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True Teacher Confessions: What Teachers Wish They Could Tell Parents

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We gave teachers the chance to speak their minds ... and they certainly did!

Check out how teachers responded to our True Teacher Confessions request. And may this be a lesson to all of us parents: We need to support our school systems and our teachers. We also need to read to our children. Teachers are putting in the time -- and so should we!

True Teacher Confessions

What do you wish you could REALLY tell parents?

"A lot of times, I wish I could tell parents their kid is a booger. A great big slimy one. They are not nice to have around, mean to other kids, annoying and I wish I could just shove them in the closet! This is with only a few kids; I am not a witch (lol)."-- Teacher for five years

What is the most annoying complaint you hear from parents?

"'I don't have time to read with my child. Teachers are overpaid, and they have their summers off.' My day at school starts at 7 AM, and I am there until 7 PM most nights. Once the students arrive at 8:20 AM, I am ON until they leave at 3:25 PM. Then, when I get home, I still have school-related work to do. My summers are spent taking classes for improvement and updating for new curriculum." -- Kindergarten teacher for 20 years

Do parents ever negatively impact a child's education? How so?

"By having unreasonable demands. Straight As does NOT mean your child is Einstein." -- Teacher for six years

What should parents NEVER say to you?

"'You aren't paying enough attention to MY student.' I am one person and doing the best I can with the resources available to me. If you want your kids to get special attention, bring them here before school or pick them up late after school. I'd be happy to give him the individual instruction."-- High-school teacher for 10 years

What's the biggest challenge facing teachers today?

"When I began teaching 40 years ago, I had 20 to 25 students per English class. (Five classes a day = 100 to 125 students daily.) Having students write at least two times each week was time-consuming; however, able to be accomplished. With 40 students in each class, writing longer papers is becoming a thing of the past." -- Teacher for 40 years

What do you wish you could REALLY tell parents?

"Your child is a spoiled little brat, and you need to get a clue." -- Teacher for 14 years

Do parents ever negatively impact a child's education? How so?

"Parents who pull their children from school for multiple family trips or long weekends say, 'It is only kindergarten.' Children who miss school miss out on learning. If they are sick, the teacher tries very hard to catch the child up, but if the parents keep taking them out for every little thing, the child loses in the long run." -- Kindergarten teacher for 20 years

What's the worst thing you have seen in the classroom?

"Two different students on two different occasions threatened to kill me in front of all the other students in the class. None of the principals would come for assistance. Thank goodness that the other students held him back until the police got there." -- Teacher for 24 years

What do you wish you could REALLY tell parents?

"'I only have a year with your child -- YOU are the one who has to deal with these behaviors for the long haul. I'm trying to improve their knowledge and skills, but these problem behaviors aren't going away if you ignore them. If I'm the fifth-grade teacher telling you these concerns, it's time to stop blaming the school or the teacher and start looking at what's going on at home.'" -- Teacher for 11 years

What's the biggest challenge facing teachers today?

"I believe the biggest challenge now is that parents just don't seem to care as much. They don't show to conferences, don't respond to notes, don't take an interest in what goes on in school and don't help with homework. How are we supposed to educate your child if you don't at least put in minimal effort at home? -- Teacher for five years

What do you wish you could REALLY tell parents?

"I don't come to your job and question every move YOU make, so don't come to mine and do that." -- Teacher for six years

What should parents NEVER say to you?

"'He or she is your problem. You deal with it. You get paid.'" -- Teacher for six years

What do you wish you could REALLY tell parents?

"I really wish I could tell parents that their children are in high school and need to start being responsible for themselves. Parents (and their kids) these days blame everyone else. Kid fails class? Teacher hates him. Kid beats up another student? That student had it coming. Kid kips class? Teacher didn't try hard enough to engage kid when he was in class. Kid always tardy? Teacher has too strict of a tardy policy." -- Teacher for four years

What's the worst thing you have seen in the classroom?

"I once found an opened condom on my (second-grade) classroom floor. I am pretty sure it was not there before class began, because I always inspect the floor for crayons, pencils and other things of that sort." -- Teacher for three years

What could parents do better to support their child's education?

"Follow through with nightly homework. If your kids say they don't have homework in middle school, they are LYING." -- Teacher for eight years

Is your social life impacted because you are a teacher?

"I think so. People expect so much from you. You can't be caught with a beer on your grocery cart or parents/students will start to see you differently. I myself do not drink, smoke or do drugs. But I am sure there are others that do and still teach. We are all human beings. We are not saints, but sometimes we must act like it in front of others, because we are teachers. We are role models." -- Second-grade teacher for three years

next: Alison Sweeney Gives Back
24 comments so far | Post a comment now
Tabitha August 11, 2010, 9:54 AM

OK, please. This one always makes me laugh every time I hear it. There are so many other jobs where you work 10+ a day (yes, you have to be ON, what does that even mean? Are you allowed to be OFF at other jobs?) and you don’t have summers and all these long week-long vacations off throughout the year. I have never heard of a teacher having to work holidays, in fact, they get most of the week of the holiday off. And I know working with children can be tiring, but it is a job, and yes, jobs are tiring. Also, there is a whole support system built in and teachers always get to eat lunch, sit down and many of them are home in the afternoons.


Anonymous August 11, 2010, 11:02 AM

What she means by being “on” is it’s like being on stage. I’ve done teaching as well as other jobs. Teaching is so much harder, your brain can’t rest for a second. You are “performing” for seven hours straight with a lousy half hour (if you are lucky) for lunch. You have to jump through hoops just to pee (and pray you don’t get caught having to do so). You spend the entire day in many cases no different than a correctional officer, trying to keep the peace. It’s sheer exhaustion. Half of the year you spend your time hoarse since you are constantly “on stage performing”. It drains the body and mind. Then, the public crucifies you no matter what. You are never right and never good enough even if you are the most efficient teacher out there. Your “breaks” are spent at workshops, doing research, preparing for the next school year. Not to mention we are the “go to” house for all the kids on break since our friends all need help with childcare. We also spend $500 to $1000 a year for basic supplies like pencils, paper, expo markers, tape, our own freaking “teacher’s chair”, files, etc. since most schools don’t supply that stuff. Ask the parents to have their kids bring two pencils a day and you are looked at cross-eyed. So in turn, you get to supply 10-20 pencils a day of your own. Uggghhhh, there’s so much more but I have to go move my classroom supplies to a new room now. It’s backbreaking sweaty work that I do on my “summer break”. See ya

Teacherfor7years August 11, 2010, 11:50 AM

I don’t get why everyone thinks a teachers schedule is so easy. If you are jealous, why didn’t you just become a teacher? Oh wait, maybe it’s because they only get paid for 7 hours/day, but work 10 .
For anyone who is a mother and says a teachers job is easy, you know how hard it is to raise a few kids, imagine trying to educate and raise 30 kids! Unfortunately that is the case because many parents these days think that they don’t have to teach their child anything and leave it all up to the school. It’s exhausting!

Mary August 11, 2010, 5:48 PM

I agree with everything these teachers are saying. This is why I do not call my son’s teacher. I do not schedule conferences. If his grades are dropping, then OK, maybe there’s a need to speak to a teacher, but I just can’t see the point in bothering her if everything is working well.

I talk to other moms who seem to be in constant daily contact with the teacher, emailing her, calling her etc. I just don’t get this attitude that your child is the only child. My son has great grades. He slips from time to time, sure. I can email his teacher, ask for a suggestion, and we go about our business.

It frees up her time to deal with the helicopter moms.

Amy August 11, 2010, 6:19 PM

I just want to say to parents, “stop making excuses for your child and hold them accoutable for their actions and expectations that are put in place. Excuses aren’t valid in real life and choosing not to follow expectations/rules/laws isn’t an option.”

Jen August 12, 2010, 3:30 PM

I agree with most of these, but we are the parents. If I question a teacher on something that has to do with my child or some method that is being employed within their classroom then answer it promptly and professionally. So if any move that I make affect your child at my work then you are more than welcome to come to my job and question me.

Kristen August 15, 2010, 10:58 AM

I think everything the teachers are saying is true. Parents don’t care and think their children are angels and it’s just NOT true. I also agree that teachers get paid crap and work extra long hours, the week long schools break, I’m guessing most teachers are catching up on assignments and other things. On top of that teachers are required to do continuing education classes, where do they have the time?
I homeschool my children because I think teachers are under too much pressure, have too many things going against them to be effective in the classroom. Teaching 30 kids isn’t teaching, it’s giving them worksheets, talking to the kids about things that are not interesting and just being a babysitter. I do not blame the teachers for this situation, I blame politics and crappy parents who don’t give a crap.

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