Parents of school children

One of the things that come with teaching is parents: good and bad.

From my experience, I have found that parents can be a massive pain in the backside or amazing, lovely and encouraging. I thought I would share some of my experiences with parents, which you may resonate with or at least encourage you to know that every class has those sort of parents.

At my old school, I discovered that the parents didn’t care that much about their children’s education, mainly because they came from a working class area. This was easy to see when only half the class turned up for parent evening and wasn’t concerned when I explained that their kid was disruptive and didn’t show respect (I also saw that they didn’t respect their parents).

Controversely, my current school is in a middle class area, where, as some may say, too interested in their child’s education. I have all the parents wanting see me at parents evening to discuss their child’s progress; wanting to know why their child is not in the top group and how they felt shame that their child would even think about talking in class. However, there were still many different variety of parents.

Thinking back to last year, I had a parent who thought the best way to handle a situation was to threat me. ‘I’m going to get my husband on you!’ were some of the words she used. After being confronted, I was a little shaken up as this was my first conflict with a parent, and didn’t expect her reaction.

At the beginning of the school year, within the first few days, I had another parent explain that they had never seen their child upset at the start of the year. I was to blame for this. I clearly, purposefully encouraged the two children to argue and ignored it. Their child is the perfect child that does no wrong. I forgot. It wasn’t a good start to the year and was dreading the year ahead. Please leave me alone and let me do my job.

I have the classic ‘I’m a teacher, you know.’ At parents evening, I had one of these, where they sent their child out the classroom, to discuss that they knew I had a difficult class, which was a little harsh as I was an NQT. Then went on to say: how they could help and support me, and make sure I do this and make sure I do that. Thank you for your advice, I know your a teacher too but I don’t feel it’s professional to discuss it with you, a parent. At first, this parent use to stomp in, rushing around want to interrupt every teacher. However, as she has a full time job, she doesn’t (but does leave her children waiting for ages as she’s running late… Again).

I have a similar one, who tells me she’s a teacher, that clearly dislikes me. The background on this parent is that she has several kids in the school; she is involved in the school; she has loads of money behind her and she doesn’t let her children be kids. When I see her in the playground, she never seems happy, she is always telling her kids off and she doesn’t interact positively with them. I kinda feel sorry for them. She follows the motto: kids should be seen and not heard. Anyway, after having a rude, long letter, I have since scheduled many meetings (not of my choice). She believes that her child is being bullied (didn’t know anything about this, also, not the case), her child is missing the basics in maths (however, is still above average) and that the child is not bothered or happy at school (they are getting older, their attitude changes). Even though I don’t normally take things to heart, she has upset me several times. She has told me, I’m not a good teacher; that I don’t have high expectations; that I can’t managed the class; I don’t care about her child; plus some others, on a number of occasions. As a person of influence at the school, she has said some disgraceful things, ‘If my child doesn’t get the grades at the end of year 6, it’s not because of us parent but because of the school,’ ‘the reason they don’t talk to you is because they don’t trust the staff.’ How can she say this? She should believe in the school.

On a school trip recently, before any teachers had arrived, a parent took it upon theirselves to try and control my class (Good luck). However, apparently two children were play fighting so this parent decided to shout at them and made one of them cry hysterically. What right does a parent have to shout at children that are not theirs? As we were in the concert, I got asked by the same parent ‘Can I manage and speak to the children if they misbehave?’ What am I to say to this? The whole evening, she was turning her nose down on me and the class, tutting and shaking her head because the were chatting to each other. The children are 9 years old, you can’t expect them to sit in silence for 3 hours, looking forward (even as adults, we would struggle to do this).

On the other hand, I have some of the loveliest parents in my class, who always volunteer for school trips; are extremely thankful and do their part as a parent.

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