10 Ways That Parents Annoy Teachers

Last week, we posted some suggestions for what parents should do when they disagree with a teacher. Today, we’re turning the tables and featuring 10 Ways That Parents Annoy Teachers. Are you guilty of any of the following?

1. Questioning teachers’ expertise. There are few things teachers hate more than the assumption, stated or implied, that parents know everything there is to know about teaching since they’ve been students themselves. I’ve flown in a lot of airplanes over the course of my life, but that doesn’t make me qualified to be a pilot!

2. Assuming their child is extra special. Of course your child is special – and so is everyone else’s. Don’t fall prey to Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon trap, where “all the children are above average.”

3. Complaining about the amount of assigned homework. Oftentimes, teachers’ hands are tied in terms of how much homework is assigned – and you can be sure that they don’t like grading it any more than your child likes doing it! Plus, it’s possible that your child may have a heavier load at night because he or she was slacking off during class. Which brings us to…

4. Refusing to believe anything negative a teacher may say about your child. With extremely rare exceptions, teachers believe in your kids and want them to succeed. They are not out to “get” your child, and they don’t often spin lies from whole cloth. Kids, however, often do.

5. Believing that their kids are simply “too bright” to behave in class. Ah, the old “he/she is not being challenged enough” saw! If this is really your kid’s problem, the teacher will happily note it – and take steps to remedy it.

6. Bailing. Don’t promise to volunteer, or chaperone, or work with little Charles at home on his math, or whatever – and then bail on your promise. Your child’s teachers (and, by extension, your child) are counting on you. The fact that the work is unpaid makes no difference. Teachers need to know they can rely on your word.

7. “Please excuse Sally because…” Unless there has been a true extenuating circumstance in your family – such as the death of a family member – your child needs to face the consequences when he or she fails to meet expectations or complete assignments in a timely manner.

8. Unfair comparisons. Imagine how you’d feel if you got to work one day, and your boss complained to you that your predecessor in your job did things a certain way. Or that your boss has it on good authority that someone in another department routinely comes in over the weekend to complete assignments, and that therefore you should, too. You wouldn’t like it much, I bet. Neither does your kid’s teacher.

9. Going over the teacher’s head. If you have a problem with a teacher, talk to the teacher. Not to the principal or the superintendent. Very rarely, you may need to escalate something to a higher level, but talk to the teacher first. Always.

10. Believing for a second that, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Few things are more insulting – or less true.

Teachers, what say you? Anything we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!

The good news is that the more connected your school community is, the more on the same page parents and teachers are likely to be. Which is why MemberHub is good for schools and your blood pressure ;-).