Not all parents, mind you. We just hate those parents who think a.) we don’t care about your kids, b.) we don’t have feelings so it is okay to write snotty emails before attempting to host a civil conversation, c.) it is a debate or democracy when it comes to what I saw your kid do. No, if I saw it, it happened, no voting on whether or not I’m right, d.) teacher is to principal as dental office secretary is to dentist, so go ahead and bring all of your complaints and concerns to my boss before talking to me. I’m hardly even a professional! The only thing separating me from a McDonald’s burger flipper is this comfy office chair!
What brings this up? Here are all three parent emails I received this week (names changed):
My name is Betty Smith and my daughter Mary is in your 6th grade Spanish class. I am a bit confused on how you came up with Mary’s grade. She did very well in Spanish last year and she told me that the class hasn’t had anything to turn in so both myself and Mary are confused and upset about her grades in this class. If you could please talk to Mary and explain how you came up with her grades and please email me about the same.
Yes, I “came up with” your daughter’s grades! It is unrelated to her being a distracting, undisciplined, lazy girl! She did well in Spanish last year because my standards were too low, something that was communicated to you in the letter home at the beginning of the school year, and is on the website! But I’ll explain it again, since you seem to think it must be unrelated to anything she is actually putting into the class.
I am available on Tuesday morning for a conference. Please send a time when I can meet with you.
Mrs. Henry (someone who had previously been on a first name basis)
Dear Mrs. Henry,What would you like to discuss at a conference? What time were you thinking on Tuesday? I am part-time, so my hours at school are more limited than a full time teacher.
–>her response, sent to me and my principal:
I was looking through my emails from you, checking to see if you sent any current notes home which would have indicated that Laquesha was having problems. I’m sure, you are aware that there aren’t any emails and you were not available during Back to School Night. Since you are just part-time, I will address all my concerns with the full time principal, on Monday morning. I will meet with Mr. Davis and ask him to fill you in on all my concerns. Please know that I have been in education for 28 years and believe in quality education! I also believe that managing your student’s behavior is an essential component in a quality education. I am and will always be a full time teacher. I check my girls edline grades as often as three times a day. I know when grades are added and when I need to address them with any concerns I may have. I am always a full-time parent!
My principal, Mr. Davis, sent a nice PC email back, but I replied to both him and Mrs. Henry with:
Good morning Mrs. Henry,
Of course we want Laquesha to succeed! I have included notes on Edline for you each week regarding some things I’m noticing in class. I’m curious as to whether or not they are showing up on the parent-side of things; I can only see what I input on my side. Because I don’t have a list of parent emails, I use the memo section in Edline as an alternative form of documentation and communication. This is why you did not see any emails in your inbox from me. They were in the student report.
I hope you didn’t think I was refusing to meet with you. I was just making sure you were aware that I am part-time and not at OLH campus as much as her other teachers are; of course I’m happy to meet/speak with parents. My first class meets at 9:30.
If you prefer to meet Mr. Davis without me, you certainly may, although it would be more helpful to me as Laquesha’s teacher to hear from you directly about your specific concerns. If you want to speak on the phone, let me know what hours work best for you. If you want to meet in person, maybe Tuesday morning would work, again, I was just wondering about your availability.
Yes, I am SOOOO glad that you are a full time parent. I do find that confusing given that your daughter is consistently one of the worst-behaved kids in the class, never studies, and naturally does poorly on her assessments. I would think that such a perfect parent would have better results than that, but I guess as long as you tell yourself you’re full time, you don’t have to worry about the actual results.
Also, it’s great to have you attack me for being part-time. Yes, because I am paid a fraction of what my comrades are paid, I am not available for as many hours a week for teaching and parental abuse. But don’t worry! Your sly remarks made it very clear that you think I have a “part-time” attitude! If I really cared about my students, I would be at their parents’ beck and call, without regard to the other 40 or so hours a week I work, my kid’s schedule, or the half hour drive to the school! Gotcha, I’ll try to burn the candle at both ends, and in the middle if necessary, from now on.
I have just seen Lisa’s grades in Spanish, and to say the least I am not happy. Here is my issue with the grading, you have now given her 2 (0’s) for participation. I am not okay with that, first you can not give her a (0) if you send her out of the class. You assumed she was “throwing paper balls”. Just to be clear, my daughter does not throw paper balls. I’m not saying she is angel, but you assumed and then you gave her a (0) without defending herself. Just to be clear, I asked the other students in her class, and they ALL said she was not throwing paper balls. The first (0) you gave her, I asked her why this was, she was not sure. So on Tuesday, she went to you to ask, and you did not give her a clear answer. How is it you are grading participation? I DID read your note that was sent home the first of the year, and I don’t believe you are staying true to the note. My second issue is, the entire class failed the Spanish test, how can you post that as a grade. If the entire class failed a test, I believe it’s not the students, it’s the teacher. Something needs to change in your teaching. I believe you gave my daughter 2 (0’s) that were uncalled for. I would appreciate it if you could revamp the grading, as this is unfair. If my daughter can not play volleyball for a subject, that I don’t personally agree she should have to take. I will raise this issue with the principal. I know for a fact, I am not the only parent who seems to have issues with the way Spanish is going this year, and the year has just begun.
I haven’t responded to this one yet, but can’t wait for my boss’s pathetic response to it. Here’s my fantasy:
Dear Mrs. Idiot,
As I saw your daughter throw a paperball in a friend’s face, I know for a fact that she did. You talking to a bunch of students about a teacher is a violation of school policy, so consider yourself warned. Your daughter doesn’t study, hence doesn’t do well on the tests. Some kids, the ones who study, and whose parents aren’t raging idiots, did do well. Don’t assume that every family and student is as dysfunctional as you and yours.
I am prepared to give my two-week notice if my principal expects me to violate my own dignity by treating these raging a-holes like they’ve got some good points. Hmmm, I think it might be time for my principal to say, “It doesn’t really sound like you tried to talk to Mrs. Mighty, let alone very respectfully. You do realize that your child’s grade does not reflect how much Mrs. Mighty is teaching, but how much your student is studying?”