Saturday, May 9, 2009

Letter to parents- reprise

About two years ago when I was teaching grades 7-12 in a small high school in the Wild West I was extremely frustrated with parents and their lack of caring or participation in their children's educations. I was really angry that they were quick to criticize teachers and place blame on us for all the wrong doings of their children. I was pissed after parent- teacher conferences when parents thought I went into teaching just for summers off. I knew I couldn't tell the parents how I really felt so I used my old blog as an outlet.

As I've been subbing, I'm having lots of these same feelings creep up. Talking to other teachers, I'm hearing the same things. Daddy-O is in the classroom daily and he hears this crap as well. Parents blame the teachers for everything and never want step up and take any sort of responsibility for the actions of their children.

I'm re-printing the letter I wrote, with a few minor changes... I think it's relevant whether I'm a sub in Civilization or a full time classroom teacher in the Wild West (hence the references to ranches and cows...).

For those of you who read this before, enjoy again... this was my most popular post ever, from my last blog so... enjoy- or skip it and go look at shoes and purses on ebay while drinking a Cosmo.

To: Lazy, Ignorant Parents
From: Pissed off Teacher

Are you people freaking crazy? I spend 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, of my life with your child and you begrudge me time off? Why is that? Because you don't want to have to worry about who your little darlings are out screwing or what they are drinking or who purchased the alcoholic beverage of their choice? Because you don't want to step up and finally be a parent, a role model or a good example?

I spend 184 days a year with your little darling. I don't get a break from time school starts in August until Christmas vacation except Thanksgiving because you parents want your child to get out of school earlier at the end of the year so you have your little babies around to do ranch work. I don't have a day off from January until April for the same reason! But think about this- what about My jpb that I'm supposed to be doing? You know, teaching your kids?

I see your child for at least 50 minutes each and every day, and usually more. I have to patrol them in the bathroom and hallways and in the rec center and library. I have to monitor them at lunch. I give up my break and prep period to help your child with homework. I stay after school to type your child's paper because you won't buy a computer, but you have a $3000 bar tab. I take calls from them at night when they call to ask for help with an assignment. Because I live a 5 minute walk away from the school, I go back to the building at least one time per week to let your forgetful little teen in to get that forgotten math book- did I mention I don't teach math?

How about some of these easy questions: Did you know your child loves to read mysteries? I do. Did you know your child is a talented artist, and likes Monet? I do. Did you know your child can sing and dance? I do. Did you know that when your child laughs hard, she snorts? I do. Did you know your child hates beef jerky even though her dad is a cattle rancher? I do.

How about these- let's step it up a bit shall we? Did you know that your child is an alcoholic and who supplies him beer? I do. Did you know your daughter had gonorrhea? I do. Did you know your daughter's boyfriend beats her up? I do. Did you know your child can't read past a 3rd grade level? I do. Did you know your child is afraid to go to college? I do. Did you know your child cuts herself? I do. Do you know your daughter is bulimic? I do. Did you know your son smokes pot? I do. Did you know your son would run away if he weren't scared? I do. Did you know your daughter had an abortion? I do. Did you know your son took his girlfriend to have an abortion? I do. Did you know your son tried to commit suicide more than once? I do.

And how do I know all this? Because I spend more time in a day, in a week, in a year, with your child than you do. And when I'm with your child I LISTEN to him or her. We TALK. I don't use them as my ranch hands or to staff my family owned business, as my personal slave. I read their journals, I grade their papers, I find them scholarships, I give them a ride when they are out of fuel, I loan them money, I tutor them. I hold them when they cry in the girl's bathroom. I give credence to their thoughts, feelings, emotions and fears. I go to their games, track meets, class meetings, play performances, and band and choir concerts. I chaperon their dances. I helped decorate for their proms. I'm at parent- teacher conferences. Where the hell are you?

I know where the parties are, and where the bodies are buried, and I know all the stories. I have inside jokes with your child. I can make them laugh and smile. I know the birthday of every sophomore off the top of my head, what students have tattoos of what and where, and I know what each senior plans to do after graduation. I know favorite foods, beverages and candies.

Do you have a clue that I spend vast quantities of my own money on paper and pens/ pencils because for some reason you can't seem to purchase school supplies for your child? Did you know I decorate my room with your child's art work and A papers because you can't seem to find a damn magnet or tape to hang it on your own refrigerator? Did you know I had your child to my house for dinner and to study for their history test because you wouldn't- and did I mention I'm not the history teacher? Or that your child came to a Shakespeare party at my house because it makes learning fun? Did you know that I LIKE YOUR CHILD and I HAVE THEIR VERY BEST INTERESTS AT HEART? Do you?

Did you thank me for helping your child get a $5000 scholarship? Did you thank me developing creative lesson plans, helping your child write complete sentences, educating them in pop culture and literature and providing all their English education? No, actually, you didn't. And why is that? You're there to complain when they miss 9 days of school in one quarter and you can't figure out why they failed my class. You're there when your child has failed to turn in any homework assignments even though I called you daily for 3 weeks to keep you abreast of this situation.

Yeah, I'm just a teacher and I get my summers off. What am I complaining about? It's not like I do anything important anyway...

You CHILD'S Teacher


Honey said...

Yes, it's true... it doesn't matter whether it's the Wild West or Civilization. The parents are all the same for the most part! They make excuses for their child not doing well, make excuses for their inappropriate behavior... they just make excuses!

So, it's somewhat bittersweet that I will be leaving my 2 yr. stint in middle school with a somewhat calm feeling. It won't be MY fault for their child failing algebra (it might actually be due to their child not turning work in or studying for a test!), it won't be MY fault that their child got an ISS for 'licking' my glasses...

Parents... if they would only get a clue.

Kelly G. said...

WOW....I don't even know what to say, other than....I want to kiss you?

You didn't deserve that kind of attitude from those parents. I realize that you're not teaching full-time right now, but you deserve more praise than most parents are capable of giving you. Those kids will remember you for the rest of their lives, and many of them will credit their positive accomplishments in life to YOUR influence, and not their parents.

You rock. And I forgive you for making me cry. =)