We have all seen them, unfortunately. These are the misguided souls who think that by berating their children or other children on the sporting field, or even the umpires, that somehow that constitutes good parenting and support of their children. They need to be educated about good sportsmanship, but that’s another matter.
They don’t necessarily leave their behaviour on the sporting field either. In my ongoing research into Music and the Brain (in capitals because that’s the title of my research paper), I came across a great little book called The Little Book of Music for the Classroom by Nina Jackson, first published by Crown House Publishing Ltd UK in 2009 and republished in 2015 (you may recognize the name because these are my publishers). In the Foreword by Ian Gilbert, he tells an appalling story which I reproduce here, as a cautionary tale.
In a nutshell, a primary school teacher in the UK was implementing the sorts of things that Gilbert and Jackson talk about in terms of using music strategically in the classroom.
‘… not only did the quality and quantity of learning improve but also behaviour was much better. … One parent, one sole parent, one middle class, middle-England, Daily Mail reading narrow minded, bigoted, opinionated, … ignorant, close-minded, selfish, uninformed parent … was on the phone [ to the Head Teacher] complaining about the use of music in their child’s classroom and how it was getting in the way of their child’s learning. The teacher was called to see the Head where he explained the findings of his “musical experiment” and how the children loved having music in the classroom and learning and behaviour was improving across the board, including, ironically, for the child of the whinging parent.
Fortified by this the Head teacher explained to the parent what was going on and stood by his innovative teacher, allowing and encouraging the work to continue.
Then came the second phone call. Unhappy with the fact that their prejudices had been rejected in favour of the evidence, the parent had been on the phone to the Director of Children’s Services in the local authority. Now it was that Head teacher’s turn to be summoned.
And that was that.’ (Jackson, 2015: v-vi)
What would you do in this situation? I am still reeling from this story. I can understand the person in the higher authority deciding it was not worth causing a major incident but I am still appalled by the decision, nevertheless. Parents do have to be handled diplomatically and respectfully even when they persist with their astonishing ignorance and prejudice in the face of facts. I cannot imagine what the parent was objecting to. We could speculate forever and you know as much about the story as I do. So, what would you do in this situation? I welcome your comments.