Back to school time. Also known as the time of year when parents absolutely FREAK OUT about their kids' new teachers.
What do they freak out about? You name it, I've heard it -- and every year parents' hangups seem to get more ridiculous.
OMG, can you believe someone's cousin's sister-in-law's best friend once saw the teacher smoking at a bar? OMG, can you believe that teacher's brother's girlfriend's cousin three times removed is a stripper?
OMG, can you believe people care so much about the personal life of a person who only interacts with their child inside a classroom?
It behooves us as parents to be aware of who it is our kids are spending their days with, who is standing in front of the class, making an impact on our kids. But parents are slowly but surely sticking their noses into teachers' private lives -- thanks in no small part to Facebook and cameraphones -- and it's quickly getting out of control.
Teachers are people too!
Outside the classroom, they need to be allowed to be human beings.
So let's take a look at some of the more ridiculous parental hangups about teachers ... and bid them goodbye:
1. Smoking -- I hate smoking. I think it's disgusting, and I've been known to report people to the state for violations of our state's public smoking law and confront parents who smoke in front of their kids. But I can admit that there's a big difference between smoking out at the bar one night and smoking in the classroom with my kid. If she's out of the classroom, she's only hurting herself. Which leads me to ...
2. Drinking -- I have known teachers who were afraid to go out to the bar with friends for a night because one of their students' parents might see them. Now I would hope my kid's teacher wouldn't get sloppy drunk and get in a car because, really, I'd hope NO ONE would do that. But if you're over 21, and you want to go out and have a drink, by all means ... go ahead!
3. Sexuality -- OK, is your kid's teacher having sex in the classroom? No? Then why do you care if they're straight or gay? And don't tell me that your kid finding out her teacher has a wife is going to raise tough questions about lesbian sex. Kids don't find out their female teacher has a husband and come home asking how he puts his penis inside of her ... they're not going to do the opposite with a lesbian teacher. The only people who equate homosexuality with sex are ... ADULTS!
4. Tattoos -- You'd think by 2013 people would be hip to the fact that tattoos are no longer the denizen of bad biker dudes with murder on their mind. Moms are getting tattoos. Grandmas are getting tattoos! And yes, some teachers have ink. They say nothing more about the quality of the person than hair color or weight.
5. Their Past -- I'll admit, there's a line here. I don't want a convicted murderer or a pedophile in a classroom with my child; there's reason to believe they represent a threat. But if a teacher put herself through college by working at the local strip club or shooting a porn flick, that's none of my -- or my child's -- business. What matters is what she does now, in the classroom. Before you flip out about a teacher's past indiscretions, stop and think. Were they any worse than anything you did as a young adult?
6. Their Gender -- Teaching, especially on the elementary level, remains a female-dominated field. That said, there are many guys who choose to go into the profession who are marvelous at connecting with kids. Assuming a teacher is a pedophile simply because they're male isn't just sexist, it's shortsighted.
What hangups about teachers do parents have that make you roll your eyes?