My non-teacher friends and family don't understand my life

Discussion in 'General Education' started by hac711, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    Apr 25, 2010

    Hello!
    Maybe some weathered teachers can help me with my problem. I have been teaching for quite awhile now (5+ years) and I recently posted something on facebook (don't worry, I am not friends with any students, parents, co-workers, etc...and all my information is blocked plus I do not post a pic of myself) intended for my other teacher friends to comment. I basically said that if parents want their child's school year to be successful then they should stop nitpicking the teacher (Jon wants to sit by Jack; Mary likes to be you helper every day) and leave the teacher alone because otherwise the teacher starts to resent the child. Now, I work in a private school where parents think that because they spend money to send their child there, that they can tell the teacher to do something and that they should do it (don't give so much homework, give more homework, they should have nap time...5th grade really??) Those are some of the things I have to contend to everyday. After one particular parent told the SECRETARY I was unprofessional because I told him NOT TO CALL MY HOUSE AT 11:30 AT NIGHT (I was very nice about it). He said the matter was so urgent he needed to speak to me right away (he thought his precious child should be in the highest reading group...emergency???) Anyways, my non-teacher friends and family totally berated me and called me insensitive and that I am callous and if I do do that then I am being a...a not nice word. Has anybody else been totally misunderstood? I feel our profession is unique and that unless you are a teacher, you do not know what we go through. Also, am I wrong to feel this way?? Am I in the wrong profession?? I LOVE teaching, and I am really good at it, but if I am wrong, then please let me know what I should do (maybe just not talk to people about work who aren't in my field?).
    Thanks!
     
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  3. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    When I read what you posted, my big reaction was to the part about resenting the child. I would hate to think that if I asked my daughter's teacher for something, she might take it out on my daughter. It may be a natural response, but you have to try to separate your feelings for the parent from your responsibility to the child. Remember, you work for the kid, not the parent, and yes, even if it's a private school.
     
  4. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    It always amazes me that "friends and family members" can sometimes feel it is okay to berate someone simply because they are friend or family.

    On the other hand, I sometimes think Facebook causes more misunderstandings than anything else I know. If you put your thoughts on there, expect people to think it's fine to discuss their interpretations.

    You know you aren't really going to resent the child because the parent is an idiot.

    And it does get easier to answer parents politely and hold onto your beliefs after a few years of practice. Sounds like you're getting a lot of practice in.
     
  5. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    Sorry if I wasn't clear! I wasn't talking about one or two incidences that a parent wanted to discuss, I was talking about 2-4 weekly calls for months; with things like Jack wants to sit by the window; now Jack says the sun is too bright and wants to sit in the back,; Jack can't hear you in the back move him to the front, Jack says you came to school with a run in your stocking...
    Sorry, maybe that was the problem when I said something on facebook. I just assumed people would realize that as a teacher I work with parents to reach a goal for their child and if there is a viable need or question, I would of course look into it. I was talking about the idiotic nit-picking.
     
  6. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    Thank-you Shouldbeasleep...for understanding...
    Sometimes having even a total stranger understand, makes it all right...
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree Shelly.

    I would never make the connection between an annoying parent and resentment towards a child. And to put that resentment in writing, even just as a vent, impies that it's true to others who don't understand classroom life.

    They'll simply never understand. Vent to people at work, not on facebook.
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I get that a lot too. I'll post what a long day I had that I just want to go to sleep and the response is -how can you be tired when all you did was play with kids all day! Grrrr.

    Anyway, most people in "regular" jobs don't have 20+ people who do think they are your boss (parents) and have to answer to them in addition to their real bosses. I think you're right, if you have never been a teacher it's really hard for people to understand the added stress above and beyond the work day we are paid for.
     
  9. Toak

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    Not yet in that situation but I know many people who were psychology majors who say their major was really hard, and elementary education is just fun and games. Which I find hillarious because at my school, elementary education majors had to take all but two of the classes required for a psychology degree. PLUS they had to do an extra, in-depth performance assessment in each psychology class, that psychology majors were exempt from
     
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    From what you have told us, I don't see how others can think you're callous. I work in a private school too, so I completely understand how some parents try to run your room for you. I think it's ok for you to not want calls at 11:30pm. Most people, I think, are curteous enough to not call anyone that late, so hopefully you are not dealing with that on a daily basis.

    Most people do not understand what it is like to be a teacher and to live a teacher's life. We are very lucky and blessed. In the future, perhaps you can talk to other teachers about some of these issues. They would likely be able to provide real suggestions and give good advice knowing all too well where you are coming from.
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Wow. That's intense. I had to take one or two psychology courses, but that was it. As far as people who say that, they can say what they will, but I believe teaching is one of the toughest jobs out there.
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    I don't think you posted with the intent of having people criticize your actions, so I won't go there. I agree that a teacher should not be "on" 24/7. Set a reasonable time...say...7:30. Tell your parents that you do not take phone calls after that time because it is family time for you. Tell them they can send in a note the next day. I also use caller ID to screen calls, without saying anything about that to the parents. If they complain that you didn't answer their "emergency" call, just tell them you weren't available to answer your phone. You may want to meet with the parents at the beginning of next school year and explain your policies.
    How does administration expect you to function? Do they think you should be available 24/7? If that is the case, you may have to do something different.
     
  13. gottagoodgig

    gottagoodgig Companion

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    A phone call at 11:30 is not okay. For a true emergency, yes. Reading group, NO.

    I have worked at a charter school with parents that overstepped bounds with regards to telling me what I should do and shouldn't do. ("I don't want my child sitting next to________, She's EVIL.") Direct quote! Yikes! Most of the time, I would lend a sympathetic ear. But at times, I feel that it's okay to appreciate parent feedback and honor the parent that is dedicated to their child's schooling. Then, do what YOU, the PROFESSIONAL EDUCATOR deems appropriate. You wouldn't call a parent and tell them how to arrange their office, or which coworkers she/he could work with. They should not dictate these choices to you! Sometimes, parents have wonderfully insightful feedback that does help a ton. In other times, it's YOUR degree, experience, expertise (and perhaps other colleagues) that make these choices! Good luck!
     
  14. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I keep hearing people say "for a true emergency, yes"... what is a true emergency that requires a phone call to the teacher at 11:30 PM, as opposed to a note, or a phone call to the office prior to school starting? The only time I would expect a call that late would be a death or a severe injury of someone close to me. I'm just interested in hearing what a "true emergency" would be to some people.
     
  15. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I'm with you dfleming! If the parents of my students had my personal phone number, I wouldn't take any phone calls past 7 pm --as it is that will having me working almost a 12 hour day...of which 4 of those hours will be unpaid.
     
  16. Sagette

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    I will say that teaching and teacher issues can be really touchy subjects with many people and going to FaceBook or other online sites is probably not the best place to air those frustrations.

    I am on another message board and another teacher on the board was having a difficult year and she did vent about it a few times. Needless to say, she is now known as "the teacher that hates her students" because many on that board are moms who have no idea what goes on in a classroom and jump to their child's defense right or wrong. It's ok to have a thread berating a teacher for calling home about their child using foul language, but it's not ok for a teacher to be upset about getting an 11:30 pm phone call from a parent :rolleyes:

    I don't think it's right, but it's the way it is. I would save your vents for here or the faculty room.
     
  17. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    If you want to vent on Facebook, then vent to your teacher friends via private messages. That's what we do! We can vent, but we're not bringing anyone else into it. There is no reason to share information with people who won't understand anyway. That's just going to make you angry.

    As for calls at home, I don't take them. Sure, they call sometimes, but I don't talk to them. I have Caller ID. I don't answer calls unless I want to talk to the person right then. I also have an answering machine. Thursday night a parent called at 9:30. She left a mssage for me to call her about her daughter's grade, and I could call anytime because they stayed up really, really alte. I returned her call from work the next day. I explained to her that I did not take any school-related calls at home.
     
  18. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    If you need to vent, you probably don't want to use FB as your medium. Do it in private, and e-mail, or here where other teachers can sympathize without the backlash from the general public of your FB friends. If you only meant the comment to be for your teacher friends, you shouldn't have posted it where others could see it. That just opens yourself up to criticism. Keep in mind that FB, e-mails, etc loose a lot in translation because you don't get any of the nonverbal cues like tone of voice and body language which makes misunderstandings very likely.
     
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    What I don't understand is how the parents are getting the teacher's phone number!

    I would never give out my phone number! Many parents (who are also teachers in my school district) do have access to my phone number and address, but none of them have ever used it!
     
  20. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    Yeah, that.
     
  21. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    Phone numbers are easy to come by--unlisted numbers are only slightly less easy to obtain.
     

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