Last week, I wrote about how parents need to stop shaming the teachers that work with their children. If you missed that post, you can find it here. With this post, I want to make it clear that the street runs both ways – and that everyone involved in the education world needs to be more aware of how teacher and parent shaming is hurting the children we work with.
As much as it hurts teachers to have parents talk about them behind their backs, it would be hypocritical of me to deny the fact that teachers shame parents from time to time, too. Have you ever rolled your eyes at a note a parent has given you? Have you spoken badly about a parent in the staffroom? Have you gone out of your way to avoid having to communicate with a parent? Have you questioned someone’s parenting skills or questioned their involvement in their child’s life? If you haven’t answered yes to at least one of these, then you are amazing…. or you are lying.
Teachers have hard jobs… but parents do to. I never really realized that until I became a teacher mom. Raising children as a working mom is a total juggling act. The family and work commitments can be overwhelming. Maintaining a home, multiple children, extra curricular activities, paying attention to my marriage, not to mention the day to day hustle and bustle that comes along with raising a family can be completely overwhelming in itself. Then, add on work and school to that! There are times when the homework doesn’t get done. There are times when I do not even look at what is in my son’s backpack. And yes, I do forget to sign my daughter’s tests and agendas more times than I would like to admit.
Let’s face it, regardless of our own personal opinions of certain parents, I think we can agree that 99.9% of our students’ parents really are doing THE BEST THEY CAN each and every day.
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind before shaming a parent…
1. We never know what really happens at a child’s home.
Illness in the family? Financial problems? Divorce? These event, and many others, could be happening to the families of our students and we might never know. Not all students are forthcoming with what actually happens in their lives outside of school.
2. Our educational values might not match the parent’s values.
It wasn’t a lucky fluke that I became a teacher. I loved school, excelled at it, and had so many wonderful teachers. It seemed like a natural progression for me to go into the profession. Not all parents have had the same experience as me. Not all students have either. Not all parents dream for their children to go to university to become teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc. Not all students want to become those either. It’s time we start realizing that.
3. Some parent’s just can’t.
There are parents who are struggling with their own demons – whether it be from domestic abuse, addiction, mental health issues, or something else that doesn’t allow for them to be there for their child as much as we would want them to be. For some, surviving each day is a challenge in itself. Again, these issues are not something we would necessarily know about. Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
As teachers, we will meet many different kinds of parents throughout our careers. There will be days when one of those parents will do or say something that will send us over the edge. There will be instances where we will want go to the staff room and put them on blast. My challenge to you is to stop the vicious circle of negativity. Sure, in the short term, it might feel good to put down a parent based on what he/ she said or did, but most of the time, the nature of the parental negativity comes from one of the three sections above. When we keep that in mind, it really makes shaming a parent look petty, unprofessional and downright mean.
This post marks my commitment to stop Parent Shaming.
Who’s with me?
Have a great day!