For many teachers, dealing with difficult parents can be a very tough part of the job. From constant emails and phone calls to unexpected visits to the classroom, it’s no secret that difficult parents can cause a lot of stress for educators.
But it’s not just about managing interactions— there are often deep-seated issues at play as well. Fortunately, there are strategies that teachers can use to help navigate these tricky situations.
In this post, we’ll share the real experiences teachers from Reddit have had to deal with and how they handled them.
Accused of Hitting a Child
One teacher spoke about the time they were called into the administrative office and questioned about an accusation that they had hit a child and left them with a bruise.
After the school looked into it, they found out the incident that they were referencing occurred in another room, nowhere near the teacher.
Despite the clear evidence that the teacher did nothing wrong, the parent still insisted that they had hit their child and threatened to sue unless the teacher was fired.
The school stood its ground, knowing the teacher was innocent, and soon contacted their lawyers. After months of back-and-forth, the parent eventually dropped the accusations and settled the matter.
Not Allowing a Teacher to Grieve
The teacher in this situation had been away from school for two weeks due to the passing of their mother. Subsequently, a student in the individualized education program (IEP) failed to complete any work during this time.
When the parent called to inquire about the poor assignment results, the teacher explained that they had been absent due to a family tragedy and could not monitor the student’s instruction.
However, this did not stop the parent from yelling at the teacher and insisting that their child should not have gotten zeros despite the circumstances. She told her, “I don’t care if your mother died; my boy does not deserve zeros.”
Accused of Threatening a Child
A male teacher was accused by a student’s parents of threatening their child after simply putting his hand up, signaling to “stop,” and asking the child to be quiet.
The parents were angry, complained to the school, and threatened to sue the teacher; however, upon investigation, it became clear that this never happened, as confirmed by all the students in the class.
Parents Not Interested in Their Child’s Progress
For many teachers, it can be incredibly disheartening when the parents aren’t interested in their child’s progress. In this case, it was especially difficult to witness a student’s disappointment as his father spent his time at a parent-teacher conference looking at his phone instead of listening and engaging with what was being said.
Another teacher spoke about the time they tried to reach out to the parents of a student who was not taking his studies seriously. When they were unable to answer phone calls, the teacher made sure to speak with them during parent-teacher conferences.
However, instead of engaging in a constructive conversation, the dad laughed and sniggered at the teacher like their son did, which made it clear to the teacher where the student’s behavior was coming from.
Hunting Down The Teacher’s Personal Phone Number
A teacher had a parent go through the phone book and start calling all of the people with their last name in an attempt to get their personal contact information.
The parent was angry that their child might need to be retained for first grade and was desperate to reach out and express their discontent. Fortunately, the parent did not succeed in obtaining the teacher’s contact information.
The teacher only found out about this when their own parents called in a panic about the situation. Though an extreme example, this incident serves as a reminder of how far some parents will go to ensure their voices are heard.
Parent Accosting Teacher During Class
A parent became angry that their child had received below 70% on a test and decided to confront the teacher in front of their entire class.
The teacher calmly explained that this was not an appropriate time or place to discuss the student’s private information and suggested they email them with some times they could meet.
The parent was so upset that she went to the principal’s office. The teacher was called to leave the class and pulled to the “meeting,” which she described as a “2-minute verbal assault.”
The principal, realizing the teacher had done nothing wrong, stepped in and asked if the parent was going to keep their child enrolled in the private school, and when they answered yes, had them sign a code of ethics contract. The student was eventually withdrawn from school over the Christmas break.
As evidenced by these stories, difficult parents are an unfortunate reality teachers face. While it can be intimidating and disheartening, it’s important for teachers to stay professional and remember that they always have the students’ best interests in mind.
This post, Teachers Share Their Experiences With Difficult Parents, was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Reddit source.
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.