Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why I hate teaching kids

I really enjoy teaching Young Learners. They are funny, open for new ideas, full of energy and usually more motivated than their older friends. Largely unpredictable, kids can always surprise you which adds this interesting flavour to your teaching.

Yet there is one thing that I hate about teaching children – their parents.

  • During parents’ meeting, only the mommies and daddies of well behaved students are willing to meet you. The naughty kids’ parents never pay you a visit even if they are asked to do so.

  • Some of them are obsessed with their children’s progress. You have to constantly ensure them that their kids are doing fine, otherwise –

  • they demand extra classes, supplementary worksheets, more effort on your part because you – the teacher - are the one to blame.

  • They rarely want to take responsibility for their child’s behaviour. If little Xyz curses in class or hits his friends, it is definitely your fault.

  • They question your qualifications. If a child fails a test, you didn’t teach him/her right. Where did you learn how to teach then, hmm?

  • If a child is one of the best in class, they keep coming and asking how he/she is doing just to hear more praise every time.

  • They love visiting you unexpectedly during your 5/10 min or lunch breaks. They always promise they’ll take just a minute of your precious time. Right.

  • They call you any time they wish to ask about their child’s homework for the next day or test results (and why they are so low).

I’m done. Feeling better now having let it all out.

Have you had any other pleasant encounters with parents?

How should we deal with them?

I’m not a parent myself and would really appreciate if one wrote something here from a different perspective than mine. Might be interesting :)


  1. I can definetely relate to the situation! Seems parents are the same all over the world!

  2. Somehow, your words don't make me feel better ;)

  3. I'm a parent, and I'm not like this, honest. Though I am a teacher too, which perhaps makes a difference.

  4. I'm not a parent so can't really give an opinion from their perspective but I can sympathise with some of your sentiments above.

    I remember reading a really good article about meeting parents in issue 60 of ETp. There was lots of really helpful and useful advice.

  5. I'm a parent, and I despair of the other parents I see who display exactly those characteristics. I remember when I taught little ones before being a parent I never gave much thought to the comments I put on report cards (I confess I used rather standard ones). As a parent myself now I cringe when I see my kid's report card with a standard comment (e.g. good progress). Any kind of personalised comment - good or bad - really has an effect in our house now.
    Of course this doesn't help with the parents of the "bad" ones, who just don't seem to care and wouldn't read the comments anyway. This is probably not good advice but I find in Spain that the teacher of children who is most strict WITH THE PARENTS (e.g. brusquely telling them she can't see them at recess or lunch, holding meetings in a strict way) gets the most respect from the parents (even though they criticize her completely behind her back).

  6. Thanks for the advice Peter - I'll check ETP asap :)

    Lindsay, it's great to have your sympathy :)

    Back in Poland, where I worked in public schools and could speak Polish to the parents, I always said what was necessary without beating about the bush.
    Here in Turkey it's a lot harder. I have to rely on the translator and, as I'm employed in a private school, we are told to say only positive things about the students. The parents pay and demand so if the school principal is nasty you end up being blamed also by him/her.

    Of course it's a generalisation and I'm sure that many teachers working in private schools all over the world have similar problems.