Being a teacher is said to be one of the most stressful jobs ever. But sometimes, the parents can be a bigger handful than their children! These 50 Redditors, who have all worked with kids, share their stories on troublemaker parents that are just as bad, or even WORSE than their children.
1. Wait, Seriously?
I had a student tell her parents that I was picking on her because I tossed her a piece of candy, and she didn't catch it so it hit her on her forehead. When that happened, I apologized and she had said it was fine. You guys should know that before I tossed it to her, I asked her to come get said piece, and she said, "Just toss it", and she wasn't so far away, maybe a few feet.
Anyways, the parents come in, call me every name in the book, and I couldn't care less. That's not what got me fired up. They also called me discriminatory for picking on their daughter because she's Mexican. I looked at them and said, "Are... Are you serious? Is this some sort of a joke"? And the mom proceeded to say, "Absolutely not. I can tell you're prejudiced by looking right at you".
I had the perfect comeback: "I don't know if you noticed, but I'm Mexican".
2. Just At A Glance
We have to let parents know several weeks before report cards go out if their son or daughter is in danger of getting an F or D. I send home grade printouts that need to come back to me with a parent signature for those "in danger" kids, just to make sure the parents have been informed, so I can document that they have been notified.
Several years ago, I sent one home with a student that was struggling, and she brought it back signed by her mom the next day. Great. I filed it away, and sure enough, a few weeks later the student still had a D come report card time so that's what was on her report card that was mailed to her house. A day or two later, her mom calls—and she sounds distraught.
She's all shocked and upset about the D. I immediately pull out the signed grade printout and told her over the phone, "I'm a little taken aback. I'm holding in my hand a notification about your daughter's grade that was signed and dated by you just three weeks ago". Her response floored me. She said, "I remember signing something for her, but the American Idol finale was that night, so I didn't actually read it".
To not only not read it but to freely admit that that was the reason why you didn't properly read it, well, that just blew my mind.
3. The Teacher’s Grade
My wife is a 5th-Grade Teacher, and this one family has three kids, each one more obnoxious than the one before. The last kid is finally in 5th grade and every teacher is stoked they don't have to deal with this family anymore. They have a Granddad who comes to each lunch with his grandson EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The Granddad was a constant disruption and just an all-around rude guy to the entire staff.
At the end of the year after the Graduation ceremony, my wife is hugging students and chatting with parents, saying their goodbyes for the summer. She notices Granddad off to the side, kind of sizing her up. That's when he does the unthinkable. He walks over and yanks her arm, so she turns to him while she is in mid-conversation with parents, and yells while pointing in her face.
He screams, "I know you don't like my Grandson and that's why he got a C-, but I am giving you an F"!! Then, he turns and walks off with the rest of the family.
4. Memorization Station
My cousin is a middle school teacher. There's been problems in the school where a bunch of parents were buying teachers’ edition textbooks and having their kids memorize the answers at home so that they pass all the tests at school. The teachers started to suspect this was happening, so they would change the order of the questions/answers on the tests.
Surprisingly, a bunch of straight-A students started bombing every test. When my cousin had to bring parents in to talk to them about it, one parent literally said: "You don't understand, it's more dishonorable to have bad grades than to be caught cheating". They literally do not understand how this is setting their children up for failure after graduation.
5. Where Is He?
"Every single adult should know where every single child is on campus at all times"! the mom said, yelling at me. I had been giving her son extra help after school, along with some other students. We were six weeks in, and mom hadn't come to Back to School Night or made any attempt to speak to or contact me. She came to pick up her son and had no idea where to go because she hadn't been to our school before or read the after-school group flyer.
Instead, she went on a rampage. She yelled at some other teachers who were waiting out in the front of the school with some of their own after-school students to be picked up. They had no idea who she was or who her child was. She couldn't ask them where my class was because she didn't even know the name of her child's teacher. I walked up with her son as this was happening.
She turned and continued to chew me out. She said a lot of ridiculous things that day. It was a complete and blatant projection of irresponsibility.
6. He’s Finding His Voice
A parent once said to me: "I find it quite frankly ridiculous that what you CLAIM happens bares absolutely no resemblance to the statement my 12-year-old son has written for me detailing the incident, and it's quite frankly appalling that you expect me to discuss it with you now whilst he is not beside me to verify that you are telling me the truth".
I nearly hung up on that one... Before explaining that I didn't find it that "ridiculous" that her son might have forgotten to mention that he hit another child around the face, called me a number of swear words, and threatened to punch my lights out. This was the same mother who told me that I was denying her child's "student voice".
I told her he was allowed a student voice when used appropriately, not when his "student voice" was aggressively threatening me. I'm finding that I'm understanding my students a lot more once I've spoken to their parents. Teacher training does not place enough emphasis on advice for handling difficult parents.
7. Sounds Fine To Me
I worked at a preschool, and there was one little boy with a speech impediment that made it so difficult to understand anything he said. He basically resorted to using hand signals or just accepted that he would have to repeat himself 4-5 times every time. The director met with the mom to recommend speech therapy, and her response shocked him.
The mom declined, saying that her eldest son speaks that way too and they don't have a problem communicating at home. It was so upsetting to not be able to help him more.
8. The Treasure Hunt
I had one parent that couldn't control her child. The parents were divorced, but his dad would continually buy this kid stuff while the mom worked two jobs and couldn't pay rent due to the vandalism this kid did. He was like 11 or 12. She would take his Xbox, bike, and other things, hiding them for bad behavior. The boy would go just go find it and use it anyways.
She didn't have money to hire a sitter. She wasn't home enough to enforce the rules. I wish I could say this was unique, but when you are in the inner city, it becomes the norm. We were honestly lucky the mom took time off of work to meet with us. I told the mom to take the Xbox and bike, and instead of hiding it, take it, with the child, to the pawn shop.
I told her to sell it and go buy herself some clothes or something nice. Funny thing is, I don't think she had the will to do it. She was honestly scared of her child. But that's not the saddest part. He left class about two weeks later because he and his mom were kicked out of their apartment complex.
9. Not My Problem
After a mom dropped off her kid, who has a history of being a troublemaker, she confronts me in class about absences during a meeting. She tells me her kid is always on time, there is no way he could be absent. I just tell her he is not going to my class. I had heard rumors that the kid ditched school, or that he ran away. I told her about it—and she twisted it all around.
She said, "It's your fault my kid is not here, I left him here, you're supposed to keep him here". I told her that when he's out of the campus I have no power over him, that the only one that can get him is the authorities. She says, " I don't care what you do, make sure he stays there, it's not my responsibility after he enters the campus". I just kept quiet until it got awkward and she left.
10. Pajama Day Every Day
I had a mother ask me to come and "play with her son" for a few hours every weekend. She said that he had no friends and just needed a friend to play with to motivate him to learn better. Probably partly true, but I have a family of my own and teaching is already a 60-hour workweek. For additional context, she used to occasionally send him to school in pyjamas because I guess she couldn't be bothered to teach him to dress properly before he left the house.
She was quite clearly barely capable of taking care of herself, let alone another small human. It was a very sad situation. The husband was long since out of the picture. He was a psychologist who married her when she was a patient of his, then I guess decided she was too crazy even for him, gave her a pile of cash every month but otherwise washed his hands of the family.
I only talked with him once, but he appeared to be as mystified by how to deal with her and the son as anyone.
11. You’re Not Trying Hard Enough
I wasn't a teacher, but I was volunteering while in college to help a school district run a group field day. Me and another friend of mine were asked to "sub in" for a class game of tug-of-war for first graders. Of course, me and my friend ham it up, act like we're really struggling. Afterward, one of the parents of the kids from the team we were on just started shouting at us telling us we should be ashamed for not trying our hardest and for faking.
12. That’s NOT Swimming
This might not really count, but when I was a swim instructor, this parent was complaining about how her son "wasn't improving" in the swim lessons. It was true that sometimes I had trouble motivating him, but I felt he was doing well. Apparently, she also complained that I wasn't the only one teaching his lessons and that I got several substitutes.
That was not true. I taught all of the lessons. So in the next lesson, I thought the kid was doing well again and improving. I even got him to swim short distances without assistance. The mother didn't seem to think so. She said something like, "He can't just keep going back and forth and kicking the whole time". Uh, she does realize that's how people swim right? They sadly didn't come back.
13. Messy Milk Mishaps
I was a daycare teacher, and this happened during the summer. We had two siblings coming in and, in their file, it was clearly marked that they are both lactose intolerant. We take every allergy very seriously and we do provide snacks to the children, so every box of snacks gets inspected to make sure the kids eating it will be fine.
We also provide alternative snacks just in case. So, this goes on for a week until I notice the kid is drinking milk out of a carton. I go to my supervisor, and we ask the kid where she got the milk from. She is little so she doesn't really know but she thinks she got it from her lunch box. So now I am confused, my supervisor is confused, and the kid is confused since she claims she drinks milk all the time.
We get out her form and call the parent and of course, we can't get a hold of her. We agree to monitor the kid until her mom picks her up. She was fine. No tummy ache or anything, so we were carefully optimistic that we dodged a bullet there. Well, it turns out she isn't lactose intolerant at all. They are not vegan either. The truth was just ridiculous.
Her mom just read somewhere that normal milk makes you smell bad, so she only gives her kids organic milk. It was the end of my shift, so I just left. And laughed all the way home.
14. Choosing Your Path
It was parents’ evening last year. The kids were 14 and 15 years old. I told a woman that her son was doing really well in English and was very bright. She actually scoffed and said, "Really"? The boy was sat there too. I asked what he was thinking of doing when he left school and he said he wanted to go to college to do A-Levels.
Kids at this school had ridiculously low aspirations so this was music to my ears. But within seconds, all my hopes were dashed. His mother interjected and said, "No no, you're doing an apprenticeship. You're gonna be a plasterer like yer dad". Now I have no problem with kids taking the vocational path as opposed to the academic. But this kid had a chance and he wanted to take it!
But his own mum made him feel that there was no point. It was so sad that she didn't think he was bright enough and that it wasn't a worthwhile choice. I just felt it should have been up to him and I could see it lowered his confidence. I definitely don’t think that everyone needs to go on to higher education, but I do think that people should be allowed to follow their passion and do whatever they feel is best for them!
15. The Bare Minimum
I once had an obviously very bright but lazy and rebellious 15-year-old refuse to do anything. He wouldn’t do homework, answer abacadaba on multiple-choice tests, and draw doodles on easy questions. At the end of the semester, he got a 17. Getting anything below a 70 consistently will trigger all kinds of interventions, from a parent conference to testing for special needs, depending on the student and their situation.
17 is so low it's just not in the range of scores you ever see, much less in a kid that could easily go to University if he bothered to do anything. I had tried everything: talked to him, tried to find work he might be interested in, sent notes home and emails to the parental address on file, etc. Nothing. His uniform response was, "whatever, man".
I thought the problem might be me, so I talked to other teachers, but nope: he was that way across the board. And it was odd, because there weren't any obvious red flags: stable parents and home life, decent income, not running with the wrong crowd. All his psych tests all came back normal. He was just... not going to do any work.
As expected, when that 17 went home, his parents FLIPPED. Mom was a doctor, Dad was a lawyer, and they both just expected their kid to do well without monitoring or input on their part. So, they immediately come in and sit down all concerned "Look, he's very bright, this will ruin his chances at a good college, surely we can work something out".
I said no, because it wouldn't be fair to the other kids. I had documented very carefully his actions, my attempts to intervene, each message, email, and phone call, and my consultations with the other teachers. I had done everything in my power to try and reach them or to reach him. But the grade he had was the grade he earned.
I was a second-year teacher, so I foolishly expected that to be the end of it. NOPE. Naturally, they went to the principle, and we all sat down and had a talk. At the end of the meeting, I was instructed to give him a test, and his score on that one test would be his grade for the semester. He was bright but lazy: He got a 93.
Turns out, he had been doing this since 8th grade, since he knew mom and dad would bail him out. I heard from another teacher that they had this down to a science, and the principals always caved. I resigned the next day. Maybe it wasn't a huge deal, but...that wasn't what I signed up for. And there was simply no way the money was worth it.
16. Potty Problems
I work at a preschool. In our two-year-old rooms, we have a regulation that the kids can't move into the three-year-old room until they are mostly potty trained. Most of the students in there are two, with a few that just recently turned three. However, there is one boy that is four. He is not potty trained because, in his mother's words, she doesn't want to force him.
He should be in pre-k. Instead, he is in the two-year-old class for his third year, extremely behind his peers educationally and emotionally, and has a mother that is apparently fine with letting him fail in life through no fault of his own.
17. Don’t Worry, It’ll Be Great
We had one boy who was casebook Autistic. Very stimmy, toe walking, sensory issues up the wazoo, constant patterns, and repetition. He was nonverbal, which is why his parents enrolled him into our school specializing in disabilities, they were hoping he would get speech therapy. The first month this kid was here, the staff involved with him brought the parents into a meeting to discuss having him assessed for Autism—and that's where it all went wrong.
The mother laughed and said, "No, he doesn't have that, he's just a late speaker". The parents were adamant that he just had a speech delay, and refused to have him tested. This meant that the kid would only get minimal funding, which means he would only get minimal therapy. This was the SLP coming in every other week to work with him for 15 minutes on PECS.
It destroyed me because I loved this kid. He was an absolute goon and we hit it off pretty well. And to not be able to put the resources that were needed so he could learn to cope with his sensory issues, find a way to express his needs and wants, and give him a proper sense of security in the world frustrated me to the point where I ended up having a meltdown with him.
Looking back, it’s kind of darkly hilarious if you picture me partially restraining him while he screams and cries, and I'm screaming and crying along with him. T'was not a good day for anyone. Eventually, near the end of January, the mom specifically asked me for a meeting. This scared me, but she sat down with me and asked to have the whole Autism thing explained.
A week after that, the parents asked for their son to be assessed, and then we were able to start giving him the support and therapy he needed.
18. Cheat The Right Way
Had a star athlete who was being recruited by Ivy League schools failing my English class. On top of his general poor academic performance, I also caught him cheating on a homework assignment which he vehemently denied. His mom scheduled a meeting with an administrator and proceeded to berate me and to accuse me of discriminating against student athletes.
Then, she said her son would never cheat. As evidence, I pulled out his homework and proceeded to read one of his answers out loud: "I, as a 16-year-old girl..." Hilariously, his mom then begins yelling at him, saying "You can't even cheat right! What's wrong with you? How are you going to get into college if you can't cheat"?
19. The Library Helper
The school I worked at had a library club, which is where the fifth graders would come in to help out in the library. Every single one of them was awful for various reasons, but there was one particular little kid whose terrible behavior was reinforced by his idiot mom. Mike was a jerk to the other students. He'd pick on the girls, shove his classmates, and then lie to my face about it when I confronted him.
He'd also never help out like he was supposed to do, even though he knew what was expected of him—he'd just get right on a computer without lifting a finger, or if he could be bothered to help, he'd just stick books anywhere to make it look like he was doing something. Well, he pushed the librarian's buttons one too many times and got thrown out of the library club for his behavior.
Mommy threw a fit about her dumpling being banned from what was supposed to be a student privilege and the principal overrode the librarian's decision. The principal basically said that it was too mean to kick Mike out because it was akin to "firing" him. Well, when you intentionally act like a jerk and don't do your job in real life, you would get fired for it.
Another rule was that if a student intentionally skipped three scheduled library days, they were out of the library club for the rest of the year. I got a call from Mommy one afternoon and she told me that she knew Mike could only miss one more day before he was thrown out, but that he was to be the exception to the rules once again.
I was informed by Mommy that Mike would intentionally be missing library club to go watch a movie that day, but he still needs to be allowed to remain in library club because she said so. Yeah, because teaching your kid that he's above the rules will never possibly backfire. I wanted to badly to knock her teeth out, but given the area I come from and the recreational substances the residents typically partake in, I honestly couldn't say for sure if she had any to be knocked out.
20. Try To Stand Out
I had a student once who was this fat ginger kid. I swear, this kid was the antichrist. He would come into class screaming at the top of his lungs. He would constantly get up out of his seat and just start picking fights with other students. He almost punched a kid who was sharpening his pencil because he "looked at him funny".
He refused to do any work, so he was failing all his classes. One time he "wrote" a research paper and left all the blue Wikipedia links in it. I obviously gave him a zero. Anyways, the other teachers and I immediately set up a parent-teacher conference. We state his behavior and our concerns with his grades. The parent sits there listening to us tell story after story about how her child is awful, and she responds with "Well, I don't want him to be a robot"!
This woman didn't care about one thing we said, she just didn't want him to sit in class and "act like all the other kids". I'm so glad to be done with that school.
21. A Balanced Breakfast
There's a parent of a child with behavior problems who sends him to school with awful food for breakfast every day. Fast food, Starbucks, cupcakes, you name it. We spent a lot of time trying to get her to even feed the kid breakfast in the first place, because he refused to eat what was provided at school and was an absolute nightmare on an empty stomach.
We're talking "hide under the desk screaming all day" levels of difficulty. So, we didn't say anything for a while, because at least he was on time and eating. Except then all the other students—who previously had no problem with the milk, cereal, and fruit that they got at school—started noticing the smug kid eating his delicious pancakes, or whatever he had that particular day.
It became a full-blown kindergarten hunger strike, and it was miserable. When we asked the mother to please try to feed him prior to arriving at school, she said she didn't have time, unless we wanted him to be late every day. We reiterated that the school provided a perfectly healthy breakfast for free, and maybe she could make an effort to convince him to eat what everyone else got.
She told us: "I don't want him eating that sugary, processed stuff." He took his Mcdonald's with an aide in the classroom for the rest of the year.
22. They’re The Bad Guy
A few years ago, I had a couple come in to discuss the behavior of a child who kept disrupting class. He would curse, flip his peers off, and make other inappropriate gestures. Eventually, I got sick of it and called them in. Thing is, I don't know what kind of story he told them in order to make me look like the bad cop. His parents were a nightmare.
I was actually appalled when his father had the audacity to call me a "neanderthal" for whatever the son told them I did to him. His mother wasn't much better either, saying that I was a buffoon for my actions. The punishment I gave him stuck, and I'm still questioning what kind of parents they were to this day.
23. Swimming In The Deep
I used to be a swimming teacher. My favorite type of parent was the one who instilled their own fear of water into their children. "Laura doesn't like putting her face into the water" will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you've said this, something she's never done before, she will start being scared off because her own mother clearly is.
It's a shame. The best parent of all time was the one who I only dealt with once because I was covering a lesson. A really shy girl shows up with her mum. My notes from the usual instructor said that if she's in the water for more than 10 minutes of the half-hour class you're doing well. The first thing the mum says is, "She does not want a male instructor".
So straight away, I'm being insulted because of my gender. Nice way to start the day. Anyway, I manage to convince her that her daughter is safe with me, and I get told a big list of things that she doesn't like doing. Finally, I go into the water and lo and behold, the girl is scared as heck. Not her fault, as her mother has essentially told her to be scared.
Clearly, the usual teacher was too scared to stand up to the mum and make this poor girl do anything she didn't want to do so she couldn't do any form of teaching with her. I knew exactly what I had to do. A bit of forced dunking later, in the space of half an hour, I had this wee girl putting her face in the water, swimming and floating on her back all by herself.
The mum couldn't believe it and asked if I could teach her every week. The moral of the story is that the parents are idiots.
24. Old Drama Returns
I was a high school varsity coach. I had a nice girl on my team with very little talent. After not starting, her mom came up to me and said, "It is really sad that Jenny isn't playing. How can you hold it against her"? I asked her what she was talking about, because I didn’t know why she thought I would hold something against her daughter.
Her response was, "Well, her Dad's brother dated you in middle school and he broke up with you". Funny thing is, I have no clue who she was talking about.
25. A Hierarchy Of Teachers
My mom was a preschool teacher and was doing an annual activity making gingerbread houses at a local school. The teacher whose class she was in for the day kept trying to cut in and take over her activity. After my mom told her to stop cutting in the teacher said "You are just a preschool teacher. What do you know"? My mom was so livid she never did her annual activity again.
26. Disrupting The Class
I am a second-grade teacher in a low-income area. One of my students this year had the most severe case of ADHD that I have ever seen. He was very intelligent but could not sit still, stay quiet, or focus to save his life. He truly is a sweet kid but whenever he is redirected in class, he is terribly disrespectful and rude. With this, he wasn't able to focus enough to finish his schoolwork.
Also, when he was talking with other students, he was completely inappropriate. For about two weeks, this kid was a complete terror, so I was writing notes in his planner and calling and talking with his mom about his behavior on a daily basis. After his disruptive and disrespectful behavior continued, he ended up telling another student in our class to "lick his balls" and got removed for a day and mom had to come in for a meeting.
After one day of bliss, mom comes in demanding that our principal was also present at the meeting. She then has the audacity to tell my boss that she is mad because she had no idea why her son was being removed and that I never contacted her about her son's behavior. My favorite part was what happened after half an hour of explaining why her son's behaviors were inappropriate, disrespectful, and distracting to his peers AGAIN.
She tells us how she knows her son and that she just felt like we were punishing her because he had to stay home with her that day.
27. Fumbling With Footwear
I'm working in Japan as an English teacher, working at three different places. The second place was in the greater Tokyo area, and I was in charge of preschool for a short time. This one kid was strange. He was generally sweet and could occasionally display some stroke of genius, but just...off, somehow. He would come in with laced-up, shin-high leather boots.
Thing is, they were a pain to take off when he needed to and would present a tripping hazard if we went to the park. We asked his mother if they could invest in some cheap trainers or Crocs, and she said she couldn't. We ask why. Her exact words: "My husband wants him to be more fashionable than the other children". She did eventually get him Crocs, but it suddenly became apparent why this kid was a bit lacking—his parents are children themselves.
28. Keep Cutting Classes…
High school teacher here. I had a class once where several of the students decided there was one answer to all of their problems: cut class. Math test you aren't ready for? Cut class! Oral presentation in English? Cut class! Just not feeling like going to social studies today? Cut class! These students were doing the same thing across all subjects, so we as teachers cracked down especially hard on them.
No make-up tests, no second chances on work they missed. Most of them grumbled, but started playing by the rules pretty quickly—but not all of them. One boy told his mother that he was the only one affected by this change, and it wasn't fair, because he went to every single class every single day. He didn't know why, but all of his teachers had it in for him and were marking him absent and denying him the chance to do his work, even when he was there.
Yep, we were saying, "All of you, start your tests.... except you, Student X. You may only stare at the wall for ninety minutes, because I am arbitrarily declaring that you may not take the test". And his mother believed him. She actually said she couldn't believe any teacher would do such a thing... but because her son said it, it must be true that multiple teachers were doing just that.
I'm a parent myself, and I understand the urge to believe your own kid. But at some point, you've got to disconnect and ask yourself if what the kid is demanding would actually happen in this or any other universe.
29. She’s Learning So Well
I used to be a preschool teacher, and we did evaluations every few months. One four-year-old girl, sweet as could be, could only count to the number four. She struggled with other things, but counting was by far the worst. Her parents come into the evaluation and are delighted that their daughter could count to four. We had to gently explain to them that she was well behind the other kids.
Even the actually challenged kids surpassed her. She was obviously bright, so we asked them what they worked on with her at home. Nothing. They did nothing with her. They assumed that she didn't and wouldn't start learning till teachers taught her. To their benefit, they did start working with her at home and by the beginning of the next year, she was ready to move up.
I've never been so proud and disappointed at the same time in a set of parents.
30. Making The Grade
Every year, our orchestra students go on a tour to the elementary schools in the area. Since they're missing a full day of school for it, the rule is that they have to have at least a C in all classes to go on the trip. This one kiddo has a D in my class, has done minimal work, and tanked most tests and quizzes. He has at least a C in every other class.
On the day of the trip, he walks in with ONE missing assignment which is nowhere near enough to bring the grade up so he can go on the trip. He walks out of my room in tears. I am not moved—but his mom is not pleased. I get a phone call not five minutes later from his irate mother telling me what a horrible person I am, how I am the worst teacher ever, blah, blah, blah...
Apparently not going on this one trip was going to ruin his entire year—possibly his entire life–and I am a soul-sucking demon who should feel horrible for crushing his dreams. After she yelled at me for 20 minutes, she called the principal and yelled at her. The principal backed me up. Since she didn't get her way, the mom got super mad and picked him up from school.
31. Chipping Away
There was a girl around nine years old with severe behavior problems. She couldn't cope with a lot of simple things and would fly off the handle. This was due to a lot of bad stuff happening to her in her short life. One day, this girl was trying to break down the office door to get to some other students who had locked themselves in there for their own protection.
Her mother turned up and just watched her for a while, before saying, "She's behaving like this because the upstairs neighbors put a chip in her neck to track her, and it's feeding back through her ears, so that's why she's always grumpy". Long story short, the girl went to live with relatives while Mum went into a psych ward.
After a few months, Mum has returned, and she is caring for her daughter. It was pretty tough for a while, but they seem to be getting back on track now. I am constantly amazed by the resilience of kids. Sure, this girl was acting out, but when I was informed of all the stuff she has had to go through, it's amazing she is actually functioning at all.
32. The Tutor’s Job
I used to tutor students ages Pre-K through college, and we're supposed to meet with the parents once a month to discuss recommendations for how the student can improve the skills we're trying to master in the sessions through activities at home. I was working with an amazing second-grader whose parents were having him tested for dyslexia and medicated for ADHD.
At the time, I gave them some pretty standard advice about reading with him every night before bedtime to enforce what he worked on twice a week at the center. The father's response was infuriating: "Why would we need to work with him on his reading? Isn't that what we're paying you to do"?
33. They’re Always Arguing
This kid was getting a B- in my 7th-grade English class. Super nice, shy kid in a wheelchair. Had conference. Dad couldn't fathom how his kid was making such a low grade. He said we were discriminating against him because he's in a wheelchair, argued with me about the subject/verb agreement in the kid's essay, and said I should be fired along with his former teachers all the way back to kindergarten.
There are two things that parents don't understand. First, I'm not an expert on your kid. You spend much more time with them than I do. But I am an expert in that age group. Parents know 10-20 people in the age group of their student. I know 150 a year for several years. I know that most 12-year-olds lie, cheat, and feel REALLY bad at some point.
Your kid is not the exception. The second, and this is the number one thing I wish parents understood, is that the way your kid acts around his peers is most likely closest to his or her true personality. I have had countless parents say, "but he doesn't act like that at home". Fine. But he does act like that around his peers, and that's what life is most of the time: time spent with your peers.
If he's an angel at home and a jerk in class, your kid's most likely going to be seen as a jerk by 99% of the population.
34. Knocking In Some Sense
One of my students regularly gets knocked around by his dad at home if his grades aren't good. He's also one of the weakest students in his grade, so his grades are often lower. One day, his dad came in to pick him up and told us that if he was ever misbehaving in class we should feel free to knock him around a little bit.
The kid was right there while his dad was telling us this, and he just laughed and nodded. Poor guy.
35. Constant Disrespect
My first year teaching, I was in a rural ghetto school, and one of my senior girls spent the entire class period every day sitting on top of her desk turned away from me, talking to a friend with her middle finger in the air towards me. I had a meeting with her, her mom, the guidance counselor, and the principal, all of whom told me to give her work to make up.
I complied, and a month later when she still hadn't done any of it, I got in touch with mom again. The mother blew up on me. She called me an awful teacher and threatened to physically harm me. The school’s officers had to make sure she stayed away from me and my classroom, which was a real concern since she actually worked on campus.
36. The Rich Kid
This family was incredibly well off. The little girl wore Matilda Jane clothing every single day, which is expensive. The individual pieces are between $40-$60. She almost never wore the same thing twice. Compared to a little boy in my class, his dad was in and out of prison, and he always wore dirty jeans and the same pair of boots.
His mom cut his hair and you could tell. But he was full of personality. All the kids wanted to play with him. He got a little rowdy and did say some lightly inappropriate things like cursing openly, but I would never peg him as a "behaviorally challenged" kid. Well, the rich mother approached my lead teacher and flat out demanded that her little girl never have contact with this boy because he was a bad influence.
She wasn't to sit by him or speak to him or play with him. When we refused, she gave all these instructions to her daughter, who would approach the little boy and announce over the whole class, "You have to leave here so I can play".
37. Lower Than Expected
When I was in a parent-teacher conference, we were discussing how the parent's son was very low academically and possible testing was going to be needed, otherwise, he might be held back a grade. Her reaction was chilling. She stood up and started screaming in a room full of other parents and teachers that her son, "...is not freaking stupid" and that he in fact, did not need to be tested according to her.
It was very, very upsetting for her obviously and myself. He is now in 7th grade, barely able to read, and has been held back twice.
38. She’s Good Enough, I Swear
The recreation department I work at has a Junior Lifeguard program. We have different levels for younger kids and kids with lower swim skills. I had a parent today threaten to remove his child from the program because she was in the lower level, not the higher level. His daughter is a very nice kid, but she can't swim well.
If we moved her to our upper group, she'd be swimming in the open ocean while barely being able to dog paddle. We've explained why it's too dangerous and have refused to make the change, but he still demands it. He's so embarrassed his kid is a weak swimmer, he's willing to risk her life to make others think she's good.
39. I Want A Horse
I come from a family of teachers and have met a number of annoying parents. Though the story that sticks out the most is from my mom, who was a P.E. and Health teacher in a very small school in a local farming town. She also coached girls’ softball in the fall and track in the spring. One of the more affluent mothers in the community approached my mom at a track meet and told her that the kids didn't have enough "fun" activities to do during P.E.
She suggested that my mom approach school officials about horse riding. So, my mom thinks she’s talking about taking a trip somewhere close or whatever. It’s probably not gonna happen, but not outside the realm of possibility either. Turns out, what the lady was really talking about was having a stable and an equestrian range.
Don't forget about the horses either. Her reasoning was that her daughter really enjoyed riding horses, so it was reasonable to expect the school district to provide. My mom excused herself pretty quickly and got back to the track meet.
40. My Perfect Angel
My aunt's a teacher, and I remember her telling me about the strangest parent encounter ever. She taught maybe the sixth or seventh grade. There was this one kid in her class severely underperforming, and even after numerous confrontations with him, he never worked in class or got his grades back up. My aunt had to call his mother down to the school to talk to her about it.
She mentioned that she felt that he had the capacity to perform much better, but he didn't. Well...The mother just denied it. To be clear, she wasn't crazy or anything, just in absolute denial. My aunt showed her his grades, but she ripped the paper apart and told her that it's not true. She said, "I don't know what you're talking about, my son is perfect"! and stormed out of the school.
41. A Fish Out Of Water
I was a 22-year-old female Asian middle school teacher in a district that was 99% black. You couldn't find another person who looked quite like me in a 20-mile radius. I had a parent tell me that I couldn't possibly be a good influence on her child, because after all, I do things like nails and hair during my off-hours. The community's impression of Asian women were that we all worked at nail salons.
The extremely skewed Asian stereotypes however worked in my favor for classroom management when my kids were convinced that I knew martial arts. Any time I put on my "teacher face" when the students were misbehaving, one of the kids would exclaim, "Oh no, teacher is about to kung-fu you"! I never had too many problems with the kids that year.
42. The New Hire
We put an all-call out one year for a male Child Development Facilitator because we had one kid who was 5 foot and easily 150 lbs. And they were six years old with more developmental and behavioral delays than you should be able to list. The kid ripped the door off a bathroom stall one day, and most of the staff were scared of the kid.
I was one of the few people that were willing to deal with the kid, and I'd get called down from my class when a restraint and removal was needed, and I'm 5'2'' so I'm not exactly the best built for the job. Finally, we get this one guy in, and he's fantastic. He learns the ropes super well, is amazingly calm with the kids, and he and I worked great.
Three weeks. He lasted three weeks before he quit because of pressure from parents and staff from other locations. Just because he was a man working with smaller kids. I lost it that day and broke down in the manager's office. It was totally a shining moment in my career.
43. Some Suspicious Spanish
Kid wrote a perfect sentence in Spanish as an answer on a test. Unfortunately, it was copied verbatim from a worksheet that she had on the floor next to her. I asked her what that sentence meant, and she did not know. Of course, she got no credit for it. But her father was livid. He said that she had memorized it, and should get full credit for a good sentence.
I responded that if she memorized it, then it was plagiarism. She had to write an original sentence. The dad was furious at me and made threats.
44. That’s Not Important
My mother-in-law told me about a boy in her class who had been passed through lower grades even though he had abysmal reading scores. She teaches the 6th grade, and it was becoming apparent that his lack of reading comprehension was going to get in the way of his immediate academic pursuits. So she called a meeting with his parents to address the issue.
At some point, the kid's mother tells her: "I don't care if he can read, I just want him to be happy". She didn't and couldn't say it to the parents in the meeting, but what she DID say to me was, "Pretty soon the only thing that will make this kid feel good is sitting in his parent's basement, because they are teaching him that education doesn't mean anything. Being able to read would make him a happy adult, but his parents don't even care enough to make that happen for him".
Seriously, reading? That is such a basic precept of a thriving adult life that I cannot imagine what one would do without it. I can't imagine a situation in which I didn't care if my own child could read.
45. It’s All About The Bowels
I was a daycare teacher and one child in my class acted up practically every day. He would take off his shoes and socks for no reason, put rocks in his pull-ups, wouldn't drink water when asked to, all just to defy me and my co-teacher, all kinds of things. One day, when we wrote about his behavior in his daily note home, and his mom came to pick him up, she gave us the most pathetic excuse.
She shrugged and said, "Oh its because he didn't poop today". But he did that day. Twice. She was obsessed with his bowel movements because it was potty training time and just for some reason that was important to her. She blamed his bad behavior on the fact that he "didn't poop" that day.
46. It’s Just Like Home
I teach in China at a private school. Many of the parents are rich—we're talking servants, more than one house, fancy sports cars, and things like that. Many of the children are spoiled. They have their own iPhones, iPads, cameras—the newest and latest models. I have even seen these kids come to school with a servant carrying their school bag for them.
At the school gate, the servant, often an older woman, will give them the school bag and the child will then walk inside. I have sometimes seen these kids mistreat their servants and I have seen some of the servants cringe when this happens. Anyway, one little girl was used to giving orders—just like she does at home. So, in class, she'd try to order the others around.
As you can imagine, this is not a good way to make friends, especially when many of the other kids are quite rich themselves. After a few days, they didn't want to play with her or talk to her anymore. Her mother came to school and told the principal that if he didn't make the other children play with her, she would have those children removed from class.
47. Not Good Enough
In my first parent-teacher conference ever, the mom of a student sat down and wanted to know why her student had a B+ in my class. I explained that her daughter was doing well and was a hard worker with a great attitude. She said, "Well I can tell you WHAT, I will NOT be happy if she doesn't have an A by the end of the semester, I can tell you THAT right NOW".
I said that it would be a great goal for her to work hard and try to bring her grade up to an A by putting in more time studying, but that if she does end up with a B or B+, try not to be too hard on her because she really is a good student who is trying her best and a B is an above average grade. She then glared at me, shook her head, and said, "Oh NO. I won't be upset with HER if she gets a B".
I thought she was joking at first so I started laughing. She wasn't. She basically told me to give her daughter an A, or else. The student received the grade that she earned at the end of the semester, which was a B.
48. A Nice Thing To Do
My daughter's senior class voted a medically handicapped girl prom queen. I feared they were playing a joke on her, but my daughter insisted they all truly wanted her to win. Her family was poor, and the teachers chipped in and bought her a dress and shoes. The summer after graduation, I ran into the mother of another student in the class.
This mother had pushed her daughter to be popular, bought her the best of everything, pushed her into being a cheerleader, and even went to the point of trying to set her up with boys in her class. She actually chased them on her daughter’s behalf. She's also a bit nuts, so I try my best to avoid her if I see her first. On this day, I wasn't so lucky.
Immediately, she started complaining about the student that was voted Prom queen. She kept saying how her daughter should have been prom queen, how the other students just voted for the other girl because they didn't want her daughter to get it, that it was so unfair, and she was so mad. Then, she started on how horrible it was to vote in a girl that was in special ed classes because she really didn't deserve to graduate.
She said that the girl was so poor that the teachers had to buy her dress, as if it was a sin to be poor. I finally got sick and tired of her talk, and I didn't like her anyway, so I put her in her place. I told her I thought it was a very nice thing for the students to do. This may be the only special moment this girl will ever have, her daughter will have many special moments, and it was so nice for the teachers to make sure she was dressed as nice as the other girls.
The mom was stunned, to say the least. She expected me to agree with her, but I was sick of her, how she was sending her daughter out to any boy who would date her, told her daughter's friends about her sex life, and her crazy tirades every time I saw her. Now when I run into her, she speaks and goes on her way. Thank goodness.
49. Grades, Or Else!
I had a helicopter parent get extremely aggressive and threatening when his daughter was given a B on her progress report. Whatever, dude. It's not a real grade, chill. The student later earned an A because it was deserved, not because the dad was bullying me. Fast forward about a year, and I learn something horrible about this particular dad.
He'd been detained while on a family vacation to their home country for having his wife killed. They couldn't prove it was him, so he got off, but everyone knew. Somehow, I wasn't that shocked, honestly.
50. The Healing Child?
I had a parent stalk out of my classroom waiting to pounce. "Don't you understand my child is an indigo child"? Coming from a special education background, I'm like what the heck is this woman talking about? Indigo? The color? Have I missed something? Oh no... Apparently, the universe speaks to him and tells him when he needs to do his work.
She also reminded me he was sensitive and a healer. When I mentioned he had been punching and kicking kids on the playground, she quickly ended the conversation. He ended up being homeschooled cause his life's destiny was to bring down institutions, and public school wasn't going to work for him. But that wasn't the wildest part. The mom also wanted to put crystals around the class to eliminate my negative energy I was passing on to him.
I didn’t let that happen. Instead, he wore a "special necklace" to protect himself from me.