March 2009
Vol 6 No 3

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.3 March 2009

Cover Story by Graysen Walles
Teachers are Brave
Somewhere in this country a drive-by was avoided, a robbery was reconsidered, or a suicide attempt was abandoned because a teacher was willing to show up and make a difference in the classroom, administrative office, after school activity, or at the home of a child.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Assessing for Student Learning

»The 21st Century Teaching-Learning Environment - (Think Outside the Classroom Box)Hal Portner
»Why Do You Teach?Sue Gruber
»Educating Homeless ChildrenLeah Davies
»Old School Progress ReportsTodd R. Nelson
»Habit vs. Awareness for the 3 Practices and for the Hierarchy of Social DevelopmentMarvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac
»Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman
»Global Travel GuruJosette Bonafino
»Tool & ToysRick Morris

»Economic Relief for TeachersTeachers.Net
»Fifty Years of TeachingBill Page
»Strange SignsTim Newlin
»A Dozen Surefire Tips To Maximize Flexible Grouping and Small Group LearningSusan Fitzell
»Time to Reward YourselfAlan Haskvitz
»March 2009 Writing PromptsJames Wayne
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VHank Kellner
»What’s Wrong With Teacher Education In This Country?Howard Seeman
»“Slumdog Millionaire” Teaches About Education, TooDorothy Rich
»Teachers’ Role in Improving Students’ Thinking Skills: Moving beyond the ‘sage on the stage’Ambreen Ahmed

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring QuotesBarb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily CommemorationRon Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Liz Phillips' Printable Discipline Rubric
»Photo tour: 4th Grade Classroom
»Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: March 2009
»Featured Lesson: Recognizing Bullying
»Modeling Guided Reading FAQ, Periodic Table of Videos – Fascinating Chemistry!, Carl Sagan - 4th Dimension Explanation, Parabolas in the Real World, Al Jolson sings - Brother Can You Spare a Dime?, Lovers’ Waltz - Casey Willis on violin, Meet Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
»Live on Teachers.Net: March 2009
»T-Netters Share Favorite Recipes
»Managing Hyperactive Students
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers
»This Board’s For Me!


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Graysen Walles

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Graysen Walles, Hal Portner, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Rick Morris, Bill Page, Tim Newlin, Susan Fitzell, Alan Haskvitz, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Howard Seeman, Dorothy Rich, Ambreen Ahmed, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Liz Phillips, and YENDOR.

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Barbara Pressman

Advice for Substitute Teachers
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

How can I reach the quiet student?
How Should I Handle an Angry Parent?
Dear Barbara - Advice for Substitute Teachers
by Barbara Pressman
The author of Substitute Teaching from A to Z (McGraw-Hill, 2008)

Continued from (page 1)
March 1, 2009

How Should I Handle an Angry Parent?

Dear Barbara,

Today an angry parent walked into my room as the students were filing out for dismissal. She was clearly upset and got right “in my face” to tell me that I better stop picking on her son. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what she was talking about, but it was obvious that she was extremely agitated.

I asked her to please wait until I dismissed the children. Then we sat down. She claimed that I had blamed her son, Tyson, for starting a fight with another student, James. The parent said that James had started the fight, and of course, Tyson, was an “innocent” victim.

Since I am a sub, I don’t know the children and their personalities very well. I had been in that classroom for only two days. But I do know what I saw.

I tried hard to calm the parent down, and when she left, her tension had dissipated. But I was left with a bad feeling. I wrote a note to the classroom teacher about the incident.

Is there a better way to handle a situation like this?

Samantha in Ocala, FL

Dear Samantha,

Angry parents can be intimidating. As a sub, you are vulnerable because you don’t know very much about personalities of the children and you have no knowledge of the parents’ idiosyncrasies. And yet, it’s not uncommon to interact with parents. After all, you are their child’s teacher for some period of time.

I have found that parents just want to be heard. My advice to you is to be a good listener. Use positive body language while listening. Eye contact is important. Let them talk and express their concern. Act interested.

After the parent tells you her side of the story, express your thanks and indicate that her comments have given you more insight into the matter. You will look into the issue, this time with more information and with another point of view. With her help, you now have a better handle on the situation. Don’t promise any special outcome.

Because parents often go to the top with complaints, be sure to be proactive and alert the classroom teacher and an administrator. They will be thankful that you have given them a “heads up.”

You have acted professionally within the scope of your job as a sub. Let the permanent professionals in the school resolve this delicate situation.


» More Gazette articles...

About Barbara Pressman...

Barbara Pressman is an adjunct professor at the College of Education, Florida Atlantic University. She has been a classroom teacher for more than 20 years, and a supervisor for student teachers for 10 years. She currently mentors Substitute Teachers as well.

Teachers.Net asked Barbara how she came to be interested in writing for substitute teachers. Her response:
I have subbed for many years during my teaching career. When my children were small, I found subbing to be a wonderful "free lance" job. At that time, I took on a 6th grade long term subbing assignment, which led me back to full time teaching. Upon retirement, I went back to subbing once again.

Barbara is the author of book
Substitute Teaching from A to Z (McGraw-Hill, 2008), available in all major bookstores and To find out more, visit:

Substitute Teachers:
Barbara invites you to submit your question by email. Your question could appear in a future column!

Barbara Pressman Articles on Teachers.Net...
Related Resources & Discussions on Teachers.Net...