Saturday, January 26, 2008

Things parents should never, ever do at their child's school

Report cards came out last week and we're all starting to hear from parents who just can't understand why Tommy or Suzy didn't pass English even though they received MULTIPLE calls over the course of the semester about their child's poor grades. So, in honor of those parents, here are a few things that drive teachers absolutely crazy. If you're a parent, please take note to never, ever do these things. Ever.

-Ignore academic problems until it's too late
Last year I had a student whose parents didn't care about his failing grade in my class until three weeks before graduation. THREE WEEKS. By that time I had made a dozen calls to his home to inform them of his grade situation, the school counselor had been in touch about his chances of graduating, and five progress reports had gone out, all of which had contained failing grades. Three weeks before graduation, though, was the first time anyone from his family ever wanted to meet with me to discuss the situation, and by that point it was really too late to do anything to fix things. He ended up taking the class over in summer school.

-Lie to your spouse about your child's grades
A colleague of mine had an irate parent call the principal last year to complain that she had never informed him or his wife that their son was failing. After some back and forth between my coworker, both parents, and the principal it finally came out that she had spoken to the mom--twice--about the kid's grade but Mom didn't want Dad to know about it so she never told him about the calls. Bad idea. It was, as you can imagine, horribly embarrassing for the parents plus their son had to repeat that semester of English the following year.

-Just show up in the middle of the school day without any warning
Now, don't get me wrong, if your child is failing my class I want to meet with you in person. I don't, however, want to meet with you while I have a class in session. Last week a parent came by with her son to ask why he'd been marked tardy so many times. I would have been happy to talk about her son's issues with getting to my class on time, but not while I was in the middle of a lecture. Word to the wise--if you want to talk to your child's teacher make an appointment. Just showing up in the middle of the school day will never get you what you want.

In short, pay attention to your child's grades throughout the school year, keep your spouse informed of problems at school, and call ahead if you want to talk to your child's teacher about a problem.


Bea said...

It amazes me that people don't think of these things themselves? Aren't they obvious?


ewe are here said...

I can promise you that I will not be one of those parents.


Sadly, it answers the question 'who raises these people?' for me.

M said...

Now you know where the kids got their tact and intelligence...