When You Hit “Reply All” And Put The Teacher On Blast

The teacher’s weekly bulletin for parents came home with instructions about what the kids were doing on the next project. The teacher included this alert for parents: “The quality expectations for these reports is high as this is the only homework they will be in charge of some weeks.” Translation, the students better turn in some good work because this is the ONLY stuff they’ll be working on. Got it.

Then the emails started:

“Can you please provide the rubric by which these projects will be assessed so that students can make sure they are meeting your definition of “high” expectations”

“Can you provide information as to which standards the country report assignment is aligned, and which report card area it will will impact?”

“Can you please provide the rubric by which you assess coloring and drawing to be at a second grade level?”

That’s right.  Second grade.  These are questions for an elementary school assignment questions about expectations and rubrics– those scoring guidelines that school districts use.  Second grade.  One parent.  It went on.  There was more.

The parent had replied ALL in two separate emails assuring the teacher that everyone on the email chain would benefit from the guidance. They added, “Understanding explicitly what is expected always helps all students to achieve their highest potential“. They then suggested the teacher could read more research on the matter and offered up some ideas.

I was floored. What just happened here. I stewed over the email. I discussed with my wife. I stewed some more. Meantime, the emails were met with silence. Silence. From the teacher. Silence. From every other parent. Was the parent serious? Maybe I’m a bad parent for not asking enough questions. Could be.  Or maybe they had a bad experience with the teacher and intentionally put them on full blast to everyone? Was this the ultimate case of a helicopter parent smothering to death the very teacher who is leading the classroom? No one was saying anything. Did other parents agree with them? Were the other parents as confused as I was? What was going on! I felt bad for the teacher. Dear god no wonder it’s hard to find a good teacher willing to lead a classroom nowadays.

After a lot of thought, I hit reply all, on behalf of me and my wife, and perhaps other parents in the class. I wrote simply to the teacher, “Thanks for the info Ms xxxxxx, our gal already has some great ideas for the assignment and is looking forward to it!” I hit send.

It was our way of giving a nod to the teacher after it looked like she had just been annihilated by parental shrapnel. I understand people will have questions about assignments.  I also understand not every parent and student will get along with every teacher. But can we agree that most of the teachers out there are overworked, underpaid, and often not appreciated. To rev up the helicopter parenting and smother a teacher’s assignment –and seemingly make a show of it for every other parent– hardly seems fair. The teacher never replied at all. And neither did the other parent.

To the teachers out there, please excuse all us parents because we know not what we do. To the parents out there, give the teachers of the world a break. They deserve it. Remember, this is only second grade. As long as my child turns in the assignment on time, gives it some effort, and colors between the lines, it’s all going to be OK.



About Pete Wilgoren

Author of Dadmissions. Pete Wilgoren is an Emmy winning journalist, blogger, and author writing about parenthood, life, and other stuff
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9 Responses to When You Hit “Reply All” And Put The Teacher On Blast

  1. parentalramblings says:

    Love to read some support for teachers and as a teacher I can pretty much guarantee that she would have virtually high fived you for your email!

  2. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    Oh, my word.


    I am so glad you replied as you did.

  3. Speaking as a former high school teacher – thank you.
    I understand the other parent’s concern, but it is much.

  4. Pingback: Fatherhood on Friday: The Venue (and Date Change) for Dad 2.017!

  5. threecharms says:

    I’m not sure I could have resisted squeezing in the word “rubric” in some snarky way. You’re classy.

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