I started today by meeting with the mother of a very smart boy who does absolutely no work in class. His main accomplishments lately include sleeping so deeply that he was literally drooling on his math work… twice. His mother has no idea what to do and turned to him, frustrated, to ask what he needed. He had no answer. Neither did she.
I ended the school day in a meeting with my assistant principal, who was upset at me for not calling the parents of a student who was very disrespectful in my class. He called them because so many teachers have written referrals on this kid, and they were very upset that the teachers haven’t been keeping them informed. I appreciate my A.P letting me know this (I feel like people at school are still babying me and don’t always tell me when I’m doing things wrong, so getting scolded was almost a relief) but I’m a little confused by the parents. Last time I called, Mom told me that he was acting the same way at home and she had no idea what to do about it. Now she wants to know every time he misbehaves? HE MISBEHAVES EVERY DAY!!
I think I would be better at this if I weren’t so young and if I had any idea what it’s like to be a parent. I’m expected to interact pretty frequently with parents, but I’m never sure what I’m supposed to tell them (especially when they ask ME what to do… eek). I know I should just keep them informed, but I don’t really get what they can do about it. When you have a middle-school-aged child who’s a disrespectful slacker every day in class, what exactly are you able to do at home to fix this?? I’ve called parents and seen remarkable improvements for a few days (nothing like keeping a kid from their cell phone until behavior improves) but not long term.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely understand that parent contact is important and parents want to be involved, so I’m not trying to scoot out of anything. And this is NOT a “parents just don’t care” post… I know my kids’ parents care SO MUCH. This is just an honest question: realistically, how much can parents accomplish at home, in a short time frame, to improve eighth graders’ behaviors in school? What exactly can I be expecting here?