Teachers have seen it all: horrifying bullies, brutal hygiene practices, sudden tragedy, the soaring highs and crashing lows of teenage love.
Even a short career could cover each of those a few times.
And yet there is another characteristic teacher moment that seems to dominate more and more, particularly in recent times. It is, of course, the regular run-ins with overbearing parents.
Often called helicopter, or even snowplow parents, these are the pressure packing driving force behind so many students from high school all the way down to elementary school.
These parents want success for their child at any cost and always. Anything less, as their logic would suggest, would initiate a calamitous chain reaction that would end in the utter downfall of the rest of that child's entire life.
This severe parent energy is expressed in many ways, both direct and indirect. One of the most common, however, is through help on homework assignments.
When a parent steps way too far in to help complete their child's project, it's obvious and frustrating for the teacher. Some of Reddit's teachers shared their favorite experiences.
The Ideal Assignment
"I taught elementary art classes for a few years, and a lot of time would have crossover lessons with certain subjects."
"One year we had the second graders do a project for their unit on Native Americans, where they had to make dioramas of a type of Native American house of their choosing, and then write a little two paragraph essay on who lived in that style of house and why it was built that way."
"Most kids made Tipis or wigwams out of construction paper and birch bark and paper towel rolls. we had a few kids who were clearly getting help from their parents, but it was obvious the kid had input and done the essay. Standard stuff."
"Then we had a kid come in with, I sh** you not, a completely accurate model of Cliff Palace, Colorado. It was stunning."
"Turns out, his dad was a sculptor, and his mom worked at our local museum, as a restoration expert."
Forging Ahead for Success
"Penmanship - no kidding, kid had the maid write it." -- neoldguy
"When I was a babysitter in junior high/high school, I would promise the kid I was babysitting after school that if he did more than half of his math homework, I would do the rest if he went to bed on time."
"I made sure to write exactly like him (holding the pencil awkwardly) and get enough wrong that it wouldn't be obvious."
"I know it was wrong BUT I just wanted an hour to myself to watch TV!!" -- Spasay
When Even the Kid is Upset
"When the student came in crying while holding the project and when asked what happened she announced that she was frustrated that her mom did the whole project, it looked nothing like how she wanted it to, and wasn't allowed to really do anything on it."
"This wasn't the first assignment that came in from this student that was clearly done by the mum but the student finally had had enough of having her education taken from her."
"6th grade research project that ended in a 3 page paper. One kid turned in a 10 page paper. And it definitely wasn't a bad attempt at plagiarism."
"It kind of felt like the mom was missing her own academic years."
The Plot Thickens
"This discovery was a collaboration between me and another teacher."
"The student in question submitted an assignment that showed no cohesion or ability to connect ideas (Told me about how to 'make' detergent from kiwi fruit in 500 words, the task was a 1500 word assignment on a DNA extraction experiment)..."
"...and then the same week submitted an A standard assignment to their psychology teacher with excellent flow, arguments and great conceptual synthesis."
"English as a foreign language teacher here. During lockdown last year a student sent in a test that had much better work than he usually did."
"When I googled his words, sure enough, he had copied it by mashing the first part of sentences from one source to the second part of sentences from another source. It did at least make sense, but it was still not his work."
"When I confronted him about cheating he said 'I don't think I cheated, cause my mom helped me with it and she wouldn't cheat!'" -- NonCaelo
"12-year-old kid brings in a BEAUTIFUL galleon. All the other kids' galleons look like they are cut out of styrofoam using a butter knife, or some kind of strange 50/50 amalgamation of cardboard and hot glue..."
"...and then there's this kid with a wooden galleon, complete with rigging, cloth sails, a stand...after talking to him I finally get him to admit that his parents had gone to a shop and ordered a custom-made ship."
"What the heck?!?"
A Shining Example
"Not a teacher but in middle school I procrastinated as most kids do and forgot about project to make a brochure about a country. My parents stayed up all night helping me (doing the majority of it)."
"Years later underclassmen would tell me that same teacher would pull my project out every year and tell them what hard work looks like."
Jury's Still Out
"Middle school science project, kid came in with a crude internal combustion engine, having previously failed science three quarters in a row." -- Emperor_Cartagia
"I think some people are just naturally good at this stuff though."
"I had a friend growing up who got horrible grades and was in trouble all the time at school."
"He would ask for me to come play with his go cart at their house and I always had to tell him no because to him playing with the go cart was taking it apart and putting it back together again. I wanted to drive the thing."
"He ended up failing out of high school and went on to a trade school and did much better." -- tc3590
Worst of Both Worlds
"As a student, I remember in woodworking that we have to make a foldable chair that we have to work on the whole sem. In the end mine was a f***ing safety hazard aka it can be sit upon but there's like nails ready to skewer your a**."
"Scared to submit that i literally bought new materials outside class and let my dad do it. Teacher was shocked on how good it was and question my authenticity."
"In the end i confessed that it was my dad but my teacher's ego was so high probably thinking he can humiliate me in front of class so he told me to bring the 'original chair.' He sat on it and punctured his a** and fell because the chair did not support hos weight."
"I got suspended not because i hurt him but because i was cheating lmao"
The Jig is Up
"We were in quarantine for the final quarter of the year. I had a student transfer to my roster the first day of it. He completed all of his assignments and got 100s on all tests."
"I got him again this year. Kid can barely read, can't form a grammatically correct sentence and accomplishes nearly nothing."
Missing the Point
"Every year I assign a problem the first day of Calculus to understand how the students handle stress, complete work, and their skill level. If an Engineer sees it they will solve it using material the students don't understand."
"Last year I got a new record of Engineers doing their children's homework. I also got an angry email from a parent (MS in CS from MIT) saying I shouldn't start with CALC III."
"I completed the problem and cited my sources in a Precalculus book."
"He then tried to hack my website with their homework problems. It also took him two days to write 5 lines of python for his daughter's homework."
"He's the head of the coding division for an aerospace company. He had a blog post about how over coming obstacles leads to growth. I hope his daughter gets to leave when she is 18 and find out who she really is."
"Pretty easy to tell in art class. One day the student can't draw a square properly and the next day he comes in with a perfectly rendered 3 dimensional still life with depth and shading."
"Separate incident, and even more egregious, a girl didn't even hand in a year end project herself. She spent many classes refusing to do any work in class."
"Then after the project is due, someone else I've never seen comes by with an amazing drawing and said that the student drew this and wants to submit it. Ummmm.... how stupid do you think I am?"
A Thankless Effort
"I don't have one of these, but I have the opposite."
"One time I had a project where I had to make a miniature 'wattle and daub' wall in primary school. I knew how it was meant to work, and 'how' to do it, but for the life of me I couldn't get it to work."
"So my stepdad tried to help me. We spent hours trying to get it to work, and failed miserably, but in the end I had something to take to class."
"Teacher said I obviously hadn't spent any time trying to do it and failed me for the assignment."
Only Half the Battle
"A school chum mine once 'wrote' a perfect, amazing, compelling story for a French creative writing class. Only problem was they couldn't read it."
"Her mother had been forcing their au pair to do all of the friend's homework and the email to her. The mother never realized the friend knew zero French (because she wasn't actually learning it!) We were in boarding school."
"The French au pair took care of Friend's little brother back home. She had never met Friend and assumed Friend could read it."
"Friend's report is infamous for how awful it was to have heard. I felt both terrible for her and impressed that no one had caught her before this report."
Take Your Dad's Esoteric Weapons to School Day
"Not a teacher. I was the student. Senior English."
"I rolled into school with a 18" tall, full steel, fully functional guillotine, bored to fit your standard #2 pencil to use it on for the demonstration. Cut many clean in half."
"I almost got suspended for bringing a weapon to school, after someone got their finger in under the blade, and it made its way to the bone from about 2". Had they had the blade all the way up when it slipped, it'd of taken their finger off."
"My dad was a machinist."
"A friend had a trebuchet, on a semi trailer. His dad parked it out front. We launched gallons of milk round about 500 yards with it. Hit a house over the football field, across the street, in a neighborhood."
"That was a fun day."
"During quarantine, we have had to institute a no parents on the room with you who like you do schoolwork."
"The reason being a 16 year old girl and her mother would lie in bed together all class and the mother could be heard telling her daughter exactly what every answer was."
"I had the girl in previous years, and her homework was always leagues better than what she ever did in class, that explained a whole lot."
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