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Dad Calls Out Teacher For Speaking To His Girlfriend Instead Of Him At Parent/Teacher Conference

A man and a woman sit and talk to a teacher

Parent/teacher conferences are never a good time.

But they must be had.

When a teacher is dealing with a blended/divorced family, situations can get awkward.

So how should everyone react?

Case in point…

Redditor WackoDollah3 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for telling my son’s teacher to speak to me, not my girlfriend?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“This happened a few weeks ago but the situation was brought up again recently.”

“I (28 M[ale]) have a son, Nathan (6 M[ale]).”

“I’m his sole parent because his mother lost the custody battle.”

“His school was made aware of this when I removed his mother’s details from their system and his current teacher for grade one has not met my ex.”

“Due to the nature of the custody battle, his teacher does know about my ex for safety reasons as she has been barred from coming to the school to get him.”

“Basically, she knows that if she ever sees me with a woman, it is definitely not my ex.”

“His school has parent teacher meetings twice a year, once before the Christmas break and another at the end of the academic year.”

“I’ve been dating my girlfriend, Venus (24 F[emale]) for the past eight months and she has an amazing relationship with my son.”

“He likes her a lot and he asked me if she could come with me to the parent teacher conference because he wanted her to hear that he’s doing well at school.”

“My son used to struggle with English as his mother tongue is Spanish.”

“My Spanish is okay but Venus is fluent, so she helped him improve his English speaking by tutoring him.”

“At the meeting, I noticed that the teacher was only speaking to Venus.”

“She was making eye contact with her and only directing conversations to her.”

“I found this annoying because although I know most primary parents are women, the teacher is well aware that I’m Nathan’s sole parent.”

“Venus kept redirecting the conversation to me and I did ask a few questions but the teacher would speak to me for a few seconds, and then go back to speaking to Venus only.”

“Eventually, I said ‘I’m sorry to interrupt you but I’m Nathan’s father and I’d appreciate it if you spoke to me.'”

“The teacher seemed taken back and irritated but she apologized and spoke to me for the rest of the meeting.”

“I told my brother in law (sister’s husband) about what happened and he thinks I overreacted.”

‘He said that while he does find it annoying when teacher only speaks to my sister at meetings, he understands that it’s not out of malice and just a force of habit since mothers tend to be more involved than fathers.”

“He also said it was my fault for bringing Venus along to the meeting.”

“He thinks it was an a**hole move for me to interrupt the teacher and make her feel like she did something wrong for something that was most likely not malicious.”

“It was brought up again at Christmas because Venus spent it with my family and my mother asked Venus if she had Nathan’s inhaler and my B[rother] I[n] L[aw] interrupted and said ‘Careful, (my mom’s name), Mark (me) might freak now.'”

“I would like to put this situation to rest.”

“So AITA?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA. The teacher clearly knew you are a sole parent and yet she directed all her conversation to Venus, whom she is obviously meeting for the first time.”

“She doesn’t even know if Venus is involved in Nathan’s life or not.”

“Also, you were not mean or rude to the teacher so your brother’s comments are uncalled for.”  ~ Independent-Bee-4397

“We all have biases.”

“Watch what happens if a woman goes to buy a car and brings a male companion.”

“Biases are what makes it easy for us to navigate in scenarios based on ‘what usually happens’ and they’re OK for the most part.”

“But only if we’re aware we have them and are open to observe and correct in the cases where we’re actually wrong.”

“NTA, OP, but I really hope you also learn a lesson here and start observing and intervening when you see other use biases as a misguided view of reality.”

“As a woman, having more men aware of the biases makes it easier for us in most aspects of life (workplace, doctors etc) where the bias usually works against women.”

“When it comes to childcare and ’emotional labor’ women will usually be favored.”

“I wish I could find a better word, it isn’t always an advantage for women, on the contrary it often means more responsibility is being placed on us alone.”

“And it’s awesome that you speak up.”

“Hopefully the teacher will wisen up and see that she is fortunate to have a parent that’s willing to correct her and work with her for your sons’ benefit.”

“Especially since teachers’ biases have been proven in many studies to have a profound effect on how the children succeed academically.”  ~ Thedonkeyforcer

“Excellent comment! NTA OP.”

“Biases don’t change unless they are called out repeatedly.”

“It only took 3 times for our car dealership to understand when we get a new vehicle leased, they better talk to me.”

“Husband is a softy, and gets hosed if I’m not there.”

“Now they call me when we need to get a new lease.”

“And they are very respectful and don’t pull the…”

“Look! A lighted vanity mirror! Crap.'”  ~ Remarkable_Winner_91

“When I was a teacher if parents didn’t introduce themselves I would always start the meeting by asking if they were mom and dad.”

“I always tried to be attentive to both parents, but to be completely honest, I’m sure that I probably gravitated towards the most friendly face at times.”

“I loved my students, but dealing with parents was the hardest part of the job and conferences were exhausting.”

“The teacher should have directed at least some of the conversation towards OP.”

“Not just because he’s a parent, but because ignoring one person in the room is rude.”

“But OP also needs to understand that even though he may not be married to Venus, she’s still a parental figure in his son’s life.”

“His son thinks highly enough of her to want her to attend conferences and he most likely talks about Venus in class.”

“If he’s asking her to do parental things, he shouldn’t be surprised if she is treated like a parent.”

“Personally, I would have addressed both of them for this reason.”

“I also find it interesting that OP’s own mother asked Venus where the inhaler was, which indicates that she may be taking on more responsibility than OP admits.”  ~ Pbandj8

“Why don’t you speak up then?”

“You know they don’t mean it, sure.”

“But that doesn’t make it ok.”

“And if no-one says anything about it, it’ll never come to their attention that their behavior is irritating and disrespecting people.”

“Speaking up politely to achieve an improvement is not a bad thing.”

“NTA OP for the reasons above.”

“I wish more people would speak up if something is unfair.”  ~ Snackgirl_Currywurst

“Also, while OP had a wonderful reason for bringing his girlfriend, the fact he brought a relatively new girlfriend along is unfortunately frequently an indicator that a single dad is planning on shirking responsibility to the first woman he can find.”

“Teacher might have been taken aback by the firm response.”

“But it’s good OP was so direct to make sure things were established clearly so he won’t get passively cut out of his own child’s care.

“Women might often be the primary parents, but everyone going along with that assumption and treating it as a given makes that problem far worse.”  ~ terraformthesoul

“If a person attends the parent-teacher conference, they are obviously involved in the child’s life (unless they are working like a translator or support person for a disabled parent).”

“Teacher is the asshole because she takes the assumption the woman is the primary parent, and thus the person to speak to about the child.”

“NTA. OP should be careful letting his girlfriend of only 8 months be this involved with his son’s life though.”  ~ 0biterdicta

“Absolutely NTA.”

“I’m a woman, a lawyer and I am often the lead counsel with a male junior counsel with me.”

“You’d better believe I’m MUCH more direct than OP when people – and there are plenty, in every context you can imagine – direct their comments in meetings to my junior instead of me.”

“Call our gender biases to reframe them or we live in them forever.”  ~ peeKnuckleExpert

“I used to lead Internal product meetings and would get others directing questions to male associates under me.”

“And in a couple of cases, those associates had been there maybe weeks or a few months and had no idea so they would redirect and say ‘Well Agave would know this I don’t know what you’re talking about” and they’d act confused.”

“Agreed, NTA at all.”  ~ Reluctantagave

OP added…

“I did tell the teacher that Venus was my girlfriend as soon as we sat down.” 

Well OP, Reddit is with you.

Your kid, your rules.

Sometimes someone has to be told a few ground rules.

Clarity isn’t a bad thing.