I teach programming classes for kids. This has been an incredibly enriching experience. The kids are awesome, the amount they learn is incredible, and the enthusiasm they bring is amazing. It's a program that not only enriches the kids, but it also invigorates my community.

But man. The parents. The freaking parents.

99% of the parents are great. They show up on time, they pick the kids up on time, and they thank me for donating my time (I tend to do the classes for free or for an EXTREMELY reduced rate).

That one percent, though...

One of my hard and fast rules is that my classes are for ages twelve and up. Period. Every single time, I get parents pushing me on this, or just out and out lying to get their kids into the class. I have this rule FOR GOOD REASONS, which I explain very clearly in the registration. Younger kids require more insurance and more attention, and often fall behind because I can only slow the class down so much, lest I completely lose the interest of the older kids. They also can't sit for as long, and this class runs from 9-4. But nope, they'll ignore it and sign their kid up anyway.

Usually, they tell me that their child should be an exception because the child is "so smart and advanced!" Well, I've taught two hundred of these kids and so far I've met ONE who was actually super smart and advanced. The rest were average.


Now, average is still really smart! But most parents have an extremely skewed perception of where their child is, development-wise. So I end up with kids who cannot fucking keep up and who slow down the class. One class, a young girl was nearly in tears because she just couldn't keep up (her parents had added three years to her age to get her in). I had to assign a vollunteer to help her, which meant a chunk of kids got LESS help than they should have.

Every time I get a parent who wants to know WHY their seven-year-old can't attend my class, I want to tear my hair out. I point them towards programs that might work better for a child of that age. But no, they want a free class to walk the kid through it, and prod me (or the organizers) to let their special snowflake in.