"I have this great idea and I would just love it if the parents would help me with it...Now Jane's mom can buy this...Peter's dad will bring that...Carol's grandma is so sweet, she will help me with the kids...Let's see who hasn't volunteered or gave money yet...hmmm?" Pushy Teacher says. "I think I will create a flier, send an email, see the parent when he or she picks up the child or drops her off, set up a meeting, tell the child to talk to parent..." In addition, pushy teachers who don't like that smart kid in the class who questions them on their rights and wrongs or that one who is often disruptive tend to target parents because "I just don't get why the child is always...I really wish the parent would...There are some kids I just don't like..." Other pushy teachers will turn some children into teachers' pets while hoping they can get teachers' pet parents in the process! If you don't see through the strategies, you will be taken for your time and money all in the name of loving and caring for your child. Consider this, are you able to bombard people with communication outside of your workplace to help you with your job/idea/plan for free? If so, you got yourself some willing volunteers. But if not, you have to pay someone right? A person who is somewhat skilled at what you do. Sometimes it is just best to leave some people alone who have shown little interest beyond getting a child taught and that's it. A teacher, who is like a used car salesman trying to get everyone who walks through her door to buy this or that, will find out sooner or later that it is best to simply leave some parents/customers alone.
So the emails, the printed fliers, and even your child comes home with messages daily/weekly/monthly from his or her teacher announcing classroom/school projects, holiday celebrations, collaborations with other teachers, needed items for field trips, and more. It doesn't stop, pushy teachers keep pushing and pushing and pushing! Discerning parents push back. They don't permit teachers to run over them or run with their money or time. They put limits on their giving and in some cases they sit out altogether depending on what is happening at home and elsewhere. Teachers who are more concerned about accolades, personal achievements, and more could care less about parents' home and work life. In their eyes, they are slackers, lazy, don't care about their children, and form other judgments when parents aren't like Jane's mom, Peter's dad, and Carol's grandparent who manage to give and give and give some more while hoping their precious children will receive some kind of favor. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn't. Familiarity breeds contempt.
As the pressure to push parents and children to do more of this and that increases from educators and others, there will also be some pushing back. Some teachers use and/or abuse children to get what they want from parents by setting their sons and daughters aside or apart from group activities just because a parent chooses not to volunteer or give money to some grandiose idea/project/holiday event. It is unfortunate but what might have started off as harmless with some teachers and good for the children will eventually turn ugly as more and more parents consult with school officials and attorneys due to the mental duress children and parents undergo from pushy teachers. This is a serious issue for many who are already overwhelmed with personal and professional pressures. It isn't any wonder that some parents flip out on teachers.
The communication for some of these pushy teachers is overkill and oftentimes useless when it is clear that most parents have indicated they are not interested in assisting. How many letters, emails, text messages, and more does a teacher (turned beggar) have to send out even after parents have said, "I'm sorry this is not a good time...We have other obligations...We are not able to help...Please stop sending my child home telling me what I ought to do...?"
Kudos to the educators who have enough sense to put the brakes on all the unnecessary projects/ideas/event planning etc. But to the pushy teachers, it isn't any wonder why you don't get the support you do? The narcissistic teacher, the control freak counselor or principal, the weak PTA or nonchalant school board who refuses to see the writing on the wall when a parent complains will eventually reap for not doing their part when it comes to being understanding about parental plights and rights.
There is no one size fits all parent and not everything at home, work, church, after school, or at school appears to be "normal." All should keep that in mind. Push back parents on pushy teachers! You are not obligated to do anything more then what you're already doing and that is making sure your child is cared for and taught. Stop feeling guilty when you don't help out with something. Stop being pressured or bullied into doing things you don't want to do. Meet your goals, give back when you can, and do what is right. Children do well in an environment of love and peace, not busyness and stress!
Nicholl McGuire, author and blogger of When Mothers Cry and a mother of four sons.