Saturday, September 10, 2011

the truth about teaching

Today I came across an article which pretty much sums up how a lot of educators feel these days....

I could associate with so much of what was written in this article. I love kids, I really do- even the so called "difficult" ones because I can usually get past all their bravado and can get them to work for me. It takes patience, faith, and the building of trust.

I work primarily with special education students, many of which will never be able to live on their own so I "get" that these parents have had and will continue to have a tough road.  I don't envy them that, not only do they need to plan for their own retirement but have the worry of who will care for their child when their gone.   

I wish parents could just trust that most of us who teach aren't in it for the money- we truly care about our students

All that said- truth be told...If I didn't have one child getting married in less than a year and two more in college next year I too would be leaving in large part due to many of the things discussed in this article. Parents like the ones described bring on a kind of stress that eats away from you.

However, teaching & the connection I have with my students minus the "parent factor"....



  1. That article made me sad to even be a parent. I have never done any of those things stated, but if I thought that any of the kids was being treated unfairly and I had to approach the school, suddenly I would be labeled a "helicopter" parent.

    I had to jump through hoops to get Wallene out of school for the few days concerning her Grandmother's funeral. I not only had to prove my Mother died, but that she was actually lived in SC. I don't need to explain myself to anyone. I am her Mom. And I certainly don't need an excuse for a kid that has an A/B+ record with no previous absences that year.

    I raised my kids right and respectful. Any punishment the school could mete out is going to pale in comparison to what we would do if they screw up. They always know that. The disappointment alone...

    All that said - parents that stay out of the picture, but raise good kids are punished when an actual problem comes up because teachers and administrators have to deal with the parents that don't discipline or care about their kids except when it comes to the "ooops Johnny screwed up" moment. [Yes, that was a run on sentence.]

    I asked the Principal at my daughter's school if he knew Squirrel. She was in tenth grade at the time. His response was "No. Sorry. But she must be a good kid because I only come in contact with the bad ones." What's that tell you? We are punished too.

    Sorry, I feel very strongly about this and it isn't fair to pigeonhole parents this way. I would think just as there are more good teachers than bad that there are more good parents than those that "helicopter".

  2. I am sorry Duke Mom#1 I am not arguing, but we feel the brunt of the bad parents too. Sometimes the good kids are overlooked and punished for the ones that don't care.

  3. I have to agree Skippy- both sides of the coin can be seen. Unfortunately the bad parents have colored education for everyone.

  4. There are always going to be slacker parents whose kids have wonderful teachers. And there are always going to be some great parents whose kids have crappy teachers. With three kids and a collective 39 years of teachers (in seven states and eight different districts), I think I've seen every kind of teacher and every kind of parent. I never once asked that my kids be taken out of a teacher's classroom, although twice I absolutely should have.

    I'm a huge supporter of teachers (my sister is one) but I take with a grain of salt an educator's admonitions to parents. I can't tell you the number of times I sat at parents' nights and heard teachers and administrators harp about how parents have to stay involved in their child's education. And then when I'd show up to volunteer, they'd look at me like, What are you doing here? Many schools don't want to set up a system where parents are actually involved IN the school.

    That being said, my kids had some awesome teachers, too, who every single day make a child's life better and sometimes single-handedly turn a child's life around. There's no reward good enough for those people.

  5. I guess this article has resonated for me because in the past five years I have had a few very difficult, and irrational parents. The school district knows the one in particular has a brain injury and is bipolar, but continues to cow tow to her and allow her to literally go off on teachers and yell & scream in meetings. I sat in one meeting with said parent last May when she went off on me yelling and screaming simply because I let her know that the laptop her son was using to practice spelling words on had to be returned by the last day of school.

    (yes they let her kid have a laptop for 10 spelling words per week- ridiculous I know since the student could WRITE the words- but I digress)

    This parent went off on me in a tirade when I was merely giving her information I felt she needed to know. (And which I later found out she DID know)

    For me to be this woman's verbal punching bag in inexcusable. I did not deserve it, I was looking out for her interests so she would be informed.

    It is behavior like this that makes you NOT want to continue teaching. Her behavior was irrational and unprofessional- and as a professional I had to hold my tongue.

    And you know what? I don't CARE if she is bipolar- then take your meds prior to coming in for a meeting. (see? for me who loves what I actually do... it has brought me to the point of being close to being one of "those" teachers)

    Most parents I deal with are great people.... but deal with a few like this one and it makes you reconsider what you do for a living.

    I have been on both sides of the fence and have had teachers for my own kids that weren't the greatest so I GET both sides. My intention was not to make blanket inferences of all parents but rather to shed some light on why many teachers feel this way.

    As the old adage says "it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch". And this goes for Both sides!

  6. That's ridiculous that your school administrators allow this parent to abuse their teachers this way. And you know what I kept thinking throughout your description? That poor son of hers. Can you imagine having her for a mother?
    We had a girl in band when I was involved heavily as a band parent - I was inwardly very critical of her and her attitude until I met the mom. Oh brother. She would come to our meetings and criticize the way we volunteered. "You should do this..." "You guys should make sure you do that...." She would complain about how we monitored her daughter's medicine. She never once came to a band event to volunteer or even to be there for her daughter. She expected the rest of us to be her daughter's parent while she was at band. While the mom sat at home.

    It was EXTREMELY hard to take the high road. I can't imagine being a teacher and having your hands tied.

    Hang in there!