Secret Teacher: parents, stop undermining us in front of your children

The latest Secret Teacher, writing in the Guardian, says that when parents undercut teachers, it not only upsets us but we have to work even harder to regain students’ respect.

I left school crying recently after parents’ evening. But it wasn’t a student who reduced me to tears – it was her mother.

I had just finished giving my speech about becoming who you want to be, leading by example and using lunchtime sessions to focus on learning, when I looked to her mum for support. All I got was: “She can’t work because your room is too noisy.”

She told me I couldn’t expect her daughter to work hard for her GCSEs unless I improved my behaviour management. “You should be able to control your class,” she said. “How can you expect good grades if the class is naughty?”

Oh, so it’s not because she ignores my instructions? Or because she laughs in my face when I hand out worksheets? And it’s got nothing to do with all the lessons she’s missed? Once she spat on the floor as she walked into the classroom. After establishing she wasn’t unwell, I asked her to mop up the saliva about to be trodden into my carpet by the 20 kids behind her. Far from obliging, she just screamed, “Why are you always so dramatic?” 

I assured her mother that the classroom atmosphere is my priority and I always follow the school’s behaviour policy. “It’s not about behaviour policies. It’s about controlling behaviour,” she retorted. Well, dear parent, that’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one; I’m bound by that policy.

“You need presence,” she continued. Oh, you went there. “Do come and see my lessons, Ms Parent,” I responded. “I’m sure that will relieve your worries. You and anyone else is welcome at absolutely any time…”

More at: Secret Teacher: parents, stop undermining us in front of your children


There’s much more in the full article, including a strong plea for parents to recognise that teachers are on the same side as them, but how do you react to the scenario described above?

Is the teacher saying she is incapable of controlling behaviour within the constraints of the schools policy?

And, if so, is that either normal or acceptable?

Please give us your reactions and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…

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