I dropped in on the parent-teacher chat (#ptchat) on Twitter last night for the discussion on homework. Joe Mazza (@Joe_Mazza) did a great job moderating a discussion topic that often gets very robust! I caught a tweet by Antony Sinanis (@cantiague_Lead) during the discussion that expressed the following, “Can I tell my son’s teacher how I feel about weekend homework? I am always hesitant because I don’t want to be “that” parent!” (He has agreed to my sharing his comment in this post.) It’s a concern I hear a lot — being labelled “that” parent. Later I realized that Antony is also a principal. This concern is not limited to “just” parents. So it all got me thinking some. What is this really about? Why does education create this ”that” parent thing? Are there different kinds of “that” parents? Is the concern about being “that” parent different if you are also an educator? How many good questions aren’t asked about schools and education because of the apprehension of being “that” parent? I am not sure there is straight-forward list of things that would guide anyone in the attempt to never be “that” parent. What if the area of concern that we want to express, at the risk of being ”that” parent, is actually a direct result of conditions created, whether knowing or unknowingly, by a decision-maker?
So I am left wondering about about how many good changes and supports for kids may have been missed because of the “that” parent concern? What happens to the unsaid questions and concerns of parents when they are no longer parents in the education system? Do they become “that” community member making a difference, or has some really great input been missed completely?
Please share if you have suggestions that might help others concerned about this.