Teachers have tough jobs. Dozens of students, ever changing curricula, low pay, and long days. But throw in crazy parents and their ridiculous requests, and all of a sudden keeping you cool may be harder than brain surgery!
Check out these 23 Reddit teachers who share some of the craziest reasons parents have contacted them.
1. He’s not gay
I’m an assistant school counsellor. We had a furious parent call us several times and accuse us of turning her son gay. The calls stopped after he got a classmate pregnant.
2. No doubt here
I’ve had a parent complain to me about her child. Her daughter was doing really well, 90+ grades and consistent effort in classwork and homework.
Me: [Student] puts a lot of thought and effort into her work.
Mom: She sucks up to you?
Me: No, she wants to do well and be successful. That being said, we’d like to improve her grammar a bit.
Mom: I knew it, she’s stupid. Doesn’t do anything. She will fail.
Me: Uh, no . . . just needs a little more rigor in this department.
Mom: She’s such a disappointment.
And every once in a while I’ll just get a complaint from her…. her complaining TO me about her child. Her kid’s a joy and I’ve been so much nicer to her since I met this lady.
This student is being helped by our fabulous guidance department. I take care to affirm her effort whenever possible, and assure her that she’s doing great. It may not offset the negativity her mother imposes on her, but the other teachers and I will make sure she doesn’t doubt her ability to do well.
I had a parent complain because I played a CD of classical Persian flute music one day in class. The class was World Languages and Cultures and I played a different CD from around the world every day as they came into class. They thought I was sympathizing with terrorists and should “only teach American stuff”.
4. “Cut him some slack”
I gave the kid a D on a homework. Parent contacted me to complain that I was picking on him.
Even though the parent agreed that most of the answers that he gave were wrong but I should have “cut him some slack.”
5. That really is so stupid
I used to teach phonics (basic reading skills) to kindergarten-aged kids. One parent came in after class, irate, and demanded to know why I had taught the er/ir/ur diphthong before the oi/oy diphthong. He didn’t want his kid to be able to read the word “girl” before being able to read “boy”. Kept going on about how “boy” was just more important and common, as a word, and teaching kids less frequent words before more frequent ones would slow down reading progress and was bad pedagogically, and so on.
In hindsight, I’m impressed that he managed to squeeze so many justifications into something so pointlessly stupid.
6. The Star
One mother threatened to yank her daughter out of the school if this student were not given the starring role in the Christmas concert to sing “O Holy Night”. (An incident previously noted.)
The girl had made it perfectly clear to me, the faculty and classmates that she realized she wasn’t musically qualified for the part, neither did she want to do it.
It was entirely her Mom – determined that her daughter should be “the star” of the school, no matter what.
7. School Bullies
There was a mom who was mad that we wouldn’t let her son be in the class that he wanted to be in. Her son was in grade two, but for the first two or so months of the school year he would go to the kindergarten classroom everyday. We’re not a big school, so there’s only one grade two class.
Developmentally there was no reason he should still be in the kindergarten class, he just kept going there because he liked the toys better and when he was in there he would make fun of the younger students because he was older and smarter than the rest of them and would hit them if they were ‘stupid’.
When we told the mom what was going on and that we needed her to support this transition she thought we were doing this just because we didn’t want her son to be happy at school. We finally got him to go to the correct class (my class), but the troubled behavior (hitting, swearing, making messes, being purposefully distracting, disrespectful and generally inappropriate) still continues, and the mom’s ideas that we’re picking on him and are being mean to him still continue.
8. Dog – gonit
I work at an inner-city Catholic school where most of my students have some serious learning disabilities. Their parents get second jobs to pay for Catholic school because they don’t want their kids in the dangerous public school, but the Catholic schools don’t have a extra needs teacher that can really help them. For my students who have severe ADD/ADHD, I have a rule that if they are acting up too much, they can leave the room and ‘take a lap’ for a couple of minutes to get some energy out.
This has been incredibly helpful, and has caused far less distractions in class.
A couple of weeks ago I had to call home about a student who was constantly on her phone and talking back. The mother then proceeded to tell me that I called her daughter a dog by saying some students can take a lap, and that I was racist for describing my students as dogs. I never said dog.
9. Wait, what?
When I came out to my parents they decided it was my English teachers fault for always wearing coloured bra’s under a white blouse. So they put in a formal complaint.
10. Make up your mind!
When I was teaching overseas at an American school, I had a parent of a fifth grader who felt that her son wasn’t being challenged enough (this came out during the October parent teacher conference). Ok. So, work and challenge level ramps up to a degree I feel he can handle. Next conference (after said student’s grades drop a tiny bit), same parent complains that I am being too tough on her child. Face palm.
This one sticks out for me:
My class was about to take a unit test on physical science. It had been about a month since the last test, so I sent home a two sided review sheet. I was checking these for correctness but grading for completeness (the plan was to hand them back out as a study guide) and I notice one that has no answers one side of it. The child had written their name at the top of the blank side, so they had seen it and just decided not to do it. I gave the child a 50 on the assignment, since they had done half. Perfectly reasonable, right?
Parent complained, but to the other teachers in the grade instead of me. Apparently, giving a 10 year old a completeness grade based on the amount of work they did is entirely unreasonable. None of the other teachers were so mean, so it wasn’t fair for me to be either.
12. Move over
When I taught high school, I moved seating arrangements about once a semester. Keeps them on their toes, forces them to work with other students and breaks up some of those talky groups we tend to get.
Every time it happened I got calls about “How dare you move my baby! He wants to sit next to his friends!” Your child does more talking than work, he needs to be away from his friends.
“My little girl needs to sit in the front row. Otherwise she won’t pay attention and get all A’s.” Your kid is fine in the second row, she’s focused and learning. I need the front row for other kids.
“You only moved him because you hate him/you’re racist/you’re mean.” Yeah, it just really makes me happy to move your child two seats to the right.
Seriously folks, it’s a seat change in one period. Unless there is a medical reason that dictates otherwise, your kid will be okay wherever I sit them.
13. Cuz you are
I had a parent find my personal Facebook page and was mad about what I had posted. Ie pics of me and my boyfriend at parties, pics of me in a swimsuit while on vacation, pics of me “out on the town” late at night. She wanted me fired for presenting an inappropriate lifestyle to children and made it seem like I was coming to school wasted everyday, and making out with my boyfriend in front of the class.
14. What dum dums
The school has a behavior plan. Basically, if the kids don’t go below a certain good behavior color, they get a Friday Lollipop.
A certain child wasn’t given a lollipop at the end of the week because he spit on another kid (among other stuff). The parents went ballistic. They barged into the school in a full rage. They were screaming and demanding a dum dum pop for their son.
This enraged them so much that they had a behavior plan conference with the team teachers. Of course, the parents made the conference solely about obtaining this stupid dum dum.
15. “Might” rain
A parent at my sister’s school complained because it rained on the school trip to the zoo.
“I wouldn’t have given permission for my child to go on the trip if I had been properly informed it might rain.”
16. Meeting planner
I had a teacher who had a parent who constantly was scheduling parent-teacher conferences. She broke into the school one time (they changed the locks after that) and went through confidential files just to make sure said meeting was scheduled.
When the teacher asked her to stop, she came into her house while they were having dinner and said “what about that next meeting?”
I had a parent complain that I was speaking too much French in class, which would be legitimate concern if it weren’t a high school junior level French class.
18. Sweater Fever
I had a parent complain about unfairly sending her kid home after he was running a 101 fever and vomited right in the middle of the cafeteria. She insisted that every witness (in the whole cafeteria) to the vomiting was lying and insisted that the 101 “fever” was caused by her child wearing a sweater. This mom was not called away from a job to pick up her sick child – she was a homemaker. She was literally at home when the school nurse called her home phone number.
Ninth grade World History. I spent two days talking about how the Sykes-Picot agreement arbitrarily defined the states in the Middle East and how this has created many of the problems in that region that we face today. One parent emailed me saying “Your liberal bias is showing with these excuses you are making for those…” it got worse from there. Worst part is I’m not liberal… I just know history…
20. Wild lady
Organizing a grad dinner. Mother comes in and demands her daughter perform her music. I inform her the grad class has picked someone else other than her daughter.
She gets even madder, she corrects me that she is not talking about her daughter that is graduating. She is talking about her daughter that graduated years ago trying to launch her music career.
I laugh and professionally inform her it will never happen.
Couple days later she called the conference centre and tried to make all the meals kosher and a bunch of other stuff. Wild lady.
21. “Where are they from?”
I had a parent come in and ask me where our cleaners were from to decide whether or not she trusted that her daughter wouldn’t get her stuff robbed at school. I explained that we didn’t use an agency, all the cleaners were employed directly by the school.
“No”, she clarified, “where are they from?”
She was quickly invited to leave my office.
Had a parent forgot to pack their kid a lunch, they called the school to tell me I needed to leave the class to go across the street and buy the kid subway.
Also, was almost physically attacked by a father because I gave the kid a C in reading.
23. Chain of Command
I gave one of my cadets a detention slip, which he is supposed to get stamped by an NCO and return immediately. Instead, he took it to his uncle, who is in a different division but the same building. He then has the balls to bring his uncle to my classroom, who then tells me he cancelled my detention, and to basically give his nephew special treatment. After kicking him out of my room, I had a little chat with the lieutenant commander about how an officer who wasn’t anywhere near my chain of command was trying to screw with my discipline. The cadet got three detentions and both he and his uncle learned their place when it comes to my classroom.
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