9 types of parents that drive Singapore teachers crazy

You may be driving your child’s teacher up the wall without even realising it! Learn whom teachers dread dealing with…

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Samantha Chin, 32, has been a teacher since graduating from university over a decade ago. She has never regretted her decision to fulfil her dream of becoming a Primary school teacher.

She not only loves her job and her students, she even stays in touch with them after they are in Secondary school. “They come back to visit ― I see how much they’ve grown up and I’m so proud of all of them,” says Chin. “It keeps me going.”

As a teacher, you mould young minds and try to make a difference in young lives. While most have no issues coping with a demanding career, the one area that bugs them when they handle a new class every year are the parents.

Some parents can be quite hard to handle or even figure out,” Chin notes. “Others are just downright exhausting.”

Most parents are a joy to work with, say the teachers that SmartParents spoke to. However, there are those who can be handful. Check out the ones that local teachers secretly hate…

“I’ll request to see them during the next parent-teacher meeting, only to have them not turn up, just like their child’s homework.”

1. The “it’s not me, it’s you” parent

These folks have trouble admitting to being wrong, whether regarding homework, discipline or something as simple as getting junior to school on time. “These are the ones who know they or their child is in the wrong, but they decide to blame us anyway because we’re an easy target,” says teacher Shoba Nair. Agreeing, Primary school educator Aisha Rahman, a mother of two, adds, “Even if their child was caught bullying someone, this parent’s immediate response will be to blame the other kid and teacher first.”

2. The helicopter parent

Ever seen the parent who is forever hovering ― around the school grounds after drop-off, outside the classroom or doing surprise “spot checks” on their kids and teachers. They don’t give their kids enough space to breathe or think, decide their idea is better for school projects and say things like, “you don’t know what you’re talking about, just listen to mummy/daddy”. Teachers are also not their biggest fans because they know control freak parents raise kids with zero grit and resilience.

3. The “love you and leave you” parent

This mum or dad comes across as extremely enthusiastic about their kid’s progress in school, asks plenty of questions about homework and gets teachers all excited about participating in their child’s learning. They offer lots of “yes, let’s do!” and “I’m all in!” on the first day of school, then go missing for the rest of the school year. “I’ll request to see them during the next parent-teacher meeting, only to have them not turn up, just like their child’s homework,” says mum-of-two Suzanne Tan, a Secondary school teacher.

4. The “does he or she really exist” parent

These ninja-like parents sneak in and out of school for pick-ups and drop-offs while avoiding any eye contact lest a teacher wants to talk to them or ask them to volunteer for a school event. Then there are those parents whom you’re aren’t sure exist because you’ve yet to meet them ― though it’s already August! This parent’s name may be in the school register, but has never turned up for a parent-teacher meeting or social gathering at school. “They are also the ones who never sign forms, letters and tests,” says Aisha. “Chasing them for administrative forms is so frustrating when you have more important things to do.”


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5. The complainer parent

This parent can find fault with anything and everything ― usually on a daily basis. Not enough homework; too much homework; their child is unable to cope or bored in class; the queue for school drop-offs is too long; the school bus is too expensive…you get the idea. Yeah, nobody enjoys being around a complainer. “Sometimes, they even threaten to complain to the principal or take it to the Ministry of Education when anything slightly negative happens to their child,” Aisha adds.

6. The no-boundaries parent

We’re pretty sure teachers around the world are eager to hunt down the WhatsApp inventors and shoot them, because teachers are now available 24/7 to parents ― thanks to such instant messaging services. Some parents take it literally, too. “They think we’re supposed to be at their beck and call,” says Shoba. “I have parents messaging me about homework deadlines, what page to complete etc. at odd hours in the night and on weekends. It’s very rude and I feel like I can never switch off from work.”

“I have parents messaging me about homework deadlines, what page to complete etc. at odd hours in the night and on weekends. It’s very rude and I feel like I can never switch off from work.”

7. The “I really can’t be bothered” parent

This subset of parents has apparently given up on their youngsters. You often see them throwing their hands up in the air and shrugging when a teacher tells them their child is misbehaving in school. “Some of these kids are only 8 years old and the parent tells me they can’t control them anymore and give me the I-cannot-be-bothered look,” Tan says. “Then I spend some time connecting with the kids and they start responding to me, listening to everything I say.”

8. The “I’m smarter than you” parent

Ahhh, the know-it-alls, don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you. These are the folks who waltz in and decide to give the English teacher a refresher course on, um, English. “They give me a long history on the origin of an English word and why it should be accepted as an answer in a cloze passage,” Tan exclaims. “Obviously, I know other words fit in a passage as well, but my main aim is to test my students on a new word they’ve learnt recently, but these parents don’t get it. They think that as long as they’re lawyers and doctors, they can talk down to us.”

9. The “my life is falling apart, please help me” parent

These drama queens (and kings) will do anything to get out of a school commitment or from making sure they’re keeping up with their kid’s studies. They’ll come to you with a different sob story every week to explain why they haven’t been able to help their child with his school project. “They treat me like a free counsellor, taking up my free time to talk to me about the problems they are having with their husbands and helpers,” Shoba says. “Sometimes, they get very emotional and I’ve got to get them tissue paper and help them calm down.”

Photos: iStock

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