A teacher’s plea: Think before you complain on Facebook


When your children put those oversized uniforms on for the first time (or even if it’s not the first time) it’s easy to feel emotional. But the unsung heroes of schooling, your child’s educators, can often feel emotional too. Not just about meeting a tribe of new little (or big) people to teach and guide, but also that they’ll be in the firing line when parents complain (whether that be rightly or wrongly) about school funding, services, and incidents that happen om the playground.

Recently, North Shore Mum and teacher Melissa Dibben shared a moving post about school life with the Facebook group – and she had a huge response to her words. Now we’re republishing the words here (with her permission) to share her thoughts. 


It’s the start of a new school year and we’re all nervous about the year ahead for our kids at school. I get it, I’m a parent too. I’m also a teacher.

At this time of year lots of posts appear in the NSM Facebook group, complaining about schools, teachers, classes, other kids, providing stationery, what’s free and what isn’t. Rarely are there posts about anything positive to do with education. Some of the complaints are perhaps warranted, but please remember, with thousands of members in this group, it doesn’t take people long to work out which school, teacher or class you’re complaining about. Are you comfortable rocking up to school next week and having to look the Principal or teacher in the eye after you’ve just complained about them to half the North Shore?

The other thing is, schools and teachers don’t get a right of reply in such a public setting. We can’t. It’s wildly unprofessional of us to do so. We can’t explain that we think your child needs to spread their wings a bit, that they might need a teacher who is completely different to the one they had last year, that they need to develop skills in other areas. How mortified would you be if next week a teacher said to you ‘I saw on NSM that you had a concern about XYZ, can I speak with you a minute about that?’ Why not just speak to the school or teacher directly?

Yes, there are not so great teachers and schools. There are also not so great people in any profession. Please, if you have a concern, approach your school earlier rather than later. It’s in your child’s best interests to do so.


Melissa is a married mum of two little boys aged 7 and 5, lovingly nicknamed The Minis. She has worked as a High School teacher for 17 years and spends her time playing with The Minis, wrangling teenagers and juggling all of this with her long suffering husband Mark.

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