In my first post of the new year, I thought I’d discuss an article I found today Teacher Burnout Blame The Parents
This article will probably not come as any surprise to teachers but may come as a shock to some parents. It is unfortunate that the parents to whom this article is referring will either a) scoff at the idea or b) be totally oblivious that it’s talking about them.
Before I go off on parents I have to say that I have encountered some truly amazing parents who are devoted to their children, supportive of the teachers and are helpful, encouraging and pleasant. I have met some parents who I liked so much they became friends (after I was done teaching their kids of course). The problem is, every year I’ve taught so far, I’ve had at least one parent who makes me want to run and hide every time I see them coming. This is completely unnecessary. You are doing your child no favors when you insult, belittle, criticize and otherwise abuse your child’s teacher. You put us in the difficult position of doing what you ask to shut you up or not doing what you ask so you don’t think you got your way. I’ve outlined a few tips for my readers (or reader as the case may be) on ways in which you can be one of the “good” parents and not the object of teachers’ voodoo dolls.
1) While we probably like your kid a lot, we have no qualms about hating you parents if you fit in the “nasty” category. No matter how much you whine and complain to our boss about us they are not going to fire us and we will in fact talk about you when you are gone.
2) Realize that your own actions are probably far more influential than ours. Don’t come into a conference on your high horse preaching the value of your child’s education and then send them to school without their homework, without their projects, without pencils or paper and without their lunch money. If you really valued their education the way we do you’d never let them out of the house in the morning unprepared.
3) We are glad your child takes part in extra curricular activities. We still don’t think they are a good excuse for not doing homework. Thanks for telling me why the homework wasn’t done but be prepared to pick your kid up from detention anyway. “Johnny had a soccer game” is not a good reason why your kid couldn’t do a one sided 10 question worksheet on nouns.
4) Don’t do your kid’s work for them. If you think we can’t tell you’re out of your mind. We see your kids do work every single day in class. It’s amazing how they go from being confused to brilliant and then back to confused again the next day in class. Help your kid. Don’t do it for them.
5) Realize there are two sides to every story. As basic and logical as it sounds to the rest of the world, it’s amazing how sudden parents forget this when it comes to their angelic child. Your kid loves you and doesn’t want to disappoint you which is why they aren’t going to admit that they called Johnny an asshole right before Johnny slapped him in the face. Yes, your child does know what the word asshole means even if you never used it in their prescence. Yes the other kid deserves to be punished. Realize that your kid does, too.
6) That whole thing about teachers having eyes in the back of their head is false, okay? We only tell them that to make them behave (and it usually doesn’t work). We do the best we can with one of us and lots of them. We deal with what we see but we don’t see everything and that doesn’t make us a bad teacher that makes us human. If something is going on at school that seems to go unnoticed tell us about it or tell your kid to tell us about it. Don’t come to me 3 months later ranting about how Johnny has been teasing your kid mercilessly for the last 3 months and now your kid doesn’t want to come to school. Little Johnny is a sneaky booger and I don’t see everything he does. If I did, he wouldn’t be doing it.
7) I can’t beat, hang, publically flog, fail, or expel little Johnny for picking on your kid. The best you should hope for is a seat change and a stern talking to. I am not going to hate little Johnny now and make the other kids be mean to him just because you want me to. Get over it.
8) If you tell your kid to fight back and they do they will probably get suspended if not worse. This is honestly the stupidest, most ignorant advice any parent can give a child unless they are hoping that having their kid in Juvie will save on the grocery bills.
9) If you and you kid are disappointed by a bad test grade it is probably NOTHING compared to how disappointed the teacher is. We pour our blood, sweat, and tears into helping kids learn this stuff and seeing a child fail is a miserable experience for us, too. I will do whatever it takes to help your child learn if they are willing. If they failed because they weren’t paying attention or because they talked or slept through every lesson then forget it. I presented the material once and I’m not doing it again.
10) We’re not out to get your kid. We may not love and adore your kid the way you do but they can be obnoxious and and realistically you know that because you live with them. No matter how we teachers feel about a student we give them the best we’ve got. A little appreciation now and then goes a long way.
I think I’m done 🙂