Teachers get enough grief as it is, and when it comes to parent/teacher conferences…how hard is it to tell a parent that their child isn’t perfect?
Very hard apparently. Luckily, these 12 teachers have lived to tell their tales.
12. I don’t think she understands how all of this works…
I had a Mom complain about the grade her kid received on an essay. I had given the essay a C- and the Mom was saying that it was obviously an A essay. I assured her that I was not biased and pointed out numerous issues with the essay, such as spelling mistakes.
Mom then reveals that SHE wrote the essay, not her kid. With a smug grin, she says: “Now you’ve got some explaining to do!”
Yeah, it’s me that’s got some explaining to do.
11. Very helpful parenting
Not me, but wife is a kindergarten teacher and suspected that one of her students may be autistic. The kid couldn’t communicate well at all, had issues with using the bathroom, and showed other classic signs of autism.
My wife had a conference with the mother and explained that she would like him to be evaluated, but the mother refused and said that if her son did have autism, my wife was the one who caused it.
10. Semper Fi-ght
I had a preschool aged student who would fixate on his female classmates. He would single one out and follow her around, then hug her and try to give her kisses.
These were 3/4 year olds, and they would hate that. So inevitably the girl would try to squirm away, and he’d get angry and start hitting and scratching her face. He’d get in trouble of course, but the following week he’d have a new target.
His mom was horrified, and would try to keep him corralled, but he really didn’t respect her at all. The only people he’d actually listen to were the dads that attended the program with their kids. They were pretty sympathetic, since they could see the kid had issues and knew we were trying to get him into our agency’s free counseling program.
Well, his attitude toward females became obvious once his dad came back from deployment.
When my supervisor and I met with him, he was proud of what his boy was doing. He said it showed that he knew what he wanted and his determination to get it, and he’s not taking anything from the girls. Really ugly stuff. He literally said that the girls should just let him give them a kiss, since he’d get mad if he couldn’t. The mom just kept her head down.
Right then I understood why she wanted counseling from us, rather than using his military benefits. He was by far the most misogynistic jerk I have ever met, and his son was picking it up from him.
Not a week later, the kid tried to go after the daughter of another Marine. Said marine was present. Said marine shouted at the dad for a while, and said he’d be speaking to his CO.
I ended up leaving the program a few days later, but I’ve always hoped the mom and little boy got away from him, and that the boy got some therapy. Otherwise, I have no doubt I’ll be seeing him on the news in a few years.
9. Motherly Mistakes
5th grader with a ton of potential and an awesome personality… He was one of my favorite students, but chronically unprepared and always behind on homework.
Mom comes in for conference, and makes excuses for him, blames me for giving confusing assignments (not accurate), and tells me how she can’t help manage his HW because she has 2 other kids to worry about. For example, grandma picks up kids and drops them at brother’s baseball practice, my student leaves backpack in grandma’s car, mom picks up kids after practice – her conclusion was “why should brother miss out on baseball because he has siblings?”
After about 5 min of this, I stopped her and turned to the kid. I asked him if he thought he could be doing more, even if it’s on his own, and he said that he could. I told him I thought so, too and thanked them for coming in.
Next day at school, I told him that I thought he was a great person who had a ton of potential and that he was going to have to make things happen for himself. He totally understood what I meant.
It broke my heart.
8. Who does this?!?
I was working at a boarding school on their summer school course. We had 2 boys (8 and 11) arrive with their uncle who they were staying with (the boys were from the UAE). He’d come to drop them off for 5 weeks but neglected to tell the children; they thought they’d come for a nice castle tour. Uncle books it and leaves it to us to explain that they were staying for 5 weeks, rather than having an awesome holiday (they’d been doing some really cool things for the week prior to being dropped off).
During the kids’ stay the uncle would take the boys off campus to go to the mosque and bring them back on Saturday afternoon. One week they came back with games consoles which they weren’t allowed. Uncle tried to bribe me to let then keep them by offering me a white chihuahua puppy and when I declined he shouted at me for being common and poor.
During the boys’ last week several trunks full of clothes and belongings arrived because (surprise!) the kids were going to be staying at the school until they were 18.
Best parents ever.
Not a teacher but my parents were pretty awful to my teachers.
Throughout grade school, I noticed that my parents always said disparaging things about teachers I liked and praised teachers I hated. So by junior high, I would flip the roles. If I liked a teacher, I always claimed I hated them, and if I disliked a teacher I made up stuff about how inspirational they were and how I loved them.
Have you ever had that point in your life when you were really right about something and you were disappointed instead of overjoyed that you were right?
It wasn’t 100% foolproof. There were some teachers that I liked in the beginning of the year that I ended up not liking at the end of the year, and vice versa. Sometimes teachers would come up to me in annoyance and ask why my dad was so mean to them. My dad is a sociopath, and considers himself far more intelligent than anyone he is in front of. And he makes them know it.
Eventually social services got involved, and that changed everything. Now the teachers had a note in my file that things at home were not good, which pretty much disconnected my parents from being taken seriously.
After that happened, I had a lot of teachers that were very valuable allies in getting through my life. Some taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I still used to this day. I am extremely grateful for all of the teachers that I met that helped me along.
6. Mom of the Year
I had a student (11th grade) throw scissors at me because he “heard someone call me mean”. His mom tried to tell me that he gets really upset when men disrespect women. Meanwhile, he told me he could have really done damage if he wanted to.
The sad thing I had only asked him to complete his journal entry for the day. The scissors were then locked up every day. It still blows my mind and I actually laugh to this day about the incident.
To clarify, I am a female teacher who taught in a self-contained behavior unit to a class of all boys. The student was mad that I asked him to complete his journal. When I documented his refusal on his behavior chart he became upset and threw a pair of scissors at me. His mom came up with this excuse during his expulsion meeting to keep him in school. There were only three other students in the room, not one was sitting near him or talking to him.
The comment never happened, she made it up to justify it.
5. Raunchy Material
Not a teacher, but a student who saw something awful happen to a teacher. She was the 8th-9th-10th grade English teacher and when I first joined the school she was the first person to really make me feel welcome and she had such a warm heart.
In my 2nd year there (I think 9th grade) a new kid joined the school. He was a hardline Christian and obviously so were his parents. One of the books in my English teacher’s class to be read that year was Angela’s Ashes (I believe that was the one) and apparently there was some slight sexual material in the book. New kid’s parents berated my teacher and I think she might have been close to losing her job over the incident. I remember a couple days after it went down and she was in her classroom eating during lunch period. I happened to be walking by and saw her crying. I came in there and gave her the biggest hug ever and told her I was sorry she was getting in trouble for doing exactly what teachers are supposed to do: encouraging students to learn, broadening their horizons, and fighting censorship.
I remember a year or two later at the end of the semester I had so little work to do that I asked her if I could just start reading stuff she had on the shelf. She was more than happy to let me do that. I picked Terminal Man and remember laughing in the back of my head at this explicit part about experiments being run on a guy via electric stimulation to bring upon orgasm. I forget what that had to do with the main plot of the book, but I remember when I finished it and returned it, my teacher and I had an unspoken understanding about what I’d just read and she knew she didn’t have to worry about me crying to the superintendent about the “raunchy material.”
4. What. A. Bitch
The one who told me the reason I was a bad teacher was because I wasn’t a mom.
No fertility issues (but what if!) but had just gone through a terrible break up of a relationship heading toward marriage and family.
Not really what a 35 year old woman wants to hear from the mother of an emotionally disturbed child.
3. Expert Opinion
One of the parents in my daughter’s class had their conference right before mine. I was sitting in the hall and could hear them trying to rebut every thing the teacher said.
THEN these fuckers brought in the mom’s sister, who is a teacher and she got in on it with her “expert opinion”.
Their kid was an asshole by the way…he stabbed my kid with a scissors and was known as the class bully.
2. Three Tales Of Torture
- The mother of twins used the entire conference to elaborate on how one was so much smarter than the other and how surprised she was that the “dumb” twin was doing well in my class. Both boys were present and very uncomfortable. It was excruciating.
- Parents of a boy with serious anger problems came in for a conference over the latest incident (he threatened to cut my brake lines). Father gave us a very detailed plan for how he was going to smash the boy’s ipad and rip the sheetrock off of the boy’s bedroom walls. We somehow convinced him to let the boy move in with his grandfather instead. Never had another problem from the boy.
- Mother showed up unannounced before school to go over every assignment her daughter had done for the past few weeks, because her daughter was “failing” and the mother wanted to get a tutor to address the problem. The girl had a B+ in an AP class and was a nervous wreck. Wonder why.
1. Some people will never learn.
I did a year or three of work in a school on their extracurricular, including the school musicals, and became infamous for my way of handling parents who disagreed with casting.
Apparently it’s not very diplomatic to tell a parent that their child didn’t get the role because they weren’t good enough, but that if they would like their child to improve, here is a list of local groups that offer advancing on top of these opportunities at the school.
I recall one conversation in particular that was very short:
Parent: “why hasn’t my child got this part?”
Me: “there was someone else better for the role”
Parent: “but my child is the best”
Me: “if that was true, your child would have the role”
The parent just stared at me for a minute and then stormed out. Kid looked at the mother storming out and looks back at me and goes “Sorry about that. She’s a bit of an idiot. I’ll tell daddy.” and skips out merrily.
Smart kid. Learnt a lot. Leading role the following year because she had put the work in to become the best, and cried happy tears when cast because she saw it as the end result of that hard work. Cue another visit from parent.
Parent came back in “So my child is the best now is she? Why didn’t she get a big role last year then?”
So close. So far.
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