Sep 6, 2012

Problem Parents

A "problem child" is to be expected when teaching, and while irritating they are tolerable.  After all they are children, and as such will act like a child.  What is really irritating to deal with are the problem parents, and I had my first one this week!  Basically, the parent of a newer student, who started just a few weeks ago, was all in a huff when she came to pick her kid up after her trial Art Kids lesson (an art class thing offered on Wednesdays after regular school ends at 2pm, when I and all the other teachers go home).  Her daughter was supposedly crying and had a scratch and bruise under her eye.  The girl said it was because another kid in my class hit her (said kid isn't even there for the art class), and the next day mother came in all upset with me and my helper-teacher for not saying anything about it.  In her broken English she told me she didn't think I wasn't "pro".  I looked at her incredulously before having to stifle the laughter and the urge to tell her, "Of course I'm not, do you think this company would fork over the money to pay a 'professional teacher'?"  And then I just felt pissed off and wanted to tell her, "Alright, let's stick you in a class with 10 psychotic three-year-olds and see how you fair." 
Because seriously, that's how it was.  Granted, there were two teachers in that class.. it was chaos when it was nine kids but when they decided to stuff one more new kid in our class this past week that was just kind of the breaking point for me and I told them that having this many little kids in one classroom (and having to actually TEACH them) was just insane.  (I won't go into all the other reasons why I think this company is just complete BS.  That could take up a whole other post..)

But then to have this mother get all pissed with me because "I wasn't watching her daughter", just really f***** me off.  She wrote a long note in the renrakuchou (little notebook for notes between the parents and the school) that she wanted us two teachers to read and write a response to.  Other teacher ended up writing the response, because they FINALLY split our class and that girl is in the other teacher's class, not mine thank God.  Now I won't have to deal with that mother's nonsense.  Though I really did want to be the one to write the response.. other teacher was quite nice in her response, but it might just be that I'm at the point where I don't give a shit anymore.
Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that, as the mother, she would want to know what's going on with her child and if there are any problems.  But then to go off on me with out knowing the situation and to question my capabilities...   Rrr!!

First- when I left at 2pm your daughter was perfectly fine.  She was making her usual goofy faces as we sang the good-bye song.  Her eye was fine, she wasn't crying.  If something happened during the extra hour she was there after I left, well how the hell am I supposed to know about that?

Second- if it did happen during class time with the kid she claims hit her, and I didn't see it?  That's something that needs to be taken up with the company.  I have TEN KIDS to look after, with only two eyes that can only see in one direction at once, and there is almost always at least one kid screaming and crying for one reason or another that needs to be held/comforted, or other kids arguing over toys who need to be talked to, notes that need to be written to other parents, lessons that need to be planned, all while 10 little maniacs run around strewing toys everywhere.  Granted yes, I have help, but she is also trying to do all the things I'm trying to do as well.  Sorry ma'am, I can't watch ONLY your daughter for every bloody second of the day.  If that kid hit her in the few seconds my eyes were averted, and she didn't cry or say anything to me, it must have not bothered her all that much.  They were playing together the whole time, carrying around a basket of plastic fruit together and everything.  They took a couple spills because they wouldn't stop running around, jerking each other about with that basket, but I certainly did not see any hitting.  Ever consider the possibility that your daughter isn't telling the truth?  She is 3 after all.  Kids are good at making stuff up.  I doubt she'd be doing it maliciously to get the kid in trouble, or even intentionally.. Maybe one of those times she fell and bumped heads with said kid, or the kid just accidentally got her in the face while they were playing, but in her mind he hit her on purpose
And lastly- questioning my ability.  Hi, yes.. you have one daughter.  I have taken care of more kids in the past year than you probably ever will in your entire life, under the guidance of licensed day care workers and a child psychologist.  No, I am not an expert by any means and I don't pretend to be, but I've been around kids enough to know how they interact with each other, and how to handle situations like fighting, hitting, etc.  If I had seen something happen, I would have addressed it appropriately.  So please give credit where credit is due.

I knew I'd be having issues with this woman the first week her daughter was here.  Her daughter was crying one morning and was saying she didn't want to go to school because some kid was being mean to her.  I knew for a fact that wasn't the case.  Said kid hardly even interacted with her that first week.  It was the girl's first week at the school, after having just moved to Japan from China.. of course she's going to be upset having to be adjusting to so much at once.  But mother was so concerned, making a big fuss with me and all the Japanese staff that we have to watch her daughter and make sure she has this and that and is comfortable and happy and rah rah.  
Yes.  Because we don't do that already..
All the other parents I've ever dealt with have been wonderful and understanding, and I've even gotten some really sweet notes from some of the mothers in the renrakuchou..  I know I shouldn't let this old biddy with unrealistic expectations get to me.  I just needed to rant.  

I would like to hear other people's perspectives on the matter though.  From a mother's perspective, or another teacher's perspective?  Or just and outsider's view.

I didn't want to get into it too much, but that just turned into a really long rant.  But, like I said, the classes are finally split so I'll only have half a flock to look after and won't have to deal with crazy mum.  Yesterday was the first day with five kids and my goodness it was a dream!  I didn't feel like wringing their necks every five minutes!  :D
Called in sick today though so I could go to the immigration office (they wouldn't give me the day off for that, but that's another rant I'll spare you), and then it's off to visit my aunt, and my cousin and his family.  Should be a good day ahead.. gotta hurry and get ready.


dubs :3 said...

God parents like that are super frustrating... I can understand, if you're the parent you want to be sure your child is in good hands and all, but sometimes they take things too far and put the blame where it's not warranted, jump to conclusions when they don't have all the facts, etc. I don't know what can be done about it...just thank your lucky stars you don't have to deal with her or her kid! I know I

Gina said...

Alrighty I’ll give you my 2 cents.

As a mother, and both Branden and Noah been schooled here in Japan their whole lives. Anyway, I think kids getting into scuffles with other kids is not really a big huge deal. In Japan there is a term called “monster parent” the teachers and principal and father’s club usually talk about the few “monster parents” at the shogakko. Everyone knows who they are. if their little prince or princess heaven forbid even gets as much as a scratch heaven help you because you'll most certainly get a phone call from said monster parent or get a stern talking to or get a 2 pager complaint/write up in the renrakucho about it. @_@ Branden was hit once by a kid at yochien and he hit the kid right back, like I always told him to...(if someone hits you you hit them right back but harder, that way they learn, not to ever do that to you again ne~!) (I mean they have to defend themselves, right!). @_@ They were back to being friends the next day. And we 2 mother’s had the good sense to know not to bud our noses into it and not drag the poor sensei into it either. Noah’s never had a problem like that yet at all. Which is weird/unusual all on it’s own. : ) Anyway my 2 get along with everyone. But yeah I’ve seen the dreaded monster parents before.

Alright now my 2 cents as a sensei. Because I was an elementary school teacher in the US before moving to Japan. And I was a sensei at 3 different hoikuens here in Japan also. As a teacher you know we do the best we can do. I used to teach about 50 kids all at once *however* the 2 regular Japanese sensei’s were always at the back and they dealt with their behavior problems and such. Even with the 2 Japanese teachers at the back. And me being the lone gaijin teacher at the front with my helper Japanese teacher at the front with me, so 4 teachers in the room always. However we still had some wild moments. Once while I was teaching. All the kids were sitting on the floor in neat little rows/lines and suddenly a puddle of pee starts comes around this kid, yep he peed his pants. I had to keep the lesson going and the regular sensei went cleaned the mess up and went and changed the kid. Once we were all running in a circle and I would shout....the other way!!!! And the kids would all laugh and they’d all switch directions. One kid was screwing off and decided to not listen to any of the sensei's and leave the circle we were all in...and kept running elsewhere.... he wasn’t looking where he was going and ran smack right into the wall. “Hello Mc Fly!” watch where you’re going derrrrrr! he cried and stuff and the regular teachers hugged him and stuff. I’d also see how boys would not like one boy and I could see he was like the nerd of the class. Poor kid. So, I’d like call him up and then give him 5 with my hand afterwards. Teaching in Japan, at the big company I worked the gaijin teacher was always pretty protected because I had these 3 Japanese teachers always in the room and they handled/dealt with all the hard stuff.... all the kid fights...injuries...pee accidents. Ha ha ha. I was just the teacher of English.

I think you handling all the kids you are doing without the assistance of their regular hoikuen sensei’s like how I did. You’re a star in my book. You are doing a lot, seriously I take my hat off to you. And no, you can’t watch every single kid every single second. you’ve got to blink once in a while right and you got to turn your head and focus on another child versus her child 24/7. And furthermore how do you know the injury didn’t happen in the art class after you left?

I think her writing what she did in the renrakucho was way way more then enough, but to top it off her coming down there like a bat out of hell and saying you’re not a pro?! Come on! If she’s that freaking worried about her kid’s safety keep her home for crying out loud!

She sounds like a real pill and I am so sorry you have to deal with her. : ( xxx

-chai- said...

Thanks for all of your input Gina! It's nice to get a mom's point of view, since I can only see it from a teacher's point of view.
And it's funny that you say that, because I really wanted to tell her the same thing- that if she's that worried about her kid she should just keep her home! She's only 3! She doesn't *have* to be in school yet. But the mother also needs to realize that she can't protect her girl from everything, and that she should teach her daughter to be strong and take care of things on her own, like you did with your boys.
But anyway, yeah, thanks again for the input. :)

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