I had a parent yesterday who was very special.
I'd been teaching his son in reading about silent e, and how it makes vowels say their name rather than their short sound (e.g. hop vs hope, sit vs site, etc.) which is useful, since there are literally hundreds of such words in English, including a lot of very common ones. I had a big list and the son would read each word and I'd tick it off. Easy-peasy, right? Well, apparently not. The father came to see me after class yesterday and demanded an apology (!) for teaching his son a dirty word. I was gobsmacked--I don't swear even at home, out of habit from working with kids so much. The word was apparently on the silent e list. I had gone through it carefully and removed rude or unpleasant words, so this surprised me. Then he showed me the word. This adult man refused to say it. He just pointed at it as though that should explain everything.
The dirty word? "nude"
In his household, apparently, nudity is not discussed and does not happen. I'm not sure how this works, but he was adamant that that's how they do it. I tried as diplomatically as I could to point out that the son is likely to see the word in books, at school, and on television, so if anything, it's better for him to recogninse it so he knows what to avoid. I didn't want to go down the terrible path of criticising his parenting decisions, especially when they're hilariously stupid, and I'm all about teaching kids about dangers and bad stuff so they can avoid it rather than just pretending it doesn't exist so they don't know how to cope when something does go wrong, but this guy wasn't having any of it. In the end, all I could do was assure him that I wouldn't have his son read the word again (he wasn't going to anyway, since it was already ticked off, and it's uncommon enough to not be on any other worksheets).
I didn't apologise since I so obviously did nothing wrong, but moved the discussion so that this guy didn't notice.
I can't help but wonder how they bathe. But there's a star next to the kid's name, now. If there's another situation like this (e.g. if the parent gets upset because we use the word "toilet" in class when asking to use the toilet), then the son will be let go. Unfortunate, yes, and not fair on the boy. But parents like these pretty much always get worse, and in the end become a huge disability for their children by demanding ridiculous and often impossible things of their teacher. It's not fair on all the other children to not learn anything just because one boy's father doesn't want him to learn.
Ugh. I tell you, 90% of the stress from work is because of idiots like these. Thankfully, most parents are lovely. But the few who aren't are very special indeed.