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

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    0

    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!
     
  2.  
  3. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,565
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 25, 2010

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

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Toak Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    229

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    229

    Apr 25, 2010

    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 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,695
    Likes Received:
    1,651

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    66

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    4,896
    Likes Received:
    5

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Sagette Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 25, 2010

    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 Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,841
    Likes Received:
    1,330

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,491
    Likes Received:
    100

    Apr 25, 2010

    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 Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,449
    Likes Received:
    1,460

    Apr 25, 2010

    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

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 25, 2010

    Yeah, that.
     
  21. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 25, 2010

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

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Apr 25, 2010

    The only ones that come to mind since I began teaching in 1980 where the times we lost kids in car accidents. It was important for all of us to know what was going on before we got to school.

    Beyond that, it's not an emergency.
     
  23. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 25, 2010

    :yeahthat:
     
  24. Toak

    Toak Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 25, 2010

    when I was in high school, the entire grade had the english teachers phone number. He had never given it out. It just so happened that he had graduated from our high school and been hired fresh out of college, so people found out his number/address from their older siblings.
    It was abused extensively - mainly we filled out his information on the recruitment cards we were required to fill out for a university that frequently visited and refused to take "No" for an answer.

    Interestingly, the band director actually did give out his phone number. And he told us that if we were ever at a party where people were drinking/doing drugs he'd come pick us up, no matter the time of night. No one ever abused his number
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Apr 25, 2010

    I just replied to an email from one of my frosh-- he had a question about the upcoming project.

    He sent it to my school email, and it was routed to me at home. He'll get the response from the school email.

    His question was answered on a Sunday evening, and there was no invasion of my privacy.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,958
    Likes Received:
    2,109

    Apr 25, 2010

    Wow. You might want to reconsider what you post on Facebook (or even here)...nothing you put online is 100% private. Taking out your feelings about parents on a child is unprofessional and talking about it online not only has your 'non-teacher friends and family' not understanding, but this seasoned professional educator as well.
     
  27. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,047
    Likes Received:
    211

    Apr 26, 2010

    A statement like this essentially makes the children hostages against any complaints or comments, especially at the elementary level where the child is dealing with mainly one teacher all day. If you make a statement that terrifies parents, you will get a strong reaction. I think your FB commenters probably could have handled it better and should have realized that you were just venting, but I understand where they were coming from.

    Perhaps a similar statement in the other direction might be, "Teachers should listen to parents, because otherwise parents might go to the board of education and get their teaching license revoked." Except that it would include that the parents actually have that power.

    There are better reasons for parents not to nitpick at teachers. First, it's distracting and must make it much more difficult to teach if there are 20 different sets of unambiguous and likely conflicting directives about minor issues. Secondly, the teacher is only likely to remember a couple of issues per parent/child off the top of their heads -- it's stupid to make the primary concern of a teacher regarding your child something like, "don't sit Johnny next to Susie". If I'm going to give the teacher advice regarding my child, it's going to be something that generalizes a lot better than that. Third, the parent should want a reasonably good relationship with the teacher even absent any effect on the relationship between teacher and child; it just makes things easier and makes meetings and communications more comfortable.
     
  28. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    11

    Apr 26, 2010

    I agree. I do not give out my personal phone number. There is no reason for it.
     
  29. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    500
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 26, 2010

    I make it a policy to never give out my home phone number (or cell # either). My teaching partner does and gets tons of calls having to do with nothing. She is so sorry and said she won't do it again. I am basically at school around 8 1/2 hours-- they should be able to reach me during that time.
     
  30. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,491
    Likes Received:
    100

    Apr 26, 2010

    Even unlisted numbers are easy to come by! I have had an unlisted number for years, but I'm not sure it's worth the money I pay. My phone number still shows up on caller ID's, and anyone can do a search for me in the online whitepages and find not only my phone number but my address AND a map to my home!
     
  31. Grover

    Grover Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 26, 2010

    That's why I teach under an assumed name...
     
  32. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 26, 2010

    While "resentment towards a child" might be overstating the issue a bit, I can certainly see where the OP is coming from when you look at the other post explaining examples of the calls she has received.

    Think about getting 2-4 calls like that every week from the same parent about the same child, often complaining about the most recent change you made trying to satisfy both of them. Then think about the fact that if you do anything today that little Johnnie or Susie doesn't like, or they don't get their way again, that is going to result in yet another phone call complaining about your teaching methods or classroom management as soon as Johnnie or Susie runs home whining to their parents about their "awful day" at school.

    It wouldn't take long at all before you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around Johnnie or you're gonna get yet another call from Mom demanding you make another change in your class to accommodate her little angel.

    Keep in mind there is direct connection between the child and the parent, because the parent is usually calling in response to complaints (or excuses) the child is making at home. Whenever you do something Johnnie doesn't like, you can bet you'll be getting a phone call about it.

    As I said before, "resenting the child" might be an overstatement, but there definitely is a direct connection between the child and the calls from the parent, so I can see where the OP is coming from in her vent.
     
  33. ms.

    ms. Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 26, 2010

    Very true, an unnamed family member has called my career "babysitting" :rolleyes:. It's really hard sometimes, I've taken up journaling to just get things out sometimes. I don't mention much of anything on facebook related to teaching, aside from casual remarks like "had a wonderful fieldtrip to the train museum today."

    I've had parents complain about ridiculous things as well, I had a parent call up the superintendent (of all people) because supposedly I was giving distressing amounts of homework and I was giving the homework as punishments to the whole class, which wasn't fair to his perfect child. I had given one only one homework assignment in the whole month - it was to write one four sentence paragraph using the vocab from the chapter. It wasn't even technically homework, I gave the class 15-20 minutes to work on it. However his child decided to talk to a friend in class, so it turned into homework.

    I always try to remember that most parents want their child to be happy and succeed. There intent is well meant, and I always try to put myself in their shoes. Because in the end I want their child to succeed in my class, and feel happy and safe.
     
  34. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,871
    Likes Received:
    157

    Apr 26, 2010

    hac711, since it's obvious to you that your friends & family don't seem to understand what you go through, maybe you should cut down or completely eliminate venting to them about work stuff because from what you say, it appears that you'll come away even more frustrated & stressed trying to get them to understand your vents. So then it becomes frustrations from friends/family piled onto the frustrations at work. :dizzy:

    Do you have a significant other? Does he/she understand & empathize w/ you OR even if he/she doesn't understand, at least support you?

    Feel free to vent here. We'll understand your concerns, worries, aggravations, etc. :)
     
  35. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 27, 2010

    I actually sent my sister my latest Donorschoose proposal-she posted it on her FB page (which DC actually encourages to get the word out there). You should see the frenzy of comments. I wanted to make literacy bags. They were saying all these things about how it's a dumb idea because parents already read to their kids, with all the money spent on education we're asking other people to pay for it, political comments about taxes, etc. I guess at least people are talking.

    We have a 1st-year teacher at our school who I encouraged not to give out her number. She didn't listen-said she lives through texting. Anyway a parent called her at 8:30 complaining about a grade and when the teacher said this is pretty late to be calling, the parent replied-you stay late at school all the time. :dizzy: Um, not that late.

    Anyway, another downside is you don't have any witnesses to the conversation. At least if you are on the school campus and the conversation gets heated-you can take it to the office or even into the hall, so others can back you up. On the phone-it's he said/she said.
     
  36. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 27, 2010

    I think it is nearly impossible not to connect the child with the parent who showers a teacher with "advice". That doesn't mean I would want to "resent" the child, but it does mean I would walk on eggshells around that child. Sometimes, I start to wonder if the child resents me, which does could lead to feelings of resentment by me if those thoughts are not stopped dead in their tracks. I know I have been in a situation like that, and one was a case where the child told lies about me and the parent contacted the office weekly about things I had allegedly done. I couldn't help but wonder what the child would go home and say next about me. It was hard not to look at that child and wonder. And hard to to see a vision of that parent and child discussing me at home. :( That was a tough year.
     
  37. hac711

    hac711 Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 27, 2010

    The principal gave this parent my CELL number because he did not want to deal with this parent who he has been dealing with since his kid was in kindergarten. I asked why he did that, and all I got in return was Ohhh I thought you wouldn't mind...right, buddy...I feel teachers who have been in a similiar situation are ones who understand where I come from. It's sad because now anytime I'm on facebook I get anxious wondering if anything else I say is going to be misinterperted. I actually had to defriend my cousin because I couldn't take all her lame remarks (she thinks she's a teacher because she teaching Sunday school 2 hours a week). Oh well. I would totally go off facebook, but it's the only way I kept in touch with people in everyone's busy schedule.
     
  38. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,491
    Likes Received:
    100

    May 1, 2010

    I'd suggest you keep your FB comments to things unrelated to school unless they are positive. "I am so proud of my kiddos! Even after sitting through a dress rehearsal practice, a guest speaker, and silent reading time they were still able to work in groups during science class without getting unruly! My students ROCK!" Teachers almost seem to have their own little cult culture, and those outside the circle don't always understand what we go through.
     
  39. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    May 1, 2010

    Cerek, the word choice wasn't mine; it was in the OP.
     
  40. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    229

    May 1, 2010

    Me either. They can reach me through the school office, or email me. I check my email quite regularly, so I think that's good enough.
     
  41. ms.

    ms. Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 1, 2010

    I made the mistake of calling a parent from my cell, it was an emergency situation (child having a mild allergic reaction at a field trip, the student wanted the mother to pick her up.) She gave my cell number to her child, who would send me texts like "I'm not gonna b at school tomorrow" or "I'm gonna b late 4 school" at 1 AM. (This was a 4th grade student.) I blocked the student's number and told the mother that I couldn't be reached at that number anymore - but that if the mother needed to reach me feel free to send me an email or call the school number. I don't need any more 1AM wake-up calls.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. waterfall,
  2. multiplicity,
  3. Ima Teacher,
  4. Backroads
Total: 374 (members: 11, guests: 340, robots: 23)
test