While being a teacher can be one of the most rewarding careers in the word, it is often the most trying as well. And while dealing with troublesome kids may be bad, sometimes its the parents that bring on the real headache.
"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 any 'no's 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."
"A parent 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."
"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 kids brought in the mom's sister, who is a teacher and she got in on it with her 'expert opinion.' Their kid was a jerk by the way- he stabbed my kid with scissors and was known as the class bully."
"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."
"I'm white, and I teach at a predominantly black and hispanic school in a lower-income area. I had a black student who would basically sprawl on his desk every day and refuse to do work. Mom was shopping for excuses to get him special treatment because he was an athlete, and if there were things in his plan before he got to high school it would make high school easier.
So Mom accused me of being racist toward black people and setting unreasonable standards. I reached across my desk and showed her my wedding picture and my wife, who is black.
Mom's response: Well she looks pretty light to me. I don't think she's REALLY black."
"The worst was a mother who threatened to pull her daughter out of the school system if she wasn't given the lead soprano role in the high school's Christmas concert.
Her daughter had auditioned, like everyone else, but didn't have either the voice or skills required for the part. (The student understood this and agreed with the decision; it was her mother that turned it into a confrontation, believing her daughter to be an 'opera-star-in-the-making')."
"Wasn't at a parent-teacher conference, but I tutored the child of a very aggressive parent who was so sure that their child was going to get into the number one high school in the state and would not let anyone tell them otherwise. The mother confronted me because I was taking about two lessons to go through past papers. That was because he was getting everything wrong so I needed to explain almost every question. His ability level wasn't nearly close, and the poor child was under so much pressure from his overbearing parents. I never heard from them again.
It's amazing how many parents think they can teach teachers how to teach."
"Fifth 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."
"Not one kid in particular, but every year there are one or two aggressive of disrespectful students. 90% of the time, the parents try to make excuses about how this is 'normal' how 'all kids are like this at that age' and how I should 'show them more compassion' instead of owning up that there is a discipline problem. Those same 90% of parents are also usually disrespectful and verbally aggressive to teachers and everyone dreads talking to them. That saying about the apple not falling far from the tree rings oh so true.
Alternatively, the parents who are the most apologetic and a delight to talk to are the ones with fantastic children. 'Sorry if my kid was not focused...' is a line I get too often. Are you kidding Ma'am? I would adopt this child if I could!"
"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."
"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."
"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:
'Why hasn't my child got this part?'
'There was someone else better for the role.'
'But my child is the best.'
'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 our 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. Learned 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."
"My 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."
"Oh man. 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 United Arab Emirates). 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."
"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."