Teachers have to deal with students on a daily basis. Teachers are used to this... but dealing with the parents is a whole different ballpark.
Parent teacher night can reveal some shocking truths - check out the stories below!
Thanks to all the teachers who answered on reddit. You can see the original source at the end of the article!
I was working in a kindergarten classroom, and a father had approached me and asked me if I let his son play in the kitchen center. I replied with something along the lines of, "yes, we allow each of the children to freely explore what interests them" and explained why, but the dad was unhappy about it. He immediately asked me to stop this, as allowing his boy to pretend like he's cooking will make him gay.
When I was student teaching, my mentor teacher was accused of failing a girl because she was black. The girl herself never said anything about it, but her parents sure did.
When it came time for a conference, everyone was there: the girl, her parents, the principal, a counselor, my mentor, and me.
My mentor let the parents have their say, explain their reasoning (there wasn't much), and continue to accuse her of being racist.
Once it was her turn to reply, my mentor reached into her bag and pulled out a family portrait. It was of herself, her black husband, and their biracial daughter. She just set it on the table and the girl's parents immediately stood up and left.
I haven't seen anything like it, or as hilarious, since.
One mother demanded that I scan and email every homework assignment to her. She said it was because her son would lose his homework on the bus every day but I knew she was doing it for him.
My wife is an elementary school teacher and suspected that one of her students may be autistic. The kid wouldn't communicate well at all, had issues with using the bathroom, and showed other classic signs of autism. My wife had a conference with the mother and explained that she would like him to be evaluated, but the mother refused and said that if her son did have autism, my wife was the one who caused it.
My wife has learned to handle those situations much differently now. Being accused of causing autism will do that.
Had a conference with a parent about their child's performance. Mom kept asking me if I thought there was something wrong with her daughter (first grade). I explained that she was capable but needed to do the homework that was sent home and could use some extra practice in a few areas. She continued to ask if I thought something was wrong with her. I continued to say no. At the end of the conference she asked one more time, and added 'because if you think there is, the Dr. is ready to give her meds....you just need to fill out this form'.
I had a student who wouldn't stop talking to her friends during class, even after I asked her to please stop. After the fifth time, I threatened to send her down to the office. She told me that if I did that she'd tell everyone I tried to rape her. I told her she probably shouldn't have said that in front of 20 other witnesses and told her to get out of my class and go to the office. She flounced out in a huff.
About an hour later I had to stop teaching another class in order to answer an urgent summons from the principal. Apparently miss chatterbox had called up her mother who was now in the principal's office and complaining about how she had to miss work because yet another evil teacher was hassling her daughter. She proceeded to ream me out for ten minutes, complaining that I not only hated her daughter and 'had it in for her' but have hated her for months, had repeatedly made up stuff to get her daughter in trouble and (according to her daughter) had been ogling her like a creep all year. She demanded that the principal fire me and apologize to her daughter.
I looked at the principal and said "Do you want to tell her or shall I?" [Continued...]
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The principal sighed and explained that I was a substitute teacher who had started yesterday and had only met the daughter this morning. This didn't slow mom down for a second. She doubled down and demanded I be fired immediately nonetheless. The saddest part is that the principal had obviously been through this all before many, many times.
Had a parent teacher conference end with the parent yelling that she would "lift [her] leg like a dog and piss all over [the math teacher]."
A parent complained to me that no one knew where her child was. Like she hadn't seen the kid in over a month. A MONTH. You are his guardian! The kid was hanging out with a gang close to the school.
I'm a high school history teacher. One of my courses was Comparative Religions and Philosophies. I essentially taught every major world religion and political ideology.
I'm an open atheist but I teach the course with objectivity and I teach with respect because I have students across all religious backgrounds. I never insult, condemn, or offend, and I encourage my students to keep an open mind as well.
I had a parent contact me for a conference about three weeks into the first term. Her son was a freshman. His freshmen U.S. I class immediately followed my senior level religions course. One day when he was coming into class, he overheard me discussing the three Abrahamic prophets (Moses, Jesus, Abraham) with a senior.
Apparently he went home and told his mother I called Abraham a prophet. They're evangelical Christians. This apparently infuriated her enough that she had to call me to arrange a meeting asap.
She came into the meeting and immediately started insulting me, questioning my intelligence/training/qualifications (I have multiple degrees, so naw girl), and (hilariously) calling me a heretic for suggesting Abraham and Moses were in the same category as Jesus. I called the principal into the conference as a witness to both the lesson itself (I was being observed) and as a witness to the meeting.
She railed into him, too, asking how he could possibly think it was alright to allow me to teach such anti-Jesus heresy in his school.
"Well, I'm Jewish, so there's that."
It took everything in me not to piss myself from laughing.
I never had a problem with her again.
This student (14 male) had long, filthy fingernails. Just gagged me to sit next to him to work on subject matter, but I toughed it out.
An aid helped him clean and trim his nails. Mama comes screaming to school because his long nails made it so much better when he "scratched mama's back".
A student was reading way behind grade level, but mom thought he was gifted. Myself and a reading specialist brought an on-grade level reading passage to the conference and had the student read it. He made 77 errors in a 130 word passage. Mom looked at us and said "see I told you he could read."
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I'm the student, but this had to be awkward.
In kindergarten, my teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up. I said a garbage man. Concerned, my teacher met with my parents only to find out that my dad was a garbage man.
One of my high school English/American history teachers mentioned this once.
He was in a conference with a girl and her father, and the girl had grades good enough that she was going to be the first person in her family to go to college. She was eligible for a ton of scholarships. But, as it stood, she wasn't going to get any of them because her dad didn't want to tell anyone what his annual income was.
A parent told me I spoke too much Spanish in class. I teach Spanish.
Had a parent come into our preschool class and tell us that she was VERY upset, that she wanted to talk to us about something that was happening to her three year old on the school bus. Of course we kind of panicked thinking that something bad had been going on...
Turns out the aide on the bus, the little old grandmother who was there to buckle the kids in and monitor them as they drove, had been playing with the toddler. She, like any grandmother, would give her a tickle under the armpits. This mother was very upset and said that no child, no matter how young or old, should be tickled because tickling was wrong.
She refused to put her back on the bus for a long time, even after I had a talk with the aide, who was absolutely mortified and apologized profusely. She's the sweetest lady and she meant no harm, but it nearly got her in huge trouble.
My sister is a teacher. She was telling me about this mom she had to deal with. The mom would make her daughter drink juice out of a 32oz container, and instructed my sister to give her 3 of these a day. This is a 6 year old.
The mother, at the same time, kept talking about how she's working with her daughter on her "delayed toilet training."
My sister tried to explain to this mom, to no avail, that the only reason she's having such difficulty making it to the bathroom On time is because you're making her drink nearly 100oz of fluids before the school day is even over.
I had a parent claim I was heterophobic and making his student fail because he was straight and I was gay. The same parent offered to pay me to get the student's grade up. The same parent also tried to tell me their child is just creative, and expressive and classroom walls is a prison for his young mind.
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I had a mother of a three year old get upset because "she came home doing SEXY DANCING and she could only have learned that at school!" She's three. She can jump up and down, or wiggle her hips. That's the only kind of dancing she does.
And yesterday I was telling a seven year old's dad that he'd accidentally gotten hit in the side of his head with a big foam block but it hit his jaw and he was upset because it hurt for a few minutes. "Oh no, he didn't CRY, did he?!" and the kid looked ashamed and said "only for a minute" and I said yup, just for a minute or two before the shock wore off, all ok! Trying to reassure the kid. And dad kept grumbling "we talked about this, no crying". HE IS SEVEN. He can cry when he gets hit in the face, dude. Toxic masculinity.
I teach pre-k. About four years ago, I was called into my principal's office. There was a parent requesting a conference because he had some concerns about the material I was teaching his daughter.
Imagine my surprise when the parent began talking about witchcraft. Over the next 45 minutes, with a brief pause for the school psychologist, a school police officer, and the school social worker to arrive, I was accused of: being a witch, dancing on their roof, hiding behind the curtains in their living room, pinching their infant daughter, teaching the other daughter how to make the "mark of the beast" (it's the ok hand symbol, in case you were wondering, as index finger and thumb create the bottom of the 6 and the remaining fingers are the curve), as well as being a tool of the Illuminati.
The silence in the room once he left the principal's office was deafening. No one stopped him when he loudly announced his decision to home school because we were just tools in the hands of the Illuminati controlled government.
The parent who asked me to call their house in the morning to wake her daughter up to make sure she got to school.
I have a few stories, but my favorite happened to a co-worker. This girl didn't study and skipped most of the questions on a test. Mom came in to argue about her daughter's failing grade and said she should only be graded on the questions she did answer, so therefore should have scored a 100 since the few she chose to answer were correct.
Here's my favorite ridiculous parent story with a happy ending. Kid obviously forges the signature of dad on a failed test. Teacher calls the kid out on it, dad comes in and insists that it is in fact his signature; his little prince can't get in trouble after all. Two weeks or so later the dad comes into school outraged that he hasn't been informed of the big project causing the lil' prince so much stress. But you have been informed, says the teacher, here's the slip I sent home for all the parents, and that's your signature, right? Right, says dad.
My SO is 23 and just started recently as a high school English teacher. He's teaching summer school right now and a parent asked if he could stop dressing so well/if there was an older teacher available because his daughter won't stop talking about how handsome her teacher is.
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In my second year of teaching theatre for a middle school, I had a parent demand a conference with myself and our principal. She expressed that her son could no longer be in my theatre class because "all that stuff makes you gay." Which, for her, would be the absolute worse thing that could happen.
It was my first slap in the face that no matter what work you put in, that in the end of the day the parents will push and pull their kid's in life for better or worse. Our principal was outraged by the parent's comments but held the parent's decision with respect because really there's nothing we could do. Since this experience, I've planted the idea that the only obstacle that will prevent you from greatness is yourself, not your friends, family, teachers, etc.
Ironically, the student joined the class because of the ratio of female to male students, that set roughly 10:1. Thus, parents, if you have any concerns with your children about anything, talk to them before making assumptions. Perspective matters.
I had a student this year who clearly has a learning disability. But he's a wonderful student and the class and I adored him and celebrated the successes he had. This child, despite clearly needing accommodations, did not have an IEP--or basically special education services for those not in the field. So... conferences roll around and I bring up his academic struggles (second grader capable of barely kindergarten level work), expecting them to fight me when I suggest that he needs special education testing. I mean, why else would this child who is clearly struggling not have an IEP if his parents are aware/not in denial.
Nope; they totally agree and want him to get help. Okay, great. Let's talk background a bit.
Oh. He was retained in first grade. And... he only went to half of the second year of first grade? Well, what was he doing the first half? (Some story about bio mom not allowing him to go to school) Hmmmmm okay... what about kinder? Oh, he only went to half of that, too? Okay... well with absences like that I dunno if they will test him, but I'll go to bat if you guys make a serious effort to have him here everyday.
They agree. Yay! We are on the same team! We are gonna get this kid who totally deserves it some help and he will not fall through the cracks on my watch!
I call and email everyone I can until someone agrees to test him despite his lack of educational time. Really go above and beyond because I love this 8 year old.
Things go really well. He makes progress. He's there almost every day.
Then absences start happening. Parents show up 2-3 hours late to pick him up. Then he's gone for multiple days at a time. Vague bull excuses when I call. Then he's gone for ten solid days. I call, "Well we just haven't felt like taking him to school. But I'll bring him Monday. Promise."
He hasn't been back to class so he's withdrawn from my class and they haven't enrolled him anywhere else. Of course we've sent truancy officers but this is Las Vegas and we are last in education for a reason.
So yeah. That's my worst conference. They told me they would do their best for a kid I loved, and they lied to my face.
At parents' evening:
"Don't worry about my daughter, she's thick. She only needs to cook and clean. How is my son doing?"
Had a star athlete who was being recruited by Ivy League schools failing my English class. On top of his general poor academic performance, I also caught him cheating on a homework assignment which he vehemently denied. His mom scheduled a meeting with an administrator and proceeded to berate me and to accuse me of discriminating against student athletes (I was the Pep Club sponsor at the time). Then she said her son would never cheat. I pulled out his homework and proceeded to read one of his answers, "I, as a 16 year old girl,..." Mom then begins yelling at him, "You can't even cheat right! What's wrong with you? How are you going to get into college if you can't cheat?"
"Intellectual property is a real gray area" in regard to blatant plagiarism.
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My mother is a retired college English teacher. Helicopter parents would regularly call to inquire about their kid's grades.
Mom: "That's confidential as per college policy. If you want to learn your child's grade, you're going to have to ask him/her."
Parent: "But I'm paying his/her's tuition."
Mom: "It doesn't matter. Your child has a right to privacy. I can/will only discuss your child's grade with him/her.
Parent: "I'm calling the Dean."
Mom: "By all means."
Rinse and repeat, over and over and over.
My aunt is a middle school teacher, so I have a lot of stories.
They were lucky enough to get a former Olympian as the head coach for the school. At a track and field meet, he was helping a female student get a good starting stance, was positioning their feet properly, etc. A parent (unrelated to the student) saw him touching the student's feet and ankles, and reported him for sexual assault. Even the student herself was shocked and backed the teacher completely, but he was still immediately fired and barred forever working in the district again.
My girlfriend is a teacher... one of her Student's parents admitted to allowing their 2nd grade child to watch smurf porn. Their justification was that it was OK for the kid because it was just cartoon characters.
I had a parent tell me he cut his daughters hair in a short bob because they noticed her attitude gets bad when her hair gets too long.
After Columbine a group of parents got together and circulated a petition to allow their 7th graders to bring guns to school to protect themselves.
Don't ask me how, but they actually got the PTA to vote on it, and they actually had to have a tie breaker vote. Obviously it didn't pass.
A parent said our snacks were a micro aggression against her.
We had the same snack literally every day.
Apparently, these are her words not mine, "You expect a black child to not feel ostracized with day after day of a white people food like graham crackers?"
I asked what alternative she suggested. Injera. Ethiopian flat bread. I told her the government chooses our snacks without our input and if she had a problem, write her congressman.
She trash talked me as a racist the rest of the year. Thankfully the other parents disagreed with her. Oh - so did my African American foster daughter.
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.