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Teachers Recall The Worst Parent-Teacher Conferences They've Ever Experienced

Parents! Your babies are not perfect. What happened to the days when we believed and supported our educators? The children are the future but they need a ton of help along the way. And the best guide patrol are our teachers. So parents.... when they want to meet you, it's for the greater good.


Redditor u/winnie115 wanted to discuss how parents and educators communicate today but without crazy..... by asking... Teachers of Reddit, what is the worst parent conference you've ever had?

Interest Over.

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Former teacher. First parent teacher conference. I put a lot of time into preparing this evening as an innocent 22 yo. I gave a ten minute speech to about fifteen family members, they didn't seem to care at all. Then I met with each individually, and they were combative. Some stunk of alcohol. One straight up yelled at me for my grading system. It was basically the beginning of the end of my interest in teaching. hold_my_lacroix

In very proper English....

From the same parents evening...

  1. parents of a student with a name fancy enough they my as well have been called lord and lady Ashcroft. They greet me with "it's a pleasure to meet you! You aren't an idiot like all the other teachers" in very proper English. Was gobsmacked. Spoke to a colleague later who said "did you speak to X's parents? They just sat down, called me an idiot and left!" CountPeter

"she's a brat".....

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From my wife, teacher of 5+ years: 2nd grade parent had earbuds in her ears the entire time, and looked at her phone the entire time. When my wife complimented her daughter and told her that she was doing well, the parent laughed and said "she's a brat". MuvHugginInc

Truth Hurts. 

I mean, it wasn't exactly a bad conference but one time the mother of a six-year-old second grader was pushing for her son to skip second grade and go to third grade. I tried pointing out that even though his reading and math skills were excellent, advancing him further would create a gap in his knowledge about science and social studies. Not to mention the fact that he is very immature and socially sticks out. She kept on insisting that age was just a number.

Finally, I turned to both the mother and father and asked when he is a 15-year-old senior in high school, what 18-year-old woman is going to want to go to prom with him. Then Dad was like hold up. homerbartbob

What are your thoughts?

I'm a school psychologist, not a teacher. But we still have lots of parent conferences. Worst one: spent a good half an hour explaining that I was diagnosing her son with autism and why. Everyone agrees, including the parent, and we move into developing his IEP. Twenty minutes into this we're talking about his behavior plan and she asks me "I'm wondering, do you think he might have autism?" MiraRuth

ciao.

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Wife just told me another one:

The last conference of the day, the parent (a guy) started the meeting with saying "do you feel that? Do you feel nervous?" Implying a "connection" and nervously laughing. My wife felt super uncomfortable because he seemed to be coming on to her, and sharing personal details about his life. No matter what she said "okay," "have a nice night," he'd just start another conversation and keep trying to talk. She eventually had to just grab her stuff and basically leave for the day to get him to leave. MuvHugginInc

5 Paragraphs In...

The one where a parent told me it was unreasonable to expect my sophomore US History students to write a five paragraph essay. She claimed she had expertise as she "used to be an English teacher."

Honestly, though, I've been VERY lucky in my career to have never had a seriously bad parent-teacher conference.bcal16

No Fudging....

I had a parent teacher conference where I basically got called a racist. The father was like, can't you see my son is not like other kids, give him the benefit of the doubt (heavily indicating his race). This was after his son cheated on a test. The best part was the father was a Vice Principal at another school but his son went to our expensive private school because he didn't want him in the public school he worked at. The kid eventually confessed. And to be 100% transparent my school is incredibly diverse. He was far from the only kid there who was his race.

Admin wasn't super supportive. They ended up fudging his grade to please the parents after I gave him the 0. They wanted me to do it but I refused. I told admin they can do whatever they want with the grade book but I'm not touching it. viktor72

Speak Out.

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Generally speaking, the parents who see their children as an extension of themselves are the worst to conference with. The parents feel personally attacked when their child has a minor setback, and can't imagine their child being anything less than they are. Collin_1000

So many...

I have three that stick out.

1 - Student was a repeat freshman, constantly dirty and full of hickeys. Tried to get high off of his inhaler, definitely doing drugs and high as a kite most of the time. He was failing everything for the second time. The school called a meeting with mom... mom comes in covered in dirty ho clothes, hickeys, and meth teeth. She couldn't understand why she was called in.

2 - Parent teacher conferences: student brings her mom into the room and points out the 40 random scholarships I have listed on the wall (duct tape dresses for prom, left handed scholarships, race based scholarships, all sorts of stuff). The mom looks at the wall for 2 seconds, turns to her daughter, and says, "You will never get any of these. You're too stupid."

3 - Open house: parents come in to visit each class briefly. Mom randomly stands up, points to her kid, and says, "This one here? She's trouble. She don't listen. She's always got gum in her mouth. So help me god, if you see her with gum, you make her stand in the corner with the gum on her nose all class. You call me if she steps out of line, I'll slap her back in." Oooookay. omgitreallyhappened

No Angels...

Most parents are awesome and I enjoy visiting with them. A very small minority will try and verbally abuse you or bully you. Kids will twist words and incidents so they don't get into trouble. Some parents can't believe their angels can do anything wrong. I don't know why they believe that. I've screwed up as a kid and a young adult. My kid is no angel. (That's not to say that teachers don't screw up and twist things either. ) blasphemusa

Thumbs Up.

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I had to tell a well-known gang leader that his son was failing my class.

Actually went better than expected, but the anticipation was intense. cookiescoop

The Jig Is Up! 

I had a student fail my class and I thought that I'd been emailing with their parents throughout the semester. Turns out the parents did not speak English and relied upon their children to translate for them. Their older sibling was studying abroad, so the student was able to hide everything from the parents. Once they came home, the jig was up. The parents could not believe their child had lied for months, so we had a face to face meeting. It was so awful to see their faces crumble in shame and humiliation as their oldest child translated the meeting. pythiadelphine

for the pay....

I was talking to the parent of a kindergarten student and telling her ways she could help her child at home. She suddenly said, "Do you get paid to to do this?" I said, "Uh, yeah." She said, "Well I don't!" Then swiped all the papers off the table, stood up and walked out.

I was like, ooooookay then. Wishyouamerry

Damn Rat.

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Not quite a parent teacher conference, but it was after I got my first cell flip phone long ago when they were just coming out. An 8th grader stole it. My wife called the phone and the guy who answered was dumb enough to give her his name.... It was a parent who was using it. The kid confesses to taking it and the parents came in. Admin confronted the parents about it explaining that we just wanted the phone back. The parents tore in to the kid for confessing he took the phone and told him his birthday was cancelled for ratting on them. cleanmachine2244

I teach seventh grade, and the one that stands out to me was from my second year in the classroom. Probably it sticks in my mind because I didn't feel confident in my job yet, so this interaction I had with a family threw me for a loop.

Once, I had a struggling student come in with their family, and I was so eager to talk to his family. I was hoping that we could have some kind of constructive conversation that would lead to the kid's improvement in my class. I had pulled up their grades to explain why he had a D in my class and what he needed to work on to bring his grade up. Next thing I knew, the parents started completely berating the kid, calling him stupid and lazy, telling him that he was a failure - it was horrible.

The heartbroken....

Even worse, the kid was on the autism spectrum, so he just really didn't have the kind of emotional stability to handle something like that. Heck, I don't know what seventh grader would be able to handle something like that. He started crying, and his parents apologized to me (to me??) and led him out into the hallway where they continued (!) to berate him. It was rough.

I tried to smooth things over by talking them through the kid's strengths, but they just wouldn't be deterred. The kid was sitting on the ground in the hallway just sobbing next to the lockers and his parents just left - presumably to go conference with more teachers.

I tried to console the student, but I don't think there was much I could have done. He was just completely heartbroken.msfriedmana

"too stupid to cheat"

Parent was irate because I caught her 6th grade daughter cheating on a test. Parent said daughter was "too stupid to cheat" and kept calling her dumb and an idiot. The daughter was right next to her, hearing her mother talk all this negative stuff about her. Absolutely broke my heart. n0isep0lluti

I think my mouth was agape the entire time.

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An unintended one when an undergrad I was teaching requested a formal meeting with me, her mother, and the dean of the college at the university.

She had received a 97% on an essay, and she and her mother were both in tears demanding that I be reprimanded and re-trained for "unfair grading policies."

I think my mouth was agape the entire time. Mondayslasagna

Be Inquisitive....

Once had a phone conference with a parent who accused me of forcing students to come to my house and build a garage for me. The parent said his son was being ostracized and punished by me for refusing to come to my house and work on my garage. The only thing I could do was laugh at him. I thought it was a prank and hung up on him.

Next morning, I had to meet with my principal because the parent had called and threatened to call the local news media about my classroom if I wasn't immediately fired. The parent left screaming rant on my principal's voicemail. We listened to it a few times and got some good laughs. The parent claimed I was making the kids drive to my house during class and if they didn't I was failing them. But, his son had an A- in the class and the drive to my house was longer than the class period.

The parent was obviously nuts, but it had to be treated as credible. So, there was an "investigation" and there may even be a report about it in my personnel file. I've had other weird interactions with parents, but that one definitely takes the cake. CoolioDaggett

Sad Truths....

One time a child peed all over the bathroom in the school. When we brought it up with the parent, they demanded to know why we didn't teach them how to properly use the bathroom. Responsible_Attitude

My gf's mom is a teacher. In a very poor, mostly racial minority area. She once had a child, in 3rd grade so was on the cusp of being tested for special needs, but basically was approached as being "slow" but no serious biological developmental issues. This child, on one disgusting occasion, ate his own feces. Yes. Ingested, on purpose, his own excrement. When brought up to the mother, the response was: "we'll he was hungry!" An administrator in the room responded "then send him with some crackers!" Ugh. The horror. Abderian5

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