The dreaded parent-teacher conferences

The dreaded parent-teacher conferences

There are days throughout the year that teachers dread, with the longest ones being parent-teacher conferences (PTCs). In addition to having a typical day of students, teachers get to hear angry parents from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Here are just what some of these teachers have had to face in their years of teaching.

Parents who are anxious of their child(ren)’s grades or disagree with the teachers, the conflict can turn violent. Social Studies teacher Mr. Veenstra recalled that when he saw a mother beating up her daughter in the hall, “three teachers had to pull the mother off of her daughter and we had to call the police.”

Oftentimes, teachers have negative PTC experiences when parents are too ignorant, such as with Spanish teacher Ms. Hawkins, who recalled, “When parents chew me out or blame me for their kid’s low grade, they say, ‘It’s because you speak too much Spanish and not enough English in class,’ …not because they don’t come/pay attention/do their homework/[etc.]”

Speech and Debate teacher Dr. Sneddon stated a similar negative experience with a grandparent, where the grandparent said, “Our grandson is an A student. Would you please change his A- to an A?”

Dr. Sneddon’s response was, “Really? Well as soon as he earns an A, I will give him an A.”

There are times where the students are the problems at PTC and not the parents, such as the one highlighted by English teacher Mrs. Edmonds, who said, “One time, when I taught junior high, a student was verbally abusive to his grandmother, who was his guardian. He kept blaming her for his work not getting done–she didn’t take him to the library, she didn’t remind him to do his reading, [etc.]. I wish I would have said something to him; he was so disrespectful to this woman who was sacrificing so much to raise him.”

Mr. Doherty, another English teacher, showcased problematic student behaviors following PTC, saying “My least favorite experiences revolve around students who tell me and their parents that the sincerely want to do better, and then show up for the next class exhibiting the same cell-phone, non-interested, non-participatory behavior that they demonstrated before conferences.”

Due to the length and number of responses, the full document that showcases them can be viewed at

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