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Monday, September 27, 2010

Pants on Fire

Pin It I'm having some issues with one of Autumn's teachers.

Issues that cause me to send emails, make phone calls, and schedule conferences with the principal.

I'm trying to be nice (well. okay. maybe not "nice," per se. I'm trying to be civil.) but what do you do when your child comes to you and tells you that a teacher is just plain mean. Not once. Not twice. Several times.

There was the whole "if you don't stop taking notes, your life is going to get really bad, really fast" comment. And now "shut up" and "you kids are the dumbest ones I've ever taught." There's a good friend, who teetered on the edge of pulling her child totally out of this teacher's class, but in the end decided against it, because it would necessitate changing his whole "team" of teachers. There are the parents from the past, who have informed me that this person has been in three or four different schools in the past eleven years, and that I should save every piece of paper because a grade may not be entered in the gradebook.

I've never had an issue like this with a teacher before. The teachers both of my children have had have been amazing. They have cared about their students, contacted me immediately if there were concerns with homework or whatnot. They've been the kind of teachers that you really just had to buy a Christmas present for...that good. This one, though, is a different animal.

It's a case right now of "she said"..."she said," in which the teacher is saying that what Autumn said occurred absolutely did not occur. Perception is a curious thing. Depending on what side of the fence you're sitting, I suppose that different words and intonations can carry different meanings for individuals. There's unfotunately not a lot of ambiguity in "shut up," though. I feel fairly solid as far as what Autumn is telling me. I can generally spot a lie from this child ten miles out--she's that terrible. In the passage of this story, though, told several different times to both her father and myself, there was no guilty shifting of the eyes or body language to indicate a falsehood. She looked at us straight on, and told us exactly the same details, time and again.

Someone, though, is clearly not telling the truth.

It will be interesting to see just whose pants are on fire at Thursday morning's conference.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

My oldest had a 3rd grade teacher who showed favortism by hugging or talking to her favorite.. My daughter's self esteem went in the toilet.. so did other kids. This teach did have a rep. She knew about it and laughed it off. I would of pulled mine out except my kid waited till mid semester!. If your kid is just stating that she is mean, that is too general.. She needs to specify.. unless she can, I think she may just be following what others have said..

diane rene said...

ugh ... I have issues with the "my teacher is SO mean" statement. I have a 10 year old that is used to being adored my her teachers - and the last and current teachers are just not the adoring type. they have a controlling way about them and want things done just right ... while I think it is ridiculous to stomp on a 10 year old's individuality by telling her she MUST write in the TAUGHT form of cursive or submit to re-doing the assignment, I do remember having to submit to that as well and found other ways to assert my own identity into my work.

that being said, words meant to shock and demean children are absolutely unacceptable to me and they have no place in learning. a number of parents did complain about last year's teacher when she began to tell the students to shut up and sit down or single them out to humiliate in front of the class. we learned quickly that the principal could not deny the reports of multiple students and their concerned parents ... there is power in numbers.

I am a firm believer in having my child tough out the not so good teachers in order to appreciate the great ones, and to learn that in real life, we have to get along with a lot of different people every day. but a teacher that uses their position to demean needs to be brought down a few notches ... I'd be asking for a report on their permanent record.

Mamma has spoken said...

It is hard when a teacher sucks out all the fun of learning all for the name of what? Agree with diane rene too. My sons all have had their share of 'mean' teachers. In fact in middle school all four had the same 7th grade teacher for social studies. I didn't have them pulled from her class because I did see the life lesson of having to deal with someone like this. We all have had a boss or two we hated, but did what we had to for the job.
But we got our own 'revenge' when the first past down the 'work book' to the second and second passed it to the third and the third onto the fourth. She would ask son 2-4 if they were using their brother's notebook and all would act like they didn't know what she was talking about. I told them it desevered her right for not changing her lessons in the 8 years it took to get them all through to that grade.

Lori said...

KBF--I agree with you there. Fortunately, A. is bringing me some fairly specific allegations--it's not really the kind of thing you'd expect a kid who's never had any teacher problems to invent.

Diane--I agree 100%! It is a valuable experience to have a teacher who's a little difficult...that's why I don't at all want to pull her from the class. I don't so much care that she's not adored...she's never been the one who craves that sort of relationship with a teacher. It's more, as you said, the way this teacher is speaking to the students. It's bullying, and an abuse of her authority.

I just hope that some more parents come forward. Do you know how many people I know that will allow their children to be miserable with similar conditions instead of advocating for them, mostly because they are afraid of conflict? Problems aren't solved when you don't face them head-on and establish a dialogue for taking care of them.

Bonnie--hilarious! You are so right...she did kind of deserve it!

Anaise said...

Ugh! Children are children and not adults.

I had a mean teacher--one who told us we were bad children, the worst children she'd ever taught on a regular basis. I toughed it out at 6 years old, but I sure didn't learn how to deal with mean people; I curl up inside and want to hide.

I hope you can call that teacher to accountability! I really hope you can! Or I hope you can get your girl out of there and into a nurturing environment. There are years of adulthood ahead for her to deal with mean people. There is no need that I can see to have to be hurt and treated badly as a child.

Gerb said...

I have always trusted my kids unless they have given me reason not to. However, I also have to be careful not to get crazy when the Mama Bear in me starts to react to things. Sounds like you're handling things well - I hope everything works out (although it sounds like that teacher is pretty consistent at abusing her authority).

Just SO said...

That does not sound good at all. I hope that your meeting with the principal goes well. Good luck.

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