From receiving threats for telling a student's parent that he stole another student's juice box, to getting yelled at for not graduating their lazy child, teachers share the worst parent they've had to deal with.
[Comments have been edited for clarity.]
"My wife is the principal of an expensive daycare. Like, really expensive. Every parent drives a BMW or better.
A three-year-old once ran away from the group during a field trip. The teacher, an incredibly mild woman, caught the kid and asked him if he thought what he did was good or bad. She didn't hit him, she didn't even criticize him or make him go in time out --- she just asked him if he thought it was a good thing to do.
The mother freaked out. Not because her child nearly went missing - she was furious that any type of discipline whatsoever was administered. My wife was on the phone with her until 2:00 AM while this woman screamed, 'She has no right to tell my child what to do! Who does she think she is?!'
Fortunately, the woman became angry enough that she pulled her kid out a few days later. But that teacher is now so terrified to discipline her students that her class is out of control."
"I've been pretty lucky. Most of my parents have been cool, supportive, and laid back. I did, however, have one mom who stalked me heavily online, not because she liked me, but because she wanted to constantly talk about her daughter's (supposed lack of) progress.
She sent me friend requests repeatedly, showed up at the school once while I was teaching to ask me why I didn't accept her request. She somehow got my personal email and began emailing my personal email rather than my work email. She also told her daughter to follow me home one day so she could 'stop by' sometime (thankfully the daughter told me about this in advance and she didn't do it).
It finally ended when the daughter was pulled from the school only after a lawsuit was filed declaring negligence on our part for 'meeting the student's needs' (the daughter was a straight B student who didn't really act out too much and seemed to enjoy school)."
"I just got back from an internship at a German "Gymnasium" (high school directed towards kids who would normally go to college after). This school was also a boarding school and one of the kids is a complete waffle. He steals and drinks and bullies everyone else then plays dumb as if he didn't know what was up. His mother is probably the biggest problem parent I had to deal with at the school, but I was an intern so the real teachers had to deal with way worse I believe.
His mother ignored everything bad we told her about her kid. He is a saint who can do no wrong to her, and he's too fragile to ride the train home so every other week and on holidays she drives across Germany to pick him up. He got caught stealing from 3 other kids that lived next door to him, but his mom always gives some excuse like, 'Oh, he's under so much pressure, you all just blame him for everything!' Meanwhile, this student is growing up to have no future because he refuses to participate in school and can't stop acting out.
There is probably a problem here that needs treatment but I am a college student and those teachers are way overworked as it is."
"I'm a student teacher. This one isn't so bad as it is stupid.
I had a pair of twins in my French class. One was quite bright, but not perfect; in the B+/A- range, I'd say. The other not so much. The other twin was failing by a large margin.
So on parent's night, as a student teacher, I didn't have to go. But I figured it was best to keep up appearances. So the twins' mom comes in and we all talk about the first twins' grades. Mainly saying that they do this well, and this, and that they need to work on this to get past the B+. As for the other twin, we list our concerns: they are good at this, but they really struggle with that, blah blah blah. Just your standard feedback that would help both twins do well.
However, the mother gave one of the stupidest responses I'd ever heard. Both the teacher and I were speechless. You'd think her comment was a joke, but she was serious. And I bet it's not the first time she's said it.
'But if they're identical twins, shouldn't they have the same grade?'"
"My first teaching job, I had a fifth grader who was the worst. He would literally just stand up in the middle of class, laugh like a madman, and run out of my classroom. He also did a few things in the bathroom that no sane child would ever do, mostly involving feces.
I was new, so I asked around to see if this kid had a history of bad behavior. All of his previous teachers said he was actually one of the better-behaved kids, and he was pretty smart. No previous history of this kind of attitude or behavior whatsoever. They were baffled.
We (and by 'we' I mean 'all the fifth-grade teachers and the principal') met with his parents 4 times in two months, trying to determine the cause of all of this. In the first three meetings, his parents were cooperative but seemed a little slow. They couldn't think of any reason why little Jim (we'll call him Jim) would act in such a way.
In the fourth meeting, I said, 'Listen, kids don't just flip a switch like this. Jamal has no history of disciplinary problems until this year. Can you think of ANYTHING that happened between 4th and 5th grade that might affect his psychological makeup?'
They said, 'Oh! Jim's uncle was found shot dead in our home this summer. Jim was the one who discovered his body.'
Something that could have been brought to my attention sooner!"
"I walk into the school office to check my mailbox. A parent of one of my students sees me and says very loudly, almost screaming, 'Oh, FINALLY!!!! LOOK, EVERYONE, I FOUND A TEACHER!!! Do you realize that I left work EARLY to come here after school to talk to my son's teachers about his report card, and you are LITERALLY the ONLY teacher I have found?!!! I went from classroom to classroom and everyone was GONE!!! Do you know what time it is?!! It's 3:45pm! School ended FIFTEEN MINUTES AGO!!! FIFTEEN MINUTES!!!! And you're the ONLY teacher STILL HERE!!!! CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO ME WHY EVERYONE IS GONE?! CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO ME WHY EVERY TEACHER HAS LEFT THE BUILDING WHEN SCHOOL JUST GOT OUT?!!'
I paused, waiting to see if there was more. When I realized he had finished, I said, 'All the teachers are in the library. We're having a faculty meeting.'
The look on his face was priceless. He knew he was in the wrong, but by that point, he had committed so fiercely to his anger and righteousness that he couldn't just apologize. So he said, 'Well that's just irresponsible.' And he walked out of the office."
"My mom worked as a substitute teacher and subbed for a teacher for a few months, while the normal teacher was on maternity. My mom had about 4 months with the kids to learn their names and a bit about them (they were 4th graders).
One day, a parent came in flustered. She was beet red about their child having low scores. Low C's and mid D's in most courses. My mom had noticed that the child had not turned in much of her homework and while she got some back, it was clearly in the parents handwriting and often with very, VERY few mistakes, especially in math. That had honestly been keeping the child's GPA in check because in-class work was often riddled with mistakes, which led her to believe the kid wasn't paying attention.
When my mom got to meet the parents, who were flustered by the grades, she brought up the difference between the writing and questioned if they were doing the work for her. She explained that this would damage the child's education down the road. My mom also brought this to the principal and he just let it off as the parents were just helping their lazy kid. While she got yelled at, a bit of spite ran over, and the teacher was due to return in 2 months anyway, so my mom did what any evil genius would do.
She cut homework in half and made most of the work in-class. The child's C's dropped to D's and the D's to F's. The parents returned even more upset at my mom for 'intentionally failing the child' rather than her 'trying to motivate the parents to help their kid focus on classwork.'
Apparently, it worked afterward when the principal shrugged and said, 'It's her lesson plan and a lot of other students are arguably jealous of her lack of homework.' The kid finally began to focus more in class. When my mom checked in on the teacher around the end of the year when she subbed for another class, the kid was rolling on high C's and low B's and the parents handwriting had stopped."
"My favorite one was the lady who wrote a letter to all four Principals, the Superintendent, and every member of the School Board, threatening to sue the board if I wasn't fired, because I referenced Evolution (along with Gravity and a few others) in a conversation with my class about the difference between a 'theory' and a 'scientific theory'. Mind you, we didn't get into anything about Evolution, it was a basic freshman intro to physical science class, but that I even mentioned it was enough.
The meeting was spectacular. She yelled at me and the principals for a few minutes, then went on her rant about why Evolution was apparently crap, referencing Entropy and the laws of Thermodynamics. At some point, I stopped her and asked her if she understands that those laws only apply to closed systems, which the Earth is not, and she told me I was wrong, it was a closed system. I think I said something about 'that giant ball of fire in the sky' before my administrators excused me."
"I'm a teacher in Korea, and Korean mothers are known for being super involved in their kids' educations. They're also really over the top, to the point where there are classes for kids like 'mommy and me' type of thing where moms sit in class with the kids. This is seemingly so they have first-hand experience in class to complain about the teacher's accent/appearance/intellect/attention per student.
One of my classes is only two students. A boy and a girl. The boy always bullies the girl. A few weeks ago, he threw her water bottle in the trash and she was upset about it. His mom called the school and started complaining about how the girl always bothers him and that she is affecting his learning and always starts any tiffs they have in class (Which is totally not true). He is 100% the instigator but pretty much because students pay our salaries as hagwons (after school programs/private English schools) get no funding from the Korean government. Us teachers just kind of have to sit there and take it. However, the Korean teachers take the brunt of this and foreign teachers are just here to practice English as glorified babysitters and don't deal with parents directly. In this incident, I was involved because all of the teachers who dealt with the kids were asked to comment on their mutual treatment."
"I am currently doing private tutoring in Korea as an ESL teacher. The 'worst' parent I've dealt with so far is the family that I currently work with. While the mother and father are easily one of the sweetest and nicest people I've met, they're extremely wealthy and tend to spoil their two elementary kids.
They have a really fat little five-year-old boy that is the most spoiled boy in the universe. This boy throws tantrums every day during lessons, hits and screams at his parents and grandparents cries over everything. And his parents just smile and laugh over all of it. They've never disciplined him, they've never told him no. This boy gets a new toy every week, on demand. He can't stand doing anything he doesn't want or he'll run to his parents crying.
"I work with a student with an intellectual disability in journalism class. One day, the student interviews a really important political figure that's closely tied to activism for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The student finishes writing the article and there's only one issue, she needs to email her article to the editors and cannot seem to log into her email account because she forgot her password. So, I volunteer to email it for to the student editors. No harm, no foul.
Then, the next day I receive an email from her mother saying that the terminology the student used (she was quoting the politician) were my words and that I do not use person-first language (a huge no-no in education). She told me my language was offensive, unprofessional, and a sign that I clearly do not understand the complexities of addressing people with intellectual disorders. What offensive thing did the politician say? He said 'students with special needs' instead of saying 'students with intellectual disorders.' Honestly, it's not like he dropped the R-bomb, but based on the parent's reaction the student might as well have written that in the article. The parent CC'd all of the student editors and attached a bunch of Huffington Post articles on the topic. The students kept approaching me, asking how they should handle the article. I just told them to ignore it and I'll deal with it.
The entire ordeal was horrible and I was just trying to be a nice person by being the email liaison between the student and the editors. I've never received an apology and the parent refuses to acknowledge me whenever I wave at her when she's visiting."
"My first few years teaching in Baltimore I worked in a pretty terrible school, but I loved the students and kind of thrived in the organized chaos. It didn't always work out though.
I had a student, we'll call him Mike. Mike was a pretty popular guy who was in a crew of dudes who were all perfectly nice but were more focused on how to not come to class.
Mike was in my English 4 class, a 90-minute period that was split with a lunch period. Students would come to class for 45 minutes, go to lunch, and come back for 45 minutes. It wasn't the best idea administratively, but out of my hands.
Mike would show up for the first 45 minutes, and then never come back. He did this every day - for a year. I called his home, sent letters home via the main office, requested conferences via progress reports and report cards (we can check a box per student requesting their parent come in).
I never heard back. Not once, until graduation requirements. Mike had obviously failed my class, and students cannot graduate without four completed English credits. All of a sudden his mother, father, aunt, and grandmother were in the office screaming at the principal. I was called down, told to bring my contact records. I brought my binder of attempted calls, summaries of messages I left, dates I sent letters home and reminded the principal that I requested parent-teacher conferences on progress reports and report cards. I wasn't out to fail Mike, but Mike failed - and the other students that worked extra hard to pass deserved to graduate where he essentially skipped every day and didn't.
Anyway, the parent turned what would become an hour-long 'meeting' into a screaming match where she and the other family members said some really offensive and heinous stuff. Mike sat there silently, but wouldn't make eye contact.
My principal did nothing to fire back, even though he considered me a strong and fair teacher. Instead, after an hour, he manually changed all four quarters of Mike's failing grades to passing so he could be the first child in their family to 'graduate' high school.
That was six years ago, and I don't know where Mike is today - but I do keep in touch with some of his peers that graduated. I can only hope he found a way to benefit himself and his city after school."
"I held auditions for a singing role that various students were interested in. It was held at lunch when no club events were scheduled. Students could email me if they'd prefer another time. No emails, no-shows.
We needed someone to fill the role, so I just gave it to a great student of mine. Good natural talent, and reliable. She was sick all week leading up to auditions and proved it with a doctor's note. I still had her 'audition' upon return, but the only person who auditioned, so she got the role.
I had three parents email me about why their special snowflakes weren't considered. They all got the same response. If you want a role, audition for it. Two of them were actually okay with that. Their kids made it out like I had ignored all other auditions to give the advantage to this sick girl. But the third was terrible.
The parent kept hounding me about how it was unfair that her kid didn't have the opportunity to audition, how her child was a better singer than the one I had chosen (admittedly true, but she couldn't show up to mandatory classes on time, I'm not trusting her with rehearsals), and the usual bad teacher crap. She boo'd this poor girl on performance day as well."
"I was working in Saudi Arabia about 8 years ago and I had one kid who was the cousin of someone who was the cousin's cousin of the Prince of Saudi Arabia. He came the first day and signed up for the class and I never saw him again, in fact, I actually removed him from the attendance.
At the end of the course, the student showed up the last day to collect his diploma. I told him he wasn't getting one because he didn't attend a single class. He stormed out of the class calling me names the entire way.
A few hours later this little guy showed up with half of Saudi Arabia - his mother, father, uncles, aunts, brothers, the whole family. I was called into the office by the Dean and spent the next 30 minutes being screamed at by my boss, half the staff, and his belligerent family.
Didn't I know who he was? How DARE I not give him what he asked for! I was docked a months pay and I ended up quitting 2 months later.
Oh, and he graduated the class. With honors of course."
"I taught first grade. One of my students stole another student's juice during lunch, so I wrote a note home to his mom to let her know. She wrote 'liar!' on the note and returned it to me the next day. So I called her.
She then screamed that me and my assistant principal were making up lies about her angel (I don't have time to pee most days, but this woman thinks I have time to invent stupid lies about her terrible kid). Then she decided she was done talking and sent her 'baby daddy' to kick my butt.
This woman sent a grown man to an elementary school at 9:30 on a Tuesday to assault a teacher! I had to take my class to another teacher's room and all of the first class teachers had to keep their doors locked. Because her son stole another kid's juice!"