{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "How do you overcome the anxiety when a parent messages you angrily? I sent out letters to parents of kids who had a D or an F and offered some suggestions and this parent took it as me telling her what to do and insulting her.", "post_id": "607b5cb49f909f002a2e557b", "reply_count": 20, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers" }

How do you overcome the anxiety when a parent messages you angrily? I sent out letters to parents of kids who had a D or an F and offered some suggestions and this parent took it as me telling her what to do and insulting her.

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Stick to principle over personality. If you must respond, do it in such a way where you are simply stating that you just wanted to offer some suggestions that others had found helpful, but the parent can take or leave them, which is the principle/professional motive here. You are simply trying to help the child be successful. You do not owe her an apology, but you can provide a clarification of what you shared with her. If she continues to be belligerent or anything like that, send a copy of the conversation to your school admin with a brief description of what is going on. Let them know you will no longer be communicating with this parent without an admin present. If you have been professional & kept to the principle of what you were doing, it becomes very obvious that the other person is reacting inappropriately in this situation. It also allows for a certain amount of cover your @$$. As teachers, building relationships with students and parents is such a fundamental & innate part of the job that we sometimes forget that we are professionals & can set professional boundaries in our communication with students, parents, and colleagues. Approach this with professional principle & it makes it hard to sustain injury to your personality/character.

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You are not at fault for communicating with parents. By reaching out to families, you showed that you care. Meanwhile, parents are stressed during this time, so when they lash out, they are projecting their own problems onto another source--you. Don't take it personally. I know that is easier said than done though.

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It’s best to call and speak in person. Most of the time they just want to be heard. So listen, empathize, and get them on your side.

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Some people just love to be offended, but I’d just calmly explain the intent of my letter. Sounds like you care about your students and are doing the right things.

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Yeah! I am tired of all of the offended people. Get over yourself.

We all know successful students have engaged parents snd guardians, in general the problem is parents wanting us to shoulder and the blame and fix the situation. It can’t be done face to face or virtually. You do the best you can and ignore the comments until they become threats than hand that off to the the administration. What I see here in this state is no real system for handling the non engaged student and their families. The administration tells me the courts and paperwork is over burdened, well refine the paperwork needed and add more courts or we will never get a handle on it. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out a virtual student that has turned in nothing all year and last visit online was September is responsibly engaged. Fine the parent, in some case a court order for parent to accompany student to each class. Make it a national record for those jumping state and local education communities

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The very few cases that make it to court here are usually about attendance. But when the court orders a student to go to school, they don't include ANY restrictions. For example, as long as they go to school once every 15 days so they don't become unenrolled, it's acceptable. And there are no minimum grades. So, not even the courts are effective "deterrents" If the courts don't even insist on the students passing a class, I am sure they won't fine the parent or have them attend class.

Honestly drugs lol 😂. I’m on medicine and it helps

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You pick up the phone! You will be amazed at the change in tone when you call them. This happened about 2 months ago. I stewed over the email all day then finally called. Was on the phone for 17 minutes and before we hung up she said "Sorry if I was a fXXXing a$$hole". My response was "ok".

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I think I would start by trying to explain to the parent in a sweet and calm way (LOL) what your true intentions were. If they still don't accept that, then I know my tone would change for sure! LOL

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At the beginning of the year, as I communicated to my parents I reminded them that I needed their help and thanked them in advance for the "partnership" we were forming for the success of their student. Basically I was laying the groundwork for those hard conversations that we might need to have over grades. So when the conversations occurred...i made sure to reiterate the "partnership" or at least say the word during the conversation so they would remember what my original objective and motivation was at the beginning. (#manchuriancandidatetechnique)

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I did the same. We spend a lot of time planning how we are going to manage our classrooms in terms of expectations and behavior. Yet, the same pro-active "setting the stage" with parents is just as vital. It sets a tone of partnership, trust, and professionalism from the get-go. I spend a lot of time creating that first communication. That way, it is much easier, as the previous poster stated, to have those hard conversations.

Thanks everyone - I think I’m pretty much over this since the person has not responded. In other news my husband was beaten up on Friday trying to protect a student who had been antagonizing the fighters and now the mom of child he protected is blasting him on social media, saying he allowed the fight to happen and did nothing to protect her. Thankfully I have photos of his injuries and many students told our admin that he did everything he could. We are not allowed to send kids down to the office without them being called down unless it’s an emergency so he was required to keep those students in his room. The girl who got beat asked to leave and he said no because she didn’t say where she wanted to go and again - we are not allowed to send kids to the office or counselors office, we have to contact them first and wait for permission.

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In person meeting unless a follow up email clarifies easily.

I agree with previous replies about speaking in person. I too have had several parents who at first are irate and insulting toward my emails to them. I always reply sticking to the facts: “your child has turned in 2 out of 10 assignments” etc. then I offer ways to remedy as well as a phone call. I have found good results by offering a weekly update. This goes out as an email on Friday to about a dozen of my parents. Stick to facts, stick to reasonable ways you can help and yes.... never take it personally. Stick to being civil (then rant with a very trusted colleague or friend). Parents are struggling too... finding that common ground of “we are in this together” has helped me.

Good morning : ) I think that you are doing the right thing by communicating with parents. Most parents taking offence to suggestions on how they can help their children at home usually, indirectly acknowledge some kind of frustration with themselves; thus, often, take it our on you. I like Rising Star`s post and I agree that you do not owe the parent and apology. We are professionals and parents know that. You have your students best interest at heart. I also agree with Rising Star suggesting that you involve admin if the situation escalates. You might need their backing. Please keep up informed. Good luck to you and thank you for all you do: ) Mr. C

In our district it is required that we not only communicate through writing to parents of failing students, but that we also follow up with suggestions on how to fix the problem, list our office hours and say how we are willing to share in getting the student back on track. If we have not had enough open communication with parents, no responses to emails, we have to attempt to call and keep a record. If we have exhausted every avenue including cluing in counselors, we then may fail a student. Continual records and communication, no surprises!

Same here. I try to communicate to parents at the beginning how often, under what circumstances,, etc. so I can calmly remind agitated parents later on that it is purely a requirement.

Her emotional insecurity is not your problem. Maybe she is feeling guilty. If the kid is failing, it is your job to let her know. You did that. How she responds is her issue.

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