Teachers Share The Hardest Thing They've Had To Tell Parents About Their Kids
Being a teacher is already a hard job. But then there are the times you have to tell the parents something you don't feel equipped to handle about their child...and that hurts even more. You care about your kids, and you want to make sure they're getting the attention they deserve.
Here were some of the hardest answers.
50. The AudacityGiphy
Not a teacher but my sister is.
She teaches in a rural district in Colorado. One guy came in and when he saw my sister he looked right at her legs then gasped. He made a cross sign, stood outside the room praying for god's forgiveness for looking at a "crossdresser". He then made another teacher play telephone through the doorway.
He went to the principal to complain about my sister's "crossdressing" and violating the bible, but once he saw that the principal was also crossdressing.
His definition of crossdressing? My sister was wearing pants.
49. A Race To Get On Out
Every year my school has a reading race. The class with the most minutes wins a party with the librarian. Also, every student makes a personal goal, and if they hit that goal, they win a prize.
Well, I had a student who didn't make his goal-not even close-didn't even try. He didn't get the prize-which was a water bottle. I tried to be very subtle in handing them out-so no one knew he didn't get one.
I get a text from his mom after school saying because of my "bullsh*t" move, her son was crying the whole way home and is embarrassed to come to school. I explained why he didn't get one and even offered him another chance to do a reading race of his own to earn the prize. She never responded and she took him out of our school the next year. It's just sad that some parents don't hold their student accountable.
48. They're Just Glasses, Jane
I was teaching a sweet 13 year old girl, who obviously couldn't see the board very well and needed glasses as she was falling behind in class. I called her mother (this is in south London so imagine a jade goody voice) her mum told me to f*ck off and that "I didn't need f*cking glasses, my mother didn't need f*cking glasses so she doesn't need any f*cking glasses" and hung up.
47. Fear Trickles Down
Had an interview with a bright but extremely quiet year 9 girl's mother. She was wondering what her daughter could do to improve her confidence and grades as she consistently scored on the cusp of 90% in tests and assessments but never over.
One thing I suggested was attempting to engage in class discussions to form and present her own opinions on class texts. Her mother looked uncomfortable and explained she doesn't "allow" her daughter to contribute to class discussion or present her own opinions because the teacher might not like them. She wouldn't budge on the issue and the daughter remained very quiet despite attempts to engage and include her.
46. Flagrant CheatingGiphy
One from my mother, who taught French in secondary school. She has many, many anecdotes but this one has stuck with me:
A mother came in to discuss her son's failing marks. She listens carefully, nods a lot, and then asks: "So, how can I pass the French exam?" Not he, you'll note. Not even we. I.
Long story short, she wanted my mother to teach her French so she could do her son's homework (no, I'm not using hyperbole here, she actually said that) and then, presumably, sit the exam in a wig and acne makeup.
I don't know what's more unsettling: the fact that she thought this a sensible plan to lay before a teacher, or the fact that she wasn't the only one.
45. Ten Minutes In Scientific Hell
I'm a Physics teacher. There was a parent last year who spent all of our 10 minutes allotted showing me pictures of an experiment that he did. He wanted me to validate his crackpot theories that these pictures of strange colors that he had taken through a microscope proved something (I can't remember what) that physics says is impossible.
If I had been smart enough to get a Ph.D. I wouldn't be in this situation. Man, I don't know shit about your microscope or what's wrong with it, but I feel real bad for your kid now, so his grade is about to improve out of pity. To bad we didn't get to talk about him.
44. Ma'am I Just Shelve The Books
Parent screamed "my house burned down and my kids can't charge their devices and do their homework" so she spent the whole time insisting I give her my personal charger. I should mention I'm the librarian, and I don't grade them.
She stayed for over an hour going between ranting about their grades being my fault, and yelling for me to give them chargers.
Also a parent insisted I take a copy of the Koran (Qur'an) out of the library, I pointed out that Islam is in the global curriculum and we also had the Bible. They responded "don't bring the Bible into this! We're a military family- you must understand why we're uncomfortable with our kids being around this. I mean I sacrificed for my country to be great." That was the most uncomfortable because they honestly felt I was misguided, they cared about me and worried for me.
43. This Is Why We Have Phones
One 8th grade female student didn't do a single piece of homework. We tried to call the parents multiple time through the year (whenever we did, she said we were "doing the most"). Every call went to voicemail and was never returned.
During the conference, the student cried through the whole thing while her parents stared daggers at her while we told them how poorly she was doing.
If you would have answered your phone just once...
42. It's Literally Never Been "Chicken"
Setting: small, rural, backwoods, and backwards school.
I once had a mother visit my classroom, daughter in tow, to confront me about her daughter's grade. I was teaching a French elective at the time. The daughter had made a "B" for the quarter, and this was completely unacceptable, however generous it had actually been on my part. Her daughter made only "A" grades, as it turned out.
The mother was quite accusatory, and explained to me that her daughter had already learned the French alphabet in middle school, knew how to count in French, and was confused as to what else there could possibly be to it.
I tried in vain to explain how there is more to language learning that just those things, but I quickly lost the mother's attention. She seemed somehow satisfied, like she must've won some sort of argument with me since I was unable to explain myself, and then launched into a tirade about how greedy her daughter was, and selfish, describing her, I quote, as "one of these people who got to eat breakfast every morning."
Now, I've had worse confrontations in my stint as a teacher, but almost all of them resolved peaceably and to a good end. This one, though, left me dumbfounded.
Side note. Not too long after this, the daughter asked me after class why the French had a different word for chicken. Why they looked at a chicken, thought "chicken," and deliberately changed the word to not be "chicken" when they spoke.
41. When The Overbearing Reaches UsGiphy
In my first year of teaching fourth grade, when weekly spelling tests were still a thing, I had a parent come in with a student and while this student sat there mortified, The parent raked me over the coals for only giving the student an A and not an A+ on her spelling test. She actually told me I was damaging her daughters self-esteem. This poor girls nails were bitten down to the quick, and I offered her every tenderness I could possibly offer all through the year.
My grandfather often tells this (true) story.
My grandmother taught in a very rough school district back in the '70s. There were gang fights all the time, guns confiscated every day, an enormous drop out rate. It just wasn't your ideal school.
So one night my grandfather went with my grandmother to the conferences because she didn't want to go alone. A couple conferences in, my grandma leaves the room to go to the bathroom leaving my grandfather in the room with the kid who was scheduled next. (Parents were not there for some unknown reason.)
The boy was very quiet, and my grandfather says that he seemed to have his life in order. That quickly changed when my grandfather asked the boy what he wanted to be when he grew up.
With a blank look in his eye and a serious tone in his voice, the boy responded "pimp and a pusher."
39. Less A Routine, More "Incredibly Disturbing"
Mine is actually on behalf of my high school history teacher.
I went in with my Dad, who has always been a bit overbearing when it came to getting good grades and always expected A's, to parent teacher conference. After years of not really having any friends I had made some friends with popular kids, worked out, got fit, and played football and quickly became very popular(I'm talking like a 3 month period) and as such, developed a bit of a "School doesn't matter" attitude.
I had always got good grades but when we went into this conference I knew it would be bad...
We start talking to my history teacher and he is showing my dad the F I have in his class. My Dad looks at me and says, "you're getting beat tonight"... Now, I knew he wasn't happy but he was kidding, I wasn't getting beat, maybe grounded for a night or 2, but my teacher was legitimately freaked and concerned and I could see it on him. He tried to explain that I'm a good student and what not but my dad, ever the comedian, keeps up his routine and we leave.
From that day on there was not a teacher in school that was ever nicer or more lenient with grading than him. He was so worried for me, I feel a little guilty, lol
38. Privilege In Action
I worked at a rich, private school where the students were passed on no matter how hard they worked or if they actually passed the class. However, they all acted like grades were still important. I should also mention this is an ESL School (English as a second language). I assigned a project, and these kids were known to copy and paste and take many shortcuts on their work and projects. In my rubric before starting the project, I explicitly stated, that they are not allowed to copy and paste at all without citing their source. At this point in the year, plagiarism had been covered repeatedly by myself and my fellow teachers. They even took a test that they had to get 100% on, so they knew the rules.
During presentations of the projects, I gave them props for being able to answer random questions and based on how well they presented. However, it became very obvious after looking closer that there were some large words that a 13 year old ESL student wouldn't know unless they copied it. I started googling phrases and found tons of plagiarized content on almost every presentation. (Ironically, one of my worst students was one of the only ones not to plagiarize. I was very proud of him.)
As promised, I gave 0 points on that aspect to every student, but it was worth enough that it brought their grade below the passing level.
A few days later, I am called into the principals office to explain why they are getting calls from parents who are upset that their children are failing. I explained my rules and how I clearly set up that specific point, and there was no way I would budge on giving them the points. The principal agreed with me in theory, but kept pushing to let me pass the students. I then had to meet with at least 6 parents who were upset and demanded that I give their kid points that they didn't earn or deserve. I was accused of only failing the girls, being unfair/ unclear, and no lenient enough, none of which were true, and I had evidence to support every aspect of my argument. I stuck to my guns and denied all their pleas.
At the end of the day, it didn't really matter because all of those students moved on to the next level class anyways, and I left the school. I couldn't believe how entitled some parents are with their kids.
37. Extra Hours, Extra Emotional Work
While I was student teaching, I racked up extra hours by sitting in with the conferences. After all, I taught them and was more of a co-teacher than a student teacher. We contacted parents a lot, every parent got an email or phone call, positive or negative, every 2 or 3 weeks. Some more, upon request. One student in 7th grade missed about 3 weeks to go to Ecuador and didn't tell anyone he was going. His mom was never responding to the contact and doesn't speak English, so we needed a translator if she was going to show up. To our surprise she comes, but our translator did not show.
We needed one because her kid was failing everything. So we waited for 30 minutes before we get a call from the translator, which was the only faculty member who had ever seen this woman. We had to trust a failing kid to translate to his mother and tell the truth. Our translator comes 15 minutes in and the Mom says she understands everything and she'll make him make up work and do work he didn't do before he left.
Fast forward 2 weeks and he's out for another 2 weeks. He had to repeat 7th grade. It was awful.
36. Bad Situation Bad Situation Bad SituationGiphy
My mom is a kindergarten teacher and she had a mother come to parent teacher conferences. It was just her and the mother (of an unruly child) in the room, and the mother announced she was drunk and thought it was funny. It was not funny obviously, she had DRIVEN there. Next, she made some joke about getting mad and running kids over. This woman is a bus driver for the district.
My mom reported it, but nothing was ever done.
35. The Kid Was The Problem
Mom sat and yelled for forty minutes giving every reason possible why her son was failing. It was his eyesight and I wasn't accommodating him (it wasn't and I was). My tests were too hard (tests are written by the curriculum overlords), on and on and on. The problem was her boy was a lazy disrespectful piece of sh*t. I pour my heart into my job so there is literally nothing I can say except the truth: I've done literally everything I can, he is refusing to work and choosing to fail. At the end she starts crying and says she's just tired of fighting with him and he doesn't love her anymore. Before the meeting I didn't like him much, after the meeting I wanted to whoop his *ss. She was trying so hard to help him, I was trying so hard to help him, and he just couldn't be bothered.
34. Nothing Like Verbal Abuse
So I had this one student who's mother couldn't speak very much English, so I tried to go as easy as I could explaining how her son was doing. Well behaved kid, and an okay student, but definitely not the best. She asks me what it would take for her son to get an A, and I tried to say it was not a possibility at this point in the year. She must have thought I was saying I refused to give him an A, and started swearing at me. Apparently her English was not good, but she was fluent in every English swear word. At one point she stands up and starts swearing in her native Bulgarian, and then spat on the table as she stormed out of the library.
33. Type A Personalities Everywhere
I work at a private preschool with a pretty hefty tuition. Many of our parents are extremely successful and extremely wealthy. A few months ago, I spent a whole 30 minute conference listening to a mother go on and on about all of the work and meetings that she had recently had with former president Bill Clinton. I had to keep very politely reminding her that we were there to talk about her daughter.
32. Then Just Drop It, Thomas!
Long story short, the parent argued with me that I should accept, for no penalty, the late work of his student. The reason was because "it's too easy for him and was working on other material. Plus I told him to put it towards the end of his priority list". He also informed me that his student was thinking about dropping the class because it was too easy and I wasn't challenging him enough. This is AP Comp Sci A and his student has been programming for years before he got to my class.
31. Road To Hell--Good IntentionsGiphy
My friend who was a teacher in a rural, disadvantaged area. One of his students seemed to like school and participated well in class, but never did any homework, which didn't help him with his grades. My friend called the mother to ask why. She said "oh you know, he's really messy, so when he comes home I take all of his textbooks and school stuff, and I lock them in a cupboard, so he won't ruin them like everything he touches".
30. Overbearing Is Destructive
I've taught swim lessons for years, and I've had to deal with some pretty awful parents. But the worst was this massive guy, at least 6'6 and built like a tank, who behaved like his kids were on the damn National Team. He would stand right at the edge of the pool and scream at them to pay attention to me. Then he'd try to offer "extra" advice besides what I was telling them.
His son and stepdaughter cried constantly and almost never did what I said anyway, so of course whenever I got them to do anything, they were constantly focusing on making sure Dad was watching. Even though he terrified me, I finally worked up the nerve to tell the guy to back off. Luckily he realized his children have no talent and the kids have since quit the team. I shudder to think what sports coach he's terrorizing nowadays.
29. It Is Not Personal
Child doesn't do well in math. Probably pushed along through elementary/middle school and suddenly just can't cut it in high school where the teachers aren't about to push you through.
The whole math department (especially his teacher) is against him. I'm his science teacher. He's doing okay in my class...not great, but okay. Mom sends me an email asking why he can't have a "B" in my class...I don't respond because it's now summer time and I don't respond to those emails anyways.
I learned yesterday that he's failed his math class and mom is going crazy about it.
It amazes me that a parent would think that teachers actually have the time to just hate on their kid. Seriously. We f*cking don't. When I get home the very last thing I think about is work and/or your kid.
28. What. A. MESS.
I had a parent send me emails before school even started that were accusatory ("U KNO U R A LYER!") because she claimed I was friends with her ex-husbands new wife. I wasn't. Didn't even know the lady. The entire year I tried to avoid her because she was clearly coocoo for Cocoa Puffs.
At one point I told her I would never meet with her one on one and that every message/email she sent will be sent to our principal. She stayed pretty far away from me until the field trip. We arrived to the school after a long day and she ripped into me about ruining everyone's lives, that I'm a liar, I am a fraud, fake....just anything and everything she could think of/pronounce (but for sure not be able to spell). The daughter was caught in the middle between both parents and fed them each complete lies to pin them against one another.
Her next casualty was me. I tried to keep calm but burst out crying after she left, still trying to rip me apart in front of 150 parents. My principal was supportive and told her to leave the campus but I like to think karma took care of dealing for her for me. She ended up being sent to jail for a while for something stupid.
27. Support Children's Interests Or I Will Cut You
I taught private preschool which was a lot more like an actual school then a day care. We taught them how to read and write, speak Spanish and learn math early on and it was a great program. Kids flourished!
I taught science in the afternoon and physical education in the morning. I had a segment about yoga and all my 3 year olds loved it! It taught them how to stretch and focus and learn about their little bodies and one little boy was so excited about it he ran up to his mom when it was pick up time and told her all about it!
Well, mom thought I was teaching her son Hinduism which meant I was letting Satan into her kids heart. He had to stay out of my class when I taught it to his friends or play quietly.
I watched that child break, watching everyone do something he loved. He became a different kid and it was obvious he had a passion for many things his parents didn't want him to explore. He couldn't even be in the school play for Halloween or dress up.
The worst part of it wasn't the parent yelling at me for almost an hour and almost getting fired over it but watching a child feel left out of something he really loved because his mother was a raging b*tch.
26. Sadly Satire Is Lost On Some People
We were doing a unit on satire and I assigned "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift. Two days later, I got an angry email asking me what was wrong with me and why I would ever think it appropriate to assign a piece of literature in which eating babies is sincerely advocated. She called me some nasty things and went to the principal asking that I be fired for corrupting the youth.
I calmly explained that the purpose of the piece was satire and she didn't get it. I had to walk her through everything, explaining that Swift wasn't actually proposing eating Irish babies, but he was highlighting the notion that the English were treating the poor Irish like absolute sh*t, and most people didn't give a f*ck. But when he went to the extreme and said, well, let's eat the tasty little sh*ts, everyone freaked out about treating anyone so poorly. He used satire to accomplish his goal of shining a light on such a sensitive subject and it worked. Took the mom a while to figure it out, but when she got it, she was very interested in satire. I never got an apology from her, but she left me alone to teach the kids after that.
25. Unpleasant Surprise
I was involved in a case of harassment - the boy said some extreme things to me when I walked past him.
In the disciplinary hearing, I had to tell the parents everything that he said and use as many words as possible. The parents were upperclass people and they seemed nice.
With every sentence that I said, their faces dropped more and more.
He obviously didn't learn this from them, and they were horrified.
24. Of Course What Really Matters Is The Blame
Wife used to say it was really hard to tell a parent their child had special needs (autistic was most common). She said most parents would have no really idea, put the kids in kindergarten then the teacher would identify pretty quickly the child wasn't just a bit behind but had more going on. She would basically bring it to the parents attention it would be in everyone's best interest to have the child assessed, and most often she's be met with anger and denial and many times she was even blamed somehow.
23. This One Hurts
I used to work as a teacher assistant when I was in university. I remember once we had a student who showed signs of being verbally and physically abused. The teacher contacted the parents and we (principal, teacher and me) had a meeting with them to confront them about it. They deny everything, were verbally abusive towards us and then they change the girl to a different school. In my country there is no such a thing as Child Protections Services so there was little we could do. I still think about this girl.
22. Bad News
I work in a low income inner city school that is mostly immigrants and English Learners. As teachers, we always try to keep conferences positive, but we do relay if the kid is struggling with something, we just say it's something we're working on and offer strategies to improve at home. But some of the cultural differences mean that parents are little more...traditional and sometimes get angry with their kids for not doing well. And some of them I've had to report to CPS and know that the parent in front of me may have abused the kid or the mom. So knowing that any "bad" news could get the kid injured.
21. The Tables Were Turned
So my family was my brother and myself. My mom had another child when she was 17 I think, and rather than trying to be a 17 year old mother (she was homeless/ in and out of foster care at the time) she put the kid up for adoption. She did all the right things and she went to a really nice home and never even knew she was adopted. She was really well cared for. My mother was always really candid with us about her past and both my brother and I knew about this at a young age. So in the 7th grade my brother had told his teacher about his adopted sister. That teacher seemingly got obsessed with the idea, and like tracked down the sister. One day my brother was at another school with this teacher for like a soccer game or something like that at my sisters school. The teacher finds the sister and gets her to meet my brother.
Although my brother and I knew about her, she never knew she was adopted. And that's how she found out. Needless to say my mother was livid.
20. Again Again
Your kid is going to fail again. It was policy in my district to pass those type of kids automatically if they even tried but when they don't turn in a single thing it's very hard. It's not so bad when the kid is a jerk but this kid was actually really nice so double whammy.
Worst though I experienced was a kid was writing suggestive stories about being attracted to a teacher which she asked me to proofread and correct. I checked her schedule and I was the only teacher under the age of 50. Administration is notoriously slow but once reported that sh-t was handled in under an hour. By the end of the day she got transferred out of my class and had her parents called. With bad timing I was in that office as her mother and father came out of a meeting discussing the situation. Dad was at least 300 lbs and buff and did not look happy to see me there. Never saw that girl on my hallway again.
19. The Pun
One of my favorite rants from a parent was about lice. She called me up really angry that the nurse had sent home her daughter again. The mom said the lice was gone and it was just some dead eggs left and "the nurse is really being a nitpicker about this."
18. The Curse Reversed
I know a lot of teachers struggle to get parents to understand their child's' education needs, so this should be refreshingly different!
I had a student who had special needs and a parent that told me that their student wasn't smart enough to learn the science I was teaching. They also demanded that their child get more attention and more assistance than was required by their paperwork... this child was only low in reading, so I actually had to tell this parent that their child is smart and works hard and will be able to do things the other students do. The mom even tried to argue! I was so shocked... like how can you not believe in your child like that!?
Never thought I would have to do that.
I've had to tell parents their child was trying to look at porn on the school computers, which is dumb as the system locks any of that kind of search down automatic and emails the destitute head.
I once had to tell a parent her child was put into detention for being racist, head of department had heard it as had half the class. It was pretty vile and she just refused to believe it and I got shouted at.
The worst one was calling home to tell a parent a child had been badly hurt by another child in my room. The child who had slammed a door and caught another child's hand in it, tried to blame me for it. I have never been so glad of CCTV in my life. Again, her parents denied she did it but we had video evidence. I did not have to be in the room for that conversation.
16. Accept Your Child For Who They Are
I've had to tell parents that their child is not really G/T (gifted and talented) and that they would be more successful in a on grade level classroom. This is after collecting numerous pieces of evidence and at least 2 marking periods of D or E grades. So the burden actually falls on me to prove their child would be more successful in an on grade level classroom.
Now some people may be asking why was this hard? Because they parents desperately wanted their kids to be G/T so badly they were literally willing to do anything to make sure their kids got that label. I am talking about near- constant tutoring out of school hours, outside academic clubs that promise to improve student scores, punishing their kids for not succeeding, etc. I have seen kids' souls basically disappear in a school year because of how hard parents push their kids. It has also caused an increase in the number of our students who seek student counseling services at school due to stress, anxiety, etc. Being labeled "G/T" in my school's area is such a status symbol, 2/3 of our incoming 6th grade class are labeled G/T. Parents can waive their child in, so its only going to get worse in the upcoming years.
15. Please Have The Conversation
Not a teacher... YET! (Graduating next year!!!) But taken enough classes and seen enough to suggest to my aunt that their four year old wasn't developing in an average way. I babysat the kid since he was born and always noticed he didn't speak at all. My aunt always asked me how to "make him smart" and she seemed interested in her child, or at least she acted like it, because she just dumped that kid in a room with a tv and didn't let him touch the floor until he was three. I would try my hardest to bring blocks or let him crawl without her seeing. I started bringing books in his native language and English to read to him, hoping that would help.
My aunt came in and asked me why I was reading to him because "he's a child he won't understand you!" Even though I explained the benefits (Come on, read to your child even if he's a fetus!) she thought it was dumb. This kid was the golden baby boy of the family, and for some reason no one saw how language deficient he was! At four years old, he could only repeat the word 'fish' and only after multiple people made it a game for him to do so.
She moved away but recently visited us again, and I hoped that the kid would be better, but for two hours he screamed, cried and acted like a literal newborn. No words spoken, not even 'mama'. I got real f---ing worried! Once we were alone I basically asked my aunt what was up and she just looked at me perplexed and promised her kid was speaking.
I couldn't press the issue because she just wouldn't have it at all. She said no one has ever said her child wasn't developing well. I was like...dude your kid has never been in daycare or preschool and the family thinks the kid is an angel just cause he's cute.
Well, my comment cause a whole ruckus in the family with even my grandma asking me what the f-ck was wrong with me saying the perfect child was not perfect. People are so f---ing ignorant, and it's sad cause it's not them who are gonna suffer the consequences or work hard to deal with whatever he's going through.
14. TW: Self Harm
When I taught fourth grade, I had a student who was cutting herself. We ended up having her parents come in and meet with us and the school counselor. My student was terrified to talk to her mother about it but we explained that this was important and we would be there to help. Her mom did not take the news well. The student also wanted to tell her mom about a male neighbor that made her feel uncomfortable in which the mom just shouted at the girl and told her she was stupid. Poor kid. I wish I knew how she is doing now.
13. TW: Eating Disorders
That I was very worried about their child being anorexic. They refused to believe it and we had to call in the counselors and principal to help with the discussion. Turned out that she was very much so, ended up in the hospital off and on for years. She is now a thriving successful mother of 2
12. It's Only Been A Week Dude
Your son was looking up "Japanese girls legs." It was my second week teaching.
11. Um, I'm Sorry What?
I taught 3rd grade last year, so the child was 8 going on 9. I had to tell her mom (who seems mentally challenged) that she was touching several of the girls inappropriately, and that I had also found porn names written in one of her notebooks that she wanted to give herself when she and another student (male and was unaware of her obsession with him) were going to have sex in the bathroom. The parents (as well as I) wanted the girl removed from the class; admin didn't feel it necessary and asked me to talk with the counselor about "interventions."
When I told her mother about the incidents, she said nothing other than, 'she crazy.'
10. He Never Spoke
I was a substitute teacher in a kindergarten. I was working with 3-5 years olds first and we had this boy, who was really difficult. Let's call him Matt. Matt was 5, but would get these temper tantrums that lasted for minutes. He could scream for 15 mins, throw up and continue. When he had a good day he was an angel. He behaved like a 3 years old and I found out he is behind in his development. Fine, parents knew and didn't really care. In fact, Matt's dad was a little bit slow himself. Still, you could see he was a good dad and cared about his sons. Mom was a little bit strange, but hard working, kind and loving. In my eyes, good, caring parents.
Matt had an 1 and a half year old brother, lets call him Oliver. Oliver was the golden child. Their smart son, who they always praised. Didn't really talk yet or seem to understand speech. He didn't point to balls or flowers in books, couldn't mimic words, didn't follow any directions.
Didn't protect himself in any way, he would just play with scissors even when getting cut (happened when I wasn't at work and my coworker let him climb on a freaking shelf before noticing), eat needles (I fished one out of his mouth after the same coworker had been looking after him...) and jump from anywhere, if you let him. He usually tried to jump down head first. No big deal, he was 1.
But he wasn't. I had just thought so because of his skills. He was almost three. So I had to tell the parents that their sweet, only "normal", smart child, would in fact need some tests because he is not developed enough for his age. I didn't use those exact words, but still. They completely refused. Their son was almost 3 and hadn't said his first word. My job ended soon after that and it has been over a year now, but I still wonder about them.
Not a teacher, but when I was in second grade my teachers told my mum that I need to be in a "special needs" class for mentally challenged. Because I had trouble copying things from the blackboard. In forth grade they told my mum I am to lazy to pursuade a higher education, so I stayed at the school I was. Now I have a university degree in computer science and not much trust in teachers.
Turned out my "special need" in second grade was glasses....
On a completely different tone as some of the other ones but a lot of my year sevens HATE learning japanese!
They put barely any effort into the work and get low scores on tests, but parents are REALLY excited because their kids are learning an oriental language and most of them drill their kids on the vocab every other day.
Most of the kids eventually get to enjoy the subject, doing alright by the end of year exams, but this year (a few weeks ago) one of my students got 16% in the exams, even after I had spoken to him many times, and even called his mother who ensured me they had been doing nightly practices and he was becoming more fluent.
Of course when she received the grades she requested a parent teacher meeting demanding to talk to me... she told me he had been reciting his Japanese to her every night and she 'knew' good Japanese when she heard it. When I asked her 'really huh' in mandarin (which I dabble in! not fluent) and she told me that she had heard her son saying that in the recitals.
Asked her if she could remember anything the kid had said, but she didn't, and she eventually left, only after a long argument about changing his grades (which I of course refused).
I F*CK YOU NOT THIS HAPPENED!
The VERY NEXT DAY, she barges into my office at 5.27pm (exact) with her son in tow, and he looks like he's about to sh*t himself. I ask them what the f*ck they want at this fine hour, and she replies with something along the lines of.
"My sons here and he will prove it to you now! Ha!"
Student stands there with trembling lips and blurts out some sh*t ALL IN MANDARIN CHINESE! I didn't understand half of what he said, but I stood there with my jaw on the ground, just plain shocked!
With a tone of amazement, I slowly told her that he was talking mandarin, and to get out of my f*ckin office right now before I go into shock at your immensely low IQ!
7. Pyrex Ain't Wood, Girl
Fortunately as a TA I don't have to talk to parents (in fact my school doesn't allow me to say anything specific to parents at all, just '[child's name] is a wonderful kid' or other positive non-academic-related things like that). But some of the kids at the school I work at have parents who are teachers at that same school, so sometimes I have to tell their parents what they are up to.
The 'hardest' thing I ever had to explain was to a 5th grade teacher that their 2nd grade daughter had absolutely destroyed the pyrex bowl they had brought to class (it had chex mix in it for a class party) by 'accidentally' throwing it across the classroom to show just how indestructible pyrex is.
6. A Twinge
So I am a teacher assistant and one day a teacher from another class was sick so I had to help, and there were these twins who I would say were special.
One main thing is they were going to kindergarten soon but those 2 can't speak, they cannot communicate and they have no clue what others are saying.
I had to tell their parents, which was hard cause I was trying to say it in a not-so-rude way and not to offend them. To be fair, their parents aren't good parents, one time one twin had a tantrum and the dad just stood there smiling looking at his kid on the ground, I asked if he needed help and he said 'no, it's fine'.
5. Children Need To Be Listened To
When I taught fourth grade, I had a student who was cutting herself. She actually brought a razor to class one day to show her friend. We ended up having her parents come in and meet with us and the school counselor. My student was terrified to talk to her mother about it but we explained that this was important and we would be there to help. Her mom did not take the news well. The student also wanted to tell her mom about a male neighbor that made her feel uncomfortable in which the mom just shouted at the girl and told her she was stupid. Poor kid. I wish I knew how she is doing now.
4. Something Scary
Not a teacher, but i had one guy in my class when i was in high school who thought that if he killed a person on his 16th birthday he would become the sun prince and when he turned 18 he would be the sun god. He had packed knives in his pencil case and he drawings of how to cut people's wrists. It was pretty weird and then the police came and took him away.
Bonus points: about 2 months later he showed up at my work where i used to do the dishes, he was my new co-worker. Guess who went to the chef and said its either me gone or him gone. It was his first and last shift.
3. Sometimes Things Are Just Weird
Not a teacher but my parents came from school meeting once and told me how teacher had trouble explaining what's going on. Basically we had swimming classes as part of pe in high school, special need kid ran around naked rubbing "it" on other dudes and one kid didn't react well. They couldn't kick the kid and they called parents to get signatures to change the regional big head decision.
Either way our super cool and calm swimming instructor had to explain the issue to like 40 mom and dads and he didn't do well.
2. Sorry Bout My Mom, Dude
I'm not a teacher but I feel bad for one of my teachers. I have ADHD. It's obvious that I have ADHD. Teachers in my entire grade school career had to work really hard to get me to focus because of the ADHD. During my freshman year of high school my physics teacher tried to do me a favor and, during a parent teacher conference, attempted to speak to my mom about my struggles with my attention span (which I was also willing to admit I had) only to get a verbal lashing from my mother. I wish I could thank that teacher for trying while also apologizing for my mom's bad behavior. I also feel bad for teachers who have to deal with people like my mom who refuse to believe that their kids might have a problem.
1. Crossing Lines
A little off topic, and not actually me, but I have a bad one. So my family was my brother and myself. My mom had another child when she was 17 I think, and rather than trying to be a 17 year old mother (she was homeless/ in and out of foster care at the time) she put the kid up for adoption. She did all the right things and she went to a really nice home and never even knew she was adopted. She was really well cared for. My mother was always really candid with us about her past and both my brother and I knew about this at a young age. So in the 7th grade my brother had told his teacher about his adopted sister. That teacher seemingly got obsessed with the idea, and like tracked down the sister. One day my brother was at another school with this teacher for like a soccer game or something like that at my sisters school. The teacher finds the sister and gets her to meet my brother.
Although my brother and I knew about her, she never knew she was adopted. And that's how she found out. Needless to say my mother was f*cking livid.
Teachers have a hard job and empathy can make all the difference, as we learned when Redditor 2minutestosundown asked the online community: High School teachers of Reddit, what is the one thing that you want your students to know that you'd never tell them in person?