Whether its helicopter parents or horrible, misbehaved children, teachers and administrators have seen it all. Read first hand what some of these teachers had to put up with in their parent-teacher meetings, where both parents and students let loose. Some of these teachers can laugh about their experiences while some are traumatized by the student and parent. Content has been edited for clarity.
“She Handles Those Situations Differently Now”
“My wife is an elementary school teacher and suspected that one of her students may be autistic. The kid wouldn’t communicate well at all, had issues with using the bathroom, and showed other classic signs of autism. My wife had a conference with the mother and explained that she would like him to be evaluated, but the mother refused and said that if her son did have autism, my wife was the one who caused it.
My wife has learned to handle those situations much differently now. Being accused of causing autism will do that.”
Nothing Is Wrong!
“Had a conference with a parent about their child’s performance. Mom kept asking me if I thought there was something wrong with her daughter (first grade). I explained that she was capable but needed to do the homework that was sent home and could use some extra practice in a few areas. She continued to ask if I thought something was wrong with her. I continued to say no. At the end of the conference, she asked one more time, and added, ‘Because if you think there is, the Dr is ready to give her meds….you just need to fill out this form.’ This little girl was very calm and well-behaved. Had no issues concentrating in class. Clearly didn’t need the meds.
Parents do things like this for lots of reasons, unfortunately. Sometimes they want the medication for themselves, some don’t want to parent, or some want the excuse for why their kid is not doing well in school.”
“I’ve been at my current school since it opened 5 years ago. Long story short, when the school opened, we only had about 6 or so weeks to get our act together and, as a result, admitted some students we were not equipped to handle. I was a special education teacher at the time and had a young man on my case load who had a dual diagnosis of Autism and Emotional Disturbance (technically not possible under IDEA, but the kid came from a notoriously shady district). The boy had previously attended an alternative placement where, from what I inferred, he’d spent most of his time being placated on the computer. None of his social/emotional goals were being addressed and his academics had clearly fallen by the wayside. Very quickly, his behaviors occupied so much of my time I could get not other responsibilities done; I think my personal favorite time was when he ripped the electrical outlet covers off the sockets, then threw them at the guidance counselor and I while screaming that we were both ‘fat pricks.’ Given that we’d only been open a short amount of time and our resources were extremely limited, to this day I still feel my coworkers and I did our best to help the child. However, his mother was a two-faced liar and I got the impression she was into some shady stuff. The kid was a piece of work, but I can’t place too much blame on a 10-year old when he was clearly a product of his environment.
Flash forward 3-ish months. The boy was suspended for bringing a weapon (think it was a pocket knife) to school, and we brought him and his mother in for a reinstatement meeting. The principal and I had also drafted papers requesting a reevaluation, since it was pretty obvious his prior evaluation/IEP did not reflect his actual needs. Mom spent the whole ‘meeting’ flipping the F out, saying down she was ‘done with us, tired of getting phone calls, etc.’ Meanwhile, the boy was kicking my shins under the conference table as I tried not to react. Keep in mind that this was in the front office, during morning drop off, so the entire school community is witnessing this tirade (seriously, later that day, kids I’d never met before asked if I was ok). The mother is pounding the table, getting in the principal’s and my face when…WHAM. Out of no where, our school secretary comes out and basically body checks this woman. The secretary then dragged her from the building, screaming, ‘You need to leave, now!’ The son follow suit and he and Mom drive off. We called the police, I had to give a statement, and I spent the next 10 days in fear that he (and his mother) would return to school before we could officially drop him from our roster.”
That Took A While
“First one: 6th grade boy, total pain in the butt trouble maker. He was hateful, naughty, and mean. He was loud, rude, and also very small for his age. At one point of the year right after Christmas, he was really acting like a complete and total prick in class, so it was time for a conference. I was expecting his grandmother because that’s who he lived with, but nope. Here comes mama. Mama had just gotten out of jail after 3 years, she proceeds to tell me, in front of him, that he was the worst mistake she ever made and if she could have afforded an abortion, she would have. The poor kid. The poor, poor kid. His face was the epitome of dejection. I immediately turned the conference around and stopped talking about his behavior and started talking about his good qualities. I felt so badly for him.
Second one: 7th grade English class. Smart kid but a real prick. He was the kind of kid who made fun of other kids when they made a mistake. He would call them stupid (out in class if they answered wrong) and make them feel really low. He was also that weird kind of kid who does strange things just to weird other kids out. Like violently snapping a pencil and then jabbing the pieces at the other kids, spitting a loogie on the carpet, pretending to be deaf, etc. One day in my class, he BIT another kid (yes, 7th grade) so there was a conference.
The kid sat in his mother’s lap (they were nearly the same size, it was so awkward) and grinned at me the whole conference. I’d say something, and she’d defend him. It was sick. His eyes were sparkling, and he knew he was never going to get in trouble. The smug look on his face was unreal. He was looking at me, and his eyes were saying, ‘You’re never gunna win lady. Been doin’ this for years.’
Third, 5th grade: this was in 2003 so little 5th grade African American boys were super into having long hair, so they could have braids. All the cool kids in my class had braids. This one little prick hadn’t been doing his homework. He was failing because he was A) stupid and B) did no work at all. Of course the end of the year is coming and it’s found out that he is in trouble, and so finally his parents decide to take action. I get to school one morning early, and there is this gigantic man waiting outside my classroom door with this little boy. He gets right up in my face and starts telling me that I am trying to fail his son on purpose. (What? Why?) I ask him to explain. He tells me that his son told him that I taped his locker shut and that’s why he never brought any books home. I had to sit there, stare the man in the eyes, ask him that sounded logical or true. He finally realizes how insane that sounds and I show him his son’s locker. It is a pig sty and all the books are under piles of trash in the locker. Father apologizes to me and leaves with his son. 40 minutes later, school starts. In walks this kid with a bald head. His dad went home and shaved his precious braids off for lying. I was floored. It was awesome. That kid gave me zero trouble for the rest of the year. He also started doing his work. Too bad it took so long.”
Kids Will Do Anything
“After school program leader (read: babysitter). Had a group of 3rd/4th graders, about 15. First day on the job, it’s time to do homework. All the kids are doing it except one kid. He decides to walk around bugging all the other kids, playing around, etc. I tell him 3 times to sit down and do homework. I don’t mind if you talk to your friends as long as it’s getting done. In fact, I had to tell a couple other kids the same thing, but they listened. I was told during training that parents get angry if homework wasn’t done.
Finally, I move him to a desk near me at the front and facing away from everyone else. He still is fidgeting but gets some of it done.
Next day when his whale of a mother comes to pick him up, she wants to talk to me. ‘My son tells me you’re picking on him.’
‘No, I asked a few students, including him to stop talking, so they can get their homework done. The other kids did, he didn’t. After the third time, I sat him up near me to lessen the distractions.’
‘No, he said you were picking on him and that’s why he couldn’t get his homework done. Why would he lie to me?’
Because he’s a 3rd grade little prick who would say anything not to get into trouble.
They moved him to another group where he had the same issues. Although I didn’t see her talk to any more leaders.”
Homeschooling Sounds Like A Great Option
“I teach pre-k. About four years ago, I was called into my principal’s office. There was a parent requesting a conference because he had some concerns about the material I was teaching his daughter.
Imagine my surprise when the parent began talking about witchcraft. Over the next 45 minutes, with a brief pause for the school psychologist, a school police officer, and the school social worker to arrive, I was accused of: being a witch, dancing on their roof, hiding behind the curtains in their living room, pinching their infant daughter, teaching the other daughter how to make the ‘mark of the beast’ (it’s the ok hand symbol, in case you were wondering, as index finger and thumb create the bottom of the 6 and the remaining fingers are the curve), as well as being a tool of the Illuminati.
The silence in the room, once he left the principal’s office was deafening. No one stopped him when he loudly announced his decision to home school because we were just tools in the hands of the Illuminati controlled government.”
“He Refused To Do Anything”
“I currently teach 10th grade World History. I had a student who refused to take any notes of the lecture I was teaching that week, which was the history of the ancient worlds. It covered Greek Mythology, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism etc and how these religions and practices changed Early Civilization. He cited that I was anti-christian and was pushing other religions on him. I had to explain to him that the knowledge of these different religions were necessary to learn about why empires and rose and fell as they are key history. He still refused, so I gave him a warning stating, that when I do the Notebook checks on Fridays, I expected him to have these notes down. I advised him to ask the members of his team (I put them in groups of four, so they could rely on each other for help) to allow him to copy their notes, or he’d get a zero for the Notebook grade that week. Come Friday, I do the weekly notebook check, and he has nothing written down. The designated Team Captain told me she offered to give her notebook to him to copy her notes, but he refused. He gets 0/10. The Weekly Friday Quiz is next. He refused to do the quiz. He gets 0/17.
In my class, if you got the questions wrong on the quiz, your weekend homework would be to correct them and receive 10 points. Come Monday, he did not do his homework and gets 0/10. So far he has missed 37 possibly points in class. That Monday, I talk with him and tell him how refusing to participate in this class will hurt his grade. I send out a note to his home, informing his parents their son has refused to participate in class and has missed a significant amount of points.
The very next day, I get a call from the Vice Principal about an issue concerning a student of mine. The mother of the kid had come in and complain about how I was pushing my religious agenda on her son and that I failed her son on purpose. She demanded that I get fired. The VP obviously sided with me and explained the curriculum to her. She exploded and starting hitting things and cursing the school. We literally had to call campus security to walk her out of his office.”
They Couldn’t Be On School Property At The Same Time
“It wasn’t just one conference, it was two. The parents were divorced and refused to be in the same room. Legally, since the father had primary custody, we only had to hold conferences with him. But the mother would whine and cry and barge into the principal’s office and make a scene to the point that we would have the same conference twice in one day, one with the mother who would insist it was the teachers’ fault that her son wasn’t passing any of his classes while sobbing that if the son was in her custody that he would be doing so much better…. And one where the father grumbled because he knew we would be having the conference with the mother later in the day. It was so bad that we had to schedule the conferences to ensure that both parents weren’t on school property at the same time. And of course this kid acted out because of family drama and we ended up having a few conferences like this every semester. I gave up a way too many lunches to deal with that family.”
Thanks But No Thanks
“I was a first year teacher and I have a very young face. When I go out with my sister (5 years younger), I get carded, and she doesn’t. When you look like your students, you have to do whatever you can to maintain your position of authority in the class until you get well-established in the school, so I try to dress in a very formal way to set myself apart from the students. When I went into my first parent-teacher conference, I was wearing a sweater that had a kind of fastener on the sleeves, and I had accidentally twisted it before I buttoned it. Not all that noticeable, but the mom I was conferencing with saw it. Before I could stop her, there was a rush of mothering and a ‘Oh here honey, let me fix that…’ She had my sleeve unbuttoned and rebuttoned correctly before I could even back up. Her kid was behind her with his head in his hands (he was super embarrassed), and I looked like a little kid whose mom had to help her get dressed. Not my finest hour, but actually a pretty funny one looking back on it!”
“Not The Best”
“I’m a seventh and eighth grade teacher in Philadelphia. This young man’s mom had gotten him identified as ‘gifted’ – when I taught him, he was failing multiple classes, refused to do any work, slept through classes, and took no responsibility. She came in to conference (all the teachers are in the same room and parents circulate), ignored everyone except for two of us, interrupted an ongoing conference the math teacher was having to berate him for being a race-traitor and bringing down her son out of ignorance, came over to me (I’m the English teacher) and when I stood up and extended my hand, she just looked at it. She then looked me in the eye and told me, ‘No. You’re not even worth it.’ She turned around and started out of the room, cursing the staff to no one in particular. The Spanish teacher tried to talk to her and got cursed out, so the Spanish teacher called security to have her walked out of the building. The mom then tried to use evasive maneuvers to avoid security, but was eventually caught and taken out, told she was no longer welcome on our premises. She tried to sneak in to the next conference, but was caught.
Follow-up story: This was her middle child, her oldest had already graduated from the school (K-8), and her youngest was in 3rd grade. When the youngest was in 5th grade, they went on a trip to Canada, and she followed – against direct instruction from administration – in her own car, showed up at the place they were having dinner (where there wasn’t a seat for her, so she sat at her own table and ordered something for herself). She then tried to stay at the hotel where the kids were staying, and when there wasn’t an extra room, tried to go in where her kid was. When that (obviously) didn’t work out to her expectations, she took her kid and drove back home that night…
So, yeah, she was not the best.”
That Was A Twist
“My mom is a teacher and told me about her worst parent teacher conference. There was a kid who had developed major behavior problems, so she called the parents in for a conference. Only the mother showed up to the conference, which isn’t all that uncommon. The mother apparently reeked of substances, and came dressed in ratty old jeans and a top exposing her midriff.
My mom sits the mother down and asks her if she was aware that the child hadn’t been doing his homework, and had been to the principal’s office about 4 times in the past month for harassing other students. The mother of the student goes, ‘Yeah, I’m not too surprised by that. His dad walked out on us a while ago, and they just found him in Florida.’
My mom, being an understanding lady, says she’s sorry the father did that, and offers a list of resources: attorneys, so she can sue for child support, women’s shelter’s, food banks, and so on. The other mother laughed and said, ‘Oh no, we won’t need any of that. They only found his arm, the rest was fed to the gators.’ My mom sat there in horror as the mother elaborated: Apparently the father owed a few people some money, and had no intention of paying them back. So the people found him, and fed him to the gators. The only reason they knew the arm was his, is because his fingerprints were in the system for several domestic violence charges. She instructed my mother not to tell the student how the father died: as far as he knew, his dad died in an accident. Not a homicide.
The kid ended up alright in the end, he went on to graduate and get a job. To my mother’s knowledge, he never found out the truth about his dad. But I really can’t judge him for acting out in grade school.”
Three Too Many
“I teach kindergarten. I have three students that deserve to be held back this year.
Kid one, the first conference his dad came. I explained to the dad how the son, though occasionally showing that he’s capable, has several behavior problems that are having a negative impact on him academically- mainly he doesn’t pay attention because he’s too busy trying to bother other kids, and doesn’t like being told what to do (he hit me the second day of school for telling him he can’t scream in the hallway). The dad laughed. The next report card, he gets ‘far below standard’ in every area. Mom comes in crying. I explain what’s been going on in class, she apologizes. I ask if she wants to have a meeting about possible next steps, and she says no thanks. A week later they go meet with my AP and ask to have their son held back, making me look like an idiot because I didn’t recommend for that (because they refused to have a conference with me to discuss that option).
The second kid is the child of a teen mom. Mom missed every formal parent teacher conference. The kid is barely functioning at a toddler level academically. I finally got mom to come in for one meeting, I showed her the kid’s work compared to an average child’s work. Mom said the only issue is that the kid needs speech therapy. I told her the process to get her kid evaluated for speech therapy, and she still hasn’t followed through. That conference was just infuriating because the mom is failing the kid, who clearly belongs in special ed.
Third kid is the youngest of four. The older brother translates for the mom. I explain how the kid does no homework, and what little he does do is always wrong. He also doesn’t do any work in class without me sitting with him (which is impossible to maintain in a class of 25 kids). The brother starts telling me everything I need to do to make sure the kid does his homework. I politely pointed out that I’m not at home with him and I’m not his parent, but it was obvious why the kid was showing no progress after that meeting.”
“Mine is a little different. No angry parents, just ew.
I was teaching Grade 7 during my internship, and was speaking to the parent of a high needs student. Without going into too much detail, the girl we were speaking of had little to no long term or working memory, and limited ability to communicate needs and wants.
Anyways, her mother was complaining to us about the bus driver and told us, ‘Anne had scabies last month and I don’t think he even bothered cleaning her seat on the bus…’
My partner teacher and I just stared at each other for a second. The mother hadn’t informed the school about the kid having scabies… we hadn’t cleaned her desk, the couches, or anything else. And I let this kid hug me every day.
I took like 6 showers that night.”