I’ve made some comments on G@G over the past few weeks about my being a teacher and it got me thinking about one side of teaching most never consider. The parents. No, I don’t mean their involvement in their child’s education nor the lack thereof. I’m talking what the parents say to me. So I decided to write some of it down and share it with you for laughs and giggles. Keep in mind, the things on this list have been said to someone who is only in their 4th year of teaching. And I still have 40 more to go.
**NOTE: I understand that some of you may not find this believable, but it is 100% true. I tried to pick some that were funny, stupid, and inappropriate, but trust me, there’s way more than what’s on this list. I also choose to share this anonymously for obvious career and job security reasons.
1. “This is why children shouldn’t be allowed to be teachers.”
This statement was said to me my first year teaching. Grade level? Freshman. It was during a parent/teacher conference with the principals there. It was a bit of a surprise, too, because I wasn’t informed of the meeting at all. Rather, I was pulled during my plan period. But I didn’t mind. My plan period is every day for 45 minutes. I can give up one to talk to a concerned or upset parent.
This parent, however, was pissed off. Why? Well, apparently, I told a student in my class he had to respect me because I’m the teacher and I don’t have to explain myself to him. Did I say this? No. In fact, I told the student, after he called me a bitch for giving him a detention for talking on his phone in class, that he was disrespectful and would then be getting a referral for his comment. He asked why, and I said, “You know why”.
First, she looked me up and down and told the principal, “I thought she was a student,” in which the principal laughed in response and said, “Yeah, she looks young, but she’s definitely a teacher.” No, I was not offended by this. However, this parent changed and said I was disrespectful to her child and that I should apologize. I said no. She then told me I wasn’t a good teacher if I had to speak to children that way. I told her I never said that. She then rolled her eyes and said, “This is why children shouldn’t be allowed to be teachers.”
2. “Please stop emailing me about my daughter’s behavior. I know she’s bad. Just send her to the principal.”
This one happened during my second year of teaching. Grade level Juniors. And this actually wasn’t sent to me. It was sent to a colleague of mine who was instructed to send it to this student’s teachers. I usually don’t email parents as I prefer to call since most adults don’t check their emails regularly. However, our Junior history teacher always emails and calls the parents. After several weeks of no response to any of us, this parent emails our history teacher. He then sends it to the principal and asks how he should proceed.
Guess who instructed him to forward it to the other teachers? THE PRINCIPAL. Needless to say, the girl failed all of us and we never heard from the mother again.
3. “I don’t know how to make him do [his homework]. He just wants to plays Xbox all day.”
During my full time student teaching, my cooperating teacher and myself sat down with a parent whose son was failing the class. He was a Senior and extremely bright, but never did any work. When my cooperating teacher asked his mother why he never does homework, she said it’s because we aren’t giving him any. When we show her the gradebook to prove otherwise, she tells my cooperating teacher, “That’s ridiculous. I think my son would tell me if he has homework because he knows better than to lie to me.” After my cooperating teacher tells her, again, we assign homework every week, she then says, “Even if you do, I don’t know how to make him do it. He just wants to play Xbox all day. He’s 17, what do you want me to do?”
Yeah, I’ll let that marinate with you for a minute.
4. “I think you failed him on purpose because you want him to be just as miserable as you are.”
Time for an athlete story. One of my Junior babies from my second year of teaching hardly came to my class. He was late every day and I had him first bell, so I only saw him for 15 minutes of a 90 minute block, if I was lucky. He was late for several reasons, but his parents blamed it on lack of funds to catch the bus.
The result was a 14% in my class. The only reason I remember it after so long is because the father kept yelling the number at me over the phone. He then accused us white teachers (Note: I am not white) for failing his son because he was black, especially me since his lowest was in my room. His sons low grades all around meant he was ineligible for football, a sport he lives for. Before I can say anything, he says, “I think you failed him on purpose because you want him to be just as miserable as you are. I’m calling your principal!” and hangs up the phone in my face. I wasn’t the only teacher who got a call from him like that the same day, either.
He shows up for a parent/teacher conference and is yelling at my colleagues, accusing them of racism. I was late because he came during my class and I could only be there for lunch, but I could hear him through the conference room when I walked through the office doors. I walk in the room with all my blackness and he sits down and starts speaking properly.
And, no, we did not change the students grades as he demanded.
5. “Maybe your breasts are too big. My son likes breasts. He is a man, after all.”
Last, but not least, is my personal favorite. It’s my favorite because it was said about myself and our physical science teacher in front of two male teachers. We don’t always need a principal present during a conference, so it was just the four of us and a parent who couldn’t figure out why her son was failing my class and the science class and barely passing his math and health class.
After a lengthy discussion about her son having such low grades and her horrendous attempt at blaming us, she concluded he was failing English and Physical Science because we were the only female teachers on his schedule and he couldn't focus with us walking around the room. That, and we were both in our early 20’s. She even told us, “Maybe your breasts are too big. My son likes breasts. He is a man, after all.” The male teachers ended the conference for us and told the mother that was an inappropriate comment. She tells that math teacher, “Well, he’s not gay, so…”
The Physical Science teacher had him removed from her classroom.
So there you go. Just another inappropriate, yet sometimes hilarious, side to teaching that goes to the wayside. Hopefully none of you parents out there say things like this to your child’s teachers.