Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Parent Doesn't Quite Get It

A teacher I know received the following email from a parent. If you're not a teacher and you wonder if those horror story parents really exist, here's proof of at least one. Let me be clear: I know for sure that this email is 100% authentic.

I got rid of course titles and anything else that might identify the student, the school, or even what year this email was sent. I've left the pronouns in--it would be too distracting to read the email with them removed.

Dear xxxxx,
I know that my daughter struggles in your xxxxx class greatly, however I also know that she attends class daily, takes all your tests and does all her homework. How is it possible for her to be failing? Don't you think that there is something wrong with this picture? What is the point of showing up at all, seems to me the grade would be the same! Maybe she is really that stupid, or maybe she just doesn't understand xxxxx and needs some extra help. At the beginning of the year you said that you don't want the kids to run out and get tutors but I am told by both of my kids that you are not there before or after school and that it is hit and miss during lunch, even when they ask if you are going to be around for help (I doubt this is true, but it's what the parent wrote--Darren). She is also in xxxxx and gets tutoring in that class for your xxxxx class, I have instructed her to go to the library for tutoring after school Monday through Wednesday. xxxxx cannot fail your class, it is unacceptable on both of your parts! What are we going to do about this problem?


I want to fisk this letter, sentence by sentence; I really do. I mean, just reread the first two sentences: My kid shows up, does homework, and takes tests--how can my kid be failing? Ugh!

If I wanted to be kind, I could point out that at least the parent is concerned (before report cards came out!) and is trying to help his/her student, but the tone and content of the email just don't allow me to be kind. This parent is frustrated, and understandably so, but this is not how mature and rational adults communicate with each other.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it's the teacher I think it is, I understand the parent 100%.

Scott McCall said...

maybe u should just smack-a-b***h

La Maestra said...

Ayup, I've had a few of those, although my parents tend to prefer phone calls (which, unfortunately, can't be easily, or legally, preserved for bloggin posterity.)

I know a number of teachers that more or less give students credit for showing up, and we used to have a teacher who taught seniors (he finally retired after 37 years) who told students that if they had perfect attendence, he'd pass them with a D- regardless of their test and assignment scores.

Maybe the mom should start taking privileges away from her little darling and going to the tutoring with her to see exactly why the kid is failing. I bet the scores would come up really fast after that...

"Unacceptable on both of your parts"--what the hell ever! The attitude and the way in which she phrased her concerns are what is unacceptable.

Darren said...

Anonymous, you probably don't. I haven't even identified the school at which the teacher teaches--or doesn't teach, in the opinion of this parent!

Anonymous said...

Oh. Well I go to the school you teach at - was it there?

Darren said...

I cannot give out any identifying information at all.

Anonymous said...

"A colleague of mine received the following email from a parent."
It must be the same school then, right?

Darren said...

I have colleagues in different schools, but if that isn't clear enough, I've altered the wording.

carol said...

"he'd pass them with a D- regardless of their test and assignment scores."

Yep, that's exactly the deal my stepson's math teacher cut with him. So, at least he "graduated" and is now happily enconsed in the Marines. The kid was 19 and very stubbornly did not want any, ANY help from us either. I don't know what to think of it but I can't but feel he'll pay for it somehow or other down the line.