A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Add this to the list of things that bureaucrats don't understand about teachers' lives.

So here's a situation.

A parent requested a conference with a teacher I know during conference time. This parent began yelling and gesticulating wildly during the conference, until the teacher asked the parent to leave. By the way, the teacher in question is so calm, he's practically a reincarnation of the Buddha. Parent stormed off and went to an administrator and made a bunch of wild claims about the teacher and then stormed out of the administrator's office.

So far, not all that unusual, right?

Here's where it gets interesting: the parent's kid approached the teacher a few days later, accused him of threatening the mother, and then threatened to attack the teacher. This was done IN FRONT OF WITNESSES.

Wow. Makes Race to the Top seem kind of insignificant and out-of-touch, doesn't it?

The assumption that students are all here to learn, that students are all cooperative, sane, and non-violent, is just not a part of the reality of teaching in a public school. That goes for parents, too.

And it's certainly true that the majority of students and parents do not behave this way. But this kind of family is becoming ever more common. There have been more assaults or threatened assaults on teachers of my acquaintance this year that any year that I can remember since I started teaching school back in the 1980s.

Now, luckily, the student has been suspended from school for the maximum allowed time, which is good, since it is known that the family has guns in the house. It is good to know that the administrators took this seriously.

So maybe Arne Duncan has some advice about this situation from his vast well of educational experience? If so, I'd like to hear it.

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At 10/27/11, 5:36 PM, Blogger Kim said...

This is why I will never EVER have a parent conference without an administrator or guidance counselor present.

At 10/30/11, 6:25 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

This? This is the only thing about my job that I hate.

At 11/1/11, 5:17 PM, Blogger Ms. George said...

My team attends parent conferences as a team, and we may have special ed, 2nd languages, specials like art, gym or music, and AIS attend based on their schedule. This is for the designated parent conference days or the ones that parents may set up in guidance. If the student is particularly tricky, we may request admin or guidance presence as well. We never meet alone, even if the student only has an issue with one class that is not resolved with phone contact.

At 11/3/11, 4:30 AM, Anonymous Benjamin Clark said...

Oh, Lord!
Crackpot parents are the main disadvantage in the teacher's craft. Even overactive kids are less troublesome.

At 11/4/11, 8:56 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Oh, the original parent conference was in the gym with hundreds of other people around. Just shows how nutso this family is.

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