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Thread: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

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    Forum Assistant sweetpea's Avatar
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    What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    Hi all. I have 7 year old twins going into grade three. For the first time we've split them up, a decision made between the girls, the parents, and their second grade teacher. It's good, they were ready to be in separate classes.

    The problem? One of my girls, the stronger one academically, is in the best grade three class, with really nice teachers (co-taught). My other daughter who is VERY sensitive, was put into the class with the "mean" teacher (by reputation) who is retiring next year apparently. Now, I'm not one to just go by hearsay so I have given her the benefit of the doubt but today my child told me that she doesn't like her teacher, she's mean, and she used her as an example of what the class was doing wrong in a demeaning way that made her feel "sad" and "bad" - so it looks like the stories are ringing true and this teacher has no patience and pretty much yells at the kids all day.

    I know my girl, and she will struggle with this situation. How can I approach this woman (who other teachers say can be "terrifying" when mad - their words not mine) and convince her that for the sake of my child's education and well being this year, we need to sort this out.

    Any teachers out there with some advice or thoughts?

    Thanks! This is all new to me and I am a worrier so of course it's really hard. I haven't said a word to my child though about how I'm feeling because I don't want to make her feel worse. I've just tried to encourage her to talk about her day and to know she can come to me.

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    FORT Fanatic onei0091's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    I, too, have a sensitive child who never did well if someone yelled at her. I was the same way, too, when I was small. I have been pretty lucky in that it hasn't been too much of an issue for my daugther, but if it were, I would talk to the principal or vice principal and tell them that you are uncomfortable with your daughter's placement in the class and you'd like her switched to another class. Tell them that she is very sensitive and you don't think it's the best situation for her - tell them the story your daughter told you. Surely they've heard complaints in the past about this teacher being harsh.

    I know that we all get forced to deal with angry, mean people, that's how life is, but I think 7 is way too young to have to deal with it daily, especially if you are a sensitive soul. That can really leave a mark and make a child more timid in the future.

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    Miz Smarty Britches queenb's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    I don't have kids, but my dad used to be a Principal, and I think that is who you should approach. Tell him/her what you have heard from other teachers and parents as well as your child. But make sure you are behaving in a sane manner when you go to the school. Don't be raising hell, or your complaints will go in the Round File as soon as you leave. Be nice, but clear, and specific. If you can, get a group of other parents who don't mind you using their names to give you some input to present as well. If this doesn't work, go to the county office. If you can't find anyone to back you up, you are proably SOL other than demanding your child be moved to another class, but why not try to help other children too?
    A "terrifying when angry" person has no business working in education!
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    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    Hey sweetpea...I'm not a teacher, but I do know another mom who was in this situation. Her daughter got the "mean" teacher in grade 4. (I hate to admit it but I was really relieved that my oldest, who's in grade 4 this year, didn't get this particular teacher.) This other mom's daughter was absolutely distraught over the teacher's bad temper. The mom - who is an awesome lady, but someone I wouldn't want on my bad side - called the school AND approached the teacher (who was pretty meek when confronted with an angry mama bear). She ended up asking that her daughter be moved. I think picking on an individual child in front of the class - particularly one as young as 7 - is reprehensible and can damage their whole attitude towards school. Good luck in dealing with it and I'm sorry your daughter is having a tough start to the year.
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    Re: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    Go to the principal. I had a similar problem when my daughter was in first grade and was being bullied by kids in the class and the teacher was mean. My daughter was MISERABLE.
    I went directly to the principal and would not take no for an answer about having her switched out.
    Be firm, but polite. Lay out your arguments and what solutions you would like to your problems.
    Tell them about the twin doing well and you would like her sister to do as well. Maybe not in the same class, but in a different one.
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    FORT Fogey Tribal Speak's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    When I was in Grade 2, a looooong time ago, my teacher had singled me out. She sat me in the desk right in front of her desk. I had my pencils, etc. in a metal toffee box, while all the other kids had cardboard boxes. The teacher would purposely knock my box off my desk as she walked by and then would give me crap for having a metal box. Another favorite of hers was inspecting the children's fingernails for dirt. I could never seem to get mine clean enough, in her eyes. Finally, after about two weeks of this, I was frantically trying to clean my room at home. My Mom picked up on this, and years later when we were talking about it, she said I told her that I was trying but couldn't get it (the room) clean enough. I don't remember if the teacher directed me to clean my room, or if I did it of my own accord and in such a manner that it was my way of calling out for help. My Mom clearing understood that I was not getting this from home, so it must be school. She must have talked to the Principal, because I was pulled from that class and put into another. Everything was fine after that, but it did have a lasting impression on me. I was the neatest person of my family and I used to anger my brothers while doing dishes. When I was the washer, and either of they the dryer, they would get impatient with me because I'd be cleaning every little speck of dried food off. This was years after, BTW.

    Long story short...go to the Principal and have your child transferred to another class. The sooner, the better.

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    Over and Out! Bunny555's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Speak;3193747;

    Long story short...go to the Principal and have your child transferred to another class. The sooner, the better.
    I completely agree. Tell the Principal exactly what your daughter's own experience with this teacher has been and not talk about the rumours you've heard about her. Since it's so early in the school year, the Principal should be more receptive to her changing classes. Good Luck!
    CYA

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    Crazy Shutterbug Harmony2000's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    I just wanted to point something out the teacher is known for doing this and evidently has done it in the past. I am sure you won't be the first parent complaining. Also, the teacher is retiring next year. Why would the principal be motivated to listen? The principal may counter with your child is too sensitive and that if they accommodate one they can't accommodate then all. The point is, be prepared to be stone walled by the principal.

    When we were growing up in rural (read bayous) of Louisiana my brother used to be chased home everyday by the other kids because he was different from them. He was in the 3rd grade. My mother asked the teachers and principal for help and they refused. She pulled us out of school and took it to the school board and even higher. End result was that she was allowed to drive us to any school she wanted, they would not provide transportation but she got what she was after. A safer education for her kids.

    I feel for you in this situation since I have a very sensitive little man (5) and he would be devastated by what's happening to yours. Just be prepared to do battle and don't let them pat you on the head and tell you she's just too sensitive and to hang in there and let her work her way through it. Or even better, it will toughen her up! Go to the principal and if he doesn't give you what you want, keep going up the chain and making noise till somebody does.

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    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    sweetpea, I would speak to the teacher first and then to the principal. Does the teacher have email? If so, I'd let her know that your daughter is having issues and feeling intimidated in the classroom. Copy the principal on all correspondence. Chances are, they won't move your daughter to another class and as someone else stated, they're probably aware of this teacher's style. If she's retiring next year, I wouldn't expect them to do a lot about her either. Hopefully, this teacher will lighten up some with your daughter after you speak to her. Document everything! Write down specific incidents, each time your child comes home upset, save all correspondence, etc. If the situation gets too bad, you may need it.

    Good luck to you. School/learning should be fun for kids. Sorry your daughter is off to such a rough start.
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    FORT Fogey Tribal Speak's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do about a "mean" teacher?

    If they won't allow a transfer to another class, is another school an option? I don't think it is worth the risk to have things remain the same. Documentation is fine, but I really don't see that helping the child after the fact. The immediate goal is separation.

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