On Friday, I gave five scenarios in which parents asked me to go above and beyond the call of duty. I asked you to tell me which ones you’d honor, and to make a guess at which ones I did. Some of you also shared your own insane parent requests, which were hilarious (please leave more on this post!). Thanks to everyone who commented! Here are my own responses (drum roll, please)…
Scenario 1: Stop marking a child tardy because she lives out of school boundaries.
Yes. Mitigating circumstances: This child was reading a year and a half below grade level when she came to me. We placed her in intensive remedial reading small groups and she was ON GRADE LEVEL when the mom made this request. Going back to the home school would have been disastrous. We made a deal: if she was less then five minutes late, I wouldn’t mark it as a tardy. Mom was thrilled to see that I was trying to work with her, and made a huge effort to get the kid to school on time. The tardies decreased to one a week and the little girl finished the year in my highest reading group. Totally worth it.
Scenario 2: Call parent to convey the day’s lunch menu.
No. This request was communicated through the child, so I just told the girl that if her mom wanted to know, she should check the lunch menu that was sent home or get on the district’s website. I think the mom ended up calling the office, though. (Our secretary told me one year that a certain parent called her EVERY day to ask about the lunch. When informed that the info was on the calendar, the mom said, “Yeah, I know. But it’s easier for me to call YOU.”)
Scenario 3: Photocopy birthday party invitations (a piece of notebook paper) for the entire class.
Yes. I know the family’s financial situation, and I thought it was sweet that the child was inviting the whole class. I also noticed that the child had written the same info on the top and bottom of the page, so that each child would get a half slip. That was rather considerate of our paper shortage, so I relented.
Scenario 4: Send make-up work for a child who will miss 4 months of school.
No. After ten days, the child would be automatically withdrawn from my roster, so I couldn’t send books even if I wanted to (and I didn’t, because who knows if they’d be returned or if the child herself would be back.) I sent one old practice workbook for math and told the little girl she could keep it (and she actually did most of the pages!). She informed me that she enrolled in school in Mexico, but they only attended on Fridays (?!). Hmm. At any rate, we did some intensive work in reading when she returned and the little one passed the state test and was promoted. All’s well that ends well, I suppose.
Scenario 5: Wipe a three-and-a-half year old child’s behind.
No. Being anywhere near a child’s private areas is dangerous territory for a teacher, and I’m not going there, literally or figuratively. As pointed out by an anonymous commenter, children are supposed to have already been potty trained by the time they enroll in most 3-year-old preschools. Aannnd, that should include wiping. My assistant talked the little one through the process a few times until she had it down. That incident is one of many that inspired me to take a nice seven year hiatus from teaching preschoolers (although I would do it again).
Perhaps the most outrageous parent request in the history of outrageous requests was made to Mrs. Mimi at It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages. If you haven’t read her blog before, it’s hilarious. Trust me, that post is only the tip of the iceberg.
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