There are at least two different reactions to how teachers react to parents who are abusive to teachers. I’m sure there are more, but the two that I have observed recently are: the attitude that we are there for the kids, no matter what the parents say or do or the attitude that these parents make us want to quit our jobs… “It’s just not worth it.”
Well, I fall under the first category. I had a parent who was unhappy with my teaching and how I taught responsibility in my classroom. My initial reaction was, “What did I do wrong?”, “Why does this person hate me… he doesn’t even know me.” But after my initial self-centered, but totally natural response, I thought about my teaching and my love for the students. I know that I am not doing anything wrong, and I was hired at my school because I was the most qualified person for the job. After my reflection, I became more focused on making sure I am the best teacher I can be… and you know what? The kids are my focus… not the parents (especially those who try to assassinate my character with no provocation).
As for the other group of teachers, those who are affected by the opinions and behaviors of parents, I am sad that the parents can have such a huge impact on your disposition. In fact, one teacher (25 years experience) told me that teaching was not worth the “crap” that parents dish out to teachers, and then proceeded to tell me that I shouldn’t put up with it and I should tell this parent how wrong he was.
My personal opinion? I don’t have to put up with anything, but there are so many ways to handle these situations that will stifle the situation. Teachers have to be masters of conflict resolution. I think I have the disposition to handle these situations and not let them affect me in the long-term. And… I don’t have to tell anyone, except a trusted few, how I really feel. I did learn that I should not have shared my thoughts and the situation with more than a select few. I have a cohort of CADRE teachers who I can vent to, without infusing my department and team with my feelings of hurt and anger.
Any thoughts? I know I’m new and still seeing the silver lining, but maybe I’m wrong… maybe teachers do take on this attitude after many years of teaching? I hope not…