“The audacity! What do they think you do all day?”

Mustafa Gatollari - Author
Parent expects teacher to write party invitations for child
Source: TikTok | @ktlarson27

A teacher posted a TikTok message showing a mother trying to sort out all the invitations for her child’s birthday party.

Larson (@ktlarson27) explains in her video that the mother in question sent a student to school with a stack of envelopes.

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The “invitation” she received to attend the party was almost like a barter arrangement where she would individually write on all the invitation cards, put them in envelopes, and then drop them in each student’s mailbox/locker.

The TikToker explained that she wouldn’t do all of that for the parents, and many people responded to her video, writing their own stories in the comments about parents placing too many demands on teachers. They believe it’s okay to place these demands on teachers. They added that the perception of the type of work teachers do is largely misunderstood.

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Source: TikTok | @ktlarson27

Larson begins her video, which she records from her car, by saying:

“Okay, I got a good one today. Yesterday a parent asked me for a class list so they could invite all the kids to the birthday party and I was invited to the birthday party too. Very nice. They said it was no problem. Today the stack of invitations arrived and I thought, I’ll just put them in the mailbox later,” she says.

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She continues: “So, no problem, we’re out all day. The last 20 minutes of the day I would do it. I would put the invitations in the envelopes, fill them up because they weren’t filled up, and then put them in the mailboxes. I opened them up, only the first invitation was written, the rest weren’t,” she says into the camera.

“And that parent texted me during the day with the information and I thought that was for me because I was invited. No, I was supposed to write all the invitations. No. I said I couldn’t write all those invitations and I sent them home with the class list. No. I can’t do that,” the teacher says at the end of the video.

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classroom invitations
Source: TikTok | @ktlarson27

Many people who commented on the video said they were shocked by the audacity of the parent who thought they could effectively let the teacher be their own personal family secretary: “I was out when ‘the envelopes weren’t stuffed.’ What possessed a parent to think that was okay?”

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Another said that this kind of behavior from parents is a clear example of how there are masses of people who are hopelessly uninformed about the kind of schedules teachers have: “The fact that parents think teachers have time to send and mail party invitations. We don’t have time to go to the bathroom, ma’am!!!”

Someone else felt the teacher was doing enough work being a helpful party planner for the child’s birthday: “Even you putting them in the kids’ mailboxes was a nice gesture. Let the kid do it.”

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classroom invitations
Source: TikTok | @ktlarson27

There was one user on the app who said that the same thing happens often with Valentine’s cards: “This happens all the time with Valentine’s cards. They just send a sealed box of Valentine’s cards and expect teachers to write names on them and put them in envelopes.”

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According to one commenter, there were so many problems with parents at their school that a rule was passed to forbid invitations of any kind. Presumably because parents assumed their teachers would arrange the invitations for them: “Another reason why my school doesn’t allow invitations to be handed out at school.”

Other users of the app also shared their own failed school birthday parties, such as when one parent decided to send their child to school with a birthday cake, but nothing to cut or serve with the cake: “I once had a parent who sent an entire birthday cake to school, but no plates, napkins, forks, or knives!”

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classroom invitations
Source: TikTok | @ktlarson27

According to one TikTok user, the perception of what teachers do all day is likely the reason moms take these kinds of actions: “The parent thinks you just color and babysit all day and that’s what you should do!”

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According to a 2023 study by the RAND Corporation, teachers work about 53 hours per week, seven hours more than the average working adult in the U.S. per week.

NEA Today reported on these findings in an article that explores perceptions surrounding the nature of teachers’ work and how it is largely undervalued.

One anonymous teacher, as reported by the Pew Research Center, said, “Teachers fulfill multiple roles beyond being responsible for teaching the curriculum. We are counselors, behavioral experts, and parents for students who need us to fulfill those roles. We sacrifice a lot to give ourselves completely to the role of teacher.”