20 Things Never to Say to Your Kid's Teacher

Mom Moment 18

school classroomIf you have a kid in school, you've probably heard them. Nasty remarks about teachers. Be honest with yourself; maybe you've (probably) even thought a few. Hopefully you're not one of the parents who actually says them TO the teacher?

Oh, no, no, no you didn't!

You do realize this person has to stand in front of anywhere from 15 to 20+ kids every day and actually, ya know, make them listen? See, there are days I can't do that with my one kid. And there is no prize available on God's green earth that would actually convince me to go into a classroom and deal with a dozen of them.

You see, I'm one of those "God bless teachers" kind of moms. These men and women put themselves out there day after day for kids who aren't even theirs. They love our kids. Hug our kids. Teach our kids the difference between addition and subtraction, between protons and neutrons. They could use a little support.

So how about striking any of these comments off your list for your next parent/teacher meeting?

More from The Stir: 5 Ways to Make Your Kid's Teacher Like You From Day One

1. I hate to say anything against [teacher X], but ... -- Pitting teachers against each other is NOT cool, says Jessica Lahey, a teacher and author of the upcoming book, The Gift of Failure.

2. I know _______ (somebody on the school board). -- Are you threatening him/her? That's just uncool!

3. You WILL NOT discipline my child without asking me first. -- Sure, she'll just get you on the phone every time your son flicks a booger at his best buddy. Uh. Huh. 

4. That's your job, I'm not a teacher! -- No, you're not, but you're still the child's parent. Just practice the darn math facts at home, OK?

5. Excuse me for one moment, I have to take this call [during a parent/teacher conference]. -- You get 15 minutes after school to talk about your child's performance, and you can't even stay focused for that time?

6. My first grade daughter still has a problem wiping her butt, could you please help her with that? -- So, what you're saying is the teacher should leave a classroom of 16 kids to fend for themselves because you can't teach your 6-year-old to wipe her butt?

7. I don't have time to read to my child. -- MAKE the time.

8. I don't read to my child because we don't have books. -- Ever heard of a library?

9. You're so lucky that you get paid to sit around all summer. -- Technically, most teachers DON'T get paid to sit around all summer. As one explained to us, "Actually, our contract is for 10 months and we are unemployed for two months. Some of us choose to have our paycheck stretched out for 12 months but the point is we only are contracted for 10 months."

10. I know you are just doing your job, but ... -- If you know they're just doing their job, there is no but. 

11. Teachers are lucky because they can't be fired because of tenure. -- Not actually true!

12. I don't know why they are not doing well this year they were always an A student in other classes. -- Before you start hurling accusations at the teacher for your child's poor performance, how about asking a few questions about what's going on inside that classroom! Is the subject matter much more difficult than in years past? Is your child's behavior causing a problem in the classroom?

13. My child would NEVER do that you must be mistaken. -- NEVER?

14. It must be nice to only work until 3:00. -- Generally a teacher's workday starts earlier than your typical 9-to-5 worker (how many schools do you know that start after 9?). And as one teacher told us, "I have never seen a teacher actually leave the building on time and without bags of work."

20 things not to say to a teacher15. Well, you must have lost all his work. He is very responsible. -- All of it?

16. My child said you said this to the whole class, and he would never lie. -- Maybe your child didn't lie, but sometimes what you hear from a child is like that old game Telephone. It's nothing like what was said in the actual classroom!

17. My child is awful/lazy/no good/going to end up in prison. -- Teachers love kids. That's why they got into the field in the first place. They don't want to hear you tearing a kid down anymore than they want to tear your kid down.

18. I pay your salary. -- Technically, it may be true, but there's really no way to say this without sounding haughty and self-involved.

19. Why didn't you tell me about [Child X]? -- Unless your child is involved in a confrontation with another kid or somehow in danger (think lice or chicken pox), a teacher is ethically bound NOT to tell you about what's going on with that other child. Pressuring them to talk to you about other kids isn't fair, and you wouldn't want another parent doing it about YOUR child.

20. I called the superintendent's/principal's office. -- If that's your last resort, fine. But how about talking to the teacher FIRST?

As one teacher friend put it to me when I asked her if she deals with rude parents, "There are 16 to 24 students in a class, teachers make mistakes, they are human."

Amen to that!

Have you ever said anything on the list? Which one?


Image via Max Wolfe/Flickr

elementary school, education


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Elaine Cox

"Are you having sex with my child" aint on the list?....but love the link to the NEA..funny

the4m... the4mutts

I pulled the very last one most recently. I called the district. But I did it, as a last resort, on the recommendation of the teacher, who was having a battle with the principle over one of my kids. The principle decided to use my daughter's last name (Hernandez) to get extra money for their ESL classes. She was using her as a success story. The teacher had NO IDEA that I didnt know, because when she tried to take my daughter out (my kids dont speak spanish) the principle told the teacher that I asked for it.

I only found out when I asked the teacher to please stop sending me school forms in spanish. She informed me that they only send those out to ESL students. The dumbfounded look on my face told her that I had no clue what she was talking about.

So I bypassed the principle completely after 1 very confrontational phone call, and went straight to the district, who filed a report against the principle for multiple infractions.

I would never do something like that without cause though.

But, I also am not one of those people that lets a teacher have final say over my kids either. Sometimes, they DO just need to do their damned job, and sometimes they need to remember that they work for us, and need to take a step back. Some teacher have it in their heads that they're better than parents, and that we're somehow automatic idiots just because we dont teach effing 4th grade.

RiotP... RiotPixie

Don't see a #2...

nonmember avatar Marie

How about you decide what you like to say to teacher's and toot your own horn all day long cause your a "supermom". As for the rest of us we will do and say as we like. There is only one thing on your list that I think should be said to all teacher's by all parents. We do pay their salary and should be able to expect them to do their job. Not all teachers are angel's. Some teachers are the worst people you will ever subject your children to in their lives. I love how you put this story out there like because someone actually wants to spend time with your child, the are perfect in every way. Teachers are people some are good some are bad. I feel sorry for your child, that you hate spending time with. Get your head outta your butt lady. I bet you are the worst. You sound like a major suck up. You probably expect special treatment from your kid's teacher because you suck up.

Daisy... DaisyJupes

I always like the "I pay your salary line." My dad gets that when someone gets pulled over a lot and he usually responds with "You and me both" You can't pull the I pay fractions of one cent of your salary card without acknowledging that the person pays their own salary, too.

nonmember avatar Alexandra

Yes teachers can get fired but only for 4 things: Theft (not little things like pencils), sexual misconduct with students, drug/alchol on campus, physical altercation with students.

You do not have to do your job well, be nice to the students or parents, return phone calls or email, or even attend parent teacher conferences. You can show up late, call students names, complain to them thatyou don't get paid enough, etc That's what makes a union job wonderful! Pay your dues and you're covered.. we should all have union jobs!

nonmember avatar Theresa

Actually, teachers aren't "fired" because they work on yearly contracts, so if the administration doesn't like them, their contract is simply not renewed. There doesn't even need to be a reason given.
As far as "I pay your salary," that line works for almost any job. You work in retail? Well I shop, so I pay your salary. You work at a hospital? Well I have insurance, so I pay your salary. You're an engineer and build bridges? Well I use roads and pay tolls, so I pay your salary. You're a software developer? Well I buy software, so I pay your salary.

Roger Sinasohn

Dear Marie:

"As for the rest of us we will do and say as we like."
Uh-oh, you'd best watch out because Mrs Sager's humourous articles carry the full force and effect of law and she has every branch of the military at the ready to enforce her mandates.

"Some teachers are the worst people you will ever subject your children to in their lives."
Well, other than certain parents.

"I love how you put this story out there like because someone actually wants to spend time with your child, the are perfect in every way."
Well, no, but I think the point is that "Teachers are people" and deserve to be treated with the respect and courtesy afforded to anyone else.

It is true that not all teachers are "angel's" [sic] -- in any sufficiently large group, there will always be some bad apples. For the most part, however, you're going to find a much smaller percentage of bad teachers than you will find bad parents -- partially because no one ever becomes a teacher by accident and partially because teachers are actually trained to do what they do, unlike parents who simply cut the umbilical cord and think they know everything.

Also, may I suggest that if you had perhaps paid a little more attention to your teachers instead of vilifying them, you might be able to present your arguments a little more coherently and without all the distracting errors. It is difficult to consider the validity of an argument or commentary when it is riddled with grammatical and spelling errors.

adamat34 adamat34

Teaches are to sensitive,and self important. Both of my parents are PhDs. They were and continue to be abusive and self riotous. Their way or your a peice of shit...im not condemning all teachers, but if parents really have to say anything, then usually it needs to be said. There are trouble makers....of course. And hello????we do pay tge public school teachers salaries!!! We all want whats best for our children, and our $$$!!!

bella... bellacazzate

Jesus Christ, adamat34. What the hell are you even trying to say? 

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