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To feel sorry for teachers because of some parents

168 replies

abacucat · 27/10/2018 12:37

I suspect the worst part of teaching is some of the parents. Parents who believe their child can do no wrong, parents who bring their child up to be totally entitled, parents who always minimise and make excuses for their child's bad behaviour. It must be frustrating for the teachers.

OP posts:

Stripybeachbag · 28/10/2018 00:00

What’s sad though (and you obviously can’t say this!) is that you probably spend 40% of your time, especially in SMT, pandering, dealing, defending, coping with a tiny handful of parents. It’s such a waste of time. I sometimes wonder if other parents realised this whether they might be angry that their children could get more support if it wasn’t for a handful of people who just can’t communicate reasonably. I’m not talking about parents of children with SEN sending reports or wanting to discuss an issue in class. I’m talking about parents sending nasty hate mail effectively.

In our school, the nastier the parent, the more preferential treatment the student can expect. A private school.


twoshedsjackson · 28/10/2018 00:17

Throughout the year, you deal with the nitpicking from a tiny minority (I have previously mentioned the COTY (complaint of the year) award, which some Mumsnetters felt was unkind and cynical, but was our way of keeping a sense of proportion) and begin to wonder if you can't do right for doing wrong.......then, at the end of term, you get lovely thank you cards, messages, flowers etc., and realise that, actually, the majority were perfectly happy all along, so they hadn't been coming into school every five minutes.
I've known some belters though......."my daughter was distressed by the hot weather" (I'm quite well organised, but arranging meteorological conditions is beyond me) "Why haven't I got his test result yet?" (he took the test this morning, I lost my prep and marking time to cover, I had a music group in the lunch hour, admittedly I took time out to have a wee, school ended 10 minutes ago......) "Why wasn't he allowed to play in the snow?" (we felt it inadvisable when his only spare shoes were plimsolls) "Why didn't he get a leading role in the play/ solo spot in the concert?" (he didn't come to the audition)
Then you realise that the vast majority are lovely, realistic about their offspring, really appreciate any extra effort, and it seems worthwhile.
And, as I've said before, that moment when you see the lightbulb go on, is pure magic.


Bananacakes · 28/10/2018 00:31

@Thisreallyisafarce lol gosh no I wouldn’t ask a teacher to do that, the paediatrician wrote to the school and asked the teacher to do it 🙄 and no school my kids have ever been to have a school nurse. They visit ternly so can hardly monitor a child. To be fair that was quite a good school. Her water bottle was simply put prominently and she was reminded to drink (short period of time while she got in the habit and as there were 4 ta’s not really too hard) and they also reminded her to use the loo or try to. There was medical need. But as a parent I’d like to think they weren’t bitching about it. Comments like that when you are discussing 6 year old children just make teaching staff sound dreadful.


Iwasjustabouttosaythat · 28/10/2018 00:43

to provide an individualised curriculum for their child because the normal one wasn't 'suitable'

Some children do need a differentiated curriculum. Are there more details here that you missed out? If a child is working 3 years ahead in maths/English etc then it’s the school’s job to provide appropriate work. That or have them attend the appropriate class for their skill level. So then was the parent forced to go to senior management and she became “that mum”? What’s she supposed to do? She has to advocate for her child.

There are a lot of fantastic teachers around of course but some seem to be know-it-alls. They think they know what’s best for your child (and the 30 others in their class room they’ve only known for a couple of months), they’ve seen it ALL before.

It’s a relationship and working with parents is part of that. It goes both ways and while parents need to be supportive of teachers, some teachers are incredibly dismissive.


Kaybush · 28/10/2018 00:46

@whazzer What a lovely mum you are! I wish I heard more accounts like this!


differentnameforthis · 28/10/2018 00:49

What about the teachers who make kids lives hard because they don't believe they have autism (pre diagnosis) or refuse to make allownaces because they have never heard of sensory processing disorder (post dx)?

Instead they prefer to call them "whiny" and "clingy" and physically pull them off of you, and treat them so different that the child meltdowns everyday after school and ends up with through the roof anxiety that never presented much before? Or that same teacher who lies to your face in a meeting with the deputy principal and makes your child look naughty? Or that deputy principal who refuses to believe you over the teacher?

I get that some parents are arses, but so are some teachers. My daughter is not the same person as she was before this teacher and 2 yrs on, she still carries the memories that affect her everyday life.


barefootcook · 28/10/2018 00:53

I am a teacher. My colleague was sent an email from a parent about a minor problem at 3.45am and a follow up one at 8.30am demanding why the first had not been replied to!


Iwasjustabouttosaythat · 28/10/2018 00:57

What about the teachers who make kids lives hard because they don't believe they have autism (pre diagnosis) or refuse to make allownaces because they have never heard of sensory processing disorder (post dx)?

Or the opposite and they decide they’re capable of diagnosing every second child in the classroom (regardless of letters from paediatricians and psychologists saying they’re just being NT kids). I’ve seen teachers in real life and especially on MN make snap judgments about a child’s mental health after meeting them once.

In fact one teacher I knew got sent on a course then decided every other person had ASD. She told a boy in her class he was autistic in fact because he was misbehaving. She was serious too. The boy’s mother and the principal had some pretty sharp words for her after this. And rightly so.


differentnameforthis · 28/10/2018 01:25

@Iwasjustabouttosaythat , yes, that too!!


Thisreallyisafarce · 28/10/2018 06:47


Comments like what? I was just telling you the reality. Unfortunately, in a secondary environment, you won't find teachers who also have the time to be medics. It's just not going to happen. Your child would be sent to the pastoral area of the school (we have a central point staffed by people who deal with first aid/anxiety/medical needs). That's why I asked you whether it was primary or secondary. And that is all said without a lack of sympathy for your child.


Mistigri · 28/10/2018 07:17

Works both ways though.

My DS has a phenomenally useless teacher in one key subject in an exam year. So he and many of his classmates are having private tuition at their parents' expense.


Thisreallyisafarce · 28/10/2018 07:20


This thread isn't about that. It's about whether, overall, the worst part of being a teacher is the parents.

I don't suppose it used to be the case but I think it is now, arguably because of phrases like 'It works both ways'. No, it doesn't. I have never phoned a parent and called them a cunt, or a bitch, or suggested they were unfit to care for children because they didn't do what I wanted on any given day. I have never assaulted a parent.

Has anybody ever been on the receiving end of that sort of treatment from a teacher?


BillywilliamV · 28/10/2018 07:21

I sat through a meeting about GCSE options with half of the parents on their bloody rude quite apart from anything else!


MaisyPops · 28/10/2018 07:54

I've never told a parent that they couldn't be bothered to go voluntary things (but it was fine for my colleague to return from bereavement leave to parental complaints about how they 'clearly couldn't be bothered to run the revision sessions') The ridiculous thing was it was from parents whose children were underperforming, were lazy and never actually attended the revision that the teacher was opting to run!

I've never threatened to ruin a parent's life because theyve not said how high when I said jump. But I can think of countless situations where parents have threatened to get teachers sacked, where parents have formed WhatsApp groups to bitch about a teacher & tried to coordinate an attack on a colleague, where parents have gone straight to the head teacher demanding yo know how a teacher will be disciplined... all over trivial issues translating as "But I shouted and tried to intimidate the teacher and they didn't do what I wanted".

What mistigri is saying is there are some ineffective teachers. Yes there are some ineffective teachers. There are ineffective people in every line of work.
I'm not really sure what that has to do with the amount of rubbish staff have to put up with from some parents. My hairdresser could be poor but I wouldn't threaten to get then sacked. My mechanic might not be brilliant but I wouldn't turn up yelling at thrm because I wanted my car fixing within 45 minutes of turning up without an appointment and they've had to put other customers first. If i know the rules of entry to an event, i wouldn't turn up, break the rules I didn't like and then demand to see the manager and threaten to sue the event organisers because they expected me to abide by the event rules. I might receive poor service in a cafe, but I wouldn't threaten to make a malicious complaint to food hygiene just to puff my chest up and make me feel big and scary.


Thisreallyisafarce · 28/10/2018 07:57


All true. I have never spoken to a parent as though they were at my beck and call. I have never given them parenting advice. I have never ignored their correspondence. I have never told them what their child does at home is their problem.

In other words, my arse it goes both ways.


Bananacakes · 28/10/2018 07:59

@Thisreallyisafarce well yes you would hardly expect a teacher at secondary school to monitor a child’s drinking or toileting? That’s ridiculous. For a start they change classrooms. I’m talking about young children.


Thisreallyisafarce · 28/10/2018 08:03


Which is why I asked.


Biologifemini · 28/10/2018 08:04

I think many parents forget that kids often confide in some of their teachers. Teachers know quite a lot about what is going on at home. When mum and dad fight etc, mummy crying etc. Conversely the kids who are too terrified to say much about what is going on at home.
So when a shorty parent turns up making demands then it likely colours their view of the situation.
It is only a minority of parents of course.


MaisyPops · 28/10/2018 08:07

Don't get me wrong the best relationships do go both ways, but that's two way mutual respect and open, professional dialogue.
The vast majority of home school relationships do go both ways in a positive sense.

But the negative crap and the aggression, attempts to intimidate, threaten, nasty pack mentality bullying which have been on the increase in recent years are from a minority of parents towards staff. (And I would imagine are probably the types of people who either have a chip on their shoulders about school or who conduct themselves in that way in hospitals, shops etc)


Bananacakes · 28/10/2018 08:08

I do agree there is a huge problem with the education system and there are many entitled little brats who would by engage and make life difficult and there are difficult parents as much as there are rubbish teachers.
I’m sure there’s the odd teacher who thinks I am that parent. One of mine has diagnosed ASD but not ECHP. It’s clear the system is letting her down but the point of contact was a completely useless teacher who had taken on the role of being the contact for that group of children. So we were told to email her and contact her. I would email and assume it was being dealt with so leave it, then I’d chase it a week later, still no response. Then 2 weeks later and I’d have to contact the head. We are talking bullying which was leading to self harm. She was being bullied on the bus and break times. The teacher did nothing. Eventually my daughters friend went to her head of community on my daughters behalf and action was taken immediately. The one who was hitting my child was excluded. So unfortunately for every good teacher being hassled, there’s an utterly shit teacher not doing their job, letting people down and giving the profession a bad name. 3 years later and numerous complaints and she’s suddenly not there any more.
When parents have had negative experiences they are wary of the system. But most parents don’t think their kids are angels and do just want their children to be happy.


Shockers · 28/10/2018 08:10

@KeepOnKeepingOnAgainandAgain, when the EP we had fought for delivered his report at DD’s review, his teacher sobbed and said, “We let her down.”

It took every fibre of my being not to tell her she was absolutely correct; there was no need at that stage.

On the other side of the coin, I work in a PRU, and there are parents I could shake.


Banana770 · 28/10/2018 08:14

The vast majority of parents I’ve had to deal with over the years are great. Supportive, appreciative, polite... however you do get the odd one. I think the one that stunned me the most was when two Year 11 girls damaged a brand new text book sticking the pages together with glue; there was no doubt it had been them as they were caught by a member of SLT. We rang home to discuss the punishment with parents - the parents of the first girl were apologetic, said she’d be paying half to replace it from her pocket money. Basically the response you’d expect. The mother of the other girl argued that it was the (actually quite good) supply teachers fault for not controlling her 16 year old daughter!!


Thisreallyisafarce · 28/10/2018 08:14


That's how I feel. The best of it goes both ways, but there is no way the worst of it does.


Bananacakes · 28/10/2018 08:16

@Thisreallyisafarce if you are talking secondary, then contact is rarely necessary. I would only be contacting with a genuine concern and I would always be mindful that the version I’ve heard from my child may be very different to another child’s version or member of staff.
When one of mine refused to eat in school we had a meeting about her overall and they referred for counselling. You do need to work with school. If you send your child to a school you need to respect that teachers are just doing a job, but if you find one not doing it well you do have a right to be upset. Equally if someone’s doing it well it’s nice to let them know. I have emailed thanks to secondary teachers who’ve boosted my child’s confidence or said/done something that’s really made a difference.


sunshineNdaisies · 28/10/2018 08:21

I am really pissed off at the teachers march in Scotland though. There was someone on the telly saying she "only" got £36,000 a year. In Scotland that's a damn good salary. It's more than I get yet I work more hours, get less holidays and deal with shitty parents and violent kids too (it's education related but not teaching).

I have family members who are teachers and they are always home at 4pm, they do no work at all during summer, easter, christmas breaks so all that stuff about 'needing' holidays or marking at home, is just a big exaggeration. I work at home too and still get paid less and believe me I'm properly working.

Teachers do not realise how lucky they are.

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