28 September 2009 01:50 PM

What Some Parents Do to Drive Teachers Mad

by rbavaria

I made a mistake.  Several readers pointed out that I posted a blog last week, "What Teachers Do to Drive Parents Crazy," that was out of order.  It referred to a previous blog, "What Parents Do to Drive Teachers Crazy."  Trouble is, I hadn't posted that previous blog.  You noticed the error.  Good for you.  So, this week, I'll correct the error and post the two blogs in proper order.


Whatever their order, though, their take-home message is simple.  We adults want to see our children succeed in school and life, and most of the time, we are well-intentioned, do the right things, and our children receive the benefits of parents and teachers working together for their benefit.  Occasionally, we goof up.  Here are two blogs, today and Friday, that point up our occasional flubs.


Mea culpa, and happy reading.


“What are ten things parents do that drive teachers crazy?” a reporter asked me at the beginning of this school year.  It took me a while to get my mind in a “negative” space – I’m usually advocating just the opposite, as regular readers of my blog know – but I finally came up with some “bad behaviors.”


Over forty years, I've had the joy and honor of working with parents, the vast majority of whom are caring, sincere, and conscientious, providing their children with healthy values about school and learning.  They're doing their best in a busy, complicated world of work and crazy schedules.  They recognize that we are trying our best, also.  But, there have been a few doozies, too.


So, in the interest of enlightenment, and because I was asked, here are my top ten things parents do to drive teachers mad.

  1. Wait until the last minute before asking for special assistance.

  2. Don't communicate or share your child’s special issues or needs with us.  Make us guess.

  3. Don't ever ask how you can help at field trip time, special occasions, or important events.  Don't bother learning about what we do each day with and for your children.

  4. Ignore our suggestions for your child's improvement in studying.  Don't bother following up on study habits at home, like providing helpful routines or attitudes about school.

  5. When there's a problem, fly off the handle and badmouth the teacher, the school, or the administrators in front of your child rather than getting all the facts first.

  6. Refuse to believe that others could possibly have your child's best interests at heart and that our suggestions are, in fact, reasonable.

  7. Come to conferences with only the vaguest ideas of what you want to discuss.  Worse, keep from us information about your child's special needs, talents, or interests.

  8. During the school day just drop in on us without any communication.  Leave twenty children unattended to be blindsided by your anger?  No problem!

  9. Harbor grudges against former teachers whom you've not seen for years, and take it out on us.  Worse, regale your child with stories about your bad experiences so she'll learn to "hate math" just like you.

  10. Believe the worst.  Pay close attention to community gossip about your school -- the more outlandish the better -- rather than getting to know us and learning how much we really do care about your kids, our profession, our subject areas, and the community.  We're parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, too, and we take learning seriously.

Let me reiterate: most of the parents I’ve worked with over the years have been exactly the opposite of these renegades.  I guess that’s what makes these top ten crazy-makers so memorable.  Nevertheless, they are memorable.


Now, in the interest of fairness, I promise to write about the Ten Things Teachers Do to Drive Parents Mad.  Stay tuned.




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