Teachers get a lot of interesting emails and phone calls. And while we understand that parents have the best interest of their child at heart, sometimes the things parents say sound pretty darn ridiculous. It’s really, really hard to compose a professional response, especially when we can’t stop laughing.
See if you recognize any of the following comments.
1. “She’s never gotten a grade this low before.”
With electronic grade books, many parents don’t realize that teachers can easily access a student’s GPA, transcript, and current grades in other classes (among other things). Twenty years ago, in the age of paper grade books and transcript requests, this strategy might have worked, but the digital age has pretty much made it easy to spot this fib.
2. “If you give him a B, he’s not going to get into his first-choice college.”
Maybe if he can’t meet the admission requirements for his first-choice college, he shouldn’t be admitted? Isn’t that how it works?
3. “She’s gifted.”
What parent doesn’t want to believe this about their child? Unfortunately, some parents have quite a bit of bias when determining the extent of their child’s talents. Sometimes, younger kids show a strong ability in certain subjects. Eventually, their peers catch up to them, but Mom and Dad will cling to the fact that, five years ago, for about a week, their child was the best in their class at adding two-digit numbers. While it’s fantastic for parents to have such positive opinions of their children, it’s also healthy to understand their weaknesses and the fact that as kids grow, their abilities change.
4. “She has anxiety and ADD, and possibly a learning disorder. No, we haven’t seen a doctor, but she just needs extra time to test. If you could let her use her notes during tests, that would also be great.”
Some parents try to take the role of both physician and special education teacher, diagnosing their child and identifying the supports they need. Often, teachers don’t doubt that there’s something going on and would love to help the student out, but parents need to get an accurate diagnosis and work with the school to determine proper accommodations.
5. “He said he’s not the only one who’s misbehaving, but he’s the only one who gets in trouble.”
Teachers don’t share disciplinary actions with students. Just because a kid may not see or hear another kid get in trouble, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t. Also, let’s be honest: Sometimes kids may not have a complete—or truthful—recollection of the entire situation.
6. “We’re actually going on vacation the week before Spring Break. Will he miss anything?”
No, we’ll just sit and wait for his return. We definitely won’t be trying to finish up a unit, complete with review and test, before break or anything like that.
7. “And if he will miss anything, can you get it all together before we leave, so he can do it in the car?”
I honestly barely know what we’re doing tomorrow. A good teacher keeps their lessons flexible and is able to respond to the needs of their students. I may have a general idea of what my week will look like, but it could easily change. Additionally, every time I have supplied a student with a packet of work, the student has returned with a blank packet.
8. “She said the test had things on it that you didn’t teach.”
Riiiiighhhhhhht … because that’s what we teachers usually do.
9. “I think you should …”
No. Please, just stop. How ’bout I don’t tell you how to parent, and you don’t tell me how to teach?
10. “I just want you to know, we support you.”
Okay, the truth is, most parents are pretty awesome! For every one that just doesn’t seem to get it, there are many, many more who do. And we teachers really appreciate their understanding and support.
What would you add to the list of “okaaaaay” inducing parent comments? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.