Parenting isn't always easy, but most parents recognize that their kids are going to mess up and need to be taught how to behave. Some, however, have deluded themselves into thinking that their little angel couldn't possibly misbehave or do anything wrong.
These parents can be a nightmare for teachers to deal with because the kids often just need a bit of redirection and some reinforcement of that at home, but the parents aren't willing to see that their kid needs help.
Reddit user u/Will-I-Am_No9 asked:
He kept talkingGiphy
I had a student in 5th grade. He had a history of misbehavior dating back to the first week of kindergarten. He would regularly shout insults at other students, threaten them, refused to do any work, and on several occasions, yelled at me and once threw a chair. One day, while we were taking a test, this student was talking. I quietly reminded him that it is against the rules to talk during a test, and that he needs to be quiet. He kept talking.
I told him that this is his last warning, and that if he talks again he will need to go in the hall. He talked again. So I told him to go in the hall. He gets up, walks out, and on the way out says, "You're autistic." to me. I wrote him a referral and contacted the parents, explaining the situation. They didn't pick up the phone, so I sent an e mail (oops) and I ended the e mail saying that I hope we can work together to help (student) be successful.
I received a rage-filled e mail back saying that MY behavior is unacceptable, that I am targeting her son and am out to get him, and that I will be hearing from her lawyer. This woman is a cop. She went all the way to the district level to complain about me, and made up all kinds of lies about me and told the other parents.
Oh and once, after a different incident where he physically assaulted another kid, he was suspended for a day. Mommy took him to Disney World.
I don't hate you!
My first year of teaching I taught early elementary, but had to teach a single grade 7 options class where I saw the students 2x a week for 40 minutes. I had one student who didn't hand in a project and marked him accordingly. Parent-teacher night came and mom shows up. She closes the door, spends 5 minutes addressing her sons marks and asking about whether he could still hand in the project to which I replied "sure". She then spends 20 minutes telling me her son thinks I hate him and how everyone and I mean EVERYONE loves her son. She went on long rambling stories about former teachers, coaches... etc and how everyone really loves him and I just really need to spend some time with him so I would see how special he was.
I finally told her I couldn't possibly hate her child because I barely knew who he was because I spend 98% of my time teaching on the opposite side of the school (not a smart thing to say, but the rambling stories, that we were 25 minutes into what was suppose to be a 10 minute interview, her passive aggressive nature and the fact that she was so high on her son was starting to irritate me.)
I asked her what type of reasonable solution she wanted and she told me my personality was clearly the problem. She then got up to leave but returned to tell me that though she wasn't a teacher and wouldn't tell me how to do my job but... and spent 5 minutes telling me all the ways I'm personally failing her child.
Anyway, that was an important first year teacher moment. Never again would I let a parent treat me like that.
I've wanted to get this off my chest for a while now: Taught previously, but this is as a parent:
Our son, who is 3, is in school. His classmate "Winnie" and her mom "Louisa" are the worst people you've ever met. First, Winnie has a restrictive diet for no other reason than her parents want to try it. They will send a list of "approved" foods and quantities for her with the expectation that all leftovers are to be put in tupperware and given to Winnie to take home. The food is so odd and weird that we wouldn't eat it anyway, but that's the expectation.
If Winnie is at a party, Winnie must win at least 50% of the games, even if there are 20 kids. Winnie must be served first. She must have extra time when playing with children and Winnie must not be, under any circumstances, told what not to do.
The kids of this class have parties and Winnie was invited twice and then not. Her mother flew off the handle and sent a nasty letter to parents about how this was unjust and her Darling Winnifred was crying at being left out. Her daughter has no boundaries, is unruly, rude, difficult and eats what can only be described as pre-vomit. Her mother runs a small "health consulting" business and will constantly try the hard sell with you. It's intrusive, invasive and really tone deaf, but she won't stop continually begging for service. She's awful. Her daughter is awful and they're always at social events.
Don't make him do it
Once I had a piano student whose mother made him take lessons, even though his heart wasn't in it. For several weeks, he'd come back with exactly the same mistakes as the week before and with no sign of improvement.
I made it comfortable for him to describe weekly practice and his thoughts about taking piano lessons. He said that he had no interest in the piano (or any other instrument) and that he "pretended to practice to get his mother off his back."
I told his mom that forcing him to take lessons was a mistake - that his heart wasn't in it and that it might turn him against music forever to persist. She said, "He's a gifted student and he'd never waste practice time."
I simply said that I have his best interests in mind and that he needs to pursue something he's genuinely interested in, and not be coerced into studying as a result of parental pressure.
The boy gave me an appreciative hug. But his mom looked daggers at me as they walked away.
"We have this kind of meeting every year with his teachers, we know (son's name) can't do multiplication."
He was a freshman in high school in pre-algebra. How he passed 3rd - 8th grade is beyond me besides teachers just passing him to get rid of him. These people had money, they had resources, they could've gotten him tutoring YEARS ago to help him. Instead they preferred we just pass him and excuse his acting out because he refused and couldn't do the work because he didn't have the basic foundation. He couldn't do multiplication so he couldn't do division, and it all spiraled from there. They were so calm about it, like, "What's the problem with that? So what?" I was floored.
I was a TA in a kindergarten classroom and had reminded this little kid (5M) in April (over halfway through the school year) about our rule that we only have healthy snacks at snack time. He started whining and crying about how his mom lets him have cookies whenever he wants.
Anyway, the teacher steps in and mentions that he has a delicious looking apple in his lunch bag. He then gets up, throws a chair and begins to flip tables and tear the class apart while telling the teacher his mom is going to bring a gun and shoot her.
At this moment a threat has been issued so we bring in the principal. She gets there and begins an effort to talk the student down to no avail. He just keeps going on and on about how his mom has a gun and will shoot everyone at the school and if we call the police she is going to shoot them too.
The mother is then called... No answer. Of course.
So we send this kid with the principal and go about our day.
After school is over the teacher, principal and I start putting together an email to the parent. The kid was in after school care so we couldn't have a chat after school. We just hit the major points of defiance and handling his anger in a more positive manner.
I get to school the next day and the teacher shows me the response. The first line read "Why didn't you just let him have the cookie?!" and it went on to say that "you as educators are not doing our job if her child is getting as angry as he is. It is our job to keep him from getting mad and we failed at it today."
That day he came in and told us that mommy bought him a new Lego set...
Are you okay?
While I've never been a traditional teacher, I did give swimming lessons for a short time while in high school.
Most of my students (and their parents) were very appreciative of how I conducted my classes, but there was one woman who seemed utterly convinced that I was doing her child a disservice. The boy in question was afraid of putting his head beneath the water – which is a common-enough problem – so we had been slowly working through various ways of helping him overcome that fear. Unfortunately, every single time that his mother was nearby, she would scream about how I had "no right" to "force" her son to do anything, after which she would loudly address him as though nobody else was within earshot.
"Are you okay, honey?" she'd ask. "You remember what Mommy said, okay? You do not listen to that man. You are perfect, and you do not let anyone tell you otherwise! Okay? Tell me that you hear me."
The poor kid would mutter his acknowledgements, then sulk near the edge of the pool until his mother finally left. The good news is that the woman would almost always disappear not long after dropping off her son, leaving me to start undoing the damage. I'd like to think that I still had a positive impact on the boy's life, but something tells me that someone had mistaken swimming lessons for a particularly wet babysitting service.
TL;DR: In which I take on the role of a monster in the pool.
I taught at a school in a mega-affluent community. Colossally wealthy families that lived in castles; very powerful and influential people. Most of the kids were lovely, but there were plenty of brats, and some were just downright unbelievable. It wasn't the kids' fault, mind you - they were just spoiled to the point of being devoid of common sense and reality. One particular boy, who we'll call Francis, had basically given up on school. He knew he was set for life and put zero effort into anything. His grades were so poor at one point that his parents - completely aloof and dependent upon Francis' team of au pairs (Francis called his parents by their first names, mind you) - proposed buying passing grades so that Francis could move on to the next grade. Basically, dad pulled out the checkbook and asked for the amount.
Looooots of Francis stories.
I taught 6th grade at a private school. Since we're private we have a specific testing week every spring to assess our students. I sent home an informative sheet describing the rigid schedule we have and when our tests will be administered. Doors have to remain closed and no disruptions were allowed (a little harsh, but it's what we were told to do by administration). If anyone was late, I assured them they can make the test up, but they would have to wait in the office. This kid asked to go to the bathroom, obviously as a teacher I can't say no.
I told him he had 5 minutes until the test and he will need to be quick. Needless to say, he was not back in time, so he was sent to the office until the testing time was finished. I received a L E N G T H Y email that begun with, "What is your issue with my child?" They never read my weekly newsletters and just believe whatever their child told them when they got home instead of asking the adult for their perspective. He's an only child with a single parent. He's everything to her. I get it, but was a real tough year.
First year teaching, I gave a kid detention. Kid was talking too much in class, wouldn't stop, and school policy was to give detention if a kid acted up after a verbal warning. Detention wasn't much, about 30 minutes after school, but since it was a middle school, giving after school detention means I have to contact the parents, since the kid won't be on the bus (yes, there were other transportation options at this school). Now, he was talking to another kid, so that kid got detention too.
So, throughout the day, the kid is begging me not to give him detention, but I remain firm. He broke the rules, I followed school policy and it's my first year, I'm looking to other teachers to be a guide and they say I should stand firm. So, I call mom.
Mom is totally crazy. The kid is Indian, so she accuses me of racism, but that's not so bad, I can understand where she's coming from. That's not what makes her crazy. She then assumes that there was no way for her boy to be talking in class because he is, and I will remember this quote until the day I die, "a perfect, Christ-like child." Kid was perfect, you see, so anything he did wrong, I had to have made up. Here's the worst part, I was a traveling teacher which means I have to use other classrooms while that teacher is on plan. It sucks for both of us, but it also means, I don't have a classroom phone. If I call a parent, I have to call using my cell phone. She spends the rest of the year harassing me.
Kid gets a B on a test that was written for all of the 7th grade English teachers and done on a scantron? Impossible, he needs to get an A. Kid gets in trouble in another class? Calls me to complain about how he couldn't have done anything wrong. Kid has to do homework in my class? No, that's not acceptable, I'm targeting him. Kid gets detention again? Couldn't have happened, he's perfect. He's Christlike. I had so many 30-40 minute calls from this woman that I had to have the Principal intervene because it turned into harassment.
The worst part was, I really liked the kid. He was a great kid, he was just a 7th grader in a class that had all of his friends and was too big. Also, for some reason, lunch for 7th graders was at 1 pm, which was freaking last for some dumb reason, and his class was the one just before lunch. Kid was hungry, tired, overworked and all of his friends were in class, I totally got it. He just couldn't disrupt class.
Also, when I say "talk in class," I don't mean whispering. He and his friends were pretty loud, they would interrupt me and other kids and, I was a first year teacher, too. Like, I made a lot of mistakes, especially with that class. So, I'm not exactly blameless in this scenario.