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Subject: Teacher Troubles rss

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Bear Gordon
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Let me tell you a little bit about my daughter's fourth grade experience since the move. We moved up to the Charlotte area in February. She and her brother only missed one day of class for the move. Her new teacher was a substitute and the classroom although a little unruly was supposed to be composed of the some of the brighter "gifted" students. About a month ago her real teacher returned and since then we have heard some stories from our daughter about this woman.

The first time we heard anything unusual was when she came home and told us that the teacher had read another student's writing out loud in class so that the other kids could laugh at it. She didn't do this because it was packed full of jokes mind you but because the little girl had not followed directions. Then this poor little girl had to come up and get her paper back. I wrote it off as a misunderstanding or an exaggeration from my daughter. I mean teachers don't mock kids right?

Soon after I hear about more stupidity. The kids were to raise their hands and give an example of an animal exhibiting natural camouflage. The first little girl raises her hand to say that sting rays hide in the sand and you can't see them and they trip people up. The kids at her table laughed a little and so did she. Then a second little girl starts to mock her and the teacher asks the mocker to speak up so that the class can hear. She tells them all about how her mom went on a cruise and how she has pictures of sting rays swimming around and how they don't hide. Meanwhile:



The teacher tells the first little girl something along the lines of "Next time think before you speak." So now I am fuming. My kid is telling me that kids are afraid to ask questions. She tells about one boy who was brought to tears today after the teacher put him in his place.

But the cherry on top is the last story. My daughter is suffering with a very personal medical issue that may make her need to go to the bathroom more often than the other kids. Regrettably, my wife informs the teacher that this may occur and the reason. My daughter comes home saying that the email was left open on the teacher's desktop visible to children sitting literally three feet away. The teacher had opened and read the email and left her desk. Not to mention that the response to the email was "Thank you for this information." My daughter says that the teacher now looks at her with an I-know-your-secret look.

Anyway I am going to take off work and meet with her as soon she will let me. I have emailed her and copied the principal with my request. Hopefully I will be able to pull off the responsible parent look long enough to get this squared away. I really have no hope of reforming the teacher but I think a warning shot over the port bow is in order.
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Pieter
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Remember that in front of the parents the schools are usually protective of the teachers, at least in public. To get results, I think your choices are either a direct confrontation with the teacher, or talking to management about it and ask them to sort it out. Personally I think the second approach is better as it allows management to do something behind closed doors.
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David Kahnt
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Whenever I hear this stuff... I wish I could bug my child's backpack, pencil case, etc. to see if I could get the stuff on tape...

But that's just me.

-DK
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Chad
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DKahnt wrote:
Whenever I hear this stuff... I wish I could bug my child's backpack, pencil case, etc. to see if I could get the stuff on tape...

But that's just me.

-DK


Yea, I wouldn't recommend that:

wrote:
Digital recording tools are so cheap and simple to use that it's easy to deploy them without thinking through the consequences. A Nebraska mother and grandfather found this out the hard way last month when they were hit with a combined $120,000 penalty for wiretapping after sticking an audio recorder inside a young girl's favorite teddy bear.
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Ferdinando Woicickoski
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DKahnt wrote:
Whenever I hear this stuff... I wish I could bug my child's backpack, pencil case, etc. to see if I could get the stuff on tape...

But that's just me.

-DK


I don't know about the USA, but around here most teachers would allow the students to record the classes. You just have to ask permission.
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Bear Gordon
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DKahnt wrote:
Whenever I hear this stuff... I wish I could bug my child's backpack, pencil case, etc. to see if I could get the stuff on tape...

But that's just me.

-DK


This can be done. I don't think we are there at this point but tonight I really feel like explaining the variety of hells that you can visit on a teacher to my little girl. "I mean purely hypothetical no reason to go beyond theory or anything but let me just say the word 'tacks' and goodnight."
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Bear Gordon
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Ferdinand Took wrote:
DKahnt wrote:
Whenever I hear this stuff... I wish I could bug my child's backpack, pencil case, etc. to see if I could get the stuff on tape...

But that's just me.

-DK


I don't know about the USA, but around here most teachers would allow the students to record the classes. You just have to ask permission.


Just asking for permission might do a world of good.
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David Kahnt
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beerbear wrote:
Ferdinand Took wrote:
DKahnt wrote:
Whenever I hear this stuff... I wish I could bug my child's backpack, pencil case, etc. to see if I could get the stuff on tape...

But that's just me.

-DK


I don't know about the USA, but around here most teachers would allow the students to record the classes. You just have to ask permission.


Just asking for permission might do a world of good.


In fact... in some cases with the correct Learning Disabilities diagnosis, it's against the law (Disability Act) to not allow it.

-DK
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The neutral evil villain known as
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
Remember that in front of the parents the schools are usually protective of the teachers, at least in public. To get results, I think your choices are either a direct confrontation with the teacher, or talking to management about it and ask them to sort it out. Personally I think the second approach is better as it allows management to do something behind closed doors.



It really depends on the principal. Some will sell out the teacher in a heartbeat to smooth things over. BUT, that means they probably don't have a spine in controlling the teacher either. They just want everyone happy. Others will think you have an overly sensitive child.
You need to find out what you are dealing with in her boss. I'd say go straight to him/her. If you go to the teacher, you are giving her time to come up with a story before the principal hits her with an accusation.
I'd actually maybe prefer an email with the things you sited here. Maybe find out the other kid's names, and contact their parents via phone. Find out what is going on in their house with it. if it all pans out like she says, get the hit squad together and go after her. Multiple families involved will get you more credibility than one "overly sensitive" child will.
Bully programs aren't just for the kids.
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Scott Lewis
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BigChzy wrote:
DKahnt wrote:
Whenever I hear this stuff... I wish I could bug my child's backpack, pencil case, etc. to see if I could get the stuff on tape...

But that's just me.

-DK


Yea, I wouldn't recommend that:

wrote:
Digital recording tools are so cheap and simple to use that it's easy to deploy them without thinking through the consequences. A Nebraska mother and grandfather found this out the hard way last month when they were hit with a combined $120,000 penalty for wiretapping after sticking an audio recorder inside a young girl's favorite teddy bear.

Or at least check with local state laws. For instance, I believe in Colorado, you are allowed to tape something as long as one of the two parties involved knows about it. No permission is needed, just knowledge - and if you are in involved in the conversation, the one party can be YOU.

I'm not a lawyer, so I may be wrong, but I seem to remember seeing something on the news a while back about that here in CO.

(Also, I think most of these crap "wiretapping" laws are ridiculous - especially those that allow cops to hide behind them to prevent citizens from reporting abuse of power which, while it may not be the norm, is still far more common than it should be in some areas).
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Billy McBoatface
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Best of luck in your meeting. We've been lucky so far, all our children's teachers have been acceptable at least (and some have been excellent), but a teacher that encourages ridicule of the kids must *not* be tolerated. That is awful for the kids being ridiculed, and awful for the other kids because it teaches them that this is how people should treat each other.
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Walt
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BigChzy wrote:
Yea, I wouldn't recommend that:
wrote:
Digital recording tools are so cheap and simple to use that it's easy to deploy them without thinking through the consequences. A Nebraska mother and grandfather found this out the hard way last month when they were hit with a combined $120,000 penalty for wiretapping after sticking an audio recorder inside a young girl's favorite teddy bear.

IANAL. On the one side, there's no expectation of privacy in a public school classroom or the recording could be done openly; on the other, the teachers' union has (I presume) more money than you do to sue with.
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Giles Pritchard
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I would recommend following a more reasonable and normal solution than bugging the classroom - speak to the principal or teacher if you are concerned, bugging a class is just insane in my view. I certainly wouldn't be open to parents recording my classes, not least because they are taking recordings of other parents' children as well. I don't think that would be a very mature or reasonable solution, you may be breaking the law, you certainly will be gathering information on other parents' kids - and they might not like that (we would deem it an absolutely unacceptable infrigement of the parents rights if one parent took the solution of bugging a room of kids) - plus it just sends off the wrong message. I don't really get the people suggesting this as a serious option - I can only imagine how angry I would be if I found out one of the parents had taken it on themselves to take recordings of my child and my child's classroom.

We can all agree that leaving medical information around is unprofessional, that mocking a kid is wrong and teaching other kids unacceptable behavioural habits. I certainly think that if you go the route of bugging the class you will be teaching your daughter the wrong lesson as well.

Speak to the school if you are concerned about it. My principal would be professional in any such meeting, and if yours isn't then you would have a choice to make about where your kids go to school. And for the record I don't think that being reasonable is simply agreeing with you or selling out the teacher. Kids say some interesting things to their families at times, and I'm certainly not suggesting yours is, but this might initially be the perception, and that would only be exacerbated by silly behaviour like bugging a room or suggesting you take recordings.

That's just my two cents - speak to the teacher or principal!

Cheers,

Giles.
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Scott Lewis
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I guess I have a completely different idea of what "privacy" you can reasonably expect in a public school classroom (especially if the teacher is going out of the way to humiliate other students). My view is if the entire class can hear it, it's not "private".
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Giles Pritchard
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It's not about the privacy of the student, it's not about the privacy of the teacher, or the sanctity of the classroom. It's about the (in my class) 22 students and their respective families. Yes, what's said in the class is available to all the students (and not 'private'), but taking recordings of 22 kids belonging to (in my class many more) than 22 different families is not a reasonable path - and I can't imagine an acceptable one.

One parent or family going Batman/vigilante recording 21 other children is not something that should be encouraged or accepted. If a parent is not happy with what their child is telling them is happening they should take a more reasonable approach and deal with the principal or teacher. If they are seriously unhappy with the way their issue is being resolved then, in my area, they would be fully within their rights to move their kids to another school (I certainly would if I felt a school was dealing unprofessionally with my child, and that after I had discussed my concerns with them, that nothing was being done).

Cheers,

Giles.
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Stephen Harkleroad
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[Insert shitty comment about school reform here.]
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Aww man.. we were just getting the lynch squad all riled up and Giles comes in here and asks us to be reasonable. *pout* Guess I'll go put my pitchfork away. soblue
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Rob
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You may want to send a note to Maya Girl; she's a school principal and I've appreciated her advice in the past.



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JessA
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That is so crappy.

You should definitely meet with the teacher or the principal or both. No, you won't reform the teacher, but knowing that a parent is paying attention can make them straighten up their act.

I doubt taping the class would even give you much information to make it worth it, to be honest.

I think you should stick with:

1. Your child's right to confidentiality. You were troubled to hear that your email was left up on the computer where other children could read it and what steps will be taken in the future to ensure there isn't a breech of confidentiality. I suggest using the phrase "breech of confidentiality" because they will take that seriously.

2. You feel the best learning takes place in an atmosphere where there are "no stupid questions". You have concerns that the students are being made to feel stupid and are reluctant to speak up for fear of being laughed at in class.

Other weapons in your arsenal to be used as you see fit:

--The tactic of 'asking other parents how they feel'. The teacher will not want you to do this.

--Spending a day in the classroom. Offer to help with classwork and observe. You can learn so much even when they are trying to behave themselves because they know you are there.


I hope things get better for your daughter, I hate this kind of stuff!!

Do talk to her about how you will meet people like this in life and you have to not let them stop you from meeting your goals. You can have bosses and coaches and college professors and play directors that are problematic, but you can't let them stop you from learning all you can, earning all you can and doing the things you love.

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James Bentley
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I would definitely request the meeting with the principal and the teacher. If the unacceptable behavior continues (or if there are repercussions toward your child) I would request a meeting with the school superintendent. You may end up having to request that your child be placed with a different teacher.

This type of treatment from the teacher is totally unacceptable and puts teachers as a whole, in a bad light.

There are many, many teachers who do a great, commendable job teaching our children. (And they don't receive the recognition or pay that they deserve!) However, unfortunately, there are also some teachers who have no business at all being in that profession...

(And I'm sure you're aware of this, but in the meetings, remain calm and responsible...if anyone wants to reveal that they're a jackass, let it be someone else. )
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JessA
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Okay, I have one more thought about the kids being mocked.

I think comments about this would be more openly received if you could present them as information rather than criticism.

"I'm sure this isn't your intention and I don't know if you are aware that some of the children are perceiving your comments as ridicule of them. I'm sure you would not want that at all."

Keep in mind, she may not be aware. It may seem that she is intentionally being malicious, but it could be completely unintentional on her part.

It is easy to assume that something as obvious as this to us would be as obvious to her. However, never, ever, underestimate humans' ability to rationalize their own behavior.

She could well think that she is just joking with the kids and that they see it as a joke and that they can easily laugh at themselves etc etc.

It's ridiculous to think that, but if she feel comfortable with these kids and starts to get casual around them, she could just be slipping into familiar behavior. She may well not consider how it is impacting them and the learning environment in her classroom.

Anyway, even if that isn't the case, it's best to assume the best of people because they will be more receptive of what you have to say.
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The neutral evil villain known as
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caradoc wrote:

And for the record I don't think that being reasonable is simply agreeing with you or selling out the teacher.


You're right, but...
My dad was a principal and there are principals like that. I think a principal should be a fair and impartial liason. He should get the facts before becoming excited over a situation. My wife has a great principal, but teachers need their support. The principal is the spine of the school. if he's weak and passes blame onto a teacher, there is resentment and no faith in support. If he's strong and takes responsibility for his school, a teacher can be confident in making decisions that will stand and be backed. I'm not talking blind faith here, but there should be some digging into the situation before agreeing with a parent. Face it, there is crazy on both sides....
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Jatoha wrote:

She could well think that she is just joking with the kids and that they see it as a joke and that they can easily laugh at themselves etc etc.

It's ridiculous to think that, but if she feel comfortable with these kids and starts to get casual around them, she could just be slipping into familiar behavior. She may well not consider how it is impacting them and the learning environment in her classroom.



This is an excellent point. I come across acerbic, but to kids, it might just seem mean. regardless, she should be more caring and careful. she needs as you say "a shot across the bow"
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Mystery McMysteryface
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Lots of great advice already.

My 2 cents:

You should tread carefully in your meeting with the teacher because she will be with your daughter every day. I'm not saying you shouldn't meet her or bring up your concerns, but like Jatoha stated, do it in a collaborative way and not an accusatory manner.

I'd definitely meet with the teacher before meeting with the principal. Sometimes, just talking will help resolve issues.

I'd also focus on the breach of confidentiality (as Jatoha stated).
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Mystery McMysteryface
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Wow! I just realized.....you left Florida!
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