I have prided myself on being all champion for students and parents. I am all about elevating the voice of parents and giving parents power in their child’s education. I became a principal because I wanted to make sure schools focused on students, parents, and the community. Lately, I have been reminded, that as a principal, I have to be a champion for teachers, too. In my school, we are all about lifting the voices of parents. I want the parents of my students to know that not only is their voice heard in the school, but their voice matters. Recently, I learned parents with this power often forget when they are talking to their child’s teacher, they are talking to an adult. Parents, do not forget teachers are adults.
I was reminded of this because of an incident where a parent confronted a teacher. The parent got in the face of the teacher and not only began invading the teacher’s personal space but the parent yelled at the teacher. The approach was bad, but what made it worse was it was done in front of students in the classroom. I have written many blogs about how teachers, veteran and new, should talk to parents. I think it is due time that the same is done for parents. I am not talking about the tips on how to advocate for your child’s grade; I am talking about giving them the hard truth on how they should respect the teacher of their student.
As mentioned earlier, I am all about advocating for parents to have a voice, but I am not for the disrespect of teachers. I do not condone parents getting in a teacher’s face and yelling at a teacher. Parents must understand respect goes both ways. Now, this is not to all parents because there are plenty more parents out there that go about addressing a teacher when they are frustrated appropriately. I am referring to the parents who quickly forget that teachers are adults, and many of them are parents just like they are. Let me take a moment to remind parents what many teachers deal with daily. Teachers put up with students who are disrespectful and talk to them as though they are a peer. You know that same back talk they give you at home, and you slap the taste out of their mouth, and they either do not do it again or do it less often. Teachers have to deal with that disrespect, and they do not have to luxury to slap the taste out the students’ mouths.
Many students have little to no respect for their teachers. Because of the lack of respect, they talk to their teachers any way they want to and get these attitudes. They do this with the teacher who shows them respect. The teacher who comes to work every day with an engaging lesson. Those teachers often receive the most disrespect. Teachers already do not get paid enough to teach the most motivated and well-behaved students, so you know when they have disrespectful ones, they are definitely not paid enough. They also do not get paid enough to be disrespected by the parents.
I have a simple message to the parents who think it is alright to disrespect the teachers at their child’s school, the ones who feel it is alright to walk in the school and sit in the back up the class and try to intimidate the teacher by staring a hole in them as they teach, and the ones who jump on Facebook to express their displeasure: remember the teacher is also an adult. The same respect you want them to show you, you should show to them. When you walk into a teacher’s classroom, that is their space. The same way you get territorial about respect in your house, teachers feel the same way about their classroom. When you disrespect your child’s teacher in front of them, you are sending a message to the child that they can do the same. They see you do not have respect for the teacher, and they will not have the same respect. Remember sometimes the apple does not fall far from the tree.