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susanmaria12's avatar

Why is it o.k. to treat educators like they are nothing?

Asked by susanmaria12 (1points) May 21st, 2009

It seems like teachers at all levels go through schooling for many years, but have absolutly no brains. Why is that. Yes I am a teacher and have two Masters, and am tired of parents talking to me like I have no idea of what is going on in the world. It makes me wonder what will happen with future generations if we keep allowing these type of parents to rule. I am a parent and I do know that there are times when my child is wrong. Do I take her word over the educators. Well I don’t that was not the way I was raised. So why is it o.k. for parents to talk to teachers the way they do?

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19 Answers

Mamradpivo's avatar

They think you work for them and they treat you the same way they treat anyone else in the “service” industry. Education has become a service provided by the state with little or no perceived short-term value in the collective consciousness. Any individual would deny this, but on a whole, we look at education as a service the state offers and treat (and pay) educators accordingly.

Note: I’m not normally this cynical, but I’m feeling it tonight.

Linda_Owl's avatar

No (unless you consider the education of your children to be unimportant).

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

My family is almost entirely in education – my uncle has a doctorate in maths education, two aunties teach early childhood, my brother is a teacher in training, one cousin is a teacher, and my father and another cousin lecture in university. Although I don’t talk to them about it a lot, most of them seem to be able to gain the respect they deserve. Any person, educator or not, earns respect. It is not entitled just because someone holds a certain position.
It sounds like you deserve that respect, and parents should consider their child’s report and that of the educator with appropriate weight, realising that it is in the nature of a child to avoid punishment, and therefore lie. The study of education reveals a lot about how to deal with students, and parents should be able to tell if their child’s educator knows what they are talking about.
At school I had some great teachers and some duds – but all went through similar systems to gain their qualifications. My parents made their own judgements of the teachers, and sometimes teachers I thought were terrible they became friends with, and the opposite is also true. Respect is earned, not deserved.

cookieman's avatar

@Mamradpivo hit the nail on the head.

I teach at a college, so I don’t interact with parents, but I’ve had many adult students treat me this way. It is discouraging.

I hope all your student’s parents are not like this.

Gruz06's avatar

Educators deserve a hell of a lot more respect than they receive, there’s a saying, “teaching makes all other professions possible.” It is very true.

Darwin's avatar

As a parent with children in the public school system I have known some terrific teachers. I have also known some who didn’t know everything but were willing to learn. I also know some great parents who treat teachers with respect, as well as those who believe their child has flaws and foibles as we all do. All of those people deserve respect and kudos for doing a hard job well.

However, I have also known closed-minded, bigoted, abusive, ignorant, and/or offensive teachers who have no business in the classroom, yet it is almost impossible to remove them. My daughter’s Career Investigation teacher has been arrested twice for making sexual advances towards underage girls, has been sued in civil court over mental anguish he has inflicted on young girls in his classroom, yet he still is teaching. Now he never bothered my daughter because she informed him that if he touched her I would come to school and beat him up, and he believed her. But he freely touched other girls in the “bathing suit area” and snapped bra straps in class.

Right now I am dealing with a school principal who does not believe children can suffer from mental illness. Despite documentation from psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, residential treatment centers, neurologists and even other teachers she insists that she does not have to follow the mediation agreement my lawyer worked out with the school district because my son is lazy, not disabled.

I do my best to communicate politely and respectfully with my children’s teachers. Yet some of them treat me as if I have no brains or value. I have been a teacher, I have a Master’s degree, and I know my children and their tendencies. I always thought parents and teachers should be a team and should communicate openly about the student, sharing both good and bad.

Why should I have to be able to speak Spanish in order to get a teacher to listen to me? Why do I have to hire a lawyer to get my son what all the experts, including those paid by the school district, say he needs? Why do I have to argue about the progress my son is making when the school’s own testing shows he is two years below grade level?

Because there are both good and bad teachers in the school system, just as there are good and bad parents, and good and bad students.

Rememberme's avatar

I was recently going to school for early childhood education from a large university. In my experience I have found that many of the women (because the majority are women) who were in the program were… to be polite… not fit to become teachers. When asked why they want to become teachers they say “Oh, because kids are so cute!” Many were from rural areas where their own highschool graduated maybe 20 seniors. I think they don’t realize how diverse people are and the kind of responsibility being a teacher should be. As a teacher you should be willing to take a bullet for you students!

Also the undergrad classes were EXTREMELY easy. My highschool classes were harder than my education classes.

The only thing I learned from being in the education program was that I need to homeschool my own children!

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justwannaknow's avatar

Some are educated beyond thier intelligence.

justwannaknow's avatar

Also known as educated Idiots. Not all teachers, just a few.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Darwin can your children go to another school? that sounds awful

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think teachers should be paid more for what hoops they have to jump through to raise well rounded kids that are also fit and also fed well and get the scores, etc. there are many policies and regulations, the NYC DOE is a behemoth of bureacracy and it’s so frustrating sometimes to enact change…I have treated all my child’s parents with respect but when one of the directors of his daycare gave me attitude, I gave it right back informing her that had I not seen their school in progress, her nastiness alone would make me walk. I am glad I decided to look past her.

Darwin's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – This crops up again and again throughout our district. My son has been transferred already to 5 different schools within the district. It seems impossible to avoid the bad educators and unfortunately, one bad teacher can undo the work of 10 great ones, especially when dealing with a child with mental illness.

At this point I have contacted our lawyer and we are going to go after the district once again, to try and get my son an education that includes a skill with which he can get a job.

My daughter is coping well and has just one more year to go (although the basketball coach is now in jail for drilling a hole through a shared wall so he could watch his female neighbor undress – from where do they hire these people?). But my son’s future is in jeopardy.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Darwin this is a nightmare, I gotta tell you

NikkiG's avatar

I have become so enraged by some of the comments on this page, that I feel the need to make a comment. In answer to “As a parent with children in the public school system” firstly, I don’t believe that anyone prior to your comment stated that they “know everything”. As a parent and a teacher with 2 Masters in Education and Science, I am perplexed as to how this was construed from any of the previous statements. Secondly, there is no doubt both morally and legally that any sexual advances towards children, from any adult, particularly in a position of trust is wrong. This includes, swimming instructors, priests and teachers.

It sounds like you have had a difficult time with your children at school and I am truly sorry for that. What susanmaria12 was discussing was a completely different issue, about how parents as a general rule speak to teachers with complete lack of distrust, distaste and are (to quote) “closed-minded, bigoted, abusive, ignorant, and/or offensive”. When I go to an accountant (despite having also studied economics at degree level) I don’t feel compelled to tell them how to do their job. When I go for a meal at a restaurant, I don’t talk to the chef afterwards to advise him on my opinion.

Consistently, I am approached by parents who feel that despite the curriculum framework, the homework policies, spelling programmes and advice from the Catholic Education Office, many parents believe that they know best. They choose to ignore theologians involved in the construction of curriculum documents and have no understanding of the constraints within a timetable.

Perhaps these parents need to consider why there seems to be a higher percentage of ‘bad’ teachers in the world. Maybe because through negative attitudes and misguided views, it is in fact some parents who are responsible for 70% of new graduates leaving the profession within the first 3 years.

I’ll finish my comment by saying that, in general, this applies to a minority of parents and the majority I have experienced have been relatively supportive. Remember, that we have a shared goal, the education and enrichment of your child! However, when a parent is abusive, not only does this knock confidence, is causes ill feeling and can hinder building an effective relationship with his/her child.

Some advice? My child is not perfect and neither am I. I have a strong faith and gain lots of strength from this. I treat everyone in a way that I would also like to be treated and make sure I smile as I walk away from school.

Everyone remembers a good teacher!

Darwin's avatar

@NikkiG – I have also been a teacher, which one of the reasons I am frustrated by teachers who make blanket statements such as “Your son isn’t ill. He’s just lazy.” and “Children don’t suffer mental illness.” and “I don’t believe in disabilities I cannot see.”

Teachers are supposed to teach, not insist that parents are doing their job wrong. Nor should the teachers disregard the recommendations made by psychiatrists and neurologists, who also know what they are doing.

You say “Remember, that we have a shared goal, the education and enrichment of your child!” Well, I just wish that some of the teachers I have had to deal with could remember that, too.

You may be a very good teacher who respects the knowledge parents have of their children and how they may differ from the norm. However, where we live there are far too many teachers who apparently don’t respect anyone else’s experience beyond their own limited one.

NikkiG's avatar

As a teacher, you must understand that comments such as “Your son isn’t ill. He’s just lazy.” and “Children don’t suffer mental illness.” and “I don’t believe in disabilities I cannot see” are ludicrous. If you are not getting what you need from the teachers at your school, then you need to follow to appropriate grievance procedures. Principal, CEO/ DET etc. For this reason, I think you are commenting in the wrong forum. The original question was not about poor teaching, pedophiles or perverts. Also, your case sounds extreme (having moved your child 5 times) Whilst I sympathise with the situation with your son, I don’t feel that the issues you have discussed bear any relevance to what is being discussed. Unless, you are saying that it’s appropriate to treat another human being like crap and talk down to them if you think they are doing a bad job!

I am NOT saying that teachers are infallible, but as parents you do have a procedure for recourse. I was recently told at a Parent meeting that because I couldn’t tell a parent why her son couldn’t understand inferences, that I was “stupid”, despite giving a number of possible reasons (rushes his work, doesn’t check it, guesses, panics under stress etc) . I also overheard a parent complaining for 25 minutes (outside an open window) to other parents in the school because I gave her child a ‘Progressing Towards Target” in a report. This was a direct attack on my Professional Integrity and I felt very personally persecuted. Where is my recourse? Where do I complain about the slanderous comments that were made? There are none. In addition to this, I have to continue to deal with this parent in a professional way.

I am unhappy to say that, like you, I intend to leave teaching within the next few years, because of the parents I have encountered. I want to be a good teacher who has a good relationship with her students. I am happy to invest lots of my own time to ensure that I do the best job I can. I know that if I remain in the teaching profession, the negativity and constant personal attacks will affect, my self esteem, my behaviour and my sanity. In which case, how could I then be a good teacher?

Darwin's avatar

@NikkiG – The point is that neither parents nor teachers should talk down to anyone. They are supposed to be a team, working together to help the children learn and be ready for adult life. As a parent I must treat even the worst teachers in a professional manner, and they should treat me and my children professionally also.

Teachers do have recourse in that they have a union that they turn to when they feel wronged (at least in our district) and some take it out on the parents or even (God forbid! but it happens) on the child. They also have campus police which they can and do call on as needed. In fact, parents have been arrested for behaving badly at local schools and school events.

I have not been arrested or even threatened with arrest. Instead I have been insulted to my face and behind my back, and some teachers continue to disregard any knowledge that I bring to the table about my children.

Perhaps in your case you need to find a better way to communicate with these parents who are not understanding what you are doing.

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