Students with teaching parents face classroom criticism

Sophia Johnson | Staff Writer

It’s common for students to have opinions about their teachers, but when the teacher is your parent, it can be hard to escape the negativity.

Freshman Rachael Molnar, daughter of World History teacher Tim Molnar, said that having a parent teach in school exposes her to negative dialogue about her family.  When students do not consider that teachers have kids in the school, others are impacted by the criticism that a teacher can receive. 

“I’ve had a stronger connection with a teacher and then kids will say something bad about them and they don’t realize that other people have had really good experiences with them. I’ve had things happen like that with my dad before,” Molnar said. “Sometimes they will get in trouble in his class and then it’s kind of awkward between us for a little bit.”

Junior Leah Stewart is currently a student in her dad, Rod Stewart’s, Advanced Placement Spanish class. As both a kid and student to her dad, she said some students speculate that she has an unfair advantage in the class.

“I feel like kids assume just because he’s your dad that he has power over everything and can help you. They assume he can help me study for the test, but obviously he doesn’t do that because it’s not fair,” Leah said. “My brother had him last year too, so we definitely don’t abuse the fact of him being our teacher.”

Rod Stewart said he had no concerns about his kids being students in his class. He viewed the situation in the same regard as teaching any other student and looked forward to getting to observe them in an environment of which many parents are not able to experience.

“I just assumed it would be pretty normal. We joked about what Leah would call me, Dad or Profe,” Rod said. “I was excited to see how they would do in Spanish. We’ve talked about Spanish at home but really the only part was to see how they are in a classroom setting.”

Aside from her dad being a teacher, Leah has dealt with complaints regarding his job to monitor the student parking lots and enforce correct parking procedures.

“I’ve heard quite a few people complain about getting busted for parking when they don’t have a parking pass and having to go see my dad,” Leah said. “A lot of people get mad about it, and also try to take advantage of it and ask ‘when is your dad going out to the lots?’ Or somebody will say ‘can I park in senior lot just this one time?’ And it’s hard because they can’t, there are rules for everyone.”

 

Advanced Placement Spanish teacher Rod Stewart teaches his junior daughter amidst negative opinions from other students.

 

Leah said by observing her dad, she has also found new respect for teachers and the amount of work they put into their job. 

“More work goes into it than you think,” Leah said. “Seeing my dad work until ten at night grading papers makes me more appreciative of what the teachers do outside of the fifty minutes you’re in their class. They can’t make every student happy, it’s not that easy.”

Freshman Brady Messer said despite what kids say about his mom, Advanced Placement Physics teacher Dee Dee Messer, he understands that not all teaching strategies work for everyone.

“I was just sitting in her class and one of her students said they didn’t really like the way she teaches,” Messer said. “But it’s fine, sometimes I don’t like the way other people teach. So I can’t judge them for not liking the way my mom teaches.”

Leah said she prefers to focus on the benefits of having a parent at school, as opposed to any negative comments students make. Having her dad in both her home and school life, she is able to experience what most students do not. 

“I honestly love it,” Leah said. “I can put my binders in his room or my lunch in his fridge. Little things like that, but also just being able to see him throughout the day because my parents are divorced so when I’m at my Mom’s, I still get to see my dad at school. I just like seeing him in the hallway and hearing people tell me stories about stuff that happened in his class.”

Photo by Sophia Johnson.

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