'Judgy' parents intrude on teachers' online lessons

Parental involvement in online lessons is proving hard work for some teachers, while others find it 'amusing'

Online learning: Teachers have explained how some parents have been getting a bit too involved in their child's online learning lessons by shouting out answers

From whispering answers to their children to blatantly shouting out answers or even submitting their own essays, some parents are getting a bit too involved in online lessons, according to teachers.

As schools ended their first week of remote teaching in the current lockdown, a Year 4 teacher from Hertfordshire, wrote on Twitter: “[I] had parents whispering answers to their children today on Teams."

She received 166 comments and more than 2,000 “likes”, with many teachers sharing their own similar experiences.

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They included @teaandteaching, who replied: "Same!! I also had a child getting stuck when giving an answer, so his mum came into frame and just finished the answer for him... I was sat there like, 'Uhm, yes so *****'s mum is absolutely right.'"

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And @RussSauntry said: “Brilliant! I’d structured a question, for my sixth-form group, given them just enough clues. Had the agonising wait and boom, a Dad shouted it in triumph. Much hilarity all round. I loved it because they’ll never forget that!"

Sometimes teacher-parents can be the worst culprits, judging by a tweet from @NicholaHowroyd, who said: “I have a woman (ex-secondary teacher) who sits WITH A NOTEBOOK AND PEN and judgy look in full view of the camera, with all the other eight-year-olds looking at her in confusion."

tweetIt's a phenomenon that hasn't passed parents by either. One, who tweets as @HingleyVictoria, said: “I was amused at my yr6 daughter 1st teams Tues am. Each kid that appeared had a parent in the background either hovering, waving or being shoved out of view of the camera. They are doing so well with the IT & joining in with the live taught class & teacher managing them all.”

There is some debate over whether the extra involvement by parents is a help, hindrance or just an inevitable part of lockdown learning.

For example, @KS1Alison tweeted: “Home learning isn’t independent. It just can’t be with little ones, especially,” to which Miss Bishop replied: “Yeah, my class struggle with that in class, just finding it hard as my parents aren't letting them make mistakes.”

@Parentingaaah added: “Yes, it’s annoying BUT far better than the parents who don’t support their child’s schooling at all during this crisis. I have students on both ends of that spectrum and I prefer the annoyingly supportive parent to the absent one. #annoyinglysupportive.”

However, many teachers would draw the line at actually having to mark parents' homework. @LolarhamsterLou said: “I had a mum submit a literature essay on Plath’s Mirror in last lockdown. She asked if I could mark hers, too!”

Of course, some working parents – despite being physically near the screen during a remote lesson – may be anything but engaged due to the pressures of their own work. And sometimes this creates its own difficulties for teachers. @Sharmisthra said: “It's the parents who a [are] right next to the child doing the really loud conversation with their work that I don't know how to handle short of muting the child.”

Last week education secretary Gavin Williamson announced in the House of Commons that parents could report schools to Ofsted if they are unhappy with their child’s online learning provision in lockdown.

But many parents have instead come out expressing praise for teachers’ remote lessons to Ofsted.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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