Monday, December 7, 2009

My Third Complaint About Parents

My third complaint about parents has several facets that are all related to each other.

1. Parents sometimes make excuses for their children.

On numerous occasions I had parents make excuses as to why their child didn't have their homework done or why they couldn't take a quiz or test or why they weren't in class. A few of the excuses were valid, but I must admit that I didn't understand a parent keeping a child home from school to babysit for younger children or so that the student could get some sleep before going to work in the evening. I didn't understand missing class for a haircut or not having assignments done because the family had company the night before.

2. Parents sometimes blame others for their children's behavior.

I actually had a mother blame me because her daughter had forged the mother's signature on a progress report. The daughter had a D in class and needed to maintain a C average because she was a cheerleader. I sent the progress report home with the daughter who was supposed to show it to her mother, have her mother sign it, and then return it to me. The report was signed and returned and I never gave it a second thought until the mother wanted to know why her daughter had received a D and was no longer able to cheer. The mother kept accusing me of not notifying her. I explained that I had. She said I hadn't. I explained that I had a signed report. She said that that was impossible because she had never seen a report and had never signed it. I never did get it across to her that it wasn't my fault that she hadn't been notified. The mother ended the conversation by saying, "Well, she's afraid of you anyway." Then she hung up the phone. I just stared at the phone for a few minutes, shook my head, went home, and tried to forget about the incident. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet.

3. Parents sometimes lie.

During the first round of parent teacher conferences in a school year, I used to ask for email addresses because it was always so much easier to contact parents by email rather than phone. When one student's grade dropped to an unacceptable level, I contacted his parents by email to let them know. I didn't get a reply from them, but that was not unusual. The student was an 18-year old senior who didn't need the credit, but the low grade would still affect his grade point average. Being 18, he should have been responsible for his own grade, but it was school policy that parents be notified. When he received a low mid-term grade during third quarter, his mother was irate. She demanded to know why I hadn't notified her. I explained that I had notified her, that I had sent her an email. She told me that was impossible because they didn't even have email. When I said I had the email address she had written down at the first conference, she replied, "Well, that's beside the point." Again, I couldn't make her understand that, yes, that was the point. I couldn't believe that she actually lied to me thinking that she wouldn't be caught.

These are just a few of many instances where parent have been less than cooperative. Thank goodness they make up just a small percentage of the parents a teacher deals with during his or her career. Believe me, if they were all like this, there wouldn't be many teachers stay in the profession.

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