Part 2: A short cut to eradicating teachers: parents and emails!
My fast exit from teaching, forced upon me by an administrator too weak-kneed to support me when a parent went rogue, motivated me to address our country’s educational issues. Continuing with What’s Really Wrong with American Education: those love/hate relationships teachers have with parents. Just a random fact: I mention the word “parents” 360 times in my book!
With total transparency, I am a parent and grandparent. When our son was traversing through the school system, my husband and I tried to advocate for him in a kind and non-confrontational way. Such is no longer the case. Adversarial parents have no place in today’s educational system but unfortunately administrators allow them residence.
Just so you know I speak truth, here are a three examples of blood-curdling craziness I faced with parents:
Example 1: My principal came running into my room, whispered in my ear that I must go home at once. A parent called the school and threatened to come to school and kill me. You can’t make this up. Did I quit immediately and look for a safer job? No, I actually taught an additional 32 years after that event! Oh by the way, the parent never came to school.
Example 2: At a restaurant fund-raising event, one of my parents became upset with the service. So she marched over to the owner’s wife and told her to F off. But this mother was not finished. During a shouting match with the owner, the parent hurled a remote pager system, hitting the assistant manager on the head. Here is some irony: my micromanager principal, who admitted she was trying to drive me out of education, didn’t even flinch when she heard about it.
Example 3: The one that did me in: the false claim, asserted by a parent I never met, accused me of misappropriating funds for a GoFundMe account. The parent complained I was grading his son on the amount of money he contributed to the GoFundMe project. The entire conversation would seem almost laughable-I would never do something like that nor would any teacher-but it wasn’t humorous at all. This father’s determination to ruin my reputation and ultimately end my career was successful.
The most egregious deed of today’s parents is best summed up with this premise: how dare any teacher question my child’s learning or behavior. Here is an example of the pattern:
1. My child is perfect.
2. The teacher asserts he is not perfect, which is a personal affront to me.
3. Where’s my computer? And 10 minutes later, a rant is signed and hitting“send” begins the nightmare for teachers who dared to question a child’s ability.
4. Most often, these diatribes leave the cloud and land on a teacher’s computer just before the first morning class begins.
5. The next seven hours, the teacher only has time for instruction and cannot reply or defend the accusations. But make no mistake, the day was ruined by a disgruntled parent who believed his child was perfect!
Solution? It’s simple. There is one person and two groups who must be held accountable. The first person: Principals need to do more than just acquaint themselves with their staff. Know your teachers, have their back and support them when they are under assault by parents who truly believe they have the innate right to disparage a teacher. Some parents will even go further, IF allowed, and demand the instructor fired. Such was my case. The first group: Central administration must fact find and provide due process for any teacher wearing a target. And finally, School boards must be proactive in protecting their teachers. No principal should ever be allowed to badger or demote any teacher without repercussion.
TUNE IN TOMORROW. Here’s a tease: 21:2 . This is the ratio of all the principals/department chairs I served (21) to the ones who actually supported me (yes, only 2).
By the way, if you are interested in a free seminar, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course I want to sell books but I also want to share my experiences first person. And I speak for free! Just need my travel expenses covered.
PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK WITH ANY AND ALL . If you’re experiencing unfair practices in your teaching position, please reach out to me at rescuetheteacher @yahoo.com!