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Teachers Share Their Worst Parent-Teacher Conferences

The life of a teacher is pretty wild. Teachers can see some incredibly dumb kids. Sometimes a good teacher will do a kid a solid. Teaching can be funny and full of chaos. Sometimes parents have a very limited idea of what a teacher's job actually is, and take any criticism of their child personally. These are some of those times parent-teacher conferences were a little wild.

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  • 1
    Text - Mondayslasagna 4.1k points · 3 days ago An unintended one when an undergrad I was teaching requested a formal meeting with me, her mother, and the dean of the college at the university. She had received a 97% on an essay, and she and her mother were both in tears demanding that I be reprimanded and re- trained for "unfair grading policies." I think my mouth was agape the entire time.
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    Text - pythiadelphine 3.6k points · 3 days ago I had a student fail my class and I thought that I'd been emailing with their parents throughout the semester. Turns out the parents did not speak English and relied upon their children to translate for them. Their older sibling was studying abroad, so the student was able to hide everything from the parents. Once they came home, the jig was up. The parents could not believe their child had lied for months, so we had a face to face meeting. It was s
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    Text - cleanmachine2244 3.3k points · 3 days ago Not quite a parent teacher conference, but it was after I got my first cell flip phone long ago when they were just coming out. An 8th grader stole it. My wife called the phone and the guy who answered was dumb enough to give her his name. It was a parent who was using it. The kid confesses to taking it and the parents came in. Admin confronted the parents about it explaining that we just wanted the phone back. The parents tore in to the kid for c
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    Text - MuvHugginInc 2.5k points · 3 days ago · edited 3 days ago From my wife, teacher of 5+ years: 2nd grade parent had earbuds in her ears the entire time, and looked at her phone the entire time. When my wife complimented her daughter and told her that she was doing well, the parent laughed and said "she's a brat". Edit: I realize now that this is essentially a scene from Matilda. The child was not telekinetic, but if she was, we'd definitely adopt her and raise her to be a good super hero.
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    Text - Wishyouamerry 2.5k points · 3 days ago I was talking to the parent of a kindergarten student and telling her ways she could help her child at home. She suddenly said, "Do you get paid to to do this?" I said, "Uh, yeah." She said, "Well I don't!" Then swiped all the papers off the table, stood up and walked out. I was like, ooooookay then.
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    Text - cookiescoop 2.1k points · 3 days ago I had to tell a well-known gang leader that his son was failing my class. Actually went better than expected, but the anticipation was a bitch.
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  • 7
    Text - hold_my_lacroix 2.0k points · 3 days ago Former teacher. First parent teacher conference. I put a lot of time into preparing this evening as an innocent 22 yo. I gave a ten minute speech to about fifteen family members, they didn't seem to care at all. Then I met with each individually, and they were combative. Some stunk of alcohol. One straight up yelled at me for my grading system. It was basically the beginning of the end of my interest in teaching.
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  • 8
    Text - homerbartbob 1.5k points · 3 days ago I mean, it wasn't exactly a bad conference but one time the mother of a six-year-old second grader was pushing for her son to skip second grade and go to third grade. I tried pointing out that even though his reading and math skills were excellent, advancing him further would create a gap in his knowledge about science and social studies. Not to mention the fact that he is very immature and socially sticks out. She kept on insisting that age was just
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    Text - CoolioDaggett 1.5k points · 3 days ago Once had a phone conference with a parent who accused me of forcing students to come to my house and build a garage for me. The parent said his son was being ostracized and punished by me for refusing to come to my house and work on my garage. The only thing I could do was laugh at him. I thought it was a prank and hung up on him. Next morning, I had to meet with my principal because the parent had called and threatened to call the local news media a
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  • 10
    Text - Responsible_Attitude 785 points · 3 days ago One time a child peed all over the bathroom in the school. When we brought it up with the parent, they demanded to know why we didn't teach them how to properly use the bathroom.
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  • 11
    Text - MiraRuth 635 points · 3 days ago · edited 3 days ago I'm a school psychologist, not a teacher. But we still have lots of parent conferences. Worst one: spent a good half an hour explaining that I was diagnosing her son with autism and why. Everyone agrees, including the parent, and we move into developing his IEP. Twenty minutes into this we're talking about his behavior plan and she asks me "T'm wondering, do you think he might have autism?" Edit: I do want to say that 98% of parents I w
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  • 12
    Text - bcal16 577 points · 3 days ago The one where a parent told me it was unreasonable to expect my sophomore US History students to write a five paragraph essay. She claimed she had expertise as she "used to be an English teacher." Honestly, though, I've been VERY lucky in my career to have never had a seriously bad parent-teacher conference.
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