I've seen this "epic text" going around FB the past few days, largely among friends who, like me, are teachers. Most of the comments about it have read like the following: "Parents should know better!", "If I need to reach my kids in an emergency, I'm going to call the office", "This reaction from the parent is why kids have no respect", and "Caitlyn's mom is setting a really horrible example for her daughter." As both a teacher and a mom (and as a human being with some common sense), those are the responses I expected to see. However, I was extremely saddened to find the same "epic text" on another friend's page (a mom herself) who thought Caitlyn's mom's response was hysterical, followed by some of her friends liking it, and one of her friends even responding, "if i was the mom, id [sic] see the principal for the return of the phone NOW."
This is the kind of thing we teachers have to deal with nearly every single day. The majority of us do the work we do because we love and believe in kids, but the fact that more and more parents respond to us in the manner shown above is the reason so many qualified and GOOD teachers are leaving the profession. Rules are in place so that we can teach. So, if a school has a rule that phones are not allowed on campus during school hours, there is at least one reason for it. Cell phones are not only distractions in class, but teenagers are smart: they can figure out how to use their cells to cheat on tests and assignments or to bully someone whom they don't like. I guarantee that Caitlyn's mom knew the school's policy regarding cell phones; our students and their parents are required to sign a form which states that they have read and understand all policies set forth in our handbook during the first week of school each year. Therefore, when I have to take a cell phone up in class, and then the principal keeps it for a full week, it's no surprise to anyone.
I love what I do, but I'll admit that there have been times when I've considered quitting. And I've never wanted to quit because of the time I have to spend preparing to teach, or because of the time I spend after hours grading papers, or because of a student. Every time I've thought about looking for a different job, it's been because a parent (someone who has no idea what I do on a daily basis) has tried to get me fired or has spoken to me as if I'm the scum of the earth, or because of all the time-wasting things the government (also made up of people who've never taught a day in their lives) says I have to do before I can teach; it's because of all the things nobody would ever imagine that we "glorified babysitters" have to deal with.
But I continue teaching because of other things that nobody would ever imagine... I'm often the first person to rejoice with children who experience unexpected success. I'm the one they come to when they're crying and need a little bit of sympathy. I'm usually there when they discover what they enjoy doing and what career they would like to pursue. I'm invested in our future, and that's what keeps me teaching, despite all that people like Caitlyn's mom do to make me feel unnecessary and unimportant.