When parents don’t do the parenting…


Some days, being a teacher, really sucks. One of my students is living at home with only his sixteen year old brother for most of the time. Their father is a fly in fly out mine worker in another state, at least a five hour air flight away, plus road time. He is home every second weekend.

The rest of the time the boys are home alone. The older brother has an after school job and is not home in the evenings, so the younger boy, eighth grade, is home alone. There is a grandfather who drops the 16 year old home at night, but doesn’t live with the boys. Mum is goodness knows where.

Naturally, the boys are staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning, and then Yr 8 is coming to school so tired he is lying with his head on the desk in class. I have him for a learning support class so he has a heap of problems to start with and is extremely disengaged.

I reported my concerns to administration and they spoke with said child, who then said a “friend” of his Dad’s was caring for them too. I was pretty direct in my conversation with the boy, asking several times if anyone else was in the house and each time he said no; so I have reported my scepticism of said friend’s existence.

What really sucks, is that I am here, at home, worrying about that child when his own damn parents aren’t. It is easy to see how this is going to evolve – next thing he won’t be coming to school every day and then he will be a drop out, if not worse.

Like I said, some days being a teacher really sucks.

6 thoughts on “When parents don’t do the parenting…

  1. What’s really heartbreaking is that there usually isn’t a damned thing you can do for the student. Here, Child Protective Services believes that it’s better for the child to stay in a dysfunctional family than be moved into foster care, because their foster care system is crap. The county office was recently sued after a child was killed by his father who had been arrested for domestic abuse and who had earlier told his ex-wife that he intended to kill their sons. The social worker in charge of their case came to the insane conclusion that the children would benefit from staying with their father, since mother was a drug addict who was unable to stay clean for more than a fortnight. The mother had begged the social worker to place the children in foster care, but the father had somehow convinced the bureaucratic powers that he was an adequate parent. Until he smashed his sleeping son over the head with a baseball bat.

    We rarely see such extreme cases at our school, but even small things have a huge impact on the students. We have one who has yet to complete a page of homework because “there are too many people in the house” (his grandparents, two uncles, two aunts, and eight cousins live in the same house with him and his family of seven); another who comes to school with no lunch and no lunch money (she’s not poor, but it sounds like the parents are hopelessly disorganized); and another who like your student is always falling asleep on her desk because both parents work at night, leaving her alone with a 14-year-old sister who stays up all night video chatting with her “boyfriend” in the Philippines. One can write notes and make suggestions, but in the end, there is nothing to be done for these children.


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