This happens too often on social media, and it must stop:
Parents disparaging their child’s teacher. Almost never without the teacher’s name (thankfully), but the anonymity of the teacher is irrelevant.
The report card has been issued, and the parent disagrees with a teacher’s assessment of the child, so he jumps onto social media to publicly question the teacher’s judgment, ethics or ability to accurately assess a student’s skill level or mastery of a subject.
The child has been victimized by another student at school, and the teacher’s response to the incident is lacking. After putting the child to bed, she blasts that teacher on social media for favoritism or an inability to discipline the class.
Homework has been assigned, and in the opinion of the parent, it is incongruous, confusing, too easy or too hard. The parent uses social media to criticize the homework and question the teacher’s ability to design an assignment.
I understand the instinct to vent your frustrations over social media. I understand the desire to solicit feedback from others via a social network. I know that oftentimes parents are simply looking to have their feelings and opinions validated by their social media compatriots.
But here’s the thing:
In my 15 years of teaching, I have met very, very few teachers who don’t genuinely love their students. Almost every teacher who I have ever known loves almost every student in his or her classroom.
Think about how amazing that is.
Someone who has been arbitrarily assigned to work with your child for 180 days has found the capacity to genuinely love your kid and every other kid in that classroom.
Teachers have given their lives to protect their students. There are very few teachers I know who wouldn’t risk their own lives to protect their students.
How many people in this world would place their life on the line to protect your child?
That is a gift.
When you take to social media and begin criticizing, insulting or even questioning your child’s teacher, you are attacking a person who loves your child.
Does it mean you can’t disagree with the teacher, question his or her judgment or even become angry at the teacher for a decision that he or she made?
Of course not.
But just like you wouldn’t take to social media to criticize your spouse or grandparent for the way he or she has cared for your child, you should not be using social media to do the same thing to a teacher.
Instead, call the teacher. Set up a meeting. Speak to him or her in person.
Remember: You both love your child. The love that you have for your child is admittedly deeper and wider than the teacher’s love, but love is still there, and it is precious.
Treat it with the respect that it deserves.
Teachers are attacked enough. Abused enough. Insulted and maligned too often already.
The last thing a teacher needs is the parent of a child who that teacher loves making snide, cutting, disrespectful, behind-the-back comments about him or her on social media.
And yes, it’s true that the teacher will almost certainly never see your post or tweets. This does not make it right. It doesn’t mean that other teachers won’t see these comments and wonder what parents might be saying about them. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t hurting that teacher by damaging the institution to which they have dedicated their life.
Criticizing a teacher through social media, in the words of my students, is a sucky thing to do.