Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

By Elizabeth Rich — March 11, 2008 1 min read
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Earlier this year, researchers reported that the number one source of frustration for teachers is parents. This week, the L.A. Times provided details on just how strained those relations can be, particularly, and this may come as no surprise, during conference time. In spite of the mood lighting and refreshments that some teachers offer to tamp down tension, stories of parents striking students or towering over their teachers or refusing future meetings can make for unpleasant encounters.

Myra McGovern, spokeswoman for the National Association for Independent Schools, sees a loss of respect for institutions and parents’ growing sense of entitlement as possible causes for the increased stress in the parent-teacher relationship. “The parents feel like they …are their [child’s] advocates. Whereas in the past the parents may have sided with the teacher, now that’s less likely.” Scott Mandel, middle school teacher from California and author of The Parent-Teacher Partnership, sees it as a two-way street, “If you as a parent don’t respect your teacher, you should probably be at another school. Teachers in turn need to respect parents as a consumer. It’s like a doctor and patient who work together for the health of the body.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.