HIDE behind your computer. RANT paragraphs on your entitlement to privilege and hit SEND!
So let me rant…just kidding. But I do want to address vitriol emails AGAIN. As I shared in my book Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!, I probably lost my last job due to five parents complaining about my choice of who got solos, talent show performers and how I supported my program through fundraising. These caustic emails, sent to my passive/aggressive administrator, ultimately ended my career as a 46 year teacher. I now label these self-righteous parents (and some administrators) with HRS SYNDROME: HIDE behind your computer, RANT paragraphs on your entitlement to privilege and hit SEND. Now fast forward.
I am a vocal coach with a studio of 15 students. After my forced retirement, my studio is a wonderful opportunity for me to continue teaching singers young and old. A few weeks ago, one of my HRS SYNDROME parents decided to attack me. It’s not worth the time nor the energy to share why this parent went after me in such a demeaning way. But here’s the good news: I AM NO LONGER EMPLOYED AS A TEACHER IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS! When I worked in education, the public schools forced me to absorb these vitriolic emails, ever since the installation of the internet! Seldom, if ever, did an administrator support me. These HRS SYNDROME parents loved to rail at me around 7 a.m. so I could percolate on their message, while I taught school for six hours, having no time to defend myself from the attacks. Did it effect my teaching? Of course it did. I found myself previewing my remarks before they made it through the airways so students would clearly understand my every instruction. This created a stumbling, mumbling, inarticulate instructor, with loss of confidence and some days near tears. How could any parent assume the teacher of their child is a moronic, vindictive imbecile? Whereas those words were never used, the translation was clear: my child is perfect, I am entitled to scold you and you better do what I demand.
So how did I handle this newest HRS SYNDROME parent. After I tried to reason with this mother in two emails, I wrote the following: Don’t contact me again. Ever. It felt so good to have the right to disconnect from this acerbic parent. As a public school teacher, I never held that right. Today’s teachers are no different. The HRS SYNDROME parent (and sometimes administrator) prevail with teachers having no right to stop the madness. One solution: administrators need to step up and prohibit this kind of email behavior. I once had a principal who defended me by telling the hostile party to simply “shut up!” It worked and in my tenure at that school, I was never attacked again.
I’m Paula Baack, the author of Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!, A fantastic book found at (Amazon/Barnes & Noble). Order your copy today. 14 FIVE STAR ratings. It won the 2020 Topshelf non-fiction book award. It’s a great read for students, parents, teachers and administrators.
Here’s a tease for my next blog:Three 20th century institutions which have been the ruination of our culture.
PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK WITH ANY AND ALL . You can heaar this podcast at: paulabaack.substack.com. If you’re experiencing unfair practices in your teaching position, please reach out to me at rescuetheteacher @yahoo.com! Please subscribe to my podcast: paulabaack.substack.com.