Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Crazy Parents

The media calls them helicopter parents. Teachers just call them crazy. I am being besieged by crazy/helicopter parents this year. It is probably the most stressful aspect of my job. In my opinion these types of parents do not respect me as a professional, and they certainly don't respect the healthy boundaries I try to establish.

Here's my advice for how you can avoid becoming a crazy/helicopter parent:

Don't stop by to talk to the teacher every day. Call and request an appointment if there's a pressing issue.

Don't blame your child's multiple tardies on your child's fear of the teacher (which you must know is not true) and that he must be hiding on campus because you are dropping him off on time - especially when the teacher can see you pull up to the curb outside her door at ten minutes after the bell rings.

Don't lose every, single study guide the teacher sends home, and ask for another one the day before the test.

Don't yell at the teacher and tell her she's "not a kind person" repeatedly (in front of your child) when the teacher simply says that your child must choose their own book for the upcoming book report. Understand that the teacher is trying to teach your child how to make independent decisions and to be responsible for themselves.

Don't call at 5 o'clock on Friday evening and ask the teacher to return your call. It doesn't help that you're leaving your cell phone number - she's not going to call you back. The teacher has gone home for the weekend and is trying not to think about school and the crazy parents that lurk there for 48 hours.

Don't try to negotiate your child's grades. Help your child prepare for tests and assignments instead.

Don't take a lousy report card personally. Read the teacher's practical suggestions for how your child can improve his or her work habits and study skills to raise their grades, and then establish some goals for you child in the coming trimester.

Don't gossip about your child's teacher.

Don't believe everything your child tells you. When they say they don't have a textbook to study from because there weren't enough, they are probably fibbing. More than likely, they just forgot to bring the book home with them, but are reluctant to admit that to you.

Don't run after the teacher as she's getting into her car on Friday afternoon to continue the ridiculous conversation you had with her just a few moments before when you tried to negotiate a better grade for you child who lost her study guide (again) and probably spent less than 15 minutes studying for the test in the first place.

Yes, all these things have happened to me since I returned to work after Thanksgiving! Work has become a very stressful place to be. The only things that make it bearable are the support of my wonderful principle and my empathetic colleagues.

In a future post, I will give some recommendations for how you can be a wonderful parent in the eyes of your child's teacher.


Mob said...

You know, if those parents just abided by the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. If they thought about "what if I were a teacher, would I want to be treated like this". I am so sorry that you are being treated that way because I think that being a teacher is the most important job in the world. We are entrusting our beloved children to teachers. Why should they be paid less than a quarterback? THANK YOU for teaching our kids and THANK YOU for putting up with the crazy parents.

Michelle said...

Those parents drove me nuts. Oh, and here's one more for your list:
Don't believe everything you child tells you.

I can't tell you how many times I have explained a situation to a parent and they say "But that's not what my child said happened."
Well guess what? Five year olds don't always tell you exactly what happened(or can't remember) and I saw what happened, and I don't lie! Sheesh.

wzgirl said...

I wish I could hug you. Teachers, IMO, should be hugged-loved-honored-and-celebrated. esp this time of the year. Enjoy your time off, girl. XO

Gracencameronsmomy said...

Teachers are saints...I love Cameron's teacher..sorry you are having a tough year so far...

Special K said...

Wow! Looking forward to the wonderful parent post. I'll take notes. :)

Shelley said...

Hugs to you. That just stinks. So sorry you have to go through that.

On a related note ...I always think of you when I deal with the girls' teachers and sometimes ask myself, "How would Joannah advise me to handle this with her?"

It has never failed me and I think I have a pretty open (and mutually respectful) relationship with them.

It's amazing some parents are just so clueless.

Kayce said...

Oh Joannah! I'm sooo sorry! I promise I'm NOT one of those parents.

Terri @ in His hands said...

Bless your heart!

Looking forward to more posts on this topic (and how we can be helpful to them), btw.

OziMum said...

Geez! I knew I wasn't a teacher for a good reason!!! We broke up from school on the 13 Dec - we're on our 6 week Summer break now - WOO HOO!
I love our teachers. I love our school. I think its so important that you are happy with where your kids are all day. Poor Mikayla has been through 3 schools, before we found this one. I'm so glad we moved her - it was awful at the time, but all that awfulness is long forgotten now.

The Shocks said...

I hear my dad and sister's stories about parents and their students all the time. I can't help but laugh at most of the parents. It is sad how some of them act at times.

Two Kayaks said...

Thank goodness I wasn't the only teacher dealing with these lunatics. I have to say, though, that high school parents are much different than elementary school parents. Every phone call I have had to make this year (for my high school students) has been met with firm support and very apologetic parents. It has been a shocking breath of fresh air.
In elementary school, it was difficult to find a parent who didn't make everyone else a scapegoat for their child's behavior. Sigh.

Shannon said...

AMEN!! Then again, I have the opposite parents. They don't acknowledge they have a child! Aaargh. Somewhere in the middle would be heavenly!! =)

sea star said...

Wow! I should get an award for being a non-helicopter parent. That's so intrusive and horrible. I just don't know how teachers do it...I'm always amazed at what they have to deal with. Enjoy your Christmas break!