Not too long ago, we shared a viral Reddit thread in which teachers were asked about their most unforgettable parent-teacher conference, and they shared some serious, serious doozies.
Well, teachers in the BuzzFeed Community jumped in to share the times their own conferences caught them off guard — for better or worse. Here are their responses, along with some of the most memorable stories from the original post:
1. "One of my students had failed all of his subjects and misbehaved the entire school year, so he wasn't going to graduate. Well, his parents came marching down to my office demanding that I change his grade in front of the principal. They called me names and even threatened my life! And then, in the middle of the chaos, a really bad smell emerged. Turns out, the student LITERALLY SHIT HIS PANTS right there in front of us! We had to stop the meeting because the odor was suffocating us!"
"And believe it or not, his parents actually threatened to sue us for 'making' their son shit his pants!"
2. "One of my favorite parent-teacher conferences was when I had to explain to a parent that school was Monday through Friday, not Tuesday through Thursday. The parent was legitimately surprised! But I was more shocked that she hadn't noticed all of the students on campus every Monday and Friday at her child's school...which was located DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET from her home!"
3. "My first year teaching, I caught two girls cheating on a test. One of the girl's moms screamed at me on the phone, and the other girl's dad scheduled a parent-teacher conference, where he threatened to get a lawyer to sue me!"
4. "My mom runs the Chromebook program at her school — she's in charge of handing them out, keeping track of which students have which one, etc...Well, one of the kids at the school has an anger problem, and one day he got angry, grabbed the Chromebook of the kid sitting next to him, AND BENT IT WITH HIS HANDS! The kid next to him got upset and punched him..."
"My mom had to sit in on the conference between the principal and the parents of the kid who destroyed the Chromebook. And when the principal tried to address them getting counseling for their kid's anger problem, they said he didn't have a problem. They only wanted to know what the punishment would be for the kid who punched him!"
5. "The most notorious parent I met with for a conference was a dad who — when I tried to talk about their kid — only wanted to talk about what went wrong in his divorce. When I taught his youngest son years later, he was still talking about his ex-wife and who she was shacking up with!"
"Luckily, I met with him so many times that I knew how to redirect the conversation and get back on track."
6. "I was meeting with a parent that spoke mostly Spanish, and my Spanish is weak. Turns out, her English was about as bad as my Spanish, so when we couldn't get across an idea, we reverted to charades or grabbed paper and drew things out. By the end, we were laughing so hard! That was, by far, my favorite parent-teacher conference ever!"
7. "The mom who came in only because her daughter had told her I was hot. She just said, 'Wow, she was right,' shook my hand, and left."
8. "I once had a parent-teacher conference in which the student's mother brought her pet monkey. I thought the kid was winding me up saying that they had one. But sure enough, along came mom with a capuchin in a blue jumper."
9. "Our conferences were set up as sort of 'speed dating' sessions in which the teachers gave packets of catch-up work for any kids that were failing. Well, at the end of the evening, a mom and dad plopped down into the chairs in front of my table, defeated, their arms full of fail packets from other teachers. The mom looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked, 'What does my son do wrong in your class?' I was surprised by her question because I adored her son — he was one of my favorite students! So I took great joy in telling them how their son was an absolute bright spot in my day. And the next day, the student came in, gave me a big hug, and said, 'Thank you.'"
"I told him that I hope he will treat all his teachers the way he treated me, and he said he would work on it. Well, by the end of the year he passed nearly all of his classes."
10. "When I had to tell a child's parents I caught him masturbating in my classroom."
11. "My mother works in a school, and she has told me about a little 7-year-old girl who misbehaves, refuses to listen, has violent tantrums, cries and screams at lunchtime, and refuses to eat. When she calls to speak to the girl's mother, she only whispers, 'It's not her fault — it's because she's adopted.'"
"Her mom blames everything on her being adopted, and refuses to discipline her."
12. "I had a parent meeting with the father of one of my students who was a well-known gang leader and drug dealer in the area. He came in looking very intimidating in head-to-toe gang tattoos, and I was nervous, but I treated him as I would any other parent. We had a great meeting in which he asked how to keep his kids on the right track so that they don't end up like him (his words). And he even ended up being one of my most helpful parents, attending every school event and parent meeting and even helping me change my tire one day! That day I learned not to judge a book by its cover."
"Two of his kids are now in high school, taking AP classes, and doing amazing!"
13. "I had a parent who I'd never met before sit down in front of me without saying a word, immediately pull out their phone, and take a photo of me! Then they totally dug in, saying I must have an issue with their kid because they were failing both of my classes and had never failed a class before. Then they complained that I didn't call them earlier to let them know that their child was failing. I had to point out that I sent home numerous progress reports and that parents are able to view their child's grades online anytime."
14. "I was helping my mom change around her classroom when the grandmother of a student came in for her parent-teacher conference. Never once taking off her sunglasses, she complained that her granddaughter's poor performance and grades were my mom's fault and that when the student's father gets out of prison, she'll have to deal with him!"
15. "My coworker had a meeting with a student's mom and was telling her great things, when the mom suddenly had a stroke and passed out. She died the next day. The teacher made sure to tell the student that the last thing his mom heard was how great he was."
16. "My dad once had a student who misbehaved all year and had terrible grades. During the conference with his parents, his mother explained it by saying, 'Oh yeah, I think it's because Jellybeans is closing down. He hasn't been himself since he found out.' Jellybeans is a trashy run down skating rink which closed about a month prior."
17. "I was catching up on work in my classroom in between conferences when a mom came in wearing pink yoga pants and a parka, looking frazzled as hell. She immediately started bitching about how sorry she was for her daughter's behavior and how she doesn't do anything at home, and then about how the math curriculum is inadequate and all sorts of things that were on her mind. I couldn't even say a word the whole time. Well, the next conference showed up and the lady said, 'Sorry — thank you for taking the time,' and left. I have no idea who that lady was."
18. "I had a memorable meeting with a mother who had recently gotten pregnant. Her husband showed up late to the conference and she'd just had her 12-week scan that day, so he asked how it went. The mother was clearly salty that he didn't make the appointment, so she just said, 'Fine.' But he decided to press the issue, and that's when she told him that they were expecting triplets. I excused myself to get some water, and when I got back, she was showing him the scans and they were both just bawling."
19. "The one in which the mom brought her lawyer — who sat behind her rolling his eyes the whole time."
"This was the same mom who — when I addressed her first grader's homework being written in cursive and ink — said, 'Nowhere in the student handbook does it say a parent can't do the child's homework for them.'"
20. "The parents of one of my kindergarteners came for a conference, and I showed them a video of their daughter dancing in class. Well, in response, her dad pulled out his phone to show me videos of her dancing at home, before putting on dancehall music and dancing with her mom right there in the classroom — and it was definitely not rated PG. So I just sat there watching while they danced and began to make out — with tongue!"
21. "A student wasn't getting her way in class, so her parents came in for a meeting with me and the principal. Her mom said, 'She's just so used to being the teacher's pet, so it's really not fair that she isn't yours.'"
22. "My students know I'm obsessed with hedgehogs because I always use them in my lessons. Well, on the last night of conferences, one of my favorite students came in with her mom and a fuzzy bag. After I went over all of her child's assessments, she PULLED A FREAKIN' HEDGEHOG OUT OF THAT FUZZY BAG, and I shrieked like a child! I got to hold him for about 30 minutes, and was so giddy. My student's mom informed me that her child talks about me all the time, and wanted to do something cool for me!"
23. "A parent threw a chair at me once. She believed her son shouldn't have to do homework. She believed that he was a genius. He wasn't."
Are you a teacher who's had some seriously memorable meetings with your student's parents? Whether heartwarming, shocking, or totally dramatic, we want to hear about them — tell us your story in the comments section, and you could be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed Community post!
Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.