The following is an open letter to parents everywhere of school age children on behalf of educators. Although, a decade in education has granted me the wonderful opportunity to work with a majority of supportive parents, the antics of the smallest percentage always upstage the majority. Keep this in mind as I exorcise some demons…
Please know that we love working with your kids. Your children are the only reason we show up everyday. Without them, we have no job or passion. We are incredibly dedicated to making sure that they leave us at the end of the year better prepared for the world then when they first arrived. Not only do we want them to read, we want them to understand what they read. We want them to critically think about the world. We dare them to dream. We teach them to think for themselves and then challenge their thinking so that they understand the world through lenses other than their own. We love working with them!
You, yes, you parents, on the other hand, well to be quite honest, you make it harder and harder for us to get out of bed. Because of you, we can barely do our jobs without fear of losing them. It used to be that the light of day could rarely be seen between an educator and parent. But now there is a gap so huge between us, John McEnroe would scream, “You can drive a truck through that thing!” Let’s be frank, shall we? It’s not us….it’s you!
Explain to us your consistent efforts to shield hardship and adversity from your children. How does this help them develop into capable adults? You know damn well the adult world is cold and cruel; that it does not suffer fools. Yet, you move your child in and out of classrooms because they complain the teachers are too hard on them? You coddle, console, and enable behaviors that stunt their determination. Look, we don’t always like your snotty kid. We don’t have to, but we will never give up on them. No matter how harshly they speak to us or the lies they tell you home so they don’t lose X-Box time, we know we have something to teach them. Your child doesn’t not like us not because we are mean to them, but because we check for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling and run on sentences. We teach them to be prepared for their future, we don’t have to like them!
Perhaps you have heard the rumor that good communication skills are necessary for career aspirations. But yet, you move your child around two or three different times because they don’t want the teacher that makes them work. Then reading scores come back revealing a 4th grade level for your 8th grader, and you audaciously blame us. Instead of helping us, help your child learn about grit, and determination, you coddle them with a new I-Pad. It may make them feel good in the moment but it does nothing to remove the fact that they still cannot read!
Stop going above our heads all the time to address problems with my boss and not with me! Do you honestly think we are going to seek vengeance upon your child because you are upset they saw images of the whipped backs of slaves. Why not ask us why we are learning about it? We learn, after you force letters of reprimand in our file, that your child has “triggers,” and needs to not see upsetting imagery. This all could have been avoided with a phone call or a note. Regardless, how does sheltering them from realities of a slave based economy teach them about the causes of the American Civil War? How does hiding them from the world help them to develop opinions about current issues. Do you make them go in the other room when you watch the news? God help us all if this nation ever has to fight another World War!
For you book banning butt holes, no one is making your kid read “50 Shades of Grey!” You would think so after your rant about the end of John Steinbeck’s, “Grapes of Wrath!” The biblical book, “Song of Songs” is far more explicit in sexuality. “A Catcher in the Rye” cannot be read in school because Holden Caulfield, says “God Damn.” Seriously? Unless you are a former Beatle, that book is harmless!
We used to be on the same side, your child’s. Now, God only knows whose side you are on. Instead of meeting to ascertain the educational needs of your son or daughter, we have to meet the passive aggressive needs of your inflated, pseudo-intellectual, misguided insecurities. You wonder why we never call? You make outrageous demands, threaten to go to the district; and you know you will win. School districts no longer have the testicular fortitude to tell you to go #$%@ yourself! After your eight day crusade to save your child from sitting next to your typical public school children, your son or daughter is so high strung they look like they are about to go Prom Night “Carrie” on anyone who says hello. Why? Over a 20 minute Study hall? YOU MADE YOUR KID MISS EIGHT DAYS OF INSTRUCTION, OVER 20 MINUTES OF THEIR DAY!
If this were a relationship of convenience we would have dumped your ass a long time ago. Especially after your annual back to school night, psycho babble, helicopter parenting. This relationship is one of necessity, more importantly your child’s necessity. They need us working together. They don’t need you trying to ruin our careers or coming to our classroom in fear of the retaliation you told them was coming. At this moment we are ready, willing, and able to put aside our own egos to work with you on behalf of your children. The only caveat is that you need to stop looking at us as the enemy. Your child’s education is not about your needs, its about theirs. If we both can agree to set aside our differences we are all in! Otherwise…it’s going to be a very long year.
Educators Across The Country That Have Had Enough.
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