Only Child Teacher Woes

Dear Mother of the Only Child, (and just fyi, he may be the only child in YOUR home, but at school?  He is most certainly NOT.)

I don’t pretend to know the reasons why you have only one child.  It may be that you wanted more and couldn’t conceive.  If so, you have my sympathies.  It may be that you chose to have only one, whether because the world is overpopulated, (applause for recognition of this,) or for financial reasons, or possibly because you realized that this one child was either, a. perfect and no further children were necessary, or, b. a total and utter complete pain in the ass and you didn’t want to have more of those.

For me, as his teacher, he is a total and utter pain in the ass.  Even you alluded to this during our parent-teacher conference.  You said that he makes you want to pull your hair out.  You stated, to my face, that I must also want to pull my hair out.  I can’t say that is my exact response to how your child makes me feel on a daily basis, because hair pulling isn’t really my thing.  But your point was made.  Yes.  Yes, your child definitely makes me want to do something, but not to myself.  What I want to do sometimes involves duct tape and a locker in the hallway, far away from my hearing range.

And yet… and yet… despite the fact that you and I are in constant contact via email about the various behavior issues and other shenanigans your brilliant child engages in daily, and despite your acknowledgement of said issues, you follow up this conference with a request for me.

(I swallow hard, here, gritting my teeth.)  I have to compose an answer to your request.  My answer will need to be short, clear, diplomatic, and free of profanity.  I have not yet reached the point where I can do this, so here is my real answer.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???!!!  Let me get this straight.  YOU are choosing to go on a vacation when school is IN SESSION.  It happens to occur right when I have my birthday, which I always celebrate at school by having a fun day to celebrate reading month.  All normal activities are suspended and we wear pajamas, read all day, have popcorn, and just enjoy the rewards of being readers. Naturally, your child is unhappy that he will miss this event due to the vacation you planned.  And you seriously have asked me to have ANOTHER fun day like that for YOUR child’s birthday later in the month. !!!  Yes.  (

For anyone reading this who is NOT the parent of an over-indulged only child, you are picking your jaw up from the floor where it dropped a moment ago.  Yes, this parent, who knows full well that her child makes my days worthy of pulling out my own hair, this parent, who knows her child is supposed to be having CONSEQUENCES for his behavior, NOT rewards, THIS PARENT has the audacity to ask me for this absurd and, frankly, completely selfish favor!)

Have you NO concept of the other 24 students who ALSO have birthdays that will not be marked by a special, all-day read-in?  Have you NO awareness of how absolutely inappropriate your request is?  Clearly not.  I think perhaps your request stems from all these years of making sure he gets whatever he really wants.  Well, it’s time to WAKE UP!  This is LIFE, and in LIFE, you make choices and there are rewards and/or consequences of those choices.  It would be NICE  if your prodigy had some inkling of this.

In short, dear parent, the answer is NO.  NO FUCKING WAY am I rewarding, of ALL children, YOUR disruptive, rude, manipulative, immature, sneaky child with a celebration of his birthday to match the celebration of my own, all because YOU chose to take him out of school, causing him to miss said celebration.

Here is what you tell your child.  “Child, in life there are choices.  I have made the choice to take you on vacation during this time when something extra fun is happening in school.  As a result, you will miss that particular day.  I understand that is disappointing to you.  You will survive.  I get that you are unhappy.  You will be okay.  It’s okay if you are mad at me.  You will get over it.  Now, we are done discussing this because it’s what is happening whether you like it or not.  Let’s talk about the fun things you will get to do on vacation instead!”

Parent, I know that parenting is hard.  It truly is the most difficult job there is.  (Teaching may rival it though…)  Did someone tell you that it would be easy?  Did you somehow miss the fact that there are volumes of books on parenting, all because of people like you?  Where did you get the idea that your child has to always be happy, always be enamored with you?  (And, oh, he is.  ONLY an only child would name their fictional adventure character of a story after their mother…)  I am here to tell you that your child needs to experience disappointment and learn how to cope with it because life throws a LOT of it at us.  Your child will someday be independent of you.  Maybe.  Or perhaps you will continue parenting in this way and he will remain in your home, unable to make it in the real world because you have utterly FAILED at your most important job of making sure your kid can survive independent of YOU.

Luckily, he is young.  It’s not too late.  Yet.

I will help you get started by telling you that there is no fucking way, no chance at all, absolutely zero possibility that I will grant your preposterous request.


-Your Child’s Teacher

ps. Stop trying to find out about my personal life and medical issues.  They are none of your business.  If I wanted you to know, I would tell you.  Draw some boundaries, lady.


Your Child is a Freakin’ Genius!

Dear Parents,

Beginning immediately, we will be abandoning our grade level curriculum since every one of your children are so obviously gifted with above average intelligence. I thank you for bringing to my attention that the reason for your child’s disrespect, poor behavior choices, and what appears to be general laziness, is, in fact, due to the fact that he is far too intelligent for our curriculum, and is only behaving this way out of boredom. Naturally, whenever a person is bored, the best way to cope is to alienate other people and avoid all semblance of effort. I apologize for not having seen sooner that I was given a class of prodigies.

The new curriculum will be sent home for your approval. I know that you will attend to it with the same enthusiasm and effort with which you read my newsletters. Though I realize that most of you do not have any degrees or experience with educating children, I know that you will know better than I how to do this job. I thank you for your helpful suggestions and look forward to more positive interactions in the future when your children will all be so stimulated and challenged that all misbehavior will become a thing of the past.


Your Child’s “Teacher.”

No More Weekly Newsletter for You, Parents!

Dear Parents,

This week’s newsletter will be somewhat different in format and content.

Rather than my usual, “Thank you for…”, I will begin with a, “you’re welcome,” feature. It appears that this will be a permanent feature if trends continue. And so, YOU’RE WELCOME! You are welcome for taking the time to take and post candid photos of your precious darling on our classroom website every damn week. I known that your child is the Very Best Child, and so I know how appreciative you must be to have the opportunity to view the different activities your Precious engages in. No doubt, you just love seeing his or her face all lit up with joy or tense with concentration and effort as she works her hardest… I know you are especially thankful because in future years, this will probably cease to be an element in your child’s education. I know also that you realize that, without me, you wouldn’t have a clue about what goes on at school.

Which leads me to our next topic. Rather than the section with news and updates, this week’s newsletter instead will focus on making sure you realize that you actually have no fucking clue what is going on in your child’s education or classroom. Oh yes, I realize he or she tells you about certain choice events, and naturally he or she is telling you the unvarnished truth with all sides fully explained and the entire situation illuminated so that you can have an accurate picture of what occurred. Never mind that your child is 6, 7, or 8 years of age or that your child’s teacher who holds two degrees or more in education may have some additional information to share with you.

How do I know that you have no fucking clue what goes on? Well, for starters, remember that newsletter in which I informed you about upcoming homework and due dates? Oh, wait… no, no you do not remember that because you e-mailed me asking me the very question that was answered in said newsletter.

Furthermore, I am sure you recall the e-mail I sent to all parents to be sure they knew that a personalized academic and behavioral update would be safely tucked into your child’s folder yesterday? No, no, it’s not a report card. I just thought it would be nice to make sure you are in the loop and informed so that we can be a team in your child’s education. (because that’s what you said you wanted in the parent survey I sent in September…) So, anyway, that update should have given you all you needed to know. … wait, you didn’t GET one? Your child didn’t have one? Gosh; that’s so weird because I personally made sure your child DID have one and I just can’t imagine what could have happened between school and you. I know I should take full responsibility for this. Oh, did I mention that this update wasn’t actually required of me? Yes, it did take me several hours of my weekend, so, you are welcome for that. I realize this should go in the, “You’re welcome,” section, rather than the, “You have no fucking clue, “ portion. I apologize for my disorganization.

It suddenly occurs to me that your child exhibits the exact same problem as you seem to! I give directions and explain things clearly, and then he expects his own separate explanation after I’ve already told the whole class! Really, that’s so similar to how I told ALL parents the same thing, but so many of you felt that you needed your own, individualized explanations.

Guess what? I’m not a fucking tutor who is paid to work one on one with your child or you! In fact, I make less than I made 10 years ago… I know; crazy, right? I hate to break it to you, really, I do. Especially since you took the time out of YOUR day to march down to MY classroom just before the kids walked in to deliver your child’s materials and have a quick l’il conference with me about that topic we fully discussed on the phone last night after school.

This will actually be the last issue of our parent newsletter, because none of you fucking read them anyway, so I’m pretty sure no one will catch all of this blatant honesty. Speaking of which, I regret that at our meet and greet evening prior to school’s beginning, I neglected to ask you to sign up for the Sugar Coating Parent Share or the “All Natural” version of Parent Share. I realize now, of course, which of you prefer the Sugar Coated version, which turns out to be more of you than I think even you expected, but it’s a bit late for that now. I will certainly try my utmost to at least glaze the truth for you in the future months, but it may be difficult after this particular edition of our classroom news. Either way, this is the Unglazed Edition and, since I fully expect to be unemployed after sending it, you can remain confident that some other teacher will be more than happy to pretend along with you that your child shits roses and glitter.

On the other hand, the only people who read this will probably be the few parents who truly do want to know what is going on and they will probably think you all deserve this, so there’s that.

Have a fabulous weekend and don’t forget to pry your child’s fingers off of his or her video game or technology of choice long enough to feed him or her some healthy chocolate cereal for breakfast and a packaged, plastic lunchable for lunch, followed by a snack of Cheetos and dinner out at McDonalds. Also, it’s just great that you let your child choose his own bedtime; that is just awesome parenting. By all means, do NOT let your child outdoors because the possibility that she could get hurt or stolen (because so many people want a kid who thinks they are the center of the fucking universe) is just too high to risk it. You wouldn’t want your child to develop any life skills, imagination, or problem-solving capabilities by engaging in unstructured play.   Just make sure you plan all of his activities and be certain you only enroll her in those sports in which she can get a medal or award for simply existing in the universe.

You are so awesome!


Your Child’s Teacher (a.k.a. baby sitter who knows nothing.)