I have been a teacher for over ten years. I have a dual Master's degree in teaching and educational psychology. Four years ago, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of launching my own microschool, where I currently serve as the lead teacher as well as the principal. I am an uncontested expert in my field (gifted education) and my school is for gifted kids. By and large, the kids are blissfully happy and we study all sorts of interesting, important things. And every year, at least one parent comes and complains that they don't feel like their kids are learning anything. Today, I learned that a parent is pulling their child out of our school because they don't feel their kid is being held accountable/held to high expectations. The crux of the matter is that we have a (very optional) writing competition in November; kids can choose to compete, choose not to, choose to start and not finish, etc. It's completely hands off, and designed to be more about the joy of writing than anything else. Well, this kid dropped out, and apparently his dad got bent out of shape when he saw a picture of the winners with their certificates and his son wasn't in it. The big issue that I should have pushed him to finish, that his son is totally capable of finishing, and could have if someone sat down and held him accountable. That him not finishing is indicative of a broader laxity in the way we run our school, not focusing enough on Results. That we are just too relaxed, and the parents have no way of knowing if their kids will be ready for college because we aren't giving them the Results. What about... My expertise? If I say their kid is alright, that should be enough. I do actually know what I'm talking about. I read about these other countries where teachers are respected like doctors, and I ache to be held at a level of esteem commensurate with my abilities, training, education, and talent. Who are these parents to claim that I need to prove myself to them? In what universe do they have the training or expertise to evaluate me if I tried? This happens every year and it breaks my heart every time. I very deliberately do not push students or emphasize grades; it's part of a research based methodology to develop autonomous learners. I want the kids to really come to terms with their own limits and motivations, not work on something because I say it has value. I just want people to recognize that I'm doing my absolute best for these kids. Ten hours a day minimum. I know parents have no idea how much it hurts when they claim their kids isn't learning anything, but it completely tears me up inside. Why can't people just trust that I know what I'm doing, their children will get into college, and it's OK if their kid doesn't get a certificate?