Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by heavens54, Feb 18, 2013.
Feb 18, 2013
And how did it turn out?
1. Parent who wrote me like 400 emails over the course of the year and accused me of not doing enough for the student (special ed). Not exaggerating. Result: I never really solved the problem with the parent, just tried to steer clear and keep my admin in the loop.
2. Parent of a student who claimed that I swore at the student and a friend during class. Didn't happen. Student wrote a statement about me and the incident, all lies. Parent wanted to go to the school board and get me fired. Result: my admin supported me, telling me that they understood that these claims were utterly ridiculous. Never heard from the parent after they told me they were going to the school board. The student gave me a dirty look every time we crossed paths for four years.
3. Parent of a rude, constantly strung-out student accused me of lying when I wrote up the student for cheating on a test. Result: the student's coach sat in on my classes for a while, observing me and the student in our natural habitat. Heh. The coach observed the student do no work, make rude comments, leave class without permission, and be a general jerk. The coach supported me and reported all that to admin, who ultimately did nothing (they hoped to ignore the parent and the student until the end of the year). I understand why the coach wanted to be in my room, but I was really resentful of that whole situation. The coach isn't my superior and doesn't really have any sort of right to evaluate me or my behavior. I didn't say no, though, because I thought that it would make me look like I had something to hide.
4. Parent who stood over me in a conference and screamed at me and pointed a finger in my face. Result: I walked out of the meeting. The student acted like a jerk the rest of the year, probably knowing that the parents would flip out on me if I ever again wrote the student up for saying "shut the f*** up".
I've had some doozies over the years....
Oh my gosh. It's nice to know that we all have problems throughout the year that may never get solved. That's something I've always been afraid I've always been alone in.
It's my first year, so not much really going on. I currently have a parent who thinks his or her child can do no wrong and that his failing and behavior problems are the result of everyone else in the class or because of me even though the student does absolutely no work in class. She also feels that she's a holy matron because she's part of the PTA.
I had one parent of a student give me a veiled threat when I let her know about an incident in class in which I told a student who was annoying me that they were in fact, annoying me.
This was way back in CA. A parent went and told my boss that I was prejudice!
When the Director approached me, she asked at one point, "Do your parents know that your husband is Black?
Well! Obviously NOT! I don't have to tell any parent that, unless they ask me. She came back to get her kid's clothes, and I handed it to her with POOP on the side she touched! She was like smelling it, and I just walked away, while she had to go wash her hands, and that settled that one. She messed with the wrong person! I don't do things like that anymore, because I am trying to be more Christ like. (Don't laugh too hard now!)
Being SCREAMED and cussed at...and they told their (insane!) daughter they would beat me up. Or jack me up. Or kick my a **. I forget the exact phrasing. The next day they made their way to my room without first going to the office as they should have...thankfully a colleague saw them and I had time to hide.
I've had some very, very hateful parents over the years.
Parent cursed me out for giving her daughter (a sophomore) a zero because the daughter plagiarized (I spelled that right the first try) her report. A year later, I have the younger brother (8th grade) in class and it was nothing but how awesome I am and they gave me a gift card to a local restaurant.
Parent of a kid (sophomore) who was failing because the kid just doesn't do the work (doesn't turn in work, refuses to do the reading so he fails quizzes and tests) was talking sternly and waving his finger in my face. At this point, I wasn't really listening to the parent as he had repeated for the 100th time that last year, they had to spend $300 on summer school because I failed their son. There were only so many times I could say, "I did not fail him. He failed the class." Another teacher walked by and called the P and he came down to defuse the situation. A dozen emails that were never responded to and 6 unreturned phone calls and the kid is still flunking.
Parents stopped me in the hallway during parent/teacher conferences and the mom immediately started yelling at me mostly about how I can't do math because she averaged the grades herself at home and her daughter (a sophomore) has an A. And I can't argue with her because she can do the math and I obviously can't. I explained that things are weighted differently (which you can also see their weights online) and her daughter had quite a few missing assignments. Mom screamed that I was "losing" her daughter's papers because I want the kid to fail. Luckily, I had to be somewhere else and I explained that her daughter's grade was where it was because she turns in things late or not at all and if they wanted to discuss it further they could see me in my room in 20 minutes. I haven't heard from them since.
Looking at those three, I don't know what it is about the sophomore year that turns parents into nutjobs.
Best parent interaction: I met the parents of a new 7th grader at a basketball game. The first thing the mother said to me was: "bless you, I have one 7th grader at home...you must be a saint to deal with 30 in one classroom."
Rebel, it was the child's soiled clothes?
I had a student accuse me of hitting her when what was actually happened was this: She fell asleep at her desk, and it was time to go to lunch. I said her name a few times in an attempt to wake her, but she didn't budge. So, I walked over and gently nudged her shoulder in a further attempt to wake her. Apparently that was her definition of hitting.
The girl told her mom that I hit her, and her mom reported this to the counselor several weeks later when the counselor called home due to behavior concerns about the girl. Mom requested a meeting with the admins, counselor, and me to discuss it. My admins were unusually supportive of me throughout the whole ordeal, and they told me they knew I would never do something like that. They told me that I didn't even have to come to the meeting with mom, that they would handle it, despite the mom's demands that I be there.
Ultimately, my admins suspected that mom was racist and didn't want her daughter in my class for that reason. To keep me safe from future accusations and to appease mom, they moved the girl into the other teacher's class for the remainder of the year. All in all, no harm was done, aside from the bruising to my self-esteem, but it was quite stressful and not something I hope to endure again.
I did get MOST of the poop off, BUT she ticked me off when she said what she said, SO I figured a little BAD SMELL on her hands would put some sense in her mind, to think before she OPENS HER MOUTH!
Don't say things that are NOT TRUE!
I had one set of parents come in and yell at me about how I couldn't control the class and I needed to tell the parents that I couldn't control them. They said how all of the parents had talked about it and were really upset. They just ambushed me before school with no warning and would not back off. This is because I had the kids practice walking quietly in the hallway 2 months earlier. And I actually had the best or one of the best behaved classes in the school.
It really bothered me for a long time, but the parent didn't cause any other problems that year. They basically ignored me and then requested that their younger daughter go into my coworker's class instead of mine when she reached our grade level.
I've had several others throughout the years. I think I usually get really worked up about them (at home) because it really bothers me when people are upset with me. I think this one really bothered me because it was my first year of teaching and the first time that a parent just came in and yelled at me like that.
I'll just mention the worst one (there have been plenty):
A few years ago, I worked under a principal who expected us to walk our students out the front gate (after dismissal) and wait for parents to arrive and pick up their child(ren). Not a big deal--I like chatting with parents.
Anyway, there was a new little girl in my class who managed to leave through another gate while I was walking my 24 kiddos out the front gate. Mom approached me (I had just met her briefly that morning when she registered her daughter) and asked (in a very loud voice), "Where the h*ll is my daughter?" Before I could say anything, another student said, "She ran out through another gate." Mom looked quite strung out and started screaming at me (at this point, there was an audience because it was in front of the school). She yelled, "You're the f***ing teacher and you lost my daughter!!!"
Thankfully, the parent of another student went to the office to let my administrators know what was going on. My principal and vice-principal came to my rescue and took care of the situation.
The little girl only ended up being with me for a couple of weeks. According to the student, they were living in a car! So sad! I'll never forget that mom's face, though!
Feb 19, 2013
I had a colleague, a young female PE teacher. She was out in a bar one evening when a creepy guy hit on her. She gave him the brush off eventually but he was very persistant. Then a week or so later at a parents' evening there was the same guy with his wife sitting in front of her to discuss their daughter!
I had a parent that for some reason, didn't like me from the get go. She sent me at least four emails a week - not exaggerating here. I had her 8th grade son for math and he wasn't doing very well because he never paid attention in class. At that time, I offered tutoring after school on Tuesdays and he used to come every Tuesday for help (his mom made him). Well, on one particular quiz, he got an E. She emailed me and wanted to know how he did so bad if he was seeing me for tutoring. I explained that just because he comes to tutoring for a half hour after school one day a week doesn't mean he's going to all of a sudden do better in class. He has to pay attention during instruction and ask questions when he's confused. So the next tutoring session, she came with her son and sat in on it!!! Did I mention I was there with other students as well? It was my first year, so I didn't say anything. She kept butting in when I was explaining things so she could re-explain it to her son. Next quiz, he failed again. This time she wrote me the NASTIEST email about how I shouldn't be allowed to teach math because I'm teaching it wrong and she wants her son switched to another teacher. I ended up meeting with her, her husband and the principal and she flat out told me in the meeting that she thought I was a crappy teacher and she didn't like my personality. Lovely.
Suffice to say, her son stayed with me for the rest of the year and she ended up getting me a card at the end of the year with twenty bucks that said thanks for teaching her kid. Yeah, sure, whatever.
I had a parent fling a workbook at me, then before getting up to leave threw a notebook at my principal. Result: she was banned from campus. It was a long year.
A kid was suspended by an AP and wanted me to call his mom to tell her since he was scared. Well turned out the mom was not happy to hear the news and screamed at me, cursed at me, threatened to sue me and the school, etc. etc. After attempting to say "yes ma'am I understand but I need you to calm down..." which didn't help, I just hung up and reported it to the social worker.
I confronted a boy about stealing a bat during an school site softball tournament. He admitted it. His mom (the bus driver for his team) became very angry at me for calling him a thief (which he was and admitted). Another PE teacher got between us because she was coming after me. Nuts. I was vindicated in a few years as he was arrested for a similar crime.
The worst was during a field day my new drama queen (young fella about 9 or 10) pretended injury during a race. I made an offhand comment in a group about how he does that sort of thing not to worry. HIS mom heard me and called me down on it.
I apologized big time in front of the group. Running a field day can make you nuts and stupid. I was both then. At the end of the year I received the best gift ever from that boy and his mom.
His dad worked in the prison and he had an inmate make me a work of art (wood and paint) of my favorite mascot (hint check my avatar.) I liked the kid and he liked me. He is now 18 and visits me sometimes. He is still wackadoodle.
I had a parent hang up in my face a few years ago when I called about her daughter cheating on a project. She was furious with me because my special ed co-teacher originally called about the situation and not me personally. (Co-teacher was calling about an issue in another class and said that she would speak to her about our situation.) The parent was rude from the start and would not listen to what I had to say. After she hung up, I called back to say we "must have been disconnected" and left a voicemail with everything I wanted to say originally. (I did all of this with an administrator present.) The parent came in for a conference at the end of the term and was as nice as could be, like the conversation never happened. Weird!!
I'm in SPED, parent encounters can get difficult quite often. Although, I have noticed since I started working exclusively with upper classmen, the difficult encounters have deminished a bit.
I've had several, but only one that really freaked me out. I had a kinder that I was planning on retaining. Mom was in agreement with me. Dad stopped in one day, after school, I don't remember where the child was. We had a rather disjointed conversation while he ate a sandwich. He was upset that his child was being retained. A couple of days later he came back, this time it was right after school had started. He sat down in the chair by my desk, blocking me in, so I couldn't get past him. He just sat there & looked at the kids, not saying a word. The kids just laughed at him. He finally left, after what seemed like an eternity. A few minutes later I looked up & out of my door to see my P standing with her back to the door, I could tell that her arms were folded. Come to find out Dad was a drug addict & was flying high. Mom was taking him to rehab & he wanted to take his child to school. The child ended up going with Mom to take Dad to rehab.
It was years before I put my desk into a corner again! I always wanted 2 ways to get out from behind my desk.
Think I would have either pushed the desk to make a way out or sent a kid to the office for help.
I was a first year teacher, teaching inner city. I grew up in a pretty rural area & had moved to this large metro area. We'd only been there about 11 years when this happened. As a teacher, at that time, I was pretty naive about city parents. Today, if something like that happened I would have a totally different response.
Just today I had a mother leave me a message stating that she is unimpressed with her son's academic progress so far since he has been in my school. Well...he arrived last year and was transferred into my class after Christmas break. He participates in about 15% of all academic subjects even when given the option of using adaptive technology or a scribe. Quite frankly, I'm unimpressed with his progress and the fact that he can't even do "nothing" without disturbing the class about 70% of our day.
It wasn't the worst, but it was the weirdest...
I once had a mother come in to discuss her son's behavior in class. She asked a few questions, then started telling me that things were difficult at home due to her husband's job which kept him away from home quite a bit. And their fighting. And her oncoming menopause. And her menopausal symptoms. And her lack of a sex life with her husband. And her need for a boyfriend. And her boyfriend. It went on for an hour, and we only discussed her son for about 5 minutes.
I was a little more patient with her son after that.
I'm actually really surprised that during my student teaching stint I never had a parent encounter at all. I feel like I'm missing out on all the fun lol!
Oh there is no fun when a parent (or anyone!) is screaming at you or threatening you.
But it does make a good story for later
Ohhhhh, I'm sure you'll get that chance!
I also had a pregnant parent come in drunk for conferences. That wasn't so bad for me, just sad.
I had a parent talk my ear off for a half hour about her son's drinking and drug habits. She spared no detail about the time he dropped trou, committed a few bodily functions on her living room floor, and passed out in it. She even told me he had grown pot plants in her house, but let him continue living there (he's 19), giving up her law enforcement job and going on disability not to parent him. I couldn't hang up on her and couldn't ask her why she didn't have him arrested. However, I did take a sick half day after that conversation ended.
Let's hope none of you has an encounter with this parent....
(I saw this on a website about funny Facebook statuses.)
I had a parent beat his son with a belt so hard that he bruised his earlobe. I reported him for child abuse. The sheriff took the child in custody because someone else had reported two days before he had shot at a car the little boy was sitting in as a punishment. That afternoon he came to school to get his son...something he had never done. The little boy and his brother usually rode the bus home. When he found out his son wasn't there, he charged down to my room to find out what I had done with his son. My room was just about twenty feet from the office. The secretary followed him and the clerk called the largest male teacher to my room and then called the police. I was so mad, I told him he was blessed with children and he should be ashamed of how he treated them. He got in my face and threatened me if I dared to testify against him. I told him I wasn't only going to testify against him, I was going press charges against him for threatening me. Keep in mind I am 5" 5' and he was over 6 feet and very large. About his time the male teacher showed up and the dad backed off. My peer walked him out of the building and then watched as the city cop arrested him.
Once I had a parent so high in parent pickup that he passed out in the driver's seat with his car in gear. We thought he was dead. I had to reach in and turn his car off. Then we had to redirect traffic as the ambulance crew worked on him. He had open container and was high as a kite. He was arrested in front of the kids.
I had a grandmother show up at my Easter egg hunt and kidnapped her granddaughter. She went into hiding for over two weeks. Then she served me with papers to testify against the mother. I told the judge that the child was smarter than either the mother or the gmother. The step grandfather cornered me in the hallway of the courthouse and threatened to kill me. They lost custody.
This are just a few things.
Feb 20, 2013
JFC mra!! How have you not had a nervous break down or an anxiety attack by now?!
Oh boy. Here we go...
I had a student who was a year long behaviour problem. A known behaviour problem. Mom had had her change schools a number of times because, according to her, teachers kept picking on her daughter. Well, one day, the daughter was being rude and disruptive. I asked her to change seats. She refused. I asked her again to change seats. She refused again. I told the daughter that she could either change seats or leave. She got up and left. Within 2 minutes the message light on my classroom phone was blinking. It was Mom. When I called her back, she went on a tirade about how I had kicked her daughter out of class and what kind of educational philosophy promotes kicking a kid out of class. How was she supposed to learn? When I explained to her that her daughter had been given the choice to change seats or leave, she hung up on me.
Same kid, same parent - it was election time and we had the local candidates come in to talk to our Grade 9 students (they were learning about government and elections in social studies). We were nearing the end of the presentation when this student, who had paid NO attention whatsoever, asked to use the washroom. Seeing as there was 3 minutes to the bell, I asked her to wait until break. She LOST it. She called me names, threatened to get her mother after me - you name it, she said it. By this time the bell had rung and she hightailed it out of there (the presentation had been in the gym). There was a 10 minute break and then she was due to be in my class for Math. I met her at the door and told her that she was not welcome in my class that day due to her behaviour and she could spend her time in the office. As I marched her down, she called her mom on her cell. Told her mother that I wasn't allowing her in my class because she had to pee. When I refused to talk to mom on the kid's cell phone, saying that I would call her after school, the mother took it to admin. Knowing this mother's background, and having dealt with the child numerous times themselves, they brushed it off.
Another parent accused me of failing his daughter because I didn't like her. After Grade 9, our students could choose to take either Pre-Calculus or Essentials math. The rule of thumb was that if you had below a 65 in Grade 9, Pre-calc was probably not the best option and that if a student really wanted to take it, that we recommend they take both that and Essentials, just in case. Well, this child, who had a 50 in Grade 9 Math signed up for Pre-calc and only Pre-calc. My admin asked me to call her father and explain the situation and give "the school's" recommendation of taking both Maths. So, I did. It didn't go over well with her father. He accused me of not helping his daughter enough. Funny thing is, when I tried to help her, she refused. Her class was needy enough that I asked for, and was given, a co-teacher who was helping me with them because I couldn't get to enough of them during the course of a period. The kid refused help from the co-teacher. It was a mess. Anyway, it all ended up being my fault and dad refused to sign her up for the other math class as well. The following year, the science teacher came up to me and told me that during parent-teacher, he spoke to this girl's father because the girl was failing science. Dad, apparently, said that it was all MY fault that her daughter was failing science because I didn't have faith in her abilities in math (?). This teacher had to end the conference because the parent could not get past blaming me. I was also told he did the same thing with her Grade 10 Math teacher and when that teacher tried to explain that much of his daughter's problem was that she didn't do her homework or show up for extra help, he just kept repeating my name.
And then, of course, there was the parent last year who jumped down my throat because her daughter earned a B. She called into question my professionalism, demanded to know my date of hire, demanded to know how long I had been in the profession, and then told me that I was a crap teacher because I wasn't a parent (which, as someone who desperately wants kids but is unsure whether it is possible, made me cry. In front of her. As she sat there stone-faced).
Oh, this post makes me feel so much less alone! I have had several threaten to go to the school board and get me fired.
The one time was because a 6th grader in my room passed out and fell on the floor during dismissal. Turned out he was diabetic, and I didn't realize that even though I was the science teacher. The parents felt I should have recognized what was happening since I was the science teacher. Mind you, I had 32 students packing to leave on a Friday afternoon as the announcements were blaring bus numbers. I didn't know my elementary education degree was suppose to include any medical classes!
Once I had a student whose father died. About two weeks later the child was absent. While taking attendance I stated, " I hope ------ isn't sick." I said this almost to myself while thinking the poor child had been through enough without adding illness to it all. Her cousin heard me and told the mother of the child that I said, " ------ is always sick and I am tired of it." Turned out the cousin was angry with me over an incident that had happened the previous day.
The mother went crazy and made comments about how I had always hated her child and didn't care about her child. (I had attended calling hours and the funeral! I had sent flowers to the funeral home. The students and I all made beautiful cards for the child.)
She said she was going to get me fired and sue the school system for hiring me!
That was three years ago. Her child is in my friend's class this year. She told my friend she's still trying to get me fired and that she can't find a lawyer to take her case so she can sue the school board for hiring me!!
I don't think this parent has a piece of mind left to give.
I love that when parent averages their child's grades and forgets the fact that each grade is weighted differently. Even though is clearly states that in the syllabus the sign and return in the beginning of the year that says they read and understood everything in it. Sometimes I don't know who is worse, the parents or their children.
I think as you teach for awhile you will eventually encounter all types. There are people in this world who will always blame others for their problems or the child's problems. There are crazy people in this world and sadly they have children. There are angry people in this world and teachers can often be the target. You are fortunate when these loons come with a history because the powers that be understand and know what the REAL problem is.
In the moment they really hurt, but now...I just laugh. I still have my job and they (or at least two!) are in jail.
I have been called all kinds of names and accused of all kinds of things. But at the end of the day, those parents are usually the ones who have kids that love me. In the three cases I talked about, all three of those kids contacted me later to tell me that they were so glad I had been in their lives. That is why we put up with it.
Plus for every crazy parent --- especially at my new school, there are ten to fiften great parents. I have a mom that brings me a large Sonic Dr. Pepper each Friday. I have a mom that sends me a gift card each holiday even though I haven't had her kids in years. I was at a student event last week and a parent of a child I had six years ago was telling someone who I was. She stated "That's Mrs. M, she is the best teacher any of my kids ever had!" She didn't know I could hear her. My husband has my first class at this school in Ag this year. It is amazing out of a class of 144 his best students are the ones that were in my 2nd grade class. They told him that they wanted to do Ag since I taught them because I would tell them stories about livestock shows and our animals. It is nice to know that I had an impact on them and now he has an impact on them.
Wow, these are some crazy stories.
One of the perks at working at the lock up is that we never deal with parents. Actually it's even better, probation IS the parent of the child, and we couldn't hope for better. They actually parent them, and enforce our consequences, counsel them, motivate them, give them tough love, etc.
But when we do come in contact with parents (at graduation, and they have some programs where parents can get involved with us) they are always so appreciative. I think half of the parents (of the ones that do care, and are not knocked out on drugs or locked up themselves) are glad their sons are finally locked up, because they know they're safe, they don't have to worry about them getting hurt or killed. And they figure that teachers who teach there actually want to be there, they weren't just thrown in there without any say-so. So they know we care about them. I haven't heard any stories of parents flipping out. Crying, yes, but yelling? no.
Asking someone if they understand is not clarifying that they understand. It is the dumbest question someone can ask someone else if they want to know if someone really understands something.
If someone makes sense out of something he read or hears, regardless of whether or not the sense he makes is accurate, the answer to that question will be yes. "Do you understand?" only checks to see if someone is completely baffled, not that they came to the right conclusion or understanding.
I agree with this. In addition, nothing is more frustrating than having to return the very syllabus I signed. With my two kids, am I supposed to remember every detail of 14 syllabi that I had to sign and return?
But since it was on a syllabus, it is reasonable to assume that a parent would reference the syllabus before getting up in arms. By signing it, you are also acknowledging that you know it exists and are aware of what sort of information is available.