Friday, February 18, 2005

If it weren't for the parents...'

I have been teaching for three years. In that time, I have struggled in learning just how to deal with parents. Some are too involved, some are not involved enough. Some are just complete pain in the asses. It can be so frustrating sometimes when parents refuse to back up the teacher in a grade or in a discipline issue.
In the newest issue of Time (subs. reqd), Nancy Gibbs has a great article on the unfortunate conflict between parents and teachers. (A photo essay is here.)
One of the teachers interviewed for the article, Marcia Jones, has a telling quote:
"They'll misbehave in front of you. You see very little of that 'I don't want to get in trouble' attitude because they know mom or dad will come to their defense."
So true. It is incredible, really, the level of disrespect that is found in the classroom these days. I have had students curse me out, verbally threaten me, and worse, and barely anything happens to them.
Still, I am pleased that I have rarely had a grade questioned. I DO try to make contact with parents when necessary. The secret, really, is to sing the child's praises will at the same time offering subtle suggestions for improvement or pointing out weaknesses. As one teacher interviewed in the article says, you just can't tell parents that their kid is a lazy little putz who will never achieve anything if they continue as they are. THAT is what is perhaps most annoying. Laziness=the teacher's fault. Ugh. I better end this post before I get on a rant!
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