One of the less appetizing aspects of my job involves dealing with parents. I know that every teacher has to deal with parents, but, I’m a music teacher. A private piano instructor. At a really nice prep school. You would think this means that the parents would be better than average. I think they may be worse.
Example One: They cannot be held responsible for anything.
My younger students come once a week instead of their PE class. I regularly have two to three students a week forget their books. The parents then consider it my job to mak up a lesson. They wouldn’t send their child to school without their back pack or lunch. But, piano? That’s the teacher’s fault.
I have one student who keeps forgetting to come to the tune of only five out of fifteen lessons last semester. His dad told me that if I would just go hunt him down and ask his other teachers to help him get there tha we wouldn’t have that problem. This student is 12. That’s old enoughto be responsible for getting to their own classes.
Example Two: I am responsible for everything.
When administration reminded students halfway through last semester that if they were taking for credit then they had to practice daily at school, I caught all the flack from the parents. Couldn’t I make an exception for their student? It was unfair to expect them to practice because it’s only a pass fail course.
I’ve also been fussed at for failing to get a student registered for a test after the deadline. The mom got her student registered, but I had called the test administrators and they wouldn’t do it for me.
Example Three: They never get enough communication.
I lost an elementary student last semester because I didn’t communicate enough. Since I sent home weekly notes in his assignment book, this eithervstems from the mom not checking her email for the messages I sent or because I didn’t answer her phone call at 9 at night but waited to return it until the next day.
Another mom spoke to administration about my lack of communication. This one because she emailed me at 11:40 pm on a Thursday night. I was out of town all weekend. On Sunday I had food poisoning and responded only to her student’s email about adding an extra lesson. Because I didn’t email her too, she was upset about my not communicating. Forgive me for thinking that a 17 year old is old enough to schedule lessons at school with directly.
My boss tells me that these parents pay this much so that they can control every aspect of their child’s life. She didn’t see the problem with that statement. I get that we try to return emails within 24 hours. But I’m part time. I have other jobs and commitments. Outside of that, they don’t pay me to be their servant. I am not at their beck and call. The sense of entitlement these people have makes me sick.
And I know it comes with the job, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.