Being a teacher means one of your most intense occupational hazards is dealing with parents of all types--up to and including ones you never wanted to deal with.
Your kids are your priority, but you don't get to control how they behave outside of school or how other adults treat them. But when you cross paths with those people, it's easy to see which parents are actively making their child's lives worse.
It's sometimes very hard to take.
Same School, Different Values
Mother at a parent's evening wasn't happy with my evaluation of their child and simply said "You're lucky my husband isn't here."
Crazy thing was, she was a teacher at the same school!
By Far The Worst
About 7 years ago now
Girl 1: "what happened with you and your dad? Are you ok?"
Girl 2: we got in a fight and he hit me and threw me into a wall but it's ok now"
The rest of the conversation doesn't really matter but in australia it's the law as a teacher if you find out a child is doing illegal activities or being harmed in some way you have to report it. So I went to the police, they arrested the dad and talked the girl and her siblings. Turns out he was assaulting his own kids and the reason he attacked her is because she resisted so although I never actually met him I'd say he's the worst parent I know.
Apple, Meet Tree
I teach in a grade school ALE classroom with 2nd through 5th graders. Unfortunately I have had some doozy of parents. One time I had a 4th grader accused of stealing a sweatshirt hoodie from a kid in a regular classroom. You could tell by looking at him that the hoodie wasn't his. He was a larger boy and the hoodie was skin tight on him.
I questioned him if it was his hoodie, he said it was. I asked where he got it at. He said the internet delivered it to him the day before. Yeap, the whole "internet" did. I finally ended my interrogation asking him if it was okay if I called his mom to verify that the internet sent him the sweatshirt, he agreed.
I wait until my break and I call the mom to ask her. Immediately in our conversation she starts telling me about how the police are after her boyfriend because he has a warrant for his arrest. All drug related. Okay, too much information and I try to steer the conversation back to the hoodie. That's when she starts telling me about them being in the vehicle at that moment running and hiding from the police. Wait, what??! I think she even used the term "on the lamb" like it was a 1950's movie.
It was the craziest conversation I ever was in that I didn't want to be in. All I could think of is that I am a mandated reporter and she didn't need to be telling me all this stuff. Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out where she wants me to send her son after school that he will be safe because they are out running from the cops. Craziness.
Oh, she ended the conversation by letting me know that the sweatshirt wasn't actually her sons and he did steal it.
The Conservatives Are At It Again
I held a student (16 years old) refer to Albert Einstein as 'That Jew' in a formal presentation so I brought him in after school to talk about his language and try to go over with him why it was inappropriate. I then had another instance with the kid where he was making extremely anti-Semitic jokes to other students. I pulled the student and dad into a meeting with me, the principal, and the guidance counselor. The dad walked in and started screaming at me that I was pushing my liberal agenda on the students and if I didn't shut up he would make sure no man would ever want me for a wife and I'd be stuck working for the rest of my life.
The police had to be called and the father escorted out. It was only three weeks before the end of the school year and the security guard at the school switched their schedule to match mine as the dad would loiter around the school like 30 minutes before the school day started and make me super uncomfortable. I opted to leave the school for the next school year (I teach chemistry and physics so not super hard for me to find a job at another school) just so i didn't have to risk seeing the family again.
The Worst, Most Negligent
I have had a student in my class for almost three years. It's an elective and she's one of my returning veterans.
Of the time in my class I have spoken to her father 4 times. The only time he was sober was our first time meeting. Two times were at school events( a performance and parent-teacher conferences). He was asked to leave campus both times. Which he did so peacefully, or until he would get home and take it out on his daughter. Our last interaction was when he came to pick her up after practice drunk as could be. There was no way I could let my student get into the car with a very drunk man.
I nearly expected him to blow up or get aggressive when I said her mother or someone else will have to give her a ride home. He basically gave me a "whatever" and drove off. When I spoke to the student the following Monday, it turned out her father went home and threw her and her mother out of the house.
It was something that really messed with her. I recently spoke with her to see what I can do to help emotionally, financially, grades/tutoring, etc. Anything to keep her head above water. The only thing she asked for was "to feel like my dad loves me." Broke my heart. I'm not one who normally cries but I took my lunch break in my car after that.
It's All Missing
Parent of a kid who needed behavioural support for ADHD.
- admitted to backing into a pole with her car while playing Pokemon go to catch the kid a Pokemon.
- told me she uses tanning oil rather than sunscreen for kid
- no medication ever (i get it in some cases its pushed for no reason but this kid was struggling hard and could have an opportunity to learn to read and interact appropriately with peers).
- anti vaxx
Just Vaccinate Your Child
Probably the physically abusive dad who threatened me with bodily harm after he was reported to acs and a coworker spilled the beans that it was me. Or the antivax parent who accused me of trying to kill their child by saying she needed vaccinations and then said he'd report me for assault for holding his child's hand when I escorted her out of the room because he put her in class after being told she could no longer attend until she was vaccinated
Had a woman show up, pretty inebriated from what I could tell, proceeded to tell me, in front of her kid and my fellow team, that she talked to everyone in the neighborhood and "they all agreed that they hate me." Look I'm big enough to handle that, but the look of embarrassment and disgust on her kid's face broke my heart. She kept reaching over to stroke his hair, and he kept pulling away. He was just mortified at the whole thing. Made sure to be a bit extra nice to the kid after that just so he knew I wasn't holding it against him. He was really a nice kid, just wasn't doing his homework, but apparently the "neighborhood" figured it was my fault.
A Family Affair
This year I had a grandparent get aggressive at me when they picked their grandkid up because I mentioned the kid was being disrespectful in class, it's Kindergarten so not a big deal just something parents like to know. I walked away because I was taken aback and caught off guard. Later when I was getting ready to leave other teachers came to tell me they were waiting outside where the teachers leave. Later teachers told me the family does the same stuff to high school teachers as well.
This is a story a drama teacher at my school often tells:
One kid is constantly acting up and refuses to do anything during class because 'drama is gay' and he only does the class because he wanted to watch other people and make fun of them. Of course he's failing, and when the teacher calls home to let them know that their son was being disrespectful and failing the class, the dad cuts him off and says, 'Listen mate, between 9 and 3 he's your problem.' and hangs up. It's sad to think about honestly