NORMAN — Dear Jeannie and Sally, As experienced educators, I would like your opinion on a phenomenon I have witnessed this past year.
I am starting my second year as a teacher, and not only do I love my job, I also love the kids I get to teach. The majority of the parents I dealt with last year were wonderful, but a few in particular were upset when discipline was necessary.
I don’t understand parents who won’t discipline their own kids and expect the school to do it for them, but when we do it, they don’t like it. Is this as prevalent in education as I’m afraid it is?
Welcome to the best career in the world. We definitely understand … and in answer to your question, yes. Many parents are not parenting, and it’s one of the most frustrating aspects of education.
We remember if a student got in trouble at school, he/she would be in even more trouble when they got home — present company included. We feel when corporal punishment was taken out of the schools, some leverage was lost.
Students know you can’t do much to them other than Saturday school or after-school detention, if they show up, and it’s not very frightening to them. Often times, it’s the teacher or administrator who is being blamed for requiring students to follow the rules.
All we can tell you is if you are doing the right thing, don’t let these parents bully or intimidate you. We have seen young teachers leave the profession because of certain parents’ behaviors.
Be sure to document and talk to your administrator if you have any behavioral issues. We also feel it helps to talk to the parents before the student gets home. That way, they hear an adult perspective first.