natural leadership lah, probably the other parents figured at this rate, if they don't follow the queue, they'll never get to see the teacher!

eunice said...

45 min!!! What did she have to discuss? Schools here impose a 10 min rule, but teachers willing to talk a bit longer if need to. However, they will (very nicely) tell parent to come back for another one on one session if they have further issues. Otherwise teachers will be there till next day.

We have to sign up to see the teacher. Makes things easier.

monlim said...

Eunice: I know! I'm sure teachers dislike the Meet-the-Parent sessions too, hehe.

Some classes impose the "we'll arrange to see you only if there's a need" rule. But unfortunately, there's always a need to see Andre's parents :D

breve1970 said...

Err... I went once, back in June last year but have since skipped last Dec's and last Friday's sessions. I have also encountered someone like that last year so am not at all thrilled.

Would probably go the PTM sessions only when Han goes to the upper primary level. I am such a lazy mum!

monlim said...

Ann: Hannah is doing well in school so you don't have to worry! I know what you mean, these incidents can really put us off the MTP sessions.

Jo said...

Our 1st time this year - didn't realise that we had to "hover" & hubby felt it wasn't nice to do so. He told me to ask what "number" we were in the queue in between sessions...then we sat on the side and waited for our turn - bad move !

We waited for more than 1 hour and then a friend came over & told us that if we didn't proceed closer to signal our intentions, we would be here for hours (groan!)

I see some parents also doing the tag-team method where they each zoom in to separate teachers to see who is available and then signal to the other if they are.

Now I know why some parents opt fot the "phone-call" instead of coming for the PTC.

Whole process to see 2 teachers took 2.5 hrs - painful & exhausting.

monlim said...

Jo: I see I'm not the only one with PTC blues! Yup, the shy ones tend to lose out. At my kids' school, the teacher now allocates timings so it helps somewhat but once you get a thick-skinned rhino type, everyone gets pushed back. Shuttling between classroom to see 6 teachers, and even splitting some up between Kenneth and I, we were in school the whole morning that day. Exhausting!

elan said...

Yep, I spent 3 hours to see the teachers for both my sons and only spoke to them for about 10min or less each.
Fortunately it was all in 1 big hall so we could look around and spot which teacher had only 1 parent or no parents in her queue and zoom over there.
But in the end still had to wait a long time to see 1 English teacher who we kept putting off because her queue was too long. Like you, I was also stuck behind a mum who took 45 mins, despite hovering...

In my sons' previous school (pre-GEP) they gave specific 10 min appointments and the teachers stuck to the timings strictly but politely, it was such a breeze.In and out in 40 min for 2 sons.
This school gives us options for timings that we had to reply to on the website but I don't see the point of it as no one replied to tell us which timing to come for and it all ended up just queueing anyway.
The first year at this new school I missed the PTM by mistake because I was still waiting for a email or letter to tell me what my appointment time was!!
However, I think PTM are useful because there are somethings that are harder to discuss by email or on the phone and it is nice to be able to put a face to the teachers' names.

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