Fed Up WA Teachers Tell How Badly Behaved Some PARENTS are
"I phoned a parent about their child having some noticeable behavioural issues, and let her know about the impact it was beginning to have on his work. She told me it was my problem, and hung up."
This was just one of the stories which teachers shared about their experiences with parents during a focus group led by WAtoday.
They found that parents who defended their kid’s poor grades and bad behaviour wasn’t just affecting teachers – the flow-on effect of these “sour” relationships were beginning to affect students.
"I have definitely observed an increase in parental defence," one teacher said.
"If a child isn't selected as a school leader or as a member of the footy team, instead of learning resilience or experiencing disappointment, the parents try to fix the world to suit their child."
A recent OECD report found that discipline level in Australian schools was below average – a sentiment which was reflected by State School Teachers' Union of WA president, Pat Byrne.
She said disobedient and disruptive behaviours manifested in students by way of their parents.
"Once children know their parents will not support the teacher, they can become much more aggressive or disobedient," she said.
"This may have a flow-on effect to other students, who feel that they too might be able to get away with poor behaviour.
"Teachers can be required to spend large amounts of time and energy dealing with defiant students rather than actual teaching."
Other anecdotes from teachers at the focus group:
- "I have marked projects that have obviously been completed by parents. What do they think they're teaching their child when the parent takes over a school project in order to get an A? 'Your work isn't good enough! But don't worry, I'll do it for you because that's the only way you'll succeed.'"
- "I have had one girl come in with an entirely plagiarised essay. I pulled her up on it, and told her to take it home to her parents and have them sign it so I could be sure they were up to date on what had occurred. Instead, the parents came marching in the next day and yelled at me because their daughter said I had been too harsh with her."
- "A child once went home and sobbed that he had been kept in at lunch, and so missed the school's soccer trials. The parent came to the school in a very emotional, defensive state and demanded an explanation as to how this could have happened. The truth was, he had attended the trials and not been selected. He hadn't been kept in at all."