The Parent Syndrome: Meltdowns in Education

The Blame Game: Pointing Fingers

Don’t Blame the Teachers! Blame the Parents!

Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? 

A terrible thing:  no one to blame.  ~Erica Jong

Truth be told, I rarely ever had to deal with the dreaded P word: Parents. Being a Drama Specialist CERTIFIED teacher, I mainly saw the parents of my Drama Club, and they were the supportive ones. I saw the one or two disgruntled NOT MY CHILD! Parents over the years, but I learned how to build relationships with them.  We talked about why I graded them the way I did, we discussed, etc. I really only had one parent walk away that her child’s behavior (poor) was my fault, even though she said the kid  did the same at home. If you just went “Huh?”..yeah, me too. There are a LOT of the clueless walking around.

When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.  ~Louis Nizer

I am going to admit something a good many of you might get upset with me about: after numerous attempts to get a cast of 44 quiet for starting the last dress rehearsal, and I mean NUMEROUS, I said the dreaded: “SHUT UP!!”  You may disagree with me, but guess what: after way over five mins (most likely more, not less), that “Shut Up!” got them quiet, and we were able to finally move on. So, call me Machiavelli if you must (and yes, I do know he is only credited with the saying), the means did justify the end result.  

Yes, string me up from the tallest yard arm, flog me, tar and feather me, but…really, I am very, very tired of the PC garbage. I am tired of educators (esp Elementary) babying the kids, which only reinforces the immaturity levels we have. I am tired that we have to be scared of parents, that instead of making working healthy partnerships, we have another adversarial situation more times than not.

I had a parent in my face yesterday about my “Shut Up!” While I DID apologize for saying what I did, she was not taking that, and I got a whole tirade on how unprofessional I am, how SHE would never do that (she’s a teacher in NYC DOE and has her own dance school), what a wonderful talented kid she has, and on and on and on..and really, all she wanted to do was tell me off. That’s ok in itself: she was angry. She was not into having a discussion, a dialogue. She wanted to vent on me, and she did.

Now, the fact that her daughter has back talked all the instructors and counselors, walks around in a mopey mood, complains about the food, the trips, the activities, the play, that she didn’t get the part she wants, that the part she got was “beneath her” (Mom’s words, not mine)…well, none of that mattered to Mom. When I did try to tell her that her kid’s audition on both audition days was subpar, no energy, no attempt, Mom then said: “Well, she didn’t work on her piece.”

OK..if you’re like me, you again just went “Huh?” Internally, I was thinking “Really? You’re telling me this kid has talent to spare, and you are stating this like you’re almost proud of it?”. I shrugged my shoulders when she said that and said: “well, there you go. it showed”…and that was that. She went ballistic on me. Unprofessional this, Unprofessional that…I should be fired, etc etc etc.

Guess who did not send her child in for the FIRST PAID PERFORMANCE? I had someone cover, who did an excellent job, and the girl was not missed in the slightest by the cast or anyone else.

Yup…call me unprofessional. If you are shaking your head, welcome to my world. If you think I’m the ONLY one to blame, then…I just shrugged my shoulders. Honestly.

Why did i write this? Because, yeah, I’m PO’d at her coming in shooting for bear instead of trying to have a discussion. The “not MY Child” just doesn’t cut it with me. I know I did “wrong” in what I yelled, and that I did yell…but, let’s move on. I apologized, what’s done is done…and i will be aware of it in the future.

But in schools, the “not MY child!’ syndrome hurts the child, the teacher and the rest of the class and the school community. It snowballs, because the kid is believed long before the situation is addressed, and then the teachers are the enemy, and the parents are the enemy, and the kids are the enemy… and it just snowballs.

Let’ sit down and talk like adults and treat each other like thinkers instead of trash. Going back to a previous post, this was a case of an Adult Bully.

8/11 NOTE: Holly, the first commenter, made me realize all I was, when writing this, was angry. I am NOT taking back what I said above, but tonight, when I get back from the second performance, I will write about Parents who BUILD and support on all counts, and I DO know…there are many, many, many of them out there. I shouldn’t give press to only the negative ones. I apologize if anyone who does walk the more positive path took offense. This was not directed to you.

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