Dear Parents-

Dear Parent of a school-aged child-

As a teacher I have to tell you something that you may or may not choose to believe.  I’m going to tell you anyway.  Read carefully:  I AM NOT OUT TO GET YOUR CHILD.  I do not wake up in the morning and randomly select a student to torture for the day or week.  Or month.  Or year.  I give homework because I think it’s important to the learning process in my classroom, not just for funsies.  I give grades based on the effort and work that your child put into the assignment.  I DO NOT lie about what I’ve done or why I’ve done it.  It’s not just your child who has to do the work.  I do not give some students help and not others.  I DO make students think for themselves at times, which is considerably more challenging for them than if I tell them the answer or do the work for them, but it is not discriminating against said child.  It is called learning.

When we, the people who are now the parents (or at least the age of parents) were in school, we did not get 100 chances to turn in something late.  If I didn’t do the work, I suffered the consequences, both at school and at home.  I imagine you did, too.  My mommy didn’t run to school every time I got a bad grade to argue about why I shouldn’t have that bad grade even though I didn’t study/turn in the assignment/turned it in two weeks late.  My mom grounded me and told me that if I didn’t get myself on track, life would only get worse.  In fact, in all of my middle and high school career, I can only remember twice when my mom said something to a teacher.  Once was when I almost died in PE (nope, not being dramatic) and once was when the science teacher made me cry.  Of course, after my mom talked to the science teacher, he just made fun of me more and I didn’t tattle again.  But that was it.  She never stepped in because I made a lower grade on some inferior work, because obviously I was a genius and the teacher hated me (that science teacher did).  She let me know that if I wasn’t doing my best, I would pay for it.  So I did my best.

All I’m saying is- your child probably isn’t a genius.  He or she is going to get a bad grade, or isn’t going to turn in homework, or might actually be a total slacker.  And, as a teacher, I have to ask- believe me first.  I want your child to learn.  I want them to succeed as much as you do.  I’m just as disappointed when I have to give a “0” or fail them on some test or assignment that I reminded them a zillion times to do.

Mostly though, I hate to give the bad grade because I know you’re going to yell at me.

Signed,
Almost Every Teacher

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2 thoughts on “Dear Parents-

  1. Amen, sister. At the college level, I did not have do deal with parents, but I did have to deal with the young adults (I use the term “adults” loosely) who grew up in the culture created by what you describe here … not turning in work on time, doing half-assed work and expecting full marks, punishing teachers on their course evaluations. It felt like a constant uphill battle. I don't know how you do it everyday!

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  2. Yeah it's ridiculous. When you're arguing with yourself about whether to give the 'real' grade the kid deserves or just bump it up a little so no one calls a meeting with your principal, I think it's time for a change. I hate to think of the adults some of these kids will become…

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