insulted by a parent (long)

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by scienceteach50, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. scienceteach50

    scienceteach50 Companion

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    Jul 22, 2006

    i'm still in shock. This morning my husband and I went out for breakfast and upon getting out of the car in the parking lot I hear a kid call my name. I spun around knowing i had encountered another student. I run into a lot of my students and thier parents and in fact had run into one last week while i was wearing a bikini. :rolleyes: So i was thankful that at least I had some clothes on this time.

    I smiled and went to greet the student and her mother and say some nice things about said kid. Before I had chance the mom opens her mouth and insults me by asking "Are you too stupid to not know how to act in front of kids?" The irony kills me. I asked what she was talking about and she eluded to one particular incident that happened early in the school year. And began berrating me in front of her child and my husband. I smiled sweetly told her and her child to have a great summer and politely walked away. As I walked away she started yelling at me.

    It was my first year teaching. I was stressed, overwhelmed and over worked. I was working nights waiting tables to get by until i could get a real paycheck (two months into the school year) I was also teaching remedial math, which i was not prepared for or certified to teach. I was trying to learn fractions all over again and very frustrated by that fact. So I was trying to teach a lesson on fractions and was trying to keep one particular boy under control. He was being a royal pain in the neck and I asked him to leave my room repeatedly and he refused. I didn't know how to handle the situation, my temper and stress levels rocketed and before I knew what flew out of my mouth i regreted it. I told the kid to get his expletive out of my room right now. I had never been so angry. I apologized immediately for what i said, got in huge trouble and went through all the actions and got letter in my file. This happened one time! But apparently word spread and I was the teacher who cursed out her students. :( The whole year went by and I never ever cursed again. This particular child was not even in the classroom when the incident happened. But she told her mother, who now assumes that I am the worst teacher and scream expletives at kids every day.

    It really disturbs me that parents act that way in front of thier children. Worse yet, that last years children have told this years children and they will all come in the door with a tainted view of me. :(
     
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  3. Texas Gal

    Texas Gal Companion

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    Jul 22, 2006

    You will start a new year in the fall. Start anew and prove that you will not do it again. That is all you can do. Until then, you are going to have to get a thick skin. It may take a while to get past it. In the meantime, learn from your mistake, focus on positives, and move on... Good luck to you.
     
  4. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 22, 2006

    That's a tough one. From your perspective you were stressed and at wits end when it happened. The trouble is, you don't have the opportunity to explain youself to the parents nor would that explanation sit well with all of them. I'm sorry you dealt with that and I am sure you are a great teacher otherwise. Time will probably diffuse the issue but not much else.

    Don't let it get you down. Just be very careful it doesn't happen again.

    (When I get so stressed out--usually from the adults not the kids--that I can't stand it I just get the kids occupied with something and sit at my desk for 10 minutes and flip through an old scrapbooking magazine kept in my desk for the purpose to calm down. It only happens about 2x in the school year but it definitely happens.)
     
  5. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Jul 22, 2006

    Inappropriate as it may be, there is the occasional brat who deserves it. . . .

    We are only human, and NOBODY should have to put up with some of the things teachers are forced to endure.

    There's no real excuse for it, of course, but even so. My sympathies are 100% with YOU, not with the rude hateful mother who obviously had not been taught how to behave properly in public.

    The mother was at fault here, not you. You are sorry for what you did, and she is not.
     
  6. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    Jul 22, 2006

    That woman's got issues! She obviously was feeling insecure and wanted to feel in control of someone at that moment. You know what you did was wrong and you worked your booty off to never do it again. I know every teacher has had one of those moments. Many of us were not discovered and reprimanded like you were--instead we rehash it mentally occasionally and pray "that teacher" never appears again.

    It sounds like you handled the situation with grace. She was disrespectful to you so you did the most respectful thing anyone could do under the circumstances!!!!! This year will be exponentially better, yay!
     
  7. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jul 22, 2006

    Unfortuanately, this is why we have to be soooo careful about what we do as teachers. We are on show for all the world to see, and if we slip up, we are fair game.

    The mother was very wrong. She was way out of line to bring it up again and should not have ever done so with her child in front of her.

    Mistakes happen. I think you learned a hard lesson. Move forward and remember you can't change the past, but you can change the future.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 22, 2006

    I'm sorry--that you lost your cool and that you aren't able to "live it down". Shame on that mother for speaking to you the way she did. Last year I had a couple of students who had me biting my tongue on more than one occasion. I worked out an agreement with the Special Ed teacher next door to me. When I thought I was going to "lose it" I went to her door and she watched both our classes (our doors were right beside each other and you could see both rooms) for a minute or two while I took a quick walk down the hall. (I returned the favour for her!)
     
  9. JustWondering

    JustWondering Companion

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    Jul 22, 2006

    I think the mother set a bad example for her child by behaving that way. Children often mimic what we do not what we tell them to do. She sent her child a message that it was ok to hold a grudge and that it was ok to express your negative feelings about another person in front of everyone. On the other hand the gossip may get handed down for a few years and eventually die off and a new set of parents will be around who won't know or remember it.
     
  10. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Jul 22, 2006

    Just be glad you did not have an irate parent try to come into your classroom while you were teaching like happened to a teacher I know. Luckily security tackled her just before the door.

    Things like this happen nowadays... Actually, I think they always happen, but maybe not as often...
     
  11. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2006

    At least you didn't put your hands on the kid! I know a teacher who had a student who refused to look at her or acknowledge what she said...without thinking she grabbed his chin and turned it towards her. Something never done to her, but something she saw frequently. Needless to say, the kid flew off the handle (his parents were the kind to teach what teachers are not allowed to do and then, when they do, use it against the teacher) and the teacher was reprimanded by nearly everyone who could get ahold of her.

    Did I mention this was me and it was during my student teaching. It is so hard to take that step back sometimes! Since that day, I have learned to question student behavior before I react to anything. In arguments I also question whether or not I really need/want to win. Is arguing with a 15 year old really going to make me feel better about myself? Is the point really that important? I find that the answer to both questions is usually no.

    You know, tempers flare, and I think it is hardest on the teachers that really care. It's so easy to let any type of passion about anything become anger.

    Paperheart, I love the idea of getting the students working and taking a few minutes to myself!
     
  12. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Jul 23, 2006

    Well, it sounds like you really learned from that rookie slip (it truly could happen to any of us, maybe just in a slightly different way), and showed an uninformed parent some "grace under fire." Now, just transfer that bad memory to one that shows how well you handled the parking lot incident!
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 23, 2006

    The last couple weeks of my student teaching in seventh grade I was duty-free. I had gotten out of the mode of teaching and the entire routine. The students were having a testing-appreciation day outside where they were allowed to play ball, drink cokes, and just hang out. A group of students were talking to me, just being silly and whatnot. Well, I forgot what they said but I remember how I responded: "That is so gay!"

    Oops! I'm not pro-homosexual or anti-homosexual...but I do know that using "gay" to describe something stupid or pathetic is not quite politically correct. I just about died as soon as it came out of my mouth. I apologized for several minutes and explained that I know that is not nice to say and I don't usually say it...but my seventh grade students absolutely loved it. They thought it was so funny and cool to see that their otherwise professional student teacher was a human being...just a somewhat normal 23 year old.

    My point is we all say or do things we shouldn't have. You live and learn. If the low-point in your entire career is saying a curse word...sure, it's not a proud moment but that's not so bad!
     
  14. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Jul 23, 2006

    I have a friend who was frustrated with her talkative middle school students during a french class and in the process of disciplining them she told them that they do not want to see her when she is a "b**ch". Luckily she had a good relationship with her students and they thought it was a hoot but did not share it with people outside of her class. She was really upset with herself for letting it slip out (she was also their religion teacher). She had been teaching for over 10 years when this happened.
     
  15. TeacherKay9

    TeacherKay9 Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2006

    Sounds like you handled it extremely professionally. Perhaps what the child observed - the one you saw in the parking lot - will spread gossip anew about how nice you were even when her mom yelled at you.

    Make sure you belong to a professional organization that can provide legal support if you're ever in a worse situation that goes to court etc. You never know when something innocent on your part might be twisted around by a student.
     
  16. kamteach5

    kamteach5 Rookie

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    Jul 24, 2006

    Over the 24 years I have been a teacher I have had my share of mistakes, once I called a student a jerk and had to live with that, another time I marched a student out of my room by the scruff of the neck and had to live that down, as well as many other silly things I would love to go back and redo. I learned to acknowledge my mistakes and learn for them. I also learned to apologize to the appropriate people for mistakes I have made. I believe the mistakes and learning from them have made me the excellent teacher I believe myself to be today. One thing that teacher training will not teach you is that you will make mistakes and you will recover and learn from them. Unfortunately there are people in the world who love to lord it over a teacher who makes a mistake. Usually these people have issues with most people in their lives. This woman should be embarrassed by her behavior not you. So approach your new school year with confidence.

    P.S. It took me a few years but I have learned that having a sense of humor really helps and I look back and laugh at some of the parental encounters I have had.
     
  17. MrsRich219

    MrsRich219 Companion

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    Jul 24, 2006

    It AMAZES me that as teachers we are the least respected professionals yet we're held to the most ridiculous standards! I don't curse so that's not usually what comes to mind when I'm disciplining a student, but I have asked my students what their parents would do if someone did ,whatever they've done or said to me, to them....and they usually say curse, spank...whatever....and then I'll say well I'm well within my rights to punish you correct? .....and they usually stop the behavior.
     
  18. mtjulietbadger

    mtjulietbadger Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2006

    I cannot believe that mother was sooooo rude to you in public. I know you felt awful as soon as it was done, but all you can do is learn.
    While student teaching I was accused of saying sh*t to a student. Even though I insisted this was not true, I was removed from the placement and almost had to repeat student teaching. Even though I knew the college had to keep their relationship with the school, I couldn't help but feel judged and hung for an obvious revengeful act on a student's part. I asked for another chance and the university placed me again. I am an honest person and I told the parties if I had of done this I would admit it and say I'm sorry, but this was not the case.
    What I learned was to NEVER talk to students in the hallway where there was nobody to collaborate my side of the story ever again. I guess we all learn things from the mistakes we make or do not make. The experience almost made me quit believing in my next chosen profession, but I know these things happen to make you a better person.
    That mother was just ignorant and listening to gossip and you certainly did the right thing by just walking away. Unfortunately her child will learn the wrong message by the mother's obvious disrespect for teachers. How is this student supposed to respect the teachers if her parents do not?
     
  19. mrsk

    mrsk Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2006

    Here's a good one. I forgot to hand out a VERY important paper during 5th period last year. It was about a school threat. When I realized it in 6th period (because the students were talking about it) I said, "Oh, shoot!!" only I didn't say shoot. Then threw my hand over my mouth. The kids all looked at me and then started busting up. It happens. We are human. I'm sure the mother you encountered NEVER cussed in front of her precious angel :rolleyes:

    In my case, I was seriously more concerned about some parent complaining that they didn't get the notice about the threat than saying the "S" word. Didn't happen, though.
     
  20. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    Jul 29, 2006

    You did a good job just walking away and I bet it was difficult not to say something. Maybe you can come up with a line to say to those people who take it upon themselves to point out everyone's flaws and never recognize their own. Unfortunately you may run into another parent who makes some off hand comment, hopefully not like this mother did. A simple, 'I know I made a terrible mistake, I learned from it. I teach my students to do the same, learn from their mistakes, as we all make them.' then walk. Maybe if any of the kids mention it at school you can make a sign that reads, 'Learn from your mistakes, you will be a better person.'
     
  21. facsteach

    facsteach Rookie

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    Aug 1, 2006

    I feel your pain. Parents can sometimes be very unsupportive. I have quickly learned that it is just something that happens. I try to let it slide off my back. I keep notes from parents and students who give me thumbs up on my work. Mistakes happen, they are hard to live down. However teachers are suppose to be "perfect", almost like nuns. We are not, we are human. I got tired of running into kids and their parents everytime I went out, I just couldn't feel comfortable. This is part of the reason I moved out of my district. This way if I want to rent a R movie without kids barrading me I can do it. Some parents are just unreasonable, I just have to realize when that is, then just ignore it. I love my district because we have a really supportive principal and he realizes when parents are being unreasonable. He always supports us! My best advice for the incident is don't let it escalate to that point. If you are starting to feel that stressed have a class meeting when you see it leading that way. Ask the students what they see and what can they do about the problem.
     
  22. jwhitg

    jwhitg Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2006

    We have all had situations that we regret now. Live, learn, take a lessons from it - then put it behind you.
    There are going to be the parents that act inappropriately, sad to say. Be professional and you will be fine.
     
  23. E Bunni 99

    E Bunni 99 Rookie

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    Aug 6, 2006

    Stay positive! It is a new year, and this will allow you to make a new start. The mother was in the wrong, and it is sad she would be this way to you in public. I hope things get better for you! Keep your head up! :)
     

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