This year has been immensely more stressful than last year, which is a surprise to me. I always heard that if you can survive your first year of teaching then you are good to go. My lesson and unit plans are solid; I know (for the most part) what all is coming next as far as my syllabus and course outline. But what I don’t know is which parent is going to attack next.
In the past 4 months, I have had 4 different parent issues. One parent freaked out when I caught her child cheating, and refused to believe me when my principal told her that I WATCHED the child cheat. No matter – her child would never do such a thing. Speaking of cheating, I had a meeting with another parent who told me that when his child copied and pasted 3 pages of his research paper from articles on the internet, it wasn’t plagiarism. When I asked what it was, he told me it was his child telling me what direction the paper was going in – because there is no such thing as plagiarism in a rough draft of a research paper. Another parent had a come-apart when I made her child apologize to her team for lying to them. She accused me of playing favorites and always choosing being a coach over being a teacher – which if you speak to me for any given time, you’ll know that I will always choose my course over anything else at school. Another parent has reared his head multiple times this semester because he is angry (at me) because our school system doesn’t give 9 week grades for year-long AP classes. Apparently this is my fault.
I can only shake my head at the ugliness that hisses from my email account as these parents “defend” their righteous children.
I haven’t been able to forget this article that I read a few months ago:
The part where he demands to not be questioned in front of a child (“is this true?”) should be a part of respect that parents have for teachers. Instead, parents now come to the table insisting that they are smarter than I am. I admit – I don’t know everything, but damnit, I know 11th grade English. I actually had a parent tell me they had 8 years of education and is 4 courses short of a Masters degree. Being the smart ass I am, I wanted to respond that I only had 6 years of college and actually finished my Masters degree – in ENGLISH (aka the subject I’m teaching). I bit my tongue instead. I feel like I’ve been doing that a lot this year.
I cannot raise your child. I should not have to teach them that cheating is wrong. The kids I teach are hardly kids – they are almost adults. If they have not learned these major life skills by the time they reach me, well – someone’s failed in the process. Parents have almost become a bully to teachers. And I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that I am young, and look younger (for now at least) and possibly parents think they can push me around because I’m new, but they can’t. They won’t.
I feel badly for the other teachers who endure this year after year. But ultimately, I hurt for the students who are being taught absolutely zero sense of personal responsibility. Continue to cripple your children; it makes me hurt for the next generation. Teachers are a constant punching bag, and WE are the problem with the children. Even though I only see your kid for a little over an hour a day, it’s my job to change an entire generation and to undo all the of errors instilled in them by their parents. I believe every parent should have to go volunteer in a classroom for an entire day – maybe that would help the respect issue.
But I doubt it.