Tomorrow is Mother’s Day here where I live, and I feel as though I’ve been mothering some of my students all year long. It is not my intention to act in loco parentis, a Latin phrase meaning “in place of the parents.” There are some parents who hold teachers responsible for their child’s reading level, mathematical ability, critical thinking aptitude, ad nauseaum. I have them for a limited time each day. I am not there to entertain them. I have to get my objectives covered. I need you to be their mom or dad and help them establish proper boundaries. I need mom and dad’s support when I have to correct a student’s bad choice. I need mom and dad to make them do their homework and mind a curfew. I need mom and dad to make them memorize their multiplication facts, count money, and tell time. I need mom and dad to listen to them as they read aloud. I need mom and dad to take them to the public library. It used to be such a big milestone of childhood to be able to write your name to get your own library card. I take them to the library at school, but it’s not the same as spending time exploring subjects of interest that excite their imaginations. Most parents of my students support my blood, sweat, and tears. A few of them don’t, and they make my life more difficult and my nights fraught with misery and nightmares. Please don’t rush to the assumption that I am “mean” to your student when I ask him to sit down in his seat, do his homework, be respectful in class, arrive punctually to my classroom, and obey my instructions the first time. I am at times being asked to do your job without the privilege of molding them for the first ten or eleven years of their lives. I am at a disadvantage and need your help. I need mom and dad to be Mom and Dad.
In Loco Parentis