I was sitting here this morning while my students were in DARE going over some of the letters that have been written about kids in school and things going wrong or right, mostly wrong. Some of the things I see just make me mad enough to spit or sad enough to cry. Here is my response to all of you: Dear Parents, Hello, I am your child's teacher, the one whose phone calls you avoid, the one who sends notes home that never return, the one who cries when your child is hurt at school or comes in with a skinned knee or paper sack lunch that is mostly empty. I'm also the one who appreciates the time you take to volunteer in my classroom, and send a little extra snack for someone who might need it. I'm the one who appreciates the invitations to coffee on Saturday morning because your work schedule does not allow you to come to my classroom during the week or on Parent Teacher Conference days. I'm the one who stays after school day after day to offer tutoring to those who need it, most times without pay and on my own time, thus taking time away from my own family. I'm also the one you think lives and breathes teaching, grading, and being yelled at by ungrateful parents who make appointments they don't intend to keep and they knew it when they made it, but didn't take into consideration I gave up my son's band concert to accommodate you. I'm the one who appreciates the mom stopping me in the seafood department at Wal Mart to ask how her child is doing, or the dad who sees me at the mall and asks if we need anything in the classroom. I'm the one who tries to explain to you that sometimes, yes, your darling does lie to you. That yes, I've sent home notes, oh and by the way, that email address you gave me? It's either no good or you don't read them or you don't respond to them thank you anyway. And thank you to those who email every day asking for a progress report. Oh and yes I do have other students than your darling. Where was I when he got beat up on the playground? Probably trying to eat my lunch in a 30 second break because another parent had to see me during my lunch time, no I wasn't on the playground, that wasn't my duty at the time. No I'm sorry, I can't be everywhere all of the time. By the way, if darling doesn't tell me he/she is being picked on I can't do anything about, and I think it was him doesn't count, I have to know who and when, just like you would want to know if your darling was being accused. If you come to school ready for blood, be ready to be answered in kind. There is no where it is written I have to be your whipping person and take your rudeness and your foul mouth, I can and will walk out on a meeting until you get yourself under control. If you were asking me about behavior and I didn't mention grades I'm sorry, I thought you wanted to talk about behavior and didn't want to overwhelm you. How did darling's grades get so low in just 2 weeks? Let me show you: 100+95+50+60+70+50+50+65+70=610 divided by 9 = 67.8 Those two wonderful grades they had at the end of January? Well when you add the grades from the first two weeks of February they drop! When your darling doesn't do good work, darling doesn't get good grades! When darling doesn't give you the written communication from me, it's not my fault. When your older darling writes your younger darling a note, it's not my fault. On bullying; it's hard to handle sometimes. We can do our best to stop it, we can't just kick kids out of school because they pick on darling. Most of the time darling needs to go somewhere else during playtime than where they know they will be picked on until the situation can be handled. We have to call in the other student and parents, which as you know can be hard to do. You are more than willing to come complain, but you are not will to come and face the music when darling is in trouble. Did you know if you come running to school every time someone looks cross-eyed at darling that darling gets a reputation that is hard to live down? Oh look,,, baby's mommy is here again fighting his fights!! Give us a chance to work on the situation and help us out by teaching darling coping skills at home! Teach them to stand up for themselves and to walk away from a bully thereby taking the power away from the bully. Teach them to stay with their friends, stay in a group, teach them to be individuals. Oh, you thought that was my job? Step up to being a parent, take responsibilities. There are a lot of times teachers are in the wrong, but there are more times it is the parent. I have 25 - 125 children a day depending on class size and day of the week, how many do you have? Get over the idea that your darling never lies, never acts up, never starts the fight, never upsets anyone, and is a perfect angel, they aren't. By all means stand up for your child and never let them be hurt, but don't stand ON them and not let them develop into individuals. My dear co-workers, I know it can be hard to answer to all of the parents beating at your doors, but please, try and return phone calls, try and send home notes (keep copies) to keep parents informed of when darling is not doing so well. Please pay attention to them when they say they are being picked on and try and get to the bottom of it. We are here for the kids, it is our job to try and communicate with parents, even those who don't want to be communicated with, and appreciate those who take the time to communicate with you, especially since those parents are rare and beautiful things. Dear everyone else, Please get off the band-wagon there just isn't room on it for everyone. You don't know the situation, all you see is one side and right away it is "Go over the teacher's head, call the main office, get the Superintendent right away!!" Who cares if the teacher is trying to do her job, undermine her right away and ruin her love for teaching! It's your right, it's your job, go for it! If I had a dollar for everyone outside of a situation that has instantly told their friends to crucify me, I could retire a wealthy woman. If I had a dollar for every time they gave bad advice, you could also retire because I'd have enough money for you too. Don't just automatically assume the teacher is doing nothing, not doing their job, you have no vague idea of what is going on behind the scenes at that school or in that classroom. I'll get off my soap box now, long enough to get my students and take them to lunch.