Why do parents think it's ok to talk to teachers like shit?

(58 Posts)
StuffezLaBouche Mon 18-Mar-13 19:39:20

Horrible parent today. Why aren't I entering her child for a certain test? You can't be bothered with the hassle, you don't like him, it's ok for you - you get in at nine and get to go at three, etc. etc.

If someone was so rude in my private life they'd get a firm and strongly worded mouthful. I just felt shaken after, as it was quite an outpour. Now I just feel really, really angry. I work my bloody arse off for my class and am so pissed off by the attitude that teachers can be talked to like that. I know all teachers will feel like this at some point... Today just got to me. (Not helped by the fifteen mile round trip to pick up a Gumtree item and the woman deciding not to sell after all.)

Sorry for this rant, just over stressed and a bit upset.

StuffezLaBouche Mon 18-Mar-13 19:40:31

Shit, title should read SOME parents, obviously. Most are lovely!

chicaguapa Mon 18-Mar-13 19:56:05

It's because that's what parents are being fed by the media; teachers are shit, should be grateful for their graduate salaries & 13 weeks holiday a year, nothing more than glorified childcare, yet are failing the DC by simply teaching them, not making them reach their potential, giving outstanding lessons blah blah.

Unfortunately everyone has an opinion on teachers because they have all been taught by them and most have DC or GC being taught by them now. People genuinely have no idea what it's like unless they are involved. But they all think it's easy and there's a big conspiracy between teachers to pretend it's shit so no-one else finds out what an cushy number it is.

I think it's like the miner's strike all over again where Maggie spent a lot of time and effort into devaluing the mining industry because the unions were getting too powerful and she wanted the public to turn against them too. I see that happening now tbh. Not many people like or respect teachers, yet still expect them to turn their little Johnny into a genius. hmm

Sorry you had a bad day. It would be nice to tell the parents to fuck off sometimes, wouldn't it. wink

Hello <peers round staff room door>. Am I allowed in even though I am not a teacher?

chicaguapa Mon 18-Mar-13 20:01:28

I'm not a teacher either. I'm just here for the biscuits. grin

Oh good chica grin. Well I just wondered what has happened. When I was growing up in the 70s parents did not question teachers at all. Now it seems to be the norm to question the teachers and call them on every decision and generally be a PITA.

I couldn't be a teacher, i couldn't cope with grief from the parents. And i speak as a parent of DSs aged 13 and 11. I do trust the schools/teachers to have Dss best interests at heart. Is that unusual?

dummad Mon 18-Mar-13 20:15:33

Look I don't want to sound glib but that sort if goes with being a teacher doesn't it? I mean you have to be a people person and you are in essence dealing with the general public. In answer to your question no, it's not ok for anyone to speak to anyone like shit. But the barman, the shop worker, the policeman, the postman, the nurses, the doctors - just about everyone - who comes onto contact with large numbers of people unfortunately get to deal with idiots. Even in business you get your clients and customers sometimes yelling at you for nothing.
Sorry, I don't want to be unsympathetic but there must be a large number of very vocal teachers on MN who say this type if thing often - more than any other profession. Does a sense of hardship come with the job? It's not an easy career no and maybe it's got a whole lot worse. But in 'my day' it wasn't common for people to call out ambulances and then throw bottles at the paramedics either. It's just the respect-less society we live in today but we're all suffering the same one way or another.

We had parents evening last week and before I'd even started talking to one parent she queried whether I actually taught her dd as she'd never seen me before! I told her I'd taken 6 weeks off when my dd died, but I'd been back since January. She didn't acknowledge what I'd said, merely asked which days I taught and said her dd had never mentioned me before. So pleased that I make such an impact on my pupils, makes the hard work I put in so rewarding. hmm grin

sjupes Mon 18-Mar-13 20:16:40

I let my DDs teacher get on tbh - if something was terribly failing i'd expect to find out eventually but i don't need the daily/weekly update so many parents get to feel involved or like the worlds best mum ask for.

Rude parents pee me off!

BrigitBigKnickers Mon 18-Mar-13 20:19:05

I had a nasty encounter with a pair of parents last week. They made their very aggressive ( and totally ridiculous) fuss in front of a reception full of parents and their poor six year old DD.

The problem is that their DD is just delightful, bright and hard working. I am a professional so there is no way I would take it out on the poor little thing (she looked completely mortified by the actions of her parents...) but they on the other hand have lost my goodwill and I won't be going out of my way to help them in the future.

I have now refused to see them unless another member of staff is present as I was really shaken by the encounter.

Such a shame as most of the parents I come into contact with are great.

ThePathanKhansAmnesiac Mon 18-Mar-13 20:24:02

Cupoftea sad, so sorry for your loss.
thanks.

bigTillyMint Mon 18-Mar-13 20:29:01

cupoftea, that's awfulsad What a cow.

StuffezLaBouche Mon 18-Mar-13 20:29:36

Dummad, why do you think I posted on this board? I KNOW other professions suffer, and I wasn't comparing teachers' shit to theirs - I just wanted to moan about my experience in my job, without reference to any other job whatsoever.
'Does a sense of hardship come with the job?' - that's nice, thanks.

Brigit, that's not at all uncommon, sadly, and totally agree it leaves you in a tricky place. As a professional and a person who realises the child is not to blame, you will keep on giving the child your full effort, but you don't see why you should break a leg for for such unpleasant parents. I have a few parents who I won't see without another member of staff.

chicaguapa Mon 18-Mar-13 20:30:36

Why is it when people get together and moan in the staff room someone always wades in and says stop moaning you're not the only ones who have a shit job? hmm How unoriginal!

StuffezLaBouche Mon 18-Mar-13 20:31:18

Oh god, cupoftea! What an awful reaction! :-( I'm so sorry.

Floralnomad Mon 18-Mar-13 20:32:29

Sadly the type of people who talk to teachers in this manner ,talk to everybody they deal with in this manner . Sadly there are lots of them about and of all ages . I'm in nursing and to be frank its getting worse every year .

dummad Mon 18-Mar-13 20:40:52

Sorry. That was me being a bit narky. I don't have a staff room to go to you see so I lurk where I'm not wanted. sad

chicaguapa Mon 18-Mar-13 20:42:31

DH teaches at a very successful comp and some of the parents there are hideous. They think they're getting a free private education and want to make sure they get their pound of flesh. They constantly question the teachers and their motivation. In fact there was just that exact thread not so long ago.

I think a lot of parents are more involved in their DC's education now and because they help with homework and support learning at home, they think this this gives them an insight into 'being a teacher'. Those that don't give a shit probably wouldn't have respected teachers any more in the 70s anyway.

StuffezLaBouche Mon 18-Mar-13 20:43:58

m.youtube.com/watch?v=GI5m7DlcwNs
I feel like Basil today. 1:51 is a highlight! (Better not say that after recent threads though...!)

Dunno about anyone else but is the fact you can't respond in anything other than a placatory manner. I really wanted to say to Mrs. Rude to get her facts straight and think a bit more carefully before coming in in such a rude and insulting way. But of course not.

And the ridiculous demands. "Right, I want little Jimmy to only be seated with his friends, X, Y and Z. Nowhere NEAR A, B or C. I also want him to be in your close focus group at all times. What? A, B and C are in said focus group? Well they can't be. Well, ok, ONLY on strict condition they don't talk to Jimmy AT ALL. Hang on, A, B and C are nowhere NEAR as bright as Jimmy, why are you putting them together? Are you trying to give yourself an easy ride?"

And so on.

Yes it might be time for a long lie down.

StuffezLaBouche Mon 18-Mar-13 20:45:27

Dummad, you're more than welcome here! I was just being narks as well. I really do know other jobs, in fact any job working its public, gets shit too. And teachers are lucky on MN to have a staff room. Please stay! There might be some posts that make you think thank god you don't have to put up with that! :-)

chicaguapa Mon 18-Mar-13 20:45:49

cupoftea Weren't you tempted to say "excuse me, did you hear me, I just told you my DD died?" shock I'll bet she thought about it when she got home and felt bad/embarrassed.

Well done for going back to work. Very brave of you. flowers

BettyBlues Mon 18-Mar-13 20:56:53

CupOfTea - very, very sorry for your loss.

I'm the parent the staff hate - and it seems there's nothing I can do to change their opinion sad

I dont know what I did wrong. My 3 kids have SEN and there have been many difficult conversations - but I don't feel I was ever rude or aggressive. (direct and unhappy certainly)

But the staff hate me and are scared of me and now are horrible to me every time they have to talk to me.

Which is as little as possible, but sometimes they do have to speak to me.

For example today the SENCO told me DS was getting OT at school, which of course I was thrilled with. But she looked like a frightened rabbit when she told me so I asked her 'why are you scared of me' and she said 'why do you think'

Surely that's not a professional response? I've never shouted or anything like that. Walked off in tears rather a lot......

School have even told me I should move school, but of course I can't and they can't make me....

complexnumber Thu 21-Mar-13 16:35:51

*"It's because that's what parents are being fed by the media; teachers are shit, should be grateful for their graduate salaries & 13 weeks holiday a year, nothing more than glorified childcare, yet are failing the DC by simply teaching them, not making them reach their potential, giving outstanding lessons blah blah.

Unfortunately everyone has an opinion on teachers because they have all been taught by them and most have DC or GC being taught by them now. People genuinely have no idea what it's like unless they are involved. But they all think it's easy and there's a big conspiracy between teachers to pretend it's shit so no-one else finds out what an cushy number it is."*

Absolutely perfect chicaguapa, everyone has been to school ipso facto everyone is an expert.

complexnumber Thu 21-Mar-13 16:41:59

Forgot about paragraphs, try this ...

"It's because that's what parents are being fed by the media; teachers are shit, should be grateful for their graduate salaries & 13 weeks holiday a year, nothing more than glorified childcare, yet are failing the DC by simply teaching them, not making them reach their potential, giving outstanding lessons blah blah. "

"Unfortunately everyone has an opinion on teachers because they have all been taught by them and most have DC or GC being taught by them now. People genuinely have no idea what it's like unless they are involved. But they all think it's easy and there's a big conspiracy between teachers to pretend it's shit so no-one else finds out what an cushy number it is."

And then a repeat of my last statement...

Absolutely perfect chicaguapa, everyone has been to school ipso facto everyone is an expert.

(That 'Preview Message' box ought to be used more frequently)

ColinFirthsGirth Thu 21-Mar-13 16:56:09

I'm not a teacher but I used to be a nurse and so know what it is like to have folk be so rude to you when you are desperately trying to help. Some folk are just plain rude and are probably unpleasant people generally it is just a real shame that teachers or anyone else has to put up with this when they don't deserve it.

Phineyj Fri 22-Mar-13 17:31:25

I had a couple yell at me at an open evening because they said I didn't know what was in the syllabus (my school teaches a different qualification to the one they were talking about). I figured they probably yell at service people in other areas of their lives and generally don't do their research. I just kept smiling and saying 'yes I do know what's in the syllabus'. Their poor DS, he looked like he wanted to die.

MidnightHag Fri 22-Mar-13 17:54:48

I've been a teacher for over 20 years, but this term has been the absolute worst for rude parents, difficult phone calls and generally being questioned on my professional judgement. sad
I would love to make a sharp rejoinder, but don't dare. Maybe I look like a "frightened rabbit" BettyBlues ? hmm

MidnightHag Fri 22-Mar-13 17:56:25

I've been a teacher for over 20 years, but this term has been the absolute worst for rude parents, difficult phone calls and generally being questioned on my professional judgement. sad
I would love to make a sharp rejoinder, but don't dare. Maybe I look like a "frightened rabbit" BettyBlues ? hmm

MoreBeta Fri 22-Mar-13 18:07:13

Stuffez - why did you not enter the child for the test?

Did you explain that you were making that decison and why?

Perhaps the parent felt your decision was arbitrary and unexplained and they had no way of getting it reversed or changed?

It is not fair to shout at you but have you examined why the parent was angry?

Parents feel powerless sometimes over the way their children are taught, like they can't ask questions and that teaching and schools are just full of jargon and decisons they cant understand.

Hesterton Fri 22-Mar-13 18:09:56

My school is in an area of considerable deprivation with a large number of EAL new arrivals and parents are generally great. Not good enough at coming in, and scared to become involved with the school life of their children because they aren't confident with their English quite often... we have the opposite problem!

Hesterton Fri 22-Mar-13 18:11:51

Sorry,I made it sound like it's great that they're scared to come in- didn't mean that. We'd love to see more of them.

claraschu Fri 22-Mar-13 18:24:14

I have found that a certain percentage of parents are rude and horrible; a similar percentage of doctors, business people, and teachers are rude and horrible.

These days people are less intimidated by authority so they are more likely to say what they want to teachers (and doctors); sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes it is just offensive.

Some teachers (and doctors) can't bear to be questioned or challenged, no matter how wrong they are.

claraschu Fri 22-Mar-13 18:26:52

I'm not implying that you were being difficult OP, by the way. On the contrary, this mother sounds very rude (though I would be curious to hear the answer to MoreBeta's question).

lljkk Fri 22-Mar-13 19:22:22

Lol @ Stuffez's stories.
I have very politely managed to make DD's teacher feel like an idiot this week.
But I promise that I was very polite about it. grin

Anyone who wants to know more about CupofTea's DD might read the archived threads on here, it's a wonderful if sad story.

ipadquietly Fri 22-Mar-13 22:27:11

Because they know we can't tell them to f off, and must maintain our rictus grins.

StuffezLaBouche Sat 23-Mar-13 08:08:47

More beta, i didn't enter him for the test (a wholly optional test I must add) because he is working nowhere near the required level. Annoyingly, at the point she came in and was rude, I hadn't entered anyone for the test yet.

If she had come in sensibly, I would have been absolutely fine, but to question my professionalism by suggesting I didn't enter him for a test because "I don't like him" is beyond insulting.

Even more irritatingly, her son has been taking advantage of my free, early morning booster classes all term. So - free tuition, free breakfast, free transport to extra curricular activities..but no, I've "got it in for him."

God I need to let this go!!

nkf Sat 23-Mar-13 08:13:13

I think these people probably have rows with everybody. Not much comfort but it's probably not personal.

ScottyDoc Sat 23-Mar-13 08:27:35

My dh is a teacher and I see the amount of stress and the insane amount of work and preparation that goes into lesson planning for one. There are grade targets to be hit as well as very intimidating observations from time to time. If I saw or heard any parent giving unnecessary rudeness to a teacher, I wouldn't hesitate to pull them up on it. Half the time, from dh's experience anyway, the kids can't be bothered to listen or to do the work, and there's a big lack of discipline at home. This backfires on him unfairly when the deluded and entitled parents are moaning that their precious darling hasn't got the grades he/she should have! I wouldn't do it for a job and I have the utmost respect for those that do it.

MoreBeta Sat 23-Mar-13 12:38:54

stuffez - did you explain all that to her or did she not give you the chance?

She may be very anxious about her son's progress or very ambitious and it boiled over. Not an excuse but I think you need to get into her head or it will blow up again.

BettyBlues Sat 23-Mar-13 15:59:51

MidnightHag - aaahhh. Now I understand why the staff hate me. It's because I 'question their professional judgement'

Thanks.

I can't stop doing that given some of the things that have happened. But I can at least understand why they hate me.

StuffezLaBouche Sat 23-Mar-13 16:22:43

Betty, I'm to speaking about your situation here, but in my experience, the frustration teachers have with parents boils down to the fact that the only child you give two hoots about is yours. Understandably. Whereas the class teacher has to share those two hoots between thirty children, all of whom are the apples of their parents' eyes. It's not easy and most teacher do their best.

StuffezLaBouche Sat 23-Mar-13 16:30:56

I'm NOT speaking, not TO!

CaramelLatte Sat 23-Mar-13 16:46:09

I'm not a teacher, I am a parent and fwiw I think teachers do not get anywhere near the credit they deserve. I wonder how many of these difficult parents would cope with the job, I know I couldn't. Ok you get more holidays than most but I have seen for myself the long hours that are put in, not only on normal school days but residential trips for days at a time, on duty 24/7. So thanks teachers, I for one am grateful for your input into my children's future.

StuffezLaBouche Sat 23-Mar-13 16:52:57

That's a nice post, caramellatte. ANYONE who drags themselves out of bed and works hard at whatever it is they do deserves recognition and credit, IMO. But teaching does seem to be one of those jobs that attracts a disproportionate amount of shit. (Coincidentally these are often jobs that involve extended interaction with the general public..!) grin

Untrusty Sat 23-Mar-13 17:07:28

Stuff - I know the teachers think that I only care about my DC.

It's not true at all. But the teacher comes to the conversation believing I believe that.

I do however think school really should do everything that can be done to teach a child to read and write. Whether it's my child or another one. I am equally horrified by other kids who leave Y6 illiterate.

Pretty much the only thing I try to discuss with school staff is that one of my 3 DC can't read or write and has made no progress in 2 years.

Which, now I see, they interpret is 'questioning their professional judgement' as opposed to me trying to work out what else can be done so that they don't leave primary school illiterate.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 23-Mar-13 17:36:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StuffezLaBouche Sat 23-Mar-13 17:38:41

See your point, untrusty, but there are so many reasons why kids leave year six illiterate, and some aren't comfortable to hear.

Some have been let down by poor teaching. Undoubtedly. There is a teacher in our school who I know is letting their children down. Unfortunately they are my superior. One of the members of staff has a child in that class. Very awkward all round and wrong that its happening.

Some children haven't had the benefit of parents who give a crap. By not reading with children; not playing with them; not talking to then even, children's brains just don't develop the connections required to learn, retain and apply.

Also, some children just aren't bright. They can be lovely, kind, engaging children, but they just don't "get it." And if they do "get it" they don't apply it in their own work. This seems to be the great "taboo" in teaching, as obviously you wouldn't say tat to the child's parents.

WRT the "professional judgement" thing. I don't think any sensible teacher believes they are above questioning - but parents don't always know the "bigger picture" behind teachers' decisions. In the case that inspired me to write my OP, it was the fact the mother came in all guns blazing bt had totally the wrong end of the stick.

I can't think of circumstances where a school wouldn't do everything they could to ensure a child cold read and write.

Sorry for all the quote marks in my post; it's "one of those subjects!"

StuffezLaBouche Sat 23-Mar-13 17:39:29

That is an excellent point, schmaltzing!

heggiehog Sat 23-Mar-13 20:05:40

"WRT the "professional judgement" thing. I don't think any sensible teacher believes they are above questioning - but parents don't always know the "bigger picture" behind teachers' decisions. "

This.

Unfortunately, unless you have been a teacher yourself, it is almost impossible to understand the bigger picture and all the hundreds of little things that contribute to every decision teachers have to make.

Fairyliz Tue 26-Mar-13 21:23:27

The thing is you are dealing with the most precious thing in my life. Yes I get irritated if my food delivery is wrong or the dry cleaners ruin my dress; but don't do the best for my child and you will feel my wrath!
Yes I do know what its like working in a school as I work in one, like all places there are excellent employees and terrible ones.

nkf Tue 26-Mar-13 21:50:17

Some people are rude. I bet any profession that meets the public face to face gets rudeness. Imagine being a policeman. And the stuff I've seen in a&e.

Some people have legitimate complaints about schools but lack the social skills to raise them properly and so they scream and shout.

nkf Tue 26-Mar-13 22:04:04

I'm not sure that letting teachers feel your wrath will get the best result for your child.

nkf Tue 26-Mar-13 22:05:23

And Betty, why are they frightened of you? If I was getting that response from several people, I would do some self reflection.

BettyBlues Tue 26-Mar-13 22:26:09

Nkf - I'm not getting that response from several people. It's just the SENCO that's scared of me. And I think that she's scared I'll complain to the HT about her because she's not doing a good job.

The HT hates me because I'm not satisfied with the quality of the SEN provision. But he hated me from the day I joined because he didn't want to have to accept a 'challenging child'

The class teachers start of OK but once they realise I actually expect them to teach a dyslexic child and not just babysit them then they start to avoid me.

The whole reason they hate me / avoid me / are scared of me is because I expect them to teach my DC and they don't know how to.

However there has been progress made this week. The HT is now talking about getting a specialist SpLD teacher in so maybe things will be resolved.

nkf Tue 26-Mar-13 22:27:14

That is several people you think don't like you.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 26-Mar-13 23:25:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Stinkypoos Mon 15-Apr-13 23:09:48

I am involved, via work, with the school which my daughter goes to.

I know both the staff and some of the parents from my daughter's class.

Recently one mother had a massive rant to me about my daughter's lovely teacher - who is also fantastic to work with. I don't think I'm being biased here.

According to the mother, the teacher was very rude to her. This is really unlike the person I know. I asked for more information and the parent seems to be totally out of order. The teacher has a class of 30 and it is not possible to comply with the mother's request.

I tried to explain to the mother how busy the teacher is during the day, how much extra work she does at the school (additional responsibilities etc) and the response was a rant about being professional. The teacher said no to an unreasonable request - that's all.

I know the mother socially and she is fine. She is a perfectly reasonable, good and pleasant company, she is well educated, has a good job and perfectly normal. I don't understand why she is acting in such a damaging way towards her child's teacher.

squeezedatbothends Fri 19-Apr-13 13:34:53

I think it comes from government - teachers are lazy and worthless, passed down through the media, into the mouths of parents and then their children. Hey ho, poor behaviour in the classroom. Last week it was in the news that 2000 teachers signed a petition about his language and behaving like a child - there are about 2700 on there now (www.thinking-about-education.co.uk ) and there's one up for parents as well called 'Our Children Are Not Political Footballs' www.thinking-about-education.co.uk/parents-petition .

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