dmw373's picture
dmw373

Son placed in class with disorganized/mean teacher

My son rec'd his letter last week re: the homeroom he is being placed in starting next week.  My neighbor's daughter had this teacher last year and had little good to say about her.  Our teacher's for elem. school usually send home books to be signed daily/weekly & she doesn't nor does she keep up with the kids' assignments, etc.  Besides this communication issue, she is said (by multiple people) to have lost papers/misgrade tests only to have the student stay in from recess to do or say that yes she couldn't find it but remembers she did well so would give an appropriate grade.  ????  I've mentioned this to the principal, who is a very stubborn person who has pretty much the mentality, this is my school & I'll run it as I see fit attitude.  Besides having the guidance counselor saying she will check in on him, anything else you recommend?  He is smart & shy and I am afraid  he will become very withdrawn in this class.  TIA for your help! 



BobMeadows's picture
BobMeadows

DMW373,

If you haven't spoken to your son regarding this situation and he is unaware... don't bring it up. If he knows about it, address it again and tell him, because of discussions you have had (here or elsewhere), you believe the teacher is fine and he should not be concerned. Be positive. Do this because his attitude will then be more positive, and you don't want him anticipating problems because he might get into the "self-fulfilling prophecy" thing. This applies to you too, after all, what you heard was, albeit how many said it, a rumor.

 

Even if true, it could have been caused by numerous things (family stuff, personal issues, those pesky brain lesions), give it a fair chance before you take action.

 

You should avoid getting into a battle with teachers. Get them on your side and you get on theirs, that way you can both be on your son's side and he wins. Your son can have a bad day without this teacher being an idiot, or not. If you stay on top of his classes and in contact with the teachers, you will be better able to affect a change if needed. Oh yeah, document any problems and subsequent discussions (this is important).

 

In the event 'things' begin to happen with which you are not comfortable, get in touch with other parents in the class and compare notes: don’t do this in advance. 

 

If they continue, a “couple” of you should set an appointment and speak with her regarding your concerns: don't be [filtered word]y, just the facts folks, and make notes. If things don't change or she is in denial, take the documented stuff to the principle with more people this time, and ensure he knows copies of the information has been sent to his boss, which you should do the day before the meeting. Your next to last resort is to go to the school board (they won't do anything, trust me). Then you go to the papers with all the parents and documents (after you warn the principal and his boss that same day). Sounds drastic, but if you want to have an effect in a closed rank system like a school which is not responding, that is often what is required.

 

But of course, first make sure it is not just your son screwing around... or up. Finding that out after you have opened your big yap is a major downer.

 

Good luck!

 

DaMoKi Bob

rae's picture
rae

you ahould approach the teacher direct and just address your issues with her/him. It might be a good idea to have a third party with you just to provide you support and as a witness i guess - if needed. Address the issue to the problem - which is the techer - he/she might have a valid reason - and the teacher is there to educate your child and missed papers of the chilren once or twice is okay (we're all human after all) but a continuous issue needs resolving. Your child can be affected emotionally and intelectually as grade continuing for them. Your child your choice. I would do the above mentioned and i would also - no matter the result - make an appointment with the principal and point your concerns with them and explain you have spoken to the teacher - but if you repeat what the teacher has said - its just heresay - so best to left unsaid. If any further issues come up - a 3 way interview will be conducted. Dont be afraid to speak your concerns regarding your child. Upfront is best. You will find that communication to all parties will BENEFIT your child as apposed to letting it eventually and hopefully fade out or away. Wish you the best. Take a friend along just as your support - they dont have to apeak - just act as support for yourself.

 

luvfoto98's picture
luvfoto98

dmw373, I had a situation similar to this when my son was in 1st grade except the teacher was being physically aggressive with the children. The principal wouldn't budge either and I ended up having to remove my child from that school because he wouldn't put my son in a new class. I also made a formal complaint against that teacher who was no stranger to those. It turns out many other parents ended up having to do the same thing after I did as well! I had to home school my son for 6 months after that. He was becoming physically ill and extremely stressed out because of what he was experiencing at school. Not only from her abuse of him but of the other kids as well, he couldn't stand it. This was a pretty extreme case with this particular teacher. But don't brush it off. Go with your gut feeling;it usually doesn't lie. Depending on how bad the environment is, your thoughts about your son withdrawing are perfectly on target. His age right now makes him so vulnerable.

tteacher's picture
tteacher

"Here say" hurts!  As both a teacher and as a parent I am able to look at this situation through different lenses.  As both, I try very hard to practice what I preach and to not judge, especially based on rumors.  I am not perfect, nor are my students, we are works in progress, learning, and growing together to reach our potential.  If I error, I accept responsibility for it, correct the error and try my very best to both repair and assure that it won't happen again. 

I share with my parents- Let's make a deal, You promise not to believe everything you hear about me and I'll promise not to believe everything I hear about you! 

When in doubt go directly to the source.  Do so with a positive attitude and the desire to support the improvement of the situation.  In other words, what can you do to help?  Maybe the teacher is going through a lot and would really benefit from volunteers doing her filing, recording (using student identification #'s not names) in the grade book, or offer to make copies (I love that I have regular volunteers who make 75% of my copies, allowing me more time to prep. and keep up-especially since I commute 2 hours and have 2 kids of my own).

Best of all volunteering in and out of the classroom shows your child how much you value their education, and it provides you with an eye witness account of the situations and perhaps a better understanding of the teacher.   

Good luck to you and I hope you can be a problem solver and not a problem maker.  It sounds like the teacher could use some support and would benefit from your help.  Who knows it might end up being a win/win situation for all!

 

dmw373's picture
dmw373

Well now that we've conquered the first few days of school, I'm finally able to check back in & reply.  I don't necessarily believe everything I've heard & my biggest concern is the misgrading of tests.  My son has been a strong student so far & I don't want him to fall behind. That being said, I appreciate your comments.  I do plan to record any problems so I can see if a pattern develops or if there are consistent problems.  These rumors have given me an idea of things to tentatively look for.  So far, there have been no tests so other than being strict & not remembering kids names (which is understandable after just 4 days) there have been no problems.  The guidance counselor is checking in with him as promised so that is good to know.  He's mentioned that she talks fast & quietly so not a bad start.  Thanks for your support.  I might be back with more questions in a few weeks.  :)  Denise

dmw373's picture
dmw373

So, we have now been in school a month & have had some issues.  The teacher lost his spelling book & then was upset with him because he used another notebook to write his spelling words in.  When I talked to her later, she said she would give him a new one.  She has misgraded his papers but told me that whenever she does that, to just let her know & she will correct his grade.  ???  When I spoke with her, I understand why the kids don't really like her class.  She talks very fast, seems to lose track of her thoughts, and interrupts constantly.  I spoke with her for 5 minutes & am still not sure that we accomplished anything except getting him a new spelling book.  I spoke to the guidance counselor again & she said since he is also complaining of being bored that she would test him for the gifted program (he is already in their extra math program & another for something different).  So, how concerned should I be about the misgrading & losing things?  I mean, I don't feel like I should have to ask to see his tests so I can make sure they are correct.  (FYI, she sends next to nothing home for signatures)  Last year, I felt like I signed a mortgage agreement every week!  :) 

TexasSky's picture
TexasSky

I agree that you should go to the source.

When my daughter was young, I heard a LOT of rumors of a certain teacher throwing things at students in anger, and that she'd actually injured one child, but the school had stood by their teacher. Parents were pulling kids out of her classroom right and left. I decided to meet the woman.

When I got to her classroom she said, "Are you here to pull your child out also?" I said, "No, I'm here to talk to you.  You know the reason they are pulling kids out is that they say you throw things in a rage when kids upset you." She looked surprised, then said, "Well, if you disagree with that, you need to pull your child out." I said, "No, you and I need to be clear on something.  Whether my child is in your class or not, that is totally unacceptable and unprofessional behavior.  If you really do this - and I find out about even one incident, your principal will not be able to protect you because it will go to the press first, and I know that it violates school policy and professional ethics.  Now, if you don't do this, it won't be an issue at all. I just want to be clear that I expect better behavior from teachers than I expect from students, and students couldn't get by with that."

She looked at me a long time, and nodded.

She turned out to be not only a fantastic teacher, but a good friend over the years.