29 May 2013

don't be the reason your kid's teacher drinks

i've had the pleasure of teaching 3rd grade, 8th grade math, intervention/remediation, and special education. while i no longer teach, i can say that the one thing i hated the most across the board was the coddling - from parents, other teachers, and administrators. this is not to say that i didn't love my kids. and what i loved the most was the pride they felt from learning responsibility and hard work so that they could truly enjoy their success. kids are proud of what they earn - not what you hand them. And if you get them out of every little thing they do, and they never have consequences, they will never grow up. period. not only that, they lack self-respect and confidence, and they struggle to make real friends.

teachers work hard. really hard. and they don't do it for the money or the time off, as so many believe. anybody who teaches to have the summers (or track outs) off needs to get their head examined. they teach because they want your child to be the best they can be. they want your child to feel self respect and pride in their work. they are not your nanny. they are not your child's best friend. they are your child's educator.

the more of a pain in the ass you are to your child's teacher, and the more you expect special treatment and breaks for your child, the more drained your child's teacher is and the more distracted she is from doing her job. there are not enough minutes in the day. she barely has time to take a piss or eat her lunch in peace. some teachers don't eat their lunch in peace. some teachers don't eat.
she doesn't have time for unneeded pampering, hovering and drama. the other children in your child's class are just as special and important as yours is.
while it's understandable that your child's well-being is your priority, you need to let them breathe.
 please, for your child's sake - get a damn hobby.

here, some guidelines (mostly written from an elementary perspective):

 1) follow the damn rules - like all the other parents {even if you are a fellow teacher!} ... after all, that is what we are tryin' to teach your kids, remember? No you can't have a conference immediately because you "work" at the school or you are such-and-such on the PTA. contact the teacher and schedule a conference like everybody else. it is also highly frowned upon to sneak down to your child's teacher's room  and watch her teach creep on her ass through the window in her door for twenty minutes. wtf, get a grip. orrr, don't be that chick callin' your child's teacher during class to bitch about something because your child, who 1) broke a rule and 2) can't follow directions - texted you with the phone he ain't supposed to have{!!!} and then you back him up on his pooh pooh ass whining!? the apple doesn't fall far. how the hell did kids survive school before cell phones? if these mamas aren't working, why aren't they out drinkin' a margarita or doing something fun? i need to know!

2) don't tell your child's teacher how to teach. believe it or not, your child's teacher has gone to an accredited institution of higher education to be legally qualified to teach your child. don't school her on your methods. trust me, if you know all that shit, then you need to home school your kid anyway. your child's teacher will be glad you did. and don't start throwing around that you are doctor so-and-so, or head commander of such-and-such, or whoever in the middle of a conference. don't nobody give a damn who you are. they may cater to your requests in front of your face, but it's to shut you the hell up and get you back out of the building and out of everybody's hair as quickly as humanly possible. and, it'll get harder and harder for the teacher and the administration not to take their aggression towards your jackass behavior out on your child. and on that note, if you want to pretend you are actually going to give your child a consequence, or actually make them do their homework, etc, then do it or don't even sit there and lie. just keep your mouth shut and leave.
and if you ask a teacher what you can do to help your child and she tells you, don't get all defensive and bitchy about it. it is after all, her job to make sure your child is learning. sometimes, behaviors need to be dealt with first so that your child can learn. and if you say you are going to follow through and discipline your child, do it. the teacher's job is not to raise your damn kid. she's got a classroom full of others to worry about. if she isn't getting any help from you, she will end up disciplining him more and more at school. either discipline the kid, or shut up when the teacher tries to.

3) if you bring shit to school, please make sure you bring enough for everybody - this includes food and party invitations - otherwise, the kids get all excited, only to find out that there's not enough - your kid's teacher ain't got time to be doin' fractions with some chocolate chip cookies or to explain to half the kids why they aren't invited to your kid's party. the best thing for you to do with invitations is to give them to the teacher, and let her pass them out into homework folders or friday folders.

4) if you schedule a conference, have the decency to show up and please get your shit together before you show up - just as you would expect the teacher to do. if you don't want to come, just say so. and if you truly, unexpectedly cannot come, call the teacher or school as soon as possible and let them know. save the teacher the grief - she does not, in fact, take up residence at the school. her time is valuable just like yours. she could be at home with her own family, or grading shit tons of papers, or writing lesson plans. and on this note, if you find that most of your conferences involve your child's teacher and an administrator, your kid likely is all the things that you keep hearing over and over again and YOU are the one who needs some kinda intervention. don't make yourself look like an ass by bringing up things which the teacher has tried to call you about, email you about, or send notes home to you about numerous times and that you chose to ignore. 
"Why didn't I know about this?" 
umm, maybe because you didn't return my calls or my emails or look in your child's homework or friday folder this whole damn quarter.

5) don't bitch about your child's grade on an assignment not being 100% when we all know damn well you did most of it yourself. vomit. seriously. you are grown. how is your kid supposed to learn anything when you are doing her shit for her? your child's teacher hopes you feel proud of yourself making that A {seeing as how you are an adult, and it was a 4th grade project and all} and teaching your child to be lazy and a cheat.

6) don't teach your kid all of your whack character traits (racism, drinkin' like hell, blameshifting, etc), then not punish him for his behavior because you feel guilty you know he learned that shit from you. everybody hates this - the teacher and the other students. and while it's human nature not to want to get in trouble, if a child lies to get out of trouble and gets away with it on a regular basis, they learn to work the system. they learn that they can lie to mama and daddy and they have zero respect for the teacher, for the principal, for other students, and most sadly, for themselves. and you? they sure as hell have no respect for you. when your kid says shit like, "so and so is a racist because he said i look like the cookie monster," obviously his 8 year old self doesn't even know what racism is. therefore, the whole world knows he learned it from you. same goes for art work involving rum & cokes and vodka tonics, mmmkay?

7) don't email your child's teacher over and over and over - guess what? she is trying to teach your child and 25-30 other kids. and she has not yet graded the quiz that she gave that morning, anyway. so stop. if it's a real emergency, call the office. and if you have the access to look the grade up yourself, don't be lazy. do it. the teacher doesn't have time to hold your hand.

8) don't teach your child that they're always in the right. because they aren't. nobody is. we all make mistakes, but we learn from them because there are consequences. the worst thing you can do for your child is to teach them to play people against each other to get their way. and, let them earn their grade - good or bad. they will have more appreciation and pride for their own hard work (or disappointment in the lack thereof) if they have a true result - positive or negative - not your buffered, fake one.
if the whole world thinks your kid did it, and you get calls all the time that your kid did it, and the teacher says your kid did it, most of the damn time, your kid did it. if you have a teacher and an administrator conferencing with you because Little Susie wrote filthy pornographic words on a computer program, (which the teacher knows about because there were multiple witnesses and that shit was recorded and linked back to her because it was logged in under her username and password) - over and over, and over for monthssss, she. did. that. shit. grow some balls. punish your child. sometimes kids lie. and why wouldn't they, if it always gets them out of trouble? and maybe instead of being pissed at the teacher and principal, you ought to be wondering where an 11 year old learned words that would make Lil' Kim blush.

9) make sure you and your spouse/baby mama/baby daddy are on the same page about what is actually going on before you drive to the school to attack your child's teacher. i cannot tell you how many times mama done gone home and got daddy all pissed off, and then daddy shows up to find out mama was full of shit. for example, if you voice a concern to your child's teacher because Little Johnny lacks social skills, and she suggests that you let him unpack his own shit and walk himself to class in the morning so that he can .... (wait for it) ... socialize with other kids, maybe you should catch your husband up to speed on you and Little Johnny's morning routine before you fill his head with a bunch of bullshit about how the teacher told you how to parent your child, and he shows up ready to flip out at school. otherwise, he might leave that conference pissed off at you for wussifying your child and lying to him, instead of being pissed at the teacher. and, you look like a cray cray who never wants your child's balls to drop.

10) don't try to get your kid out of a consequence that she knew about ahead of time, and therefore, expected. if the consequence for not having homework is to walk laps during recess, or to do the homework during lunch, or whatever - and your child's teacher gives these consequences because your child didn't do her homework, don't send in some shit about your kid being at ball practice or ballet or some sort of recreational activity. family emergencies or illness are one thing, but sports? bitch please.

people wanna bitch about the government {past and present}, but i'm sure that this sense of entitlement is first learned at home, and is a much bigger problem than anything the government's doing.
give your kid consequences. do what you say you're going to do -good or bad. 
they will thank you for it in the long run.
{and so will everybody else who comes in contact with them.}

** also, big ups to male teachers too - sorry for my overuse of "she" and "her" ;)


Kat@shop.school.sleep. said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!!!!! I had 2...TWO!!!...6th graders caught ditching my class in the past 2 weeks!! all they got was a slap on the hand and told "don't do that again"!! ARE you freakin kidding me?! We have police stop by, give them a freakin police ticket and fine their ass!! 6th grade...and we wonder why they ditch in high school?! Cuz they learn it's ok in 6th grade!!

Oh and last semester a mom emailed me and threaten to file a complaint with the district for not letting her son 1- turn in late work...three months late and 2 days after the cut off date 2- take a test that I haven't even taught yet (we were reading The Giver and the test was on the last chapters) because they were leaving early for vacation!!

Sorry you got me riled up hahahaha

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Awesome post Beth!

The sense of entitlement IS learned at home and is the #1 problem in this country. NO one knows what hard work is anymore.

I think it is INSANE that kids can have phones in class.

Annabelle said...

GREAT POST!!! I respect teachers and the time and effort that they put into their job! No one ever thinks about the fact that they are giving up time with their family do cater to the parents sometimes. Let the teacher do their job!

Lauren Crawford said...

HAHA - rolling on the floor. Every word is TRUE. And it makes it that much better that the examples you used ALL ACTUALLY HAPPENED! crazy world!
Thanks for this. I'm sure for many teachers who are counting down the hours until the last bell rings for summer (or track out) are appreciating this post and nodding their head as they sip, no GULP, their margarita that they are drinking in order to forget about a crazy parent, or 10.

Al said...

This is perfection.
However, here in Syracuse, I don't ever SEE my student's parents, let alone ever hear from them. I face a faceless/nameless beast: the absent parent. My kids have learned all the bad habits, but I don't have anyone to blame because I don't know where they are :( I might give my right arm to have a parent express concern over a child's grade...

I actually just interviewed at a suburban school in Virginia. a NICE ASS school. But it intimidated me because I thought to myself, which is worse? Dealing with bad kids in the city, or bad parents in the suburbs???

Loved this though. Well played, friend.

Ashley said...

ok the title of this post totally made me giggle but seriously...i have always thought that teachers and cops are WAY WAY underpaid....i mean these are the people that are protecting us and raising our future. but also, it is draining! i work with middle schoolers at my church and after 3 hours....i am exhausted! didn't know you taught - that's awesome!