Should a parent and teacher conference be confidential?

@cream97 (29166)
United States
September 29, 2008 10:49am CST
I recently had an teacher conference with my son's teacher. The conference was located inside of her classroom. We sat at on the small chairs that the kids sit on during class. It so happens that an custodian was present at the time. It comes to find out that this girl whom was cleaning up the room at the time, was a girl that went to my church. This girl and I used to ride the church van back home from church together, sometimes.. I even know the girl's mom and family. While we was in the conference, my son's teacher was talking loud, loud enough where she could be heard. I was very uncomfortable with her talking loud in front of the custodian. Shouldn't the teacher have scheduled this conference when the custodian was not present? I am pretty sure that the teacher knows how long she will be in there cleaning up the classroom. As a parent, I was not pleased, with her having, a conference with me, while another party, whom is not needed, gets to hear her entire conversation with me. This is the second time that the teacher has done this to me. While the custodian is present. I feel that my child's learning has only to do with me and the teacher, not any other outside sources. Shouldn't it be it be strictly confidential for a conference to be between the parent and the teacher only? To my understanding, I believe that it should be confidential, I was taught this from hearing from the school.
4 people like this
32 responses
@relundad (2311)
• United States
29 Sep 08
I have been to a number of parent and teacher conferences and almost all of them were scheduled after school, but held in the classroom as you described. While I agree that they should be confidential, it sounds like to me that the custodian whose job is normally to clean the classrooms after school just happened to be doing her job at the same time that you were having the conference. I think the appropiate thing would have been for the custodian to excuse herself from the room, maybe cleaned another area until you guys were done. Or the teacher could have asked her to leave. But probally if I were the teacher and this person worked for a different area (possibly even a different company) I probally would not have felt comfortable asking him/her to leave the room or not do their job as scheduled. Also if you were not comfortable you could have shared your confidentiality concerns with the teacher. Sometimes we have to let people know when a situation is uncomfortable for us, as everyone is different. Because personally I probally would not have even noticed that the other person was there. The only time that I have ever had a conference behind closed doors was either with the principal or counselor, as traditional classrooms don't have a office.
2 people like this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
29 Sep 08
I second saying something, because often other people are not thinking about somebody else's concerns. People don't read minds and something that makes one person uncomfortable may go totally unnoticed by somebody else.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, mommy boo. That is so correct! Some people tend to not be the least bit concerned about others feelings.. When you are like this, of course things of this nature may happen.. I strive to always think about others feelings, before I go and do something before thinking.
@shooie (4985)
• United States
29 Sep 08
I agree that yes she should schedule when the custodian wasn't going to be around when he conferences takes place. But if this happened before and you as a parent you do have the right to reguest that the teacher have the custodian to please move to another room or area until she was done. Next time a conference is set up you may want to send a note with your child or call the teacher and talk to them a head of time with the request that no one be tere but you and the teacher. Or if ou get there can say maybe we should reschedule when it is private
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, this sounds like a good idea to me!
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
29 Sep 08
Of course a parent && teacher conference should be confidential. I guess in your situation the teacher probably didn't think much about the custodian being close by. I would say, if it happens again, speak up && let the teacher know you would feel better if the conference was just you && her/him. No harm in that, afterall you are the parent && that is your choice.
2 people like this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, I will have to tell her this, no ifs and or buts about it!
• United States
29 Sep 08
That was very rude of her to continue on with the parent teacher conference with the custodian still in the room. She should have at least told the custodian to please come back later to clean the room. I do agree with you that parent teacher conferences should be confidential and make sure that there are no interruptions during the meeting.
2 people like this
@pehpot (4762)
• Philippines
29 Sep 08
I believe too that a parent teacher conference should be confidential, anyone has no right to know what parents and the teacher talk about, it only concern about the kid and so why would someone should be somewhat involve in the conference? Have you talked to the teacher about it? well in some places teacher do this to impress the listener, well in your case maybe she was just not aware of your feelings.
• United States
29 Sep 08
i understand where you're coming from. i've seen a few posts from you about your son and this teacher. did you tell her that it bothered you? most people don't realize they are bothering someone until that person tells them. don't take this the wrong way but...maybe instead of venting on myLOT about this same teacher all the time you should be talking to her about the issues you have with her so she knows. she can't fix something she doesn't know is broken. janitors are always in schools. their job is to be seen, clean and not be heard. i'm sure no one gives a second thought about talking in front of them. i'm sure if the teacher had known you knew this girl she would have tried to give you more privacy. but since you don't ever say how unhappy you are with her you're never going to be happy go talk to her
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
29 Sep 08
Yes, I understand what you are saying and you mean perfectly well. But, this is how I feel... Even if I don't necessarily know this woman, she could have known me.. So, what the teacher and I discussed, she could have taken the conversation elsewhere for someone to hear. That mean she could have exploited my personal business on the streets.. I came to myLot for advice not to be lectured. I will talk to the teacher about her doing this to me..
@camomom (7536)
• United States
30 Sep 08
medney1988 was just trying to give you advice. i don't think it was a lecture. you do post a lot about your childs teacher, if you are so unhappy with the teacher you do need to tell her or the principal, or have your child removed from that class. just my opinion and advice. and please try not to be so offensive. you asked for advice and that's what people are giving you.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
You are right, I asked for advice, but while getting it, I don't need to be told what to do in a harsh way.. I can be told so otherwise, that is just my opinion.
• United States
30 Sep 08
You as a parent and adult have the right to tell that teacher to tone down her voice or wait for the other party to leave. As a parent, and former educator as well as employee of a company that loves to reprimand their employees, you have the right to have whomever you like in the room where you are having that conference and if the other party doesn't agree or doesn't acknowledge taht request then you don't have to participate. I know at my job they like to pull people to the side but hey have a witness for their sake but try to discourage you from having someone there as your witness which i think is completely unfair. But in your situation I would have politely told her " I would like this to be a private conference and could you tone down your vice and wait until the other pary leaves or we can reschedule this at another time.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, you are so very right! I will have to be more upfront with the teacher. I guess she tries to intimidate me with her attitude. But, I will have to tell her that I would like for her to not bring any other parties into this situation..
• United States
30 Sep 08
Some teachers think they have this power over parents as if they are the parent of the parent. I've had teachers that Ive worked with that had that mentality and I coudn't stand it tat's why I'm no longer teaching and have moved on to the security industry. I read a post from someone else that said something to the effect of if the teacher shows disrespect in your face imagine what she does when you aren't there. I would set up a conference with her and give her a piece of my mind and let her know that she neds to learn social skills becuase teaching is more than just disciplining a child. Your child spends more time with the teacher than they do with you and you want yuour child to receive the most appropriate education as possible. I bet she'll calm down then.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
You are very right! I do need to have a talk with her. What she is doing around me and to me, is very unacceptable as a teacher. She seems to be nice but she has rude ways about her! This disturbs me. She say that she is happy to have my son in her class, but the way that she acts, I wonder.. The other post is right. There is no telling what is taking place behind my back when it comes to my son.. It is very sad.. I am nice to her, but she takes me for granted so much. She has no idea how much time that I put into helping my son. She expects so much from him, as if he was her own child. Every child is not going to learn on the same page as another child. Why can't she just understand that?? This is making me fed up. I really am thinking about getting my son out of her class very soon. I can't see myself putting up with this woman throughout the whole entire school year. She looks like she can be in her late 50 going on early 60s. She has age spots all on her arm.. I hate to have to confront her about this, because of her age, that is what is stopping me. But old or no old, if she has the guts to come rude to me, then I can have the guts to let her know that she cannot just do things like this around me. I can no longer be scared of her.. She has no power over me..
@ronaldinu (12440)
• Malta
30 Sep 08
This subject is of interest to me since it involves my profession. I fully agree with what you said. If instead of another custodian, a third party such as a learning assistant was involved or another teacher I would not object. Since they might help in the educational process. However I do find it difficult that a custodian can help in the educational process of your son. I would have strongly protested to stop the meeting until the custodian gets out. I believe that certain things are confidential and persons who do not have anything to do with my son's educational progress should not be present during the meeting.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
You are right on the money!
@ronaldinu (12440)
• Malta
30 Sep 08
thanks for the br award. I really appreciate it.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
You are more than welcome! Your comment hit just what I needed to hear!
• United States
29 Sep 08
I've attended a few parent, teacher conferences, but never a parent, teacher, custodian. I would say something to the principal of the school and let them know that it was unprofessional and its happened twice.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Sep 08
I agree , bring it with the head of school , it has happened more than once. I for one would not want anyone to know what is going on in my personal life unless I said it was OK . This was highly unprofessional and the teacher should have had enough sense to realize this.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, she should have had enough of sense to know this. It is obvious that she does not.. And she did know that the custodian was present even if she did not stay that long. In my opinion, she heard just enough of what she did not needed to hear. I agree with you 100%
@ch88ss (2270)
• United States
2 Oct 08
You are right it should be confidential. But I learned something really important in school. The school will assume that it is ok With parents unless parents specifically ask for privacy. Most of the times my parent conferences are earlier in the day so the custodian are never around. But with this being said, your son’s teacher may be very flexible with her appointments. Maybe you can request an earlier appointment so it will not interrupt the schedules and yet you can meet in privacy. Good luck.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
2 Oct 08
Yes, this may be what may be needed..
@kellyjeanne (1576)
• United States
30 Sep 08
I totally agree with you. The teacher should have been a little more sensitive to that. The next time you have a conference with her tell her you don't want anyone present during these conferences. You have every right to tell her this. Also, if she keeps it up she should be reported because she is breaking an unwritten code of confidentiality. The reason I say 'unwritten' is that it probably isn't in any contract that she MUST keep the conferences just between herself and the parent, but, at the same time, she is showing total lack of discretion and sensitivity when it comes to the kids. It also shows a lack of respect for both the parent and the child. I hope this helps, sweetie! Purrs, Catwoman=^..^= & Mija
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Thanks! You are totally right! I will be on my paws with her the very next time she pulls this rude stunt! I won't be so nice the next time!
• United States
30 Sep 08
I can't imagine a custodian even thinking of cleaning a classroom if a teacher and parent were having a conference. It's also incredible to me that neither you or the teacher didn't ask her to come back later.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
I was hoping that the teacher would have told the custodian to leave. Instead of me. I was the parent. And I felt awkward to have to say this directly to the woman, whether I knew her or not. The teacher should have planned this conference better scheduled than she had. She knew this day and time was coming, it should have been well thought about more than it was..
@censae (72)
• United States
30 Sep 08
I truly hear what you are saying loud and clear.. It is part of the underlying problem leading to the lack parent involvement at our schools. It comes down to whether or not you are seen as a valuable person to this teacher. It also should bring up the question as to whether or not she sees your child as a valuable person. Are you and your child not worthy of respect? You are right to be concerned about the behavior of a teacher and a system that does not respect you and your child. This person and this system play a large role in the life of your child on a daily basis. It helps the child to shape things in his or her world. If you are blantly disrespectful in my presence, what are you doing when I am not around. Take a stand. It will help other parents and students.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
I agree with you.. I wished that you could come to my son's school and help me to voice my opinion on this! Your answer is one in a million!
@thedaddym (1737)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Since this happened twice, and I assume the conferences were not at the same time each time, it looks to me like the custodian might be purposely cleaning the room while you are in there so she could listen. Teachers are accustomed to go on talking when the custodian comes in, as the custodian might come in during class time to fix something or empty the garbage. The teach may have not realized. If I were you I would have politely said something to the teacher or the custodian, and stated that this was a private matter, and you would prefer if only the teacher and yourself were in the room.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, you are right.. The first time, I had to ask the teacher a question, about my child's Free Lunch Form.. That is when the teacher decided that she wanted to chat with me. The custodian was there at the time. I don't think that she knew that I was coming in the class that day. The next time me and the teacher talked, it was for the conference.. The custodian was there again. It seemed like she was listening right then and there. All, I know is that I am not too happy with other parties being in the room when the teacher is talking to be about my son's education. Not unless they are needed in the conference. And to make it bad, her classroom door was opened at the same time too!
@subha12 (18452)
• India
30 Sep 08
i think it should be confidential. when the children are not related to others, why other people should listen to the conference. she should be more aware taht it can make any parent feel bad.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, it did make me feel bad, when the custodian was there.. What the teacher was saying about my child was personal. The custodian got to hear every word of it, just as long as she was in the classroom..
@KrauseHome (36340)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Well, personally I would always think that these are supposed to be 100% confidential between you and the Teacher, and if I were you, I would be making a complaint that you feel the next time you want it just between you or the teacher, or you will not show up. If there are any major issues that should not be discussed around others as they might take it wrong, or say something to someone else that should be keep quiet as well. All I can say, is it might not hurt to say something to prevent things like this from happening to you or someone else again in the future.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, it should not hurt, if I voice my concern.. Matters will not be taken lightly once it is done..
@dragon54u (31651)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, it should be confidential and from what you say about that teacher over the past few weeks, I don't think she cares a great deal about her students or their parents! Can't you get your son transferred to another class?
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
I wish I could. And maybe I can.. She has been a pain in the butt, since my son has been in her class. She sends messages about what he is not doing in class. She gets easily frustrated when my son does not perform like she expects. She is one of those teachers who expects a lot out of a child. I understand that she wants him to do his best, but she is pushing him when it comes to his school work. And that I have a problem with.
@tlb0822 (1412)
• United States
30 Sep 08
I think that the teacher should have scheduled it at a different time, or asked the custodian to leave while you had your meeting. The business dealt with you, your child, and the teacher no one else. I would let the principle know that you were displeased, and your thoughts on the matter. I don't think that anyone else should be in the room. It should be a private matter. happy mylotting.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, she should have.. I am pretty sure that she knew that the custodian would have been in her classroom that day.. So, why didn't she just make other arrangements since she knew that I was coming there that day. Even if the custodian, only stayed fore 5 to 6 minutes or so.. That time she was there still was not needed. The teacher should have known better than to do allow this to take place, knowing that she has an scheduled conference with a parent. The teacher should have carefully planned this conference time much better than she had!
@fatragu (349)
• United States
29 Sep 08
I think that the parent teacher conference should be confidential. If there are other teachers that need to know what happened in it then they might be able to tell them. But there is no reason for the custodian to be hearing what is being said about your child.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Yes, there is no reason that the custodian should be hearing what is discussed..
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
29 Sep 08
I would say something. It should be confidential and nobody else has any reason to be in there listening. If the custodian HAS to be cleaning the room at that time, then the teacher should have taken you to another room so you could have some privacy.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
30 Sep 08
Exactly! She should have. And if the custodian had to be there, then the teacher should have made plans for a more quiet, secluded place. Something could have been done about this, that is for sure!