Most of the time, parents and teachers work as a team to help students. But from time to time, a parent’s request goes way beyond a teacher’s job description. Enjoy these stories from teachers about the most outrageous requests they’ve received from parents!
“I had a parent request that I come out to her child’s extracurricular event on a Friday night to fix his computer. I taught his Literature class!”—B.M.
Me and my ridiculous rules.
“I had a parent (and her son) refuse to sign my rules and expectations sheet at the beginning of the year because one of my expectations in class was that students are awake and attentive. She argued that her HIGH SCHOOL aged son should be able to nap whenever he feels the need to. LOL”—C.A.
We wouldn’t want them to get dishpan hands.
“I was teaching home ec and a parent told me I was unreasonable to expect the students to wash the dishes they used…that was my job and he was going to report me to the Ministry of Education!”—S.I.
Your mission, should you choose to accept…
“A high school student was skipping classes and not turning in his work. His mother wanted us to follow him in the hall to his next class (“Follow him, but stay far enough away so he’s not embarrassed!”) and then make sure he went in to his next class (“But don’t confront him because he doesn’t like that!”) she also demanded that since he couldn’t keep track of his binder that his teachers should carry the binder to the next class for him. She also emailed and called the school throughout the day to check on him. It was horrible.”—EM
Links to higher ups?
“I had a principal tell our faculty to change the grades of kids cause there weren’t enough Bs or As in a cohort. He was quite powerful and had links to lots of higher ups so the union in that school wouldn’t touch him. In the next two years about 10 people left that faculty.”—L.S.
‘Cause yeah, that’s the hardest part of the job.
“One parent wanted keys to all of the tests and quizzes I gave my class to make sure I was grading correctly.”—R.S.
“A mother asked if her daughter could have an excused absence for the day because she had lost her virginity the night before.”—L.O.
Could you just go ahead and tell her it’s dinnertime?
“One parent called me because she was concerned about the hours her daughter was playing video games at home. She wanted me to talk to her [daughter] about how she should be working on her homework at home and not sitting in front of a screen.” —A.J.
We didn’t learn that in teacher college.
“A mom called me one time and asked why I hadn’t taught her kindergarten child how to get dressed. Because if I had taught him right, she said, he wouldn’t need so much of her help getting ready in the morning.” —P.F.
Just Google it.
“I had a parent who said kids should be able to use their smartphones on tests because ‘as grown ups, when we don’t know something, we Google it.’ He was also one of our admin.” —W.F.
Is reading really necessary?
“I teach high school English. And to be clear, reading is an essential part of any high school English class. It’s often the only homework I assign, and often our classroom discussions and work are based on the assigned reading. But that didn’t stop one mother from scheduling a conference to ask if her daughter could skip the reading because she had signed up for too many after-school activities and didn’t have time to read.” —L.P.
You’re not getting paid to sit there and file your nails, teach.
“A parent emailed me once and told me she had heard that I had asked her six-year-old son to teach the other kids. She went on to explain that teaching wasn’t her son’s job, it was my job. And if I wanted to keep getting paid, I needed to start working for my paycheck.” —S.B.
Should I chew it for you, too?
“A fourth grader’s mother told our school secretary she needed to blow on her daughter’s soup at lunch in case it was too hot.” —R.W.W.
Everyone does it.
“I emailed a parent about her child name-calling another student as an ongoing issue. Parent wrote back and said that was a normal part of growing up. Every child does it.” —J.W.
Lower those expectations.
“I had a parent tell me to stop praising her son for good work (when he did it!) because I was setting up ‘impossible demands’ for him to continue!” —C.R.
He’s going to go to college, teacher.
“A parent emailed and asked me to send her a text message every day with her son’s homework assignment (he’s in ninth grade) because he had a hard time keeping track of his assignments. In the same email, she also requested that her ‘very gifted’ son never work with a partner or in groups because her child was going to college and she wasn’t so sure about the other students.” —R.H.
Could you talk to him about dry shampoo as well?
“A mom called and asked me to teach her ninth grader about hygiene. She recommended a crash course on brushing teeth, using deodorant, and even table manners.” —V.H.
Math is definitely the saddest subject.
“I had a mom tell me that there was NO WAY I could teach math every day. Once or twice a week was already overwhelming for her son. Math makes him sad.” —C.S.A.
Shall I pick you up some milk from the grocery store, too?
“A parent called and asked if I would order a teacher’s edition of our math book for her. She was unable to order it from the publisher because she wasn’t a teacher. The best part? She calmly suggested that I order it with my credit card and she would pay me back.” —V.S.
But Disneyland is a learning experience.
“A mother called to let me know that she had to take her daughter out of school for a week because [they were] going on a trip. She wanted her sixth grade daughter to be able to write a paper about the trip instead of do the work that would be assigned in class. When I told her that [her daughter] had to follow our district’s curricular standards and complete the work that she missed, [the mother] threatened to sue me because I wasn’t making necessary adaptations for her daughter.”
If you have some biscuits lying around, those would be nice as well.
“I got a note from a mom telling me that her son had a sore throat. She asked if I could make him hot tea throughout the day. She sent in a fist full of tea bags in his bag. At the bottom of the note she told me that if I had any honey laying around, I should add that to the hot tea to soothe his throat more.” —M.B.
Oh, and definitely stay away from snakes.
“I had a mom call and ask me to ask her son (who was in the eighth grade at the time) to stop picking up frogs on his way home because they could be poisonous.” —J.W.
Remind her to flush, too!
“A mom asked me last week if I would remind her daughter, a second grader, to wipe front to back really well each time she [went] to the bathroom during the day.” —S.H.
I said only one apple a day.
“I was asked by a parent to follow her daughter around to make sure she didn’t eat too many apples. In writing.” —K.A.
He will be a CEO someday.
“After a struggling student of mine stood me up for three study sessions, his father called and asked to schedule a conference. When I arrived at the conference, the dad stood there in his business suit, glared, and told me he owned a $30 million company, his son would succeed in school, and that I would change the grade to 100 percent regardless of his previous scores.” —N.C.
She also likes sashimi.
“We were going on a full-day field trip, and one of my students came to school without a lunch. I called her mom to see if she could bring something to the school before we left. Her response? She asked me if I could just drive through and pick her [daughter] up some sushi on the way to the farm.” —L.B.
Could we just call it an open-hand test?
“I caught a student cheating on a test. His dad called that night and explained to me that it would be unfair for me to take points off of his grade for cheating because that would lower his grade.” —K.H.
There must be something in the water.
“A mom emailed me that her ninth grade son had a condition where if he got dehydrated, his brain stopped functioning, which explained his failing grades. Her solution? She wanted me to make sure he had a water bottle with him at all times and that he was drinking from it regularly.” —T.O.
Do you have one to add? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, check out “Dear Helicopter Parents, Please Stop.”
My first year of teaching, I had a conference with a parent about a student who just could not turn work in on time. After explaining at great length that this was the fault of the school, for taking late work at all, she asked me to let him take his final exams late, because they were going on a family trip before the school year was over.
I have to share one of these moments. I was a first year hire in my district—not a new teacher by a long shot but first year here. One father demanded that I tell central administration to rearrange the bus delivery locations at school so his freshman daughter wouldn’t have to walk across the building and also that I arrange for the high school science curriculum to be redesigned. When I responded that I had no authority to do either (I don’t remember if I said “and I wouldn’t if I could” but I certainly thought it!) he said “Oh, come on, you know gifted facilitators in this district get whatever they want.”
I disengaged but I did mention to my district admin that if the father’s evaluation was true I needed to know to whom to speak because I had a list—and the list did NOT include the science curriculum or the bus plans. He and I at least shared a rueful laugh.
My principal ushered a non custodial parent into our classroom unannounced so she could throw a birthday party for her son. She was upset I didn’t have a knife for the cake! So bad in so many ways.
I had a student in 7th grade (math) whose mother moved him from my room because he should be in the accelerated class (he was making C’s). Then I moved to Algebra 1 and got him again. He talked constantly, didn’t always have his work done and was constantly whining. Mother emails me OFTEN (because I refused to give her my phone number). Finally his grade drops to a D and she emails me –“You need to tutor him before school, after school, at lunch or during his PE time. He CANNOT have a D.” I let her know that I don’t tutor and during my 26 minute lunch, I actually eat lunch and use the restroom and, no, during his PE, I have another class. I also let her know that I would be more than happy to find her a tutor but math tutors charge $30-50 per hour. She changed her mind.
I had a parent call me to discuss her son’s bad behavior at home. I told her that he was well behaved in school and we discussed what the consequences were for behavior in my classroom and school. She proceeded to say that he was grounded for his behavior at home and wanted to know if I would “take his recess away” all week because he can’t behave at home. I told her that I couldn’t do it until he misbehaved in class. She wasn’t happy about it at all but finally decided to give up trying to talk me into it. Bad thing is- this wasn’t the last time that a parent has asked me to do this as a punishment for behavior at home.
I teach ELAR. A couple years ago I had a student who struggled a lot in every subject. She really needed to be tested for SPED but her grandmother, who did not have custody but was a domineering type of woman who took over her child’s children, absolutely refused on the basis that if she just did nothing but studying and working at home, she’d do fine. So, she demanded I send home the spelling word list for the entire year the first week of school. When I declined, she demanded them by semester. Again, I declined so she went to my principal, who suggested, without discussing it with me, that I send them by the 6 weeks. Nope. I sent the list for the following week the Friday before. It’d have been different had she been nicer about it, or at least let me help her child get the help she actually needed, rather than sucking the fun out of that poor child’s life by making school her entire life.
I had a SPED mom who insisted that her 8th grade daughter needed a copy of all the upcoming science tests three weeks in advance with the keys so her daughter had time to memorize the answers. This also applied to district unit assessments. Mom filed a filed a complaint against me because I followed the IEP that stated a study guide was to be given out at least one week in advance of an upcoming test. Her complaint was that the study guide was not word to word or in order like the actual test.
I teach 4th grade, so the kids are fairly self-sufficient. The same cannot be said for their parents. I send out a weekly update email with the weeks spelling words, vocab words, test dates, and important reminders (all neatly labeled and separated) . These dates are also on my classroom website and the school calendar (minus tests). I also use Remind to send out day before updates and the kids write it in their planners. You’d think this would be enough, right? Nope! One mom asked that i send her separate emails for all the different categories, each week. Even better, she wanted me to send this info to 3 different emails! uuuuhhhhhhh… no. I definitely did NOT do that!
After completing an initial IEP and holding the meeting the parent asked if there was any way we could do this and provide services without her child knowing he was in Special Ed.
One of my students hacked other student’s google accounts and started logging on as other people and starting rumors. Once the student was caught and the mother was informed of her child’s unacceptable use of school property, she declared that it was the district’s fault for making the passwords so easy to figure out.
I had a parent who wrote a letter to the school asking that one of my students be expelled because he was “bullying” her son (which wasn’t even true). This was in Kindergarten. And she was a teacher in the same school!