It seems like common sense to avoid most of these, and yet…
Teachers get a fair bit of flack both in and out of the classroom.
As the profession puts them in a mentorship role/position of authority over either young children who are still learning social cues, empathy, consideration and how to filter what they say, or teenagers who are going through major changes as their bodies, brains and personalities develop, teachers are equipped to deal with a certain level of back-talk or rudeness in the things students say.
Less easy to navigate, however, are the parents.
From the lighter end of being teased over summer holidays, to the somewhat expected challenges of confronting parents over the academic or behavioural issues their child is struggling with, to straight-up creepy, inappropriate remarks: there are plenty of things that teachers are sick and tired of hearing from fellow adults.
So, if you’re hoping to stay on your child’s teacher’s good side, take note of what these teachers advise not to say.
Don’t curse – especially when showing no interest in your child
You’d think this would be a given, but apparently, there’s no depth of disrespect (for both teachers and kids) some parents won’t sink to. One teacher told BuzzFeed: “I once had a student who was behind on her homework. I wrote the missing assignments in the student’s planner to let her mother know she was behind. I got a written reply from the mother that said, ‘Well, help her f**king do them, then.'”
Another wrote on Reddit that they called home to inform the parents about a test grade only for the child’s mother to answer with, “I know my kid is an a**hole; don’t call me again.”
Way to let a teacher trying to help your child know they’re the only one invested in your kid…
Don’t undermine their work
Alright, we get it: teachers have longer summers than most adults working full-time jobs, and school hours are generally shorter than a 9-5.
But a teacher’s working day doesn’t stop when the school day does. There’s still lesson preparation, grading and correcting to be done – most of the time for classes of up to 30 kids.
In primary school, you can multiply that by several subjects, while in secondary, you can multiply it by several year groups.
Scottish primary school teacher and TikToker @missksullivan pointed this out in a video, stating how people often joke her profession is really just “babysitting” with loads of time off. In the comments, another user wrote: “Secondary teacher here! My uncle said ‘I’d love your job, half 8-3 and all them holidays.’ He shut up when I said ‘yeah, I’m collecting my unpaid overtime.'”
Don’t… be a sexist
The fact that this even needs to be said in 2022 is fairly mind-blowing. The teaching profession has become a lot more diverse in recent decades, but apparently, some people’s train of thought has yet to catch up to modernity.
One teacher told BuzzFeed that a parent said to her: “I hope you don’t get pregnant and have to go on maternity leave, because my son shouldn’t have to deal with a hormonal teacher for months.”
Another said she called a dad to speak to him about his son’s disrespectful attitude towards her in class. “His response? ‘Yeah, he just doesn’t respect women,'” she told the outlet. Oh okay, that makes it alright then!
One mother came to a parent-teacher meeting to tell her child’s teacher she was “so brave to come to school without makeup on”, the outlet reports.
A different teacher said they got the “boys will be boys” line off a dad who thought his son peeing on his classmates’ pants and shoes (rather than in the urinal or toilet bowl, where pee is supposed to go) was “cute and funny”. Jesus wept.
Don’t be a creep!
As if sexism wasn’t bad enough, some people have to take it to a whole new level and be straight-up creepy. Since apparently some people need to be told this: a parent-teacher meeting is not a speed-dating activity, and it’s not appropriate to treat it as such.
You might think we’re over-exaggerating, but we’re not. Speaking to BuzzFeed, one teacher shared: “A student’s father was in the middle of a divorce and proceeded to come to parent-teacher conferences and bash his soon-to-be ex-wife the entire 20 minutes. He then proceeded to ask if I was single because, in his words, his son ‘looked at [me] like a mom.'”
Nope, no, never. What Hallmark movie convinced him that might actually work?
On TikTok, @missksullivan and her commenters said they’ve gotten the likes of “wish you were my teacher” or “I’d have listened in school if YOU were my teacher”. Another teacher told BuzzFeed a mother looked her up and down and said, ‘No wonder my son loves coming to this class.'”
These might seem like jokes or, to some, even compliments, but they make those on the receiving end uncomfortable – even if they aren’t being made within school walls. Teaching is their job, after all, and they should get to go to or talk about work without being confronted with other people’s fantasies.