Ask any teacher what they think of their students’ parents, and you’ll get the same general answer: “They’re great…for the most part.” Unfortunately, the worst parents make the job much more difficult. It’s hard enough making lesson plans and keeping your classroom under control; when you’ve got a parent hovering over your shoulder, it’s significantly worse. Fortunately, bad parents make for great stories. We collected a few of the best teacher anecdotes from recent Reddit threads, then edited them slightly for grammar and readability. Before you start complaining to your kid’s teacher, keep these stories in mind.
Remember, parents: It’s not about you.
“As a music teacher, I had a mother of a student who would crash choir rehearsal for our Christmas concert and try to ‘demonstrate’ how she had learned to sing ‘O Holy Night’ when she had been a student,” wrote Back2Bach (who might have the best username we’ve ever seen). “Not only was her pitch three cents short of a dollar, but it took the principal and custodian to escort her out of the rehearsal room. For their part, the students thought it was ‘planned comedy.’ However, it was not!”
Yes, you can get too involved in your child’s education.
“I’ve been pretty lucky,” wrote BosskHogg. “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 and 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 after a lawsuit was filed declaring negligence on our part for not ‘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.”
Sometimes, a parent’s religious beliefs can be an issue.
“I had a parent of a kindergartner tell me, in all seriousness, that she was told by their church prophet that my student was sent to lead the world into salvation,” wrote Esk_209. “Her little girl was the second coming of Christ.” “Gee, no pressure. ‘Here, teach the Christ-child to read.’ Plus, she was one of the meanest children I ever taught.” Oddly enough, that’s not the most unbelievable story involving religion. “I’m currently dealing with a parent who thought I that I taught their kid about Jihad,” wrote the ironically named Mynameiswrath. “We had ‘Holidays Around the World’ before our winter break. Each teacher took a holiday and explained it through activities, videos, music, food, etc.” “I chose Diwali and decorated my room in lights. We had a fun writing/coloring activity and a child-friendly video about the holiday.” Diwali, by the way, is the Hindu festival of lights. It celebrates the power of light over darkness and the triumph of good versus evil. Pretty good stuff, right? (There’s also a Diwali in Jainism, another ancient religion in India. The commenter clarified that they were speaking specifically about the Hindu version. Either way, both are celebrations of goodness.) “The student then goes home and tells the parent that I was teaching about killing and about a religion that started with a J.” “The parents questioned their child to the point of him crying. I asked him about it, and he said that they wouldn’t let him leave it alone, and he ended up crying for a while about it. The parent said they knew it wasn’t the Jewish religion, so then it had to be Jihad.” “What?! Jihad? That’s a religion? And if it was a religion, why would I be teaching that to my elementary classroom? Seriously, facepalm.” “The best part is that the parent CC’d my boss on the email without talking to me at all about it. My boss usually faults on the side of his teachers, so I’m not worried about that, but I just couldn’t believe a well-educated adult thought that Jihad was a religion. She asked her husband, and he agreed it had to be Jihad as well! If that is the mindset in that child’s home, they have a lot to overcome.”
No, your report card isn’t just a reflection of your genetics.
Reddit user Lechuck333 is a student teacher. “This one isn’t so bad as it is stupid,” they wrote. When a teacher calls something “stupid,” you know you’re getting a good story. “I had a pair of twins in my French class. One was quite bright, but not perfect; say in the B+/A- range. The other, not so much. The other twin was failing by a large margin.” “Parents’ night. As a student teacher, I didn’t have to go, but I figured it was best to keep up appearances. The twins’ mom comes in and we all talk about the first twins’ grades. I’m 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 myself were speechless. You’d think her comment was a joke, but she was serious—dead serious. And I bet it’s not the first time she’s said it.” “Her response: ‘But if they’re identical twins, shouldn’t they have the same grade?’”
If you’ve got a problem, take it up with the teachers.
“My wife is the principal of an expensive daycare,” wrote Takenorinvalid. “Like, really expensive. Every parent drives a BMW or better.” “A 3-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 a.m. 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.”
When your kid’s in college, it’s time to let go.
“[I have issues with] any parent of a college-age student that thinks they still need or can do anything about their child’s grade,” wrote Rockman507. “For all four terms I’ve taught freshman biology labs, I’ve had at least one student’s parent call my admin about why there is someone with a B.S. in physics teaching their precious child biology. What does he know about grading lab reports?” “And they’ll say that they need to change their precious child’s grade on the last report—the one that was supposed to be 10 pages with graphs, but their innocent perfect child turned in only one page with no graph—from an ‘F’ to the more fair ‘A’ grade.” “A PhD does not make you a good teacher. It also doesn’t mean you know intro-level general biology 101 any better than someone that completed a general senior year of biology undergrad classes and a full degree in another lab science.” “The last thing you really want is a PhD in a lab section teaching you how to hold the petri dish close to a flame for aseptic technique…they will assume since they have been dealing with capable students for 10-20 years that you already know all the nuances and therefore harder for them to come down to your level as a freshman in explaining topics and techniques.”
If you’re going to make a scene, make sure you’re right.
“I walk into the school office to check my mailbox,” wrote Woolyboy76. “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?’” He continued, obviously—when parents are angry, it’s hard to get them to shut up. “‘I went from classroom to classroom and everyone is gone! Do you know what time it is? It’s 3:45 p.m.! School ended fifteen minutes ago! Fifteen minutes! And you’re the only teacher still here! Can you explain to me why everyone in the building 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 instead, he said, ‘Well, that’s just irresponsible.’ And he walked out of the office.”
The “nightmare parents” aren’t always the ones that stick with teachers.
“I worked at a school for blind and visually impaired kids,” wrote Clavalle. “This woman had a daughter that was blind and mentally delayed, but otherwise healthy. They were referred to our school when the daughter was in her mid-teens. Her mother did so much for this girl that she considered completely helpless (she was not). Her legs atrophied and she couldn’t stand on her own.” “We dealt with our share of nightmare parents of various stripes—from the completely uninvolved to control freaks who knew every bureaucratic trick that they could pull to get what they wanted—but this one, the one that cared so much for her daughter that she crippled her even further, is the one I think back to the most often. It was a constant battle to get her to back off and let her daughter learn to be an independent person.”
Evolution’s always a touchy subject.
However, it’s also solid science—like it or not. “My favorite one was the lady who wrote a letter to all four principals, the superintendent, and every member of the school board,” wrote Wardsac. “She was threatening to sue the board if I wasn’t fired, because I referenced evolution (along with gravity and a few other topics) 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 the fact that I even mentioned evolution was enough.” “The meeting was spectacular. She yelled at me and the principals for a few minutes, then went into her rant about why evolution was apparently bull, 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.”
We shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t yell at grade schoolers.
“My roommate is a preschool teacher,” wrote one Reddit user whose account has since been deleted. “She has a student in her class who is very, very rambunctious. She has a pretty good line of communication with the boy’s mother—the mother is not in denial about her son’s behavioral issues. [My roommate] also has a girl in her class who is spoiled rotten; she’s used to getting everything she wants immediately.” “One afternoon, my roommate was waiting on parents to pick up the kids, and she was chatting with the mother of Rambunctious Boy. All of the sudden, the mother of Spoiled Girl bursts into the room.” Dibs on “Rambunctious Boy” as our new band name. “She starts yelling…at Rambunctious Boy. Apparently, he had pushed Spoiled Girl on the playground the day before. Spoiled Girl didn’t tell my roommate or the other teacher—just her mom. She also told her mom that Rambunctious Boy didn’t get punished (since she didn’t say anything to the teachers).” “Her mom decides to take this out not on the teachers, but on this 4-year-old boy. She screams at him not to touch her daughter, and that there would be consequences and blah blah. Obviously, Rambunctious Boy starts crying. My roommate and the other mother are just in shock, and Spoiled Girl and her mom turn and leave in a huff.” “Congratulations, lady. You just bullied a 4-year-old into crying. I really hope you feel good about yourself.”
Help your kids with their homework—but don’t do it for them.
“My mom was a substitute for about six months while the regular teacher was out on maternity leave,” wrote H70541. “They had a meeting with parents; to that point, my mom had had about four months with the kids to learn their names and a bit about them. This is 4th grade, mind you.” “One parent came in flustered, beet red, complaining that their child had low scores—low Cs and mid Ds in most courses.” “My mom had noticed that the child had not turned in much of her homework. While she’d received some of the assignments, they were clearly in the parent’s handwriting, and often with very few mistakes, especially in math, which had been honestly what had been keeping the child’s GPA in check. Her in-class work was often riddled with mistakes, which led the teacher to believe the kid wasn’t paying attention.” “When my mom met the parents, she brought up the differences between the in-class work and the homework, then asked if they were doing the work for her, as that would damage the child’s education down the road.” “My mom also brought this to the principal, and he just let it off. The parents yelled at her, and since the regular teacher was due to return in a few months, 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 Cs dropped to Ds, and the Ds dropped to Fs. The parents returned even more upset that my mom was ‘intentionally failing the child.’” “Apparently, it worked. The principal told the parents, ‘It’s her lesson plan, and a lot of the other students are jealous of her lack of homework.’” The kid began to focus more in class. When my mom checked in around the end of the year, the kid was rolling on high Cs and low Bs, and the parents’ handwriting had stopped.”
The worst stories involve parents who simply don’t listen to reason.
“I was teaching high school in the South Bronx at the time,” wrote one Reddit user. “A student of mine had just assaulted another, and I had to physically restrain him until school security showed up.” The kid also had some choice words for the teacher—none of which we can reprint here. “Obviously, we had to call his mom in. The first thing she said when we sat down was, ‘How did you all get my number? I thought I gave you a fake one.’ She proceeded to give no f**** about the fact that her son was on the verge of expulsion. He didn’t come back to school the following year.” That’s heartbreaking, but we think this one’s even worse. “I was teaching a sweet 13-year-old girl who obviously couldn’t see the board very well and needed glasses, as she was falling behind in class,” wrote Breakyourbad. “I called her mother—this is in south London, so imagine a [strong accent]—her mum told me, ‘I didn’t need glasses, my mother didn’t need glasses, so she doesn’t need any glasses,’ and hung up.” “In that situation, you just feel for the girl.”