At The School we've always had an open door policy when it comes to parents. If they want to come sit in class and watch their cherub, we're cool with that. In fact, we often welcome the visit even though the cherub in question often behaves differently when there's a parent in the room. (My favorite is when they hide out in Guidance and watch their kid's behavior through the glass windows. It's amazing what these kids will do when they don't think a grown up is watching.) I've had a number of parents through the years, and even The Dude From the Hood, but the numbers aren't high - maybe a couple a year at most.
In any case, we got a letter in our box the other day outlining a new "Parent Visitation Policy" that parents had to read and sign before they could go sit in a classroom. In a nutshell it says that they are not allowed to have a cell phone out and text or make calls while they are in their child's classroom and they are in no way allowed to interrupt or interfere with instruction.
My first thought, when I read this, was "Wow, someone must have been doing just this or The Principal wouldn't have come up with this in the first place."
And that just blew my mind. The parents I've had in my classroom, including the Dude from The Hood, were awesome. They sat in a seat I'd pointed out for them and were quiet the whole time. I found out later that day that apparently I was lucky. Most of our parents, lately, haven't been so quiet.
Mr. Math informed me about one parent he had who texted the whole time she was in his room (which, of course, got the kids more interested in the fact that she had a cell phone out and was using it than what was going on in math class). Another teacher told me about a parent who would loudly stage whisper to her kid the entire time, to the point that she had to pointedly ask her to be quiet (it didn't work). And that was just the tip of the iceberg, apparently.
It's sad, really, that this policy has to be put in place. It just goes to show that manners, even in My Beloved South, are going the way of the dinosaur. I mean, really? Texting while you're supposed to be watching your kid? What kind of message does that send. (Let me make it easy for you - it means that whatever you're texting about is more important than your kid - and they figure this out really quick.) Interrupting class because you can't be quiet? (The apple doesn't fall far, apparently.)
Again, I think a class on manners would be a wonderful thing for kids in elementary and middle school. And sadly, we need one for the parents as well.