I’m not a teacher, but a parent, but I want to share this story. In 2015 my husband was shot and killed during (what we presume to be) a carjacking. This happened toward the beginning of the year. I called the school to tell them two of my 3 kids wouldn’t be at school for a week in order to take time off to grieve (my youngest was a baby). So they were very supportive. Came to the funeral. Brought food by my house and came to visit the kids. When the kids went back to school they came back with tons of handmade sympathy cards that the teachers had their students make. They also provided therapy via the psychologist at the school. Anyway, the months are passing by and we’re getting back to normal routine when in December I get a call saying they need to meet with me. The kids are getting good grades, so I’m wondering if there is some kind of behavioral issues going on. When I got there though, they provided us with Christmas gifts that were collected from the teachers and students. I wasn’t in a bad situation financially, but still the gesture meant a lot. So, not a teacher, but as a parent that was my most memorable parent teacher meeting.
I had a parent meeting with the father of one of my students who was a well-known gang leader and drug dealer in the area. He came in looking very intimidating in head-to-toe gang tattoos, and I was nervous, but I treated him as I would any other parent. We had a great meeting in which he asked how to keep his kids on the right track so that they don’t end up like him (his words). And he even ended up being one of my most helpful parents, attending every school event and parent meeting and even helping me change my tire one day! That day I learned not to judge a book by its cover.
“I was meeting with a parent that spoke mostly Spanish, and my Spanish is weak. Turns out, her English was about as bad as my Spanish, so when we couldn’t get across an idea, we reverted to charades or grabbed paper and drew things out. By the end, we were laughing so hard! That was, by far, my favorite parent-teacher conference ever!
This was a doozy of a student. Mind you, these are only the meetings I personally participated in or were privy to, which are a fraction of the whole, as I only taught the student for 12 weeks a year.
* Meeting 1: Parents accuse teachers/administrators of being racist for punishing child. Conference was called due to child pulling down pants in class and defecating on another student’s desk. 6th grade.
* Meeting 2: Parents bring lawyer with them, threatening to sue me for restraining student after student yells at a girl “Shut up, B***h!” and then backhands her across the face. Their lawyer walked out of the room once he saw the video. 7th Grade.
* Meeting 3: Expulsion hearing, new lawyer, 8th grade. Student brought lighter to school and in the space of 15 minutes lit six trash can fires throughout two wings of the building. Several thousand dollars worth of damage. At this hearing, they claim that my colleague, one of the most caring, gentle male teachers I’ve ever known, was the instigator of all of this and the reason for their son’s acting out. The reason for this was clearly that this teacher was a racist and hated their child. Without batting an eye, my colleague, who by all appearances was Caucasian, began speaking fluently in the family’s native language (Vietnamese.) Turns out the guy is quarter Vietnamese and growing up, he spent every summer in Vietnam helping his grandparents, only to live in Vietnam for 5 years teaching after college. Cue collective jaw-drop in the room. Family doubles down. “See! He hates us so much he learned Vietnamese to yell at us!” Expulsion approved, one year school expulsion (not from district, just to another school in district).
* Meeting 4: (Not present at this one) 9th grade, student is being processed through final expulsion hearing for spray painting ethnic slurs about Black students on the gym room lockers. Football and Wrestling students catch him in the act, and proceed to crater his face in. “No witnesses,” only evidence tied to him is him bawling on the locker room floor with his backpack full of spray paint. Survives expulsion from district, but is expelled from that school, back to his “home” high school, where I’ve recently accepted a job.
* Meeting 5 (Present in hallway at the time) 10th grade: Administrator escorting parents to child’s locker to pick up their child’s belongings. 5’1 genius thought it would be a good idea to hold up someone at knifepoint outside a convenience store. Caught a bullet in the leg instead, bled out before paramedics could do anything. Parents wailing in hallways that this was all our fault, that their kid was just another product of racist education. Give-no-f***s retiring science teacher hears this while she’s walking down the hall, turns around in fury and tells them right to their face “School didn’t fail your child, you did. Every time he made a mistake you looked to blame someone else. You were validating his terrible behavior. You didn’t care when he almost burned down a school, you sure as hell wouldn’t have cared if he had stabbed that man. Don’t ask us to care for your child more than you ever did.”
My students know I’m obsessed with hedgehogs because I always use them in my lessons. Well, on the last night of conferences, one of my favorite students came in with her mom and a fuzzy bag. After I went over all of her child’s assessments, she PULLED A FREAKIN’ HEDGEHOG OUT OF THAT FUZZY BAG, and I shrieked like a child! I got to hold him for about 30 minutes, and was so giddy. My student’s mom informed me that her child talks about me all the time, and wanted to do something cool for me!
I’ve been an elementary teacher for 14 years. A few years back during a regular parent/teacher conference, a student’s father listened intently to everything I had so say about his child. Then, he kindly and respectfully asked how his son was developing as a person. Was he kind to others? How could his son grow as a leader? Was he empathetic and attentive to others’ needs? Was he respectful to all adults? At the time it just blew me away.
Our conferences were set up as sort of ‘speed dating’ sessions in which the teachers gave packets of catch-up work for any kids that were failing. Well, at the end of the evening, a mom and dad plopped down into the chairs in front of my table, defeated, their arms full of fail packets from other teachers. The mom looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked, ‘What does my son do wrong in your class?’ I was surprised by her question because I adored her son — he was one of my favorite students! So I took great joy in telling them how their son was an absolute bright spot in my day. And the next day, the student came in, gave me a big hug, and said, ‘Thank you.’
I told him that I hope he will treat all his teachers the way he treated me, and he said he would work on it. Well, by the end of the year he passed nearly all of his classes.
I taught an elective course in a large rural high school that charged a nominal fee for supplies. “Mr B,” a parent, did not want to pay the fee and set up an after school meeting to discuss it with me.
I had just been assigned an intern and thought it would be good for her to observe a parent/teacher conference.
Mr. B walked into my classroom, and without any introduction, asked loudly “You know what the problem with the world is today?”
Me: “No sir”
Mr. B : “WOMEN want to live beyond their means, have gone into the workplace and become whores.”
Me: “Okay. Meeting over. Good bye, Mr. B”
Later, his child confided in me that he had been beaten by his father and showed me the bruises. As required by law, I reported the incident to Child Services, who revealed me as the source.
The meeting between us in the principal’s office went like this.
Mr. B “That boy ain’t perfect, either. He hit his stepmother once.”
Me: “Where do you suppose he learned that behavior, Mr. B?”
Principal then had to throw him out when he rose to strike me.
On departing, addressing me, Mr. B stated, “I’ve heard all about you!
I’m thinking, “uh oh, this could be anything”…..
Mr. B: “You’re a strong woman and always get what you want!”
Principal, later, “That’s probably the best parent compliment you’ll ever get.”
The son fled the state to live with his mother. He wrote me a thank you note years later.
Mr. B’s ex-wife went on to publish a book on spousal abuse.
When I(f) was student teaching, my mentor teacher(older guy) and I did parent teacher conferences together. We had a female student and her mom come in. This girl never played attention in class and just wanted to hang out and talk to friends, so we put her on the front row. Well evidently she needed something to tell her mom why she was failing this class, and had told her mom that the teacher moved her to the front of the room so he could look down her shirt. So her mom comes in angry and yelling at the teacher that he’s a pervert putting her daughter in the front row and sexually harassing her. My mentor teacher just calmly turned to me and said, “have you noticed any of that behavior in this class? You’ve been the one teaching for the last two months.” The mom and daughter went silent. They had forgot that I, another female adult in the room, could witness for my teacher. They quickly left after that, and I think the mom realized her daughter had been lying to her. I felt great being able to protect a fellow teacher from sexual harassment accusations.
Not a bad one, actually.
I had a 7th grade student, Oscar, who I was warned about by other teachers when the year started. “Doesn’t take anything seriously…always goofing around”, “Doesn’t care” etc.
Oscar was actually a ray of sunshine. Such a happy person, kind to everyone, and full of unassuming charisma. Honestly, I would love to be as happy as Oscar. He made the whole class fun for everyone once I embraced the best way to keep him involved in the material (English).
I was really curious about meeting his mother because he didn’t make good grades in most subjects, and she didnt seem to care.
She turned out to be a friendly, charismatic and easy-going person who obviously had raised her kids to enjoy being alive and not worry too much about school (before high school/college, at least). A bit of a hippy, but very alert (not space or flakey).
I realized I was kinda jealous of how I imagined their home life to be–and decided that when I had kids I would do my best to raise them like Oscar and his mom.
The one in which the mom brought her lawyer — who sat behind her rolling his eyes the whole time.
This was the same mom who — when I addressed her first grader’s homework being written in cursive and ink — said, ‘Nowhere in the student handbook does it say a parent can’t do the child’s homework for them.
A parent threw a chair at me once. She believed her son shouldn’t have to do homework. She believed that he was a genius. He wasn’t.
I’ve had a couple of interesting interactions with parents during my brief time as a classroom teacher, but for some reason, one sticks out in my head. We hadn’t even scheduled a parent-teacher conference, but mom was late to pick up her girl and I decided to stay with her homeroom teacher to keep an eye on her while we waited. Now, this girl was in my reading class, and she was quickly developing a reputation of just not reading. She’d keep waiting for me to turn my attention to another kid, then she’d close her book and just do whatever she wanted. It didn’t seem any kind of teacher punishment would stop her.
So when mom swept in, looking slightly frazzled, I took the opportunity to mention this problem to her. This woman turned to her child and launched into a fierce diatribe in a language I’d never heard before (but really loved the sound of), and her child immediately started screaming and crying like the fear of god had been put in her. Mom turned to me then and said with narrowed eyes, “If you ever catch her doing it again, text me and tell her Mama’s not letting her play with the tablet that night.”
The kid shaped up in class, needless to say.
My coworker had a meeting with a student’s mom and was telling her great things, when the mom suddenly had a stroke and passed out. She died the next day. The teacher made sure to tell the student that the last thing his mom heard was how great he was.
One of my favorite parent-teacher conferences was when I had to explain to a parent that school was Monday through Friday, not Tuesday through Thursday. The parent was legitimately surprised! But I was more shocked that she hadn’t noticed all of the students on campus every Monday and Friday at her child’s school…which was located DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET from her home!
I had a busy, well -known doctor bring in the nanny to the parent/teacher conference. Whenever I spoke directly to the mother she would say to the nanny, “ Are you getting all this because you are the one that needs to be paying attention. By the time I get home I don’t want to have to deal with any of this. “
I had a memorable meeting with a mother who had recently gotten pregnant. Her husband showed up late to the conference and she’d just had her 12-week scan that day, so he asked how it went. The mother was clearly salty that he didn’t make the appointment, so she just said, ‘Fine.’ But he decided to press the issue, and that’s when she told him that they were expecting triplets. I excused myself to get some water, and when I got back, she was showing him the scans and they were both just bawling.
We expelled a kid who destroyed a classroom and office totaling about 4 grand worth of damage. He assaulted 4 staff members who were trying to contain him without touching him (no one wants to lose their job over this kid), one of them required medical attention, and he threatened to accuse his teacher of sexual and physical abuse.
During the meeting with his parents we were told that all he needed from us was “love”.
My other favorite one that wasn’t with a parent. I was meeting with the union and HR to dispute my evaluation ranking. I had no more students because it was finals and seniors had left already. So when the bell rings, one of my students from a different hour pops in, sees that I’m in the middle of some type of important meeting. He apologizes and is unsure what to do. I say, “It’s no big deal, what did you need?”
He stood there for a moment and then said, “Sorry for interrupting, I just wanted to give you this gift and say how awesome this year has been and how excited I am to take your class next year.” He then handed me a card and a gift and ran out of the room.
The one where mom came to conferences and used “what a good fundraiser!” to market her MLM business to me. Needless to say she was also the psychotic “why is my kid not the star” parent later in the year.
I once had a parent-teacher conference in which the student’s mother brought her pet monkey. I thought the kid was winding me up saying that they had one. But sure enough, along came mom with a capuchin in a blue jumper.
A 5th grade boy inappropriately touched a girl between her legs. Automatic 3 day suspension. Happened in my class so I was called in to the meeting with the dean.
When the dad came in for the meeting, he couldn’t understand how it was taken that seriously, he’s just a kid, it’s not a big deal, etc. He so mad that it escalated into him punching the dean. School police arrested the guy.
That kid is destined for a f****d up life.
One of my students had failed all of his subjects and misbehaved the entire school year, so he wasn’t going to graduate. Well, his parents came marching down to my office demanding that I change his grade in front of the principal. They called me names and even threatened my life! And then, in the middle of the chaos, a really bad smell emerged. Turns out, the student LITERALLY SHIT HIS PANTS right there in front of us! We had to stop the meeting because the odor was suffocating us!
And believe it or not, his parents actually threatened to sue us for ‘making’ their son shit his pants!
My mother works in a school, and she has told me about a little 7-year-old girl who misbehaves, refuses to listen, has violent tantrums, cries and screams at lunchtime, and refuses to eat. When she calls to speak to the girl’s mother, she only whispers, ‘It’s not her fault — it’s because she’s adopted.'”
“Her mom blames everything on her being adopted, and refuses to discipline her.
My mom runs the Chromebook program at her school — she’s in charge of handing them out, keeping track of which students have which one, etc…Well, one of the kids at the school has an anger problem, and one day he got angry, grabbed the Chromebook of the kid sitting next to him, AND BENT IT WITH HIS HANDS! The kid next to him got upset and punched him…”
“My mom had to sit in on the conference between the principal and the parents of the kid who destroyed the Chromebook. And when the principal tried to address them getting counseling for their kid’s anger problem, they said he didn’t have a problem. They only wanted to know what the punishment would be for the kid who punched him!
I had a student who was a bit of a trouble maker. He liked to mess around a lot and it got to the point it was interfering with lessons. We have a meeting with his parents and all his teachers (normal at my school) just to see what was up and if there were any strategies the parents were using at home that could help us out.
The entire time the dad just keeps asking us to confirm that there’s something ‘wrong’ with his child. No sir, he’s just acting like a regular 12 year old boy. Turns out the parents were in a messy divorce after dad was having an affair with a much younger lady. Cue all the acting out and positive attention seeking* from the kid.
We signed him up for a bunch of sports and clubs to keep him at school longer, and make some productive friends.
A dad came to school with rage in his eyes because his son was suspended for 3 days…
This conversation took place while the son is IN THE ROOM LISTENING
Dad: My son would never do this!
Teacher: Actually sir he did, and we have pr….
Dad (interrupting) : I WILL BE THE SON OF A F*****G WHORE IF HE DID THESE THINGS YOU IDIOTS!!!!!!
At that moment… you can see the son actually dying inside…
Teacher: As I said we have proof, this is your son’s signature on these warning slips…
Dad sits down and remains silent for the rest of the meeting.
When a student in class pulled back their eyelids so that they were slanted. And the parent responded back with I’m being overly sensitive and it’s no big deal. Parent was extremely candid but also made it a point to show that they were extremely religious (Christian). I was holding my tongue from saying “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” and doing a racist gesture back.
I’m Asian and I teach middle school by the way.
The parents of one of my kindergarteners came for a conference, and I showed them a video of their daughter dancing in class. Well, in response, her dad pulled out his phone to show me videos of her dancing at home, before putting on dancehall music and dancing with her mom right there in the classroom — and it was definitely not rated PG. So I just sat there watching while they danced and began to make out — with tongue!
I had a mother and father that wanted me to call their son over spring break and encourage him to do better. I told them that I don’t want their son’s number, and I don’t want him to have mine. They asked me why, and I got to explain to them that their son asks me out every other day. They laughed. A lot.
Had a meeting about a kid who wouldn’t turn anything in ever. But of course according to parent definitely not the kids fault. Teachers screwing the kid over. Never got the instructions. Best excuse: someone broke into his locker and stole specific assignments.
The conversation basically devolved into something like this:
Parent: “We don’t appreciate you teachers, the school, or how you didn’t take the locker break in seriously.”
Me: “We looked into the situation. Camera footage confirms no break in ever occurred on the date your student told us it happened.”
Parent: *Enraged* “So you’re telling me my child LIED about this?!?”
Parent: *Still enraged* “Well how can you be so sure?? People break into cars all the time!”
Me: “Sure, but usually there’s also evidence like broken glass or other damage to the car, possible tools used in the break-in, valuables missing. You get the idea.”
Eventually we moved on from that topic and by the end of the meeting accomplished exactly nothing.
I was catching up on work in my classroom in between conferences when a mom came in wearing pink yoga pants and a parka, looking frazzled as hell. She immediately started bitching about how sorry she was for her daughter’s behavior and how she doesn’t do anything at home, and then about how the math curriculum is inadequate and all sorts of things that were on her mind. I couldn’t even say a word the whole time. Well, the next conference showed up and the lady said, ‘Sorry — thank you for taking the time,’ and left. I have no idea who that lady was.
The mom who came in only because her daughter had told her I was hot. She just said, ‘Wow, she was right,’ shook my hand, and left.
My first year of teaching I had a mother who pretty much ignored everything I was saying and assumed it was all bad – I opened with ‘hey, (your daughter) has shown some excellent work in class this semester’. She replies with ‘I doubt that, she can’t do anything!’ When I try and assure her she had in fact done well with proof,she dismissed it and said she will never be as good as her siblings. I then offered some advice for how to improve her already decent grade and the mother replies ‘that’s it-i’ll ground her for a month!’ From that point on everything I said she literally added another month on to her daughters ‘grounding time’ – I ended up just summing up as quick as possible to try and save the daughter spending the rest of her life grounded!
My first year teaching, I caught two girls cheating on a test. One of the girl’s moms screamed at me on the phone, and the other girl’s dad scheduled a parent-teacher conference, where he threatened to get a lawyer to sue me!
A student wasn’t getting her way in class, so her parents came in for a meeting with me and the principal. Her mom said, ‘She’s just so used to being the teacher’s pet, so it’s really not fair that she isn’t yours.
Naddihya was a very quiet, slightly below-average girl from a Hindi family. She didn’t say much in class but was polite, helpful and had a good set of friends.
On the first week of the new school year, she didn’t turn up at all and the senior leaders were worried about her. It was my first year at the school and no one told me why they were worried, only that if she was off in future to pass a message to the school office ASAP.
Parents’ Evening rolls around and dad doesn’t make an appointment to see me, I also have never spoken to him by that point. I was expecting a break at that point in the evening but stuck my head out the door to invite the next parent in so that I could hopefully keep to time on all appointments. I see Naddihya’s dad out there with her and invite him inside. I tell him all about his daughter’s progress and behaviour and he sits there in silence, he doesn’t even react. I was worried that he spoke no English and didn’t understand me, so I ask Naddihya if he needs to be translated for but she says no. The man says nothing, I ask if everything is OK and he says yes and walks out. I was sat there all confused and go speak to the deputy head.
It turns out that Naddihya is treated like s**t at home, while her older brother is treated like a king (apparently he is a massive shithead to her and others as a result). The reason the school was worried about her attendance is that she is a risk for being taken abroad for FGM or an arranged marriage (she was six when I taught her). She would write messages saying she loved me because she loved her teachers more than her parents, she had done the same thing for her teacher the year before.
I had to leave the school due to depression and anxiety a few months later but I still think about her. She doesn’t deserve to live with her family.
The most notorious parent I met with for a conference was a dad who — when I tried to talk about their kid — only wanted to talk about what went wrong in his divorce. When I taught his youngest son years later, he was still talking about his ex-wife and who she was shacking up with!
Luckily, I met with him so many times that I knew how to redirect the conversation and get back on track.
Called the parents because 8th grade student was bullying another student. Bullied student is confined to a wheelchair and I observed the bully throwing gum at him during class. Father comes in, but only speaks Spanish. Cape Verdean math teacher says he knows enough Spanish to translate, so we begin meeting with math teacher, myself, father of bully, and bully.
Father-(something in Spanish)
Math teacher -“What he is saying is that he admires your passion and…”
Bully Interupts – “That’s not what he’s saying, he said your a f*****g liar!”
Thats’s when I noticed how pissed off dad looks. He angrily tells me something else before getting up, nearly flipping the table, and leaves.
I ask the math teacher what he just said. He told me he didn’t know.
I was helping my mom change around her classroom when the grandmother of a student came in for her parent-teacher conference. Never once taking off her sunglasses, she complained that her granddaughter’s poor performance and grades were my mom’s fault and that when the student’s father gets out of prison, she’ll have to deal with him!
My dad once had a student who misbehaved all year and had terrible grades. During the conference with his parents, his mother explained it by saying, ‘Oh yeah, I think it’s because Jellybeans is closing down. He hasn’t been himself since he found out.’ Jellybeans is a trashy run down skating rink which closed about a month prior.
I used to teach High School Art. The administration had this idea to have an evening where we all set up tables and parents went through their kid’s schedules and had a sort of “speed dating” parent/teacher conference set up. We had to bring packets of work for any kids that were failing to pass to parents to give to their kids and could set up future meetings individually if needed.
Being that I taught art not a lot of kids were failing unless they just didn’t show go to class, so It was a mind numbingly boring four hours for me as no one except a couple of sweet students stopped by to chat.
The very last block of the evening a mom and dad just drop into the folding chairs in front of my table. They both had arms full of make-up packets and they both just looked so defeated. The mom looked at me with tears in her eyes and just asked “What does my kid do wrong in your class?”
I was so surprised by her question because I honestly adored her son; he was one of my favorite students! He completed every project on time and had a great personality; he constantly had me and the rest of the class in stitches! He was always the first to volunteer to help me out with any set up or clean up and went out of his way to say ‘hello’ to me, even on days he didn’t have my class.
I took great joy in telling his parents how he was an absolute bright spot in my day and watch a little bit of the sadness fall from their shoulders before they left for the night. When the student came in the next day he gave me a giant hug and told me thank you for saying all the nice things about him. I told him that I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true and that I hoped he treated every teacher the same way he treated me. He laughed a little and said he would work on it.
When I checked his grades at the end of the semester he was working hard to pull up all of his grades. By the end of the year he passed nearly all of his classes.
I’m a teacher, but this story is about a meeting that my coworker said she had years ago.
She was meeting with a mom about her son and was telling her great things. Then the mom passed out from a stroke. The next day the mom passed away. The teacher made sure to tell her son that the last thing she heard was how great he was. Brought tears to my eyes.
She brought up this story because a few months ago a 7 year-old at our school passed out from a seizure in that same coworker’s class. That incident reminded her of that mother. Unfortunately, the 7 year-old also passed away 3 days after. After that happened and knowing my coworker has gone through this before, we made sure to be by her side because of course she was a mess. I can’t imagine being a teacher and witnessing anything like that twice.
We have a half-day where parents sign up for conferences and teachers hang around until 8 with a break. I was catching up on work in my classroom and eating a sandwich during my break, and this mom comes in wearing some pink yoga pants and a big parka. She looks frazzled as hell and immediately starts going on about how she is sorry for her daughter, and how she doesn’t do anything at home and basically going on about how bad her kid is. And I’m just not saying anything, just listening. Then she starts going on about the curriculum, how it’s inadequate, and so on. But it’s nothing substantial or pointed, she’s just bitching about her kid, and the school, and whatever else more like I were some sort of therapist than her kid’s teacher. She’s going on about the math curriculum and my next conference shows up at their scheduled time. The lady goes, “sorry, thank you for taking the time,” and leaves. I didn’t say a word the whole time. I have no idea who she was. I have no idea who her kid was. It was really bizarre.
The student wasn’t getting her way in class, so the parents set up a meeting with me and the principal to get me in trouble. The mother literally said, “she’s just so used to being the teacher’s pet, so it’s really not fair that she isn’t yours.”
I didn’t get in trouble.
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