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Old 11-15-2010, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is in first grade this year.  Her teacher is a second year teacher and as the principle says to me, she has one of the most "structured" classes in the school.  I am finding myself increasingly concerned over her behavior management methods and her behavior in general.  The biggest, "oh my" moment for me came last week when I came in to visit dd in school.  The school has an open door policy for parents, and I had not told the teacher I was coming, but I didn't think it would be a big deal.  I walk into dd's classroom and her teacher looks at me with a look of hatred and says, "Can I help you?"  I say no, I just came in to see dd, and she just glares at me and turns away and ignores me completely the rest of the class time.  I actually sit on the floor because she does not offer me a chair the whole time.  Then as I am leaving with dd to go out to recess she stops me and says, "Can you please let me know next time if you are going to come in!  I am extremely upset because you are here, and I take it very personally that you came!".   I reassure her that I simply came to see my child, and she keeps saying to me(almost freaking out with anger), "I take it very personally, I am really upset..."

I was so caught off guard, that I didn't know what to say to her.  Now I feel like, why was she so defensive, what is she trying to hide?

She has done other things that dd has told me about-

-has a rule that if a child tells on another child for hurting, calling names, etc. and the child that did it won't admit to hurting, they both get in trouble until the child admits to what they did.

-when dd came to tell her that someone was hurting someone else, she said, "Why are you such a tattle tale?"  dd was crying about this becuase she didn't understand the difference between being a tattle tale and trying to take care of your friends.  

-when I come into the classroom, it is dead silent.  None of the first graders talk, and if they do, she is on them like that.  It feels like an atmosphere full of shaming, rigidity, and emotional control.  

Is this the norm for public school?  I feel like when I talk to other people around here, no one seems especially bothered by this kind of thing(I live in a very conservative area).  

I wrote her an email today asking to talk with her about our conversation the other day.  I am really anxious to even talk to her though because of the level of anger and hatred she threw at me last time.  And I am concerned about the well being of my child, because to me, this woman seems unstable.  

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Old 11-15-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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I will probably be in the minority - but there are several things that I would be upset with too if I was that teacher.  While the school has an open door policy about visiting classrooms, you should have given the teacher notice of when you would be stopping by.  Its a professional courtsey, instead of just coming in and sitting down without her knowledge, and she might planned a bit more with the kids to ensure they didn't get too distracted with you there.

 

As for how you handled it - I'm sorry but you lied to her when the teacher asked why you were there.  You have concerns and instead of letting her know your concerns and discussing them with her, you didn't give her any information about the concerns.   I would be upset too, because I have someone here to "visit their child" but really may have an agenda about concerns which I can't address.   

 

At least this teacher was able to vocalize her concerns that your unannounced presence upset her and may have caused additional distraction and issue in her classroom.  I don't think she's unstable, she just shook up confidence wise as to why you were there.


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Old 11-15-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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Oh gosh, is a teacher is SO shaken up by a parent's visit that she can't hide her *hatred*, she sounds pretty unstable to me. KTG, I can't comprehend your logic at all.

 

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I will probably be in the minority - but there are several things that I would be upset with too if I was that teacher.  While the school has an open door policy about visiting classrooms, you should have given the teacher notice of when you would be stopping by.  Its a professional courtsey, instead of just coming in and sitting down without her knowledge, and she might planned a bit more with the kids to ensure they didn't get too distracted with you there.

 

As for how you handled it - I'm sorry but you lied to her when the teacher asked why you were there.  You have concerns and instead of letting her know your concerns and discussing them with her, you didn't give her any information about the concerns.   I would be upset too, because I have someone here to "visit their child" but really may have an agenda about concerns which I can't address.   

 

At least this teacher was able to vocalize her concerns that your unannounced presence upset her and may have caused additional distraction and issue in her classroom.  I don't think she's unstable, she just shook up confidence wise as to why you were there.




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Old 11-15-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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No no no no.  ktg I cannot fathom why you are defending this teacher's immature display of anger.
 

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Originally Posted by _ktg_ View Post

I will probably be in the minority - but there are several things that I would be upset with too if I was that teacher.  While the school has an open door policy about visiting classrooms, you should have given the teacher notice of when you would be stopping by.  Its a professional courtsey, instead of just coming in and sitting down without her knowledge, and she might planned a bit more with the kids to ensure they didn't get too distracted with you there.

 

As for how you handled it - I'm sorry but you lied to her when the teacher asked why you were there.  You have concerns and instead of letting her know your concerns and discussing them with her, you didn't give her any information about the concerns.   I would be upset too, because I have someone here to "visit their child" but really may have an agenda about concerns which I can't address.   

 

At least this teacher was able to vocalize her concerns that your unannounced presence upset her and may have caused additional distraction and issue in her classroom.  I don't think she's unstable, she just shook up confidence wise as to why you were there.



OP I would report to the principal of the school with both your concerns and what happened when you went to the classroom.  The way this teacher treated you is inexcusable and I hope it gets her fired!  If she is only a second year teacher she does not yet have tenure.  You really need to talk to her supervisor!!  I am a teacher and I simply cannot imagine ever treating someone like that.  Someone with anger issues like that who is willing to call a child a tattletale should not be teaching.  Period.

 

If she has an issue with visiting the classroom only at certain times the proper thing to do would have been to talk to you politely when you arrived.  She should also have made you feel welcome no matter what!  She is a caretaker for your child after all.

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Old 11-15-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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I think just coming to hang out in class is kind of strange.  I'm at school almost daily for PTA things and I never just stop in ds's class.  If I'm doing work for his teacher I stop in when I know there's unstructured class time so I don't disturb them.  It's really hard to get kids refocused when there's a disruption to the class.  Walking in unannounced to visit isn't something that any parent I know would do.  Our school is very open to volunteers, parents coming in for lunch or to play at recess (I'm often a ringer for volleyball) but just to come in and observe class isn't done unless there's a concern.


BUT, her freaking out and saying she was upset you were there is super weird.  Upset why? About what?  

 

Bullying a child into admitting they did something wrong is just bad.

Tattle tale is name calling and unacceptable.  Telling to keep someone safe is NEVER wrong.

So I do think that you have things to address, after school in a meeting.

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Old 11-15-2010, 03:25 PM
 
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My mom was in my school several days a week when I was in elementary school (volunteering with my little brother)--and I almost never saw her. She'd look in through the door. It is astonishing to me that you would just walk into the classroom like that.

 

For one thing, how exactly are you going to make a proper observation of how the class runs normally if you disrupt things?

 

However, what I think the teacher should have done is told you to leave.

 

And I think, just on your dd's reports alone, that you should get her pulled from the class.

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Old 11-15-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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I do think that showing up, unannounced, and sitting in on the class is inappropriate.  The considerate route would have included speaking to the teacher ahead of time to set up a time to come in and observe (or volunteer, which would have helped her out as well as allowed you to witness the classroom dynamics). 

 

That all said, I do agree that her reaction was a bit odd, and overly defensive.  She must have felt that you don't trust her and were checking up on her - w/o being upfront about your concerns.  I don't at all think she is justified in how she spoke to you about it, but I do think she was caught off guard and sounds rather anxious and possibly stressed out.  I would ask her to meet with you when it's convenient for her, or if necessary, discuss your concerns with the principal. 

 

I had an incident at the beginning of the year with my DD's 4th grade teacher and I honestly was too intimidated to approach her (the teacher) about it, so I made an appointment with the principal and we worked things out.  I've since talked with my DD's teacher about it, and feel much more at ease with her so I am comfortable going to her first with concerns (which is the way it should be; leave admin out of it if possible, IMO).  The principal did suggest I observe in my DD's classroom to help feel better about it all - which I declined - but I promise you I would have set it up ahead of time so that all parties knew I would be there on that day to sit in on the class with the sole purpose of observing. 


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Old 11-15-2010, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies.  Perhaps you all are right that I should have emailed the day before to let her know I was coming in.  However, I don't think it is THAT strange that I did it.  Lots of parents have time come up when they have an hour they didn't know they would have and they decide to go visit their child.  This is only first grade you know, not a highschool chem lab I am disrupting.  

On another note, I made a planned visit earlier in the year and i asked after my hour of allotted time that we had discussed if it would be okay for me to stay a little longer.  She looked at me with pure hatred and said, "Fine."  I am sorry, but I don't think either of my actions deserve that kind of disrespect.  I guess I just don't get why it is such a huge deal for a parent to come in to see there child in first grade without it planned 3 weeks in advance, especially when that is the school policy.  I am not at her school 3 days a week for PTA, I am lucky to come in once a month b/c this teacher is total control freak who makes me feel like shit when I ask to spend time with my child.

I believe she rules that classroom through shame, and emotional and psychological manipulation. 

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Old 11-15-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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I see a lot of language that is hard to interpret. Like that she looked at you with hatred - that could very well be and I wasn't there, but I do wonder if it's a misinterpretation. She may have been taken aback and have a face that has a particular look or whatever.  So I wonder what exactly made you go to hatred and whether there might be some history or other reason that you would say that. It's a very strong statement.

 

For other things:

 

-has a rule that if a child tells on another child for hurting, calling names, etc. and the child that did it won't admit to hurting, they both get in trouble until the child admits to what they did.

 

I see that your DD said this, and this would concern me. However I am aware that 6 & 7 year olds can misinterpret. Have you asked the teacher about this policy? I would definitely want to know.

 

-when dd came to tell her that someone was hurting someone else, she said, "Why are you such a tattle tale?"  dd was crying about this becuase she didn't understand the difference between being a tattle tale and trying to take care of your friends.  

 

That is harsh, although I do believe in making the distinction (telling is when you get someone out of trouble, tattling is when you get them into trouble - and standing up for a friend is a good thing).  Same thing though - I think you need to ask, because there may have been more to the story; if it was the 12th complaint that day, although I don't agree with the phrasing, it may be understandable.

 

-when I come into the classroom, it is dead silent.  None of the first graders talk, and if they do, she is on them like that.  It feels like an atmosphere full of shaming, rigidity, and emotional control.  

 

You probably have good instincts on this, but I also know that with my son's Montessori, people have interpreted it that way when really it is just...quiet. So again, I don't know if you have all the information.

 

I would definitely request a talk with the teacher and if she is equally defensive when you've given her the courtesy of speaking to her directly and with warning, I'd go to the principal.

 

Is this the norm for public school?

If everything is as described, no, not really - although the way you dropped in would have put a number of teachers I worked with off.


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Old 11-15-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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You're right, it isn't a high school chemistry class, because in a high school chemistry class you'd have to make some real effort to totally distract the 14-18 year old students from being able to accomplish the assignment (they'd probably talk about you just walking into the class, but they'd still get stuff done), while merely opening the door on a first grade class room could result in any number of the 5-7 year olds becoming distracted and unable to concentrate--often long after you've left.

 

The teacher seems to have the typical new teacher difficulty with dealing with noise, so the inevitable rustling when something new (like a random parent) would likely have been quite disturbing to her.

 

Now, are you absolutely, 100% sure that she was looking at you with hate and not just staring at you while she thought about the situation? Personally,if someone I hated asked if they could stay longer, I would tell them to go away. I wouldn't say that it's fine for them to stay where I'm working. But I might just stand there glaring at you for a bit while I figure out if the next part of what I'm doing will work with you there.

 

If, looking back on things from that perspective, you still feel that she hated you for a simple request like that, then why haven't you already gone to the principal about it?

 

 

 

And no, I don't think you needed to announce before you observed the class--only before you entered the class. Especially since you have concerns about the teacher. Why let her see that you're observing?

 

Also, it feels a bit entitled to me to expect the teacher to interrupt her teaching to move a chair over for you. (I'm assuming there were chairs available, because you wouldn't have expected her to go fetch a chair.)

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Old 11-15-2010, 06:11 PM
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You've described this teacher as looking at you with "pure hatred" a couple times.  I would be wary of reading too much into a teacher's facial expression.  I teach high school students all day, and I make some pretty weird faces when I'm nervous.  Parents aren't allowed to randomly drop in to my classes, but they would make me pretty nervous if they did.  As a teacher, I like to focus on teaching my students and maintaining a positive environment for learning.  I think that's pretty obvious to the most casual observer, but I know that there are some parents in my community with malicious agendas, and young teachers are often seen as easy targets to these people.  Parents don't typically drop by classrooms because they want to visit with their kids.  It's rude to chat with them during class, for one thing.  Teachers don't typically have time to play hostess and find people adult-sized chairs.  No matter who else is in the room, they are personally responsible for monitoring 25 children.  For comparison, the school superintendent dropped by my classroom this morning.  I completely ignored her - I had 30 students to teach and they have a test tomorrow.  I don't care who they are, adult passers-by are not among my job priorities. 

 

You should definitely talk to the teacher about your concerns about tattling vs. asking for adult help with interpersonal issues.  Send her a polite email.  I would let the quiet classroom go - it sounds like the teacher is trying to create an environment that fosters focus and concentration.  That's a good thing.  If you want to observe the class, you should be frank with the teacher about your agenda and your concerns. 

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Old 11-15-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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I am a teacher, and I am a parent.

 

Wherever my child is, I can be. period. All immature feelings and taking things personally aside. If a parent cannot be where their child is announced or unannounced, someone feels they must hide something every every single time. No exceptions.

 

Yes, it may be disruptive, yes it may bother her that she didn't have notice, but ummmm... YOU gave birth to that child (or went thru an entirely different, but also painful and rewarding adoption process!) in great pain and peril of your life-- she is YOURS and you have a right to be where she is. To me this pre-empts the rights of a teacher to have an (imaginary) interuption-free day (there are ALWAYS interuptions with or without an unexpected parent popping in). I'm glad your DD's school has such a great policy that supports the parent-child bond in a public school!

 

I do not understand anyone defending this teacher's behavior at all-- especially when school policy clearly allows for unannounced visits from parents!

 

Parents pop into my classes ATT, and they are greeted warmly, given a seat near their child, and class goes on. Even a 2nd year teacher should be able to manage classroom interuptions better than the description-- and leaving anyone sitting on the floor!? terrible behavior!

 

IMO the OP was not lying to the teacher about her visit-- she WAS there to see her DD.

 

It is WAY past time to schedule a mtg with the principal and the teacher to discuss all these issues, and prolly to reassign DD to another teacher.

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Old 11-15-2010, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Mum4vr.  I totally agree, she is my child, and I do have a right to be with her when I choose!  I am not a malicious woman trying to target a second year teacher.  I am a loving parent who senses things are amiss with this teacher, and wants to know what is going on in my child's classroom.  My dd's teacher last year was hated by lots of people in the area,but to me she was kind and to my dd she was kind.  That is all that mattered to me.  When my husband and I would come in to visit she would have us read a story, etc.  

I hear what you all are saying about the look of hatred and how that could eb misinterpreted, and I will keep that in mind when I have a meeting with her.  

I have talked to the principal twice already, and she said she will stop by her class more often b/c she found some of the things I descirbed upsetting and inapropriate.  

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Old 11-15-2010, 09:17 PM
 
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It sounds like you have spoken to the principal twice, dropped in unannounced once, and haven't yet spoken to the teacher about your concerns. Is that true? When I was teaching, I would have been pretty upset with a parent--not to mention the principal--for the timing of these events. I would guess that the teacher is frustrated that she knows from the principal that you have concerns, maybe even what the concerns are, and feels that you are not being honest and upfront.

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Old 11-15-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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I have to say, my first response at hearing what your dd described would be to contact the teacher and ask.  I don't think you should have walked in first and then asked.  BUT, I do think you had a right to visit.  I ALSO know that most teachers have times that are more appropriate than others.  Walking into ds's 1st grade class between 10-1030 it was DEAD silence because it was a time when they were being taught a specific subject (math for his class) walking in between 2-220 was a bit more activity because it was more a winding down time and centers where talking is allowed as long as they kept it under control.  So sitting in for an hour isn't really something to judge the class on.  Personally, if I was a teacher of 20 kids, I would demand no talking during teaching.  I would hate to have a parent judge the happiness of the class by that.

 

OK, so I also see a lot of subjective language in your post.  With that, if what you said is true, then I think a couple things should happen.  You should address your concerns with the teacher and if you get nowhere with that, then take it to the principal.  But give the teacher a chance.  As a parent with a very obedient mellow child, I was concerned when he came home and told me he got into trouble for something I thought was unreasonable.  BUT, when I went to the class and talked to the teacher I was reassured because she explained it fully and it wasn't at all what ds had said it was.  I've also had that happen with dd.  Often times things that kids say aren't the whole truth, so don't assume too much and give the teacher a chance to explain.  Now, if she says, "yes, I do punish both because I wonder if the tattler lied to get the other into trouble" well, then definately take that up with the principal.  If she says, "that happened once and this is the circumstance that was involved" then you may find that she explained it and there is no need for concern.


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Old 11-15-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mum4vr View Post

Wherever my child is, I can be. period. All immature feelings and taking things personally aside. If a parent cannot be where their child is announced or unannounced, someone feels they must hide something every every single time. No exceptions.

 



Really?  My kid had surgery last week, and I wasn't allowed to be with him.  Why??  So the doctor in whom I trusted his care could do his job.

 

The degree of seriousness may be different, but the basic concept is not.  I agree that the OP's language in describing this teacher is pretty judgey, and I would be pretty put off if I were interrupted in my job in such a way.   I think there was probably a way to get the information you're looking for (basically, observing the tone and tenor of the class) in a more collaborative way.


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Old 11-16-2010, 07:24 AM
 
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If I had a child in a school, and another parent insisted on walking into my kid's class whenever they felt like it, I'd be very angry. I believe parents have a right to be with their children at any time, but that means you can pull your kid from class to be with you. Not that you get to disrupt all the other kids.

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Old 11-16-2010, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have found most of the replies here to be extremely irrational and almost like you are just playing the devils advocate.  I have a hard time believing that most of the mothers here would not have acted in the same way I did if they were in a similar situation with a teacher.  I DID confront dd's teacher at the conferences sevral weeks ago about several things dd had told me about and she TOTALLY denied all of them.  So, I am left with the options of A. teacher is lying, or B. dd is lying.  I know my child, and I do believe she can exagerate sometimes, but she doesn't make things up and pretend to be cry about them.  So, what would you do?  

The first time I met the teacher, my intution said "uh oh".  And every experience I have had with her since then has reenforced that feeling.  I wanted to go into the classroom and have a kind, welcoming interaction with her, I DON'T LIKE drama or confrontation(especially not with someone who seems to dislike me so much!).  But alas, she verbally attacked me in front of my child because I came in to her classroom without warning.  Again, it is school policy parents are allowed to do this, and I think this is the reason for the policy, don't you?

Again, I think many of you seem especially antagonistic towards my post, and I can't help but wonder if it is your own stuff that is making you react so strongly to me coming to visit my daughter at school.  

I will think twice before posting on MDC again.  I feel attacked, and it feels unwarranted.  I can understand someone saying, "I think it is impolite to drop in without calling first".  Fine, your right.  But the severity of most of these posts I find excessive and downright wierd coming from this group of "attached parents".

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Old 11-16-2010, 08:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catinthehat View Post

  I DID confront dd's teacher at the conferences sevral weeks ago about several things dd had told me about and she TOTALLY denied all of them.  So, I am left with the options of A. teacher is lying, or B. dd is lying.  I know my child, and I do believe she can exagerate sometimes, but she doesn't make things up and pretend to be cry about them.  So, what would you do?  

The first time I met the teacher, my intution said "uh oh".  And every experience I have had with her since then has reenforced that feeling.  I wanted to go into the classroom and have a kind, welcoming interaction with her, I DON'T LIKE drama or confrontation(especially not with someone who seems to dislike me so much!).  But alas, she verbally attacked me in front of my child because I came in to her classroom without warning.  Again, it is school policy parents are allowed to do this, and I think this is the reason for the policy, don't you?


The truth is you cannot change a teacher, any more than you can change any adult.  You may complain, she may get discipIined, etc, but all of this takes time and what is happenning to your DD in the meantime?  I  doubt she is going to stop doing something or have a personality about face because you say so.  It is also possible that you have taken an irrational dislike to the teacher (just saying!  I really do not know the situation)...but in any event it does not matter.  The bottom line is you do not trust her and you seriously question how she runs the classroom.

 

I would work on changing my DD's class or school.  

 

Hang in there!  School drama sucks.

 

 

 

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Old 11-16-2010, 09:37 AM
 
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I need to say that I do not think that a parent's need/right to have total access to their child during the school day, during instructional time, supercedes the rights of the other children in the classroom.  I send my child to school to be in school with the teacher, not in class with student's parents.  I think it is amazing that folks don't get how hard teachers work to maintain the focus and rhythym of their classes, esp. in the early grades.  I can't imagine walking in unannounced, anywhere, and expecting someone to stop instruction, acknowledge me and provide seating.  The teacher's job is to teach, not take care of the needs of the parents during the day.

 

I find all of this a little underhanded, and lacking in respect.  If you need to see the child that badly, take them out of school, and let the classroom be for the children's needs, not the parent's.

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Old 11-16-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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I hope you will reconsider interpreting strong disagreement or phrasing that you don't like as "bad" and "irrational" and a personal attack on you before you meet with your kid's teacher.  You may need to take a step or two emotionally back, if at all possible.

 

People can be attached to their children and still disagree about your course of action as you described.  It's "irrational" to attack their credentials as attached parents and to throw away a whole website community because you didn't get the answer in the words you wanted.  Look, we all overreact or are sensitive sometimes, especially when we're dealing with an issue that is really bothering us, so I don't fault you for the "I'm going away you guys are so mean" response, but I hope you'll rethink it when you have some time to calm down.

 

I also think that most people do not hide their dislike/suspicion as well as they think they do.  By your own admission, you have viewed this teacher with mistrust and suspicion almost from day one.  Please don't fool yourself that you haven't given her any clues.  It may be why she is stiff/short with you (not that it excuses rudeness) because she is as wary of you as you are of her--and please think about whether or not you're so reactionary now that you're interpreting everything in the most dire light now.  That too, is painfully obvious--even though most people think they hide it.

 

If I were you, I would ask to meet with her privately, not in the middle of class.  I might consider apologizing that apparent you've both gotten off on the wrong foot, and for upsetting her during your visit (you didn't intend to upset her, did you?  If not, you can certainly apologize for that and say it wasn't your intent).  You could tell her that DD seems to be having some trouble adjusting, which worries you, and admit that you were hoping to observe your DD's behavior and reactions in the classroom.  I would also ask her about the "tattletale" bit.  Let's face it--1st and 2nd graders can be pretty annoying in their tale telling, and they do often need to be taught to be more discerning, but maybe there are better ways you can support your kids' (collectively) learning about that.  I would wait to meet with her, though, until you are capable and willing to suspend your judgement and actually able to see her as a person in a non-combative and/or defensive way.  Young teachers ARE often targets of parental bullies--you may not be, but you have no idea what she has had to deal with last year and with other parents, and just as you have made a knee jerk reactive judgement based on instinct, she is not subhuman and not doing that as well.  If you are lucky, we can hope that she will also apologize for her tone once she understands that it hurt your feelings and upset YOU as well.

 

I would ask if there is any at home work that you could do.  Some teachers, esp. new one, do need some time with overly strong boundaries (esp. after a bad experience or two) before they feel safe enough to relax them to something more livable for everyone.  I have found that I can generally coax people out by offering to do grunt work that's not in the classroom, which gives me the opportunity to write a little happy note and turn it in--it builds bridges, and shows that you're interested in things other than checking up on her (fake it until you make it).  If you're unwilling to put in the time trying to work things out in a way that respects her comfort as well, then I guess you might as well persue a class change--though IME those are really difficult to get.

 

I don't think it's too late to try and "start over" with each other.  But you have to be willing to do it (and so does she).  I've found that admitting you didn't get off to the best start, that obviously you've both hurt feelings and had misunderstandings about the other's intentions can really help things get back on track.  I'd at least try to do it.  Maybe she is a terrible person, but I'm going to guess that probably she isn't.  It's worth a try, what do you have to lose?

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Old 11-16-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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I have found most of the replies here to be extremely irrational and almost like you are just playing the devils advocate.  I have a hard time believing that most of the mothers here would not have acted in the same way I did if they were in a similar situation with a teacher.  I DID confront dd's teacher at the conferences sevral weeks ago about several things dd had told me about and she TOTALLY denied all of them. 

  This is the first time you've mentioned having spoken to the teacher directly about your concerns. Ah, I see "our conversation the other day" was in reference to discussing your concerns? The way your original post is written, it looks as though you emailed the teacher about her reaction to you entering the class.

 

Honestly, even if it's all a huge misunderstanding, I don't think the teacher is a good fit for your family.

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Old 11-16-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by karne View Post

I need to say that I do not think that a parent's need/right to have total access to their child during the school day, during instructional time, supercedes the rights of the other children in the classroom.  I send my child to school to be in school with the teacher, not in class with student's parents.  I think it is amazing that folks don't get how hard teachers work to maintain the focus and rhythym of their classes, esp. in the early grades.  I can't imagine walking in unannounced, anywhere, and expecting someone to stop instruction, acknowledge me and provide seating.  The teacher's job is to teach, not take care of the needs of the parents during the day.

 

I find all of this a little underhanded, and lacking in respect.  If you need to see the child that badly, take them out of school, and let the classroom be for the children's needs, not the parent's.

 

Sorry OP, but I agree with the above comment.  To me, an open door policy should mean that parents can stop by, briefly see their child or observe for a few minutes from the doorway, or pull your child out of the class.  It would be extremely disruptive to have parents showing up without warning and sitting down in the classroom for an hour at a time!  Your need to spend time with your child does not outweigh the needs of the other children to have focused class time.

 

I do agree with you, OP, that it sounds like the teacher overreacted, does not have the best interpersonal skills, and may be overly harsh in the classroom.  All of these are cause for concern.  However, I think the main point here is that you are unhappy with this teacher, and the teacher knows it.  I would seriously look into having your daughter change classes or else work hard *with* the teacher to improve your communication with her.  The last thing you want is your daughter stuck in a class with a teacher who bears a grudge against her mother, in the type of shaming environment that you described.  Good luck, OP, I hope you take all these comments as gently as they were intended.


Mommy to two boys, ages 4 and 6.

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Old 11-16-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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I wouldn't be too harsh on the OP  .The school does say it has an open door policy.  Perhaps she thought that meant she could drop in....  I know I might have interpreted it as such.  Moreover, if the OP did anything wrong, then it is the teachers job to respectfully tell her.  A simple,  "oh!  You would like to observe?  We can accomodate that but you need to make an appointment" would suffice.

 

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Old 11-16-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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The schools in our area give teachers the authority over scheduling parent volunteers and allowing others in their classroom so the part about asking you to tell her first seems normal (though not the part where she was furious).  It is very disruptive on the class when parents come in and if you just want to spend time with your child the time to do that is recess or lunch, many parents drop in and eat lunch with kids.  Class time is time for working not spending quality parent-child time together.  Parents do not just drop in and observe even in the schools where there are a lot of parent volunteers, that is just not something that happens.  I would be very upset if my dd's education was cut short on a frequent basis because parents didn't value it just because she is at the beginning of her education not at the end where they do important things in a chemistry lab.  I value what my dd is learning, my dd values what she is learning, and frequent disruptions devalue that and the children who are there to learn.  Yes, it is ONLY first grade to you, but your child isn't the only one in the class and your feelings on the importance of a first grade education aren't the only ones that matter when you send your child to school. 

 

The rest sounds very abnormal, but it sounds like you are really pushing boundaries and irritating this teacher by disrupting her class a lot.  It sounds like there is a lot of misinterpretation and frustration on both sides. I think you should ask the principal to mediate this meeting so it isn't the two of you alone getting more over each others bad behavior.  Having the principal in can help a lot because it will remind you to stay civil and give a calm portrayal of what is really bothering you about your dd's classroom and she will stay open minded.  I suggest that you ask for a teacher change if the meeting doesn't have a good conclusion.  If the principal says no try asking for the supervisors name and number, this usually makes people cave if you have a compelling case.  It sounds like you have a very bad relationship with this teacher and if the meeting goes badly it will get worse.  Teachers sometimes have a hard time separating their feelings for a parent they don't get along with from their feelings towards very sweet wonderful students.

 

As someone who has had to deal with a teacher like this, who also decided on day two of class that my child was needy, not a good listener, and academically not up to par (something she reluctantly re-evaluated after the meeting with the principal), I do not understand why your child is still in this class if you have truly felt that something is wrong for this long, spoken to the principal twice, and still feel there is a serious problem.  My dd had the teacher from H*** last year, she says that the teacher is like Professor Snape from the Harry Potter book series, she still talks about how awful the teacher was and tells more things once in a while that shock me even more; and I still didn't drop in unannounced because it is not appropriate and when you have a teacher who is already not on good terms with you and your child the last thing you do is irritate them more and make your child stay the rest of the week with a teacher who is dwelling on the fury caused by her interaction with you.  I got plenty of info about the situation from my dd,  from the way the teacher addressed my concerns, and from the interactions I noticed when I was there on the rare instances I could come to volunteer.  I wound up puling my dd to homeschool because it worked for us.  Some parents in our community have their kids switch teachers, some switch schools (they allow open-enrollment all year round), and some pull their kid out to homeschool due to clashes with teachers.  Some of these things may not be options, but when it was me I was looking for money to scrimp when the principal turned down the request for a room change so I could afford a nanny or private school.  I was lucky to get the opportunity to homeschool but if I hadn't there were other options.

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Old 11-16-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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Dang this new system, I just lost a long reply!

 

OP: Two things have struck me in this thread:

1. Your clear animosity toward this teacher. I haven't a clue as to whether it's justified or not. But as others have pointed out, it's got to come out in your interactions. You are clearly extremely unhappy with this teacher, and very emotional in your language describing your interactions with her. Before you talk to her again (I hope she responds to your e-mail reasonably), I would recommend that you write out, in very neutral language, what your concerns are. In fact, write it out, and then maybe give it to someone you trust to edit to make it more neutral. When you meet with the teacher, ask her to discuss these points and explain how your daughter could have gotten that interpretation. If she denies, for example, that she makes both kids stay in until the miscreant confesses, ask her to explain what her policy is. If her explanation doesn't make sense, then you have something to go on.

 

I also agree with others that having a 'neutral' third party with your meeting might be in order. Some schools assign mentor teachers to new teachers -- does she have one? That might be a good person to start with because they're not an administrator, but still someone with authority. If there is no mentor (bad on the part of the school, IMO), then it would have to be the principal. If you can't get satisfaction from this meeting, ask for a transfer.

 

2. The second thing that struck me is that it appears you were unaware of the disruption that unannounced visits can cause. "Open door policy" or no, classroom management is tough, especially with first graders. First graders are highly distractible, hard to keep on task, and very dependent on a routine. If you haven't taught, you may not realize this. This is a good thing to learn about how schools work, and I hope you take the information in the spirit that I think it was offered. It wasn't "oh my gosh, how awful you were, but "hey, did you know this might be a problem?" I heard a lot of defensiveness when people pointed out how hard it might be for the teacher to have an unannounced visitor. People weren't, in my opinion, defending the teacher, but explaining why unannounced visits might not be greeted with shouts of joy from the teacher. Heck, I teach college and I hate unannounced visits. It disrupts the whole flow and classroom dynamic. And my students are 20+ years old and can focus quite nicely.

 

I'm not sure why you're responding that the responses have been 'irrational'. Most of the responses were along the lines of "I can see why an unannounced visit would be hard on a teacher, but if she's done what you've said she's done, that's terrible and you should talk to her/the principal and maybe get your daughter moved."


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Old 11-16-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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As a "second year" teacher, I must agree that many non-tenured teachers are bullied by both parents and administrators, and also that they are easy targets for malicious community members. People are typically quite ready to state the a younger or less-experienced teacher is doing many things wrong in or out of the classroom and (I shudder to quote this reply) "need to get fired."

 

Here's the dilemma with this approach. The job of teacher in the United States is already underpaid... most reasonable people agree on this point. The workload is atrocious. The expectations are constantly getting higher without any funding or support to achieve those higher expectations. The rate for new teacher burnout is approximately 50% (of new teachers) leaving the profession in the first 5 years. Personally, last year, I worked nearly every day of the week for at least 14 hours each weekday day, and at least 5 hours each weekend day. And I had a family, with a toddler! I literally lost 20 pounds, and I wasn't exercising (like I had time!). I was also, for the record, bullied into taking on extra responsibilities, on top of learning all my best practices, planning, assessing, etc, because I *was* a new teacher, and I had sucker written on my forehead.

 

Despite everything this teacher is doing wrong (and she is making mistakes, for sure - lots of them) lets remember how much is being asked of her and how little support she may be receiving. Now, fine, you think she's a bad teacher and she needs to be fired. Okay, and in the next 10 years, 2/3 of the teaching force is going to be eligible for retirement. If parents and administrators don't implement support for new teachers, those will quickly figure out they can make more money for less work, and less criticism and badgering. And then what happens to the quality of education?

 

*stepping off my soapbox.gif now*

 

OP, what is so concerning to me about your responses is that... I don't see how this teacher has a chance. She's already got an F in your book. If she can't fix it with you, why should she try? You don't sound too interested in repairing the relationship, as one excellent PP gave hints to do. I think she senses an "out for her" vibe, and it sounds like, rather than get tips to fix the situation, you wanted to hear how you were right and she was a really bad teacher. But investing in a struggling teacher rather than targeting them benefits everyone, from one student up to the entire system.

 

I think if you have a problem with the teacher, and you don't feel that conversations have been productive, then pull your kid out. But please, don't target. And calling her boss multiple times to tell them what a bad job she is doing sounds a bit like targeting. I would feel targeted in her shoes. Scratch that - I have felt targeted in those shoes.


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:42 AM
 
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What does it mean that the school has an open-door policy?  That any parent can come in at any time and do whatever they want?  In our school, parents are welcome in the classroom, but it is common courtesy to interact with the teacher to plan visits.  I would not really be welcome to just sit on the floor next to my DD - I could insist, but I'm pretty sure the teacher would not want me to, and it would be sort of as a hostile observer.  So honestly I can understand why she might have asked how she could help you.  She may sense you don't like her and that you were not there to help her, but to study her and gain evidence.  

 

My DD is in first grade and I work in her classroom every week.  I asked the teacher how I could help, and she asked me to listen to kids read.  I love doing this and it allows me to see the classroom in action.  Initially it was to observe the classroom dynamic, but now I mostly marvel at the kids and her teaching style.  But every time I walk in the room, several little heads bob up to look at me, others smile, others wave at me.  It *is* a distraction.  So it's important to have a good reason.  I honestly don't believe I should be able to go into my DD's classroom whenever I want - I think that is disrespectful of the class.  I might have felt that way when she was a baby or even a preschooler, but not once she started grade school.  

 

I think it's important to ask yourself why it is that you want to be in the classroom.  To me it sounds like you do not trust this teacher at all with your child.  If so, that is the fundamental issue that I would be thinking about, and I would be forming a plan to be true to yourself and your child in order to address that.  

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Old 11-17-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by karne View Post

I need to say that I do not think that a parent's need/right to have total access to their child during the school day, during instructional time, supercedes the rights of the other children in the classroom.  I send my child to school to be in school with the teacher, not in class with student's parents.  I think it is amazing that folks don't get how hard teachers work to maintain the focus and rhythym of their classes, esp. in the early grades.  I can't imagine walking in unannounced, anywhere, and expecting someone to stop instruction, acknowledge me and provide seating.  The teacher's job is to teach, not take care of the needs of the parents during the day.

 

I find all of this a little underhanded, and lacking in respect.  If you need to see the child that badly, take them out of school, and let the classroom be for the children's needs, not the parent's.


I have to agree with this. My DD is in 1st grade and I have witnessed how easily a class can be distracted by an unexpected visitor to the classroom. If you really felt the need to visit your child you should have had her step into the hallway for a moment so that you didn't disrupt the other kids in the room.
 

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Old 11-17-2010, 05:59 AM
 
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If I had a child in a school, and another parent insisted on walking into my kid's class whenever they felt like it, I'd be very angry. I believe parents have a right to be with their children at any time, but that means you can pull your kid from class to be with you. Not that you get to disrupt all the other kids.



Yes, this.  I think it's bizarre that someone would just show up announced to a class (beyond preK and Kindergarten, I suppose).  So what if you and 5 other moms decide to drop by one day?  You seriously can't see how that can be distracting and upsetting for the kids and the teacher?  I'm sorry that you don't think 1st grade is a big deal, but I'm sure she takes a lot of time to plan the day, and it can take a lot of effort to keep many small children on task.  Someone showing up out of the blue can throw that off.  My dd2 is in Kindergarten and parents are welcome to come by, but I expect that will change next year.


Your language is very combative.  Your "intuition" said "uhoh" from the first moment you met her (in other words, you never gave her chance).  You "confronted" her at the conference.  She looks at you with "pure hatred" etc etc.  Have you considered that maybe you've come off as a real jerk to her and she wasn't exactly pleased to see you?

 

As for "the rules" here's my take-

 

has a rule that if a child tells on another child for hurting, calling names, etc. and the child that did it won't admit to hurting, they both get in trouble until the child admits to what they did.   Unfair, sure, but consider for a moment if your daughter is the one accused of doing something wrong.  Would you appreciate her being punished if she insisted she didn't do it, while the other child got off scott free?  I'd imagine this rule comes from the teacher having to deal one too many times with parents who show up screaming at her about how their precious little Johnny would never do anything wrong and the other child is lying.  So if it's not witnessed and the accused doesn't fess up, they both get disciplined.  Sucks for the one that's being truthful, but it makes sense.

 

 

-when dd came to tell her that someone was hurting someone else, she said, "Why are you such a tattle tale?"  dd was crying about this becuase she didn't understand the difference between being a tattle tale and trying to take care of your friends.  So you said you "confronted" the teacher and she denied it.  Did she give any explanation of what happened, or did she just deny it?  My experience is that kids, especially sensitive ones, have a tendency to stretch things when their feelings are hurt.  My dd1 is like this.  She's not a liar, but if she feels someone has been mean to her, she exaggerates.  Example, she was outside yelling for the neighbor girl and the woman across the street told her to "be quiet already".  Rude, yes, but not horrible.  But dd1 relayed it to me as "she screamed at me to shut up!"  Totally different.  Is it possible your dd exaggerated? 

 

 

-when I come into the classroom, it is dead silent.  None of the first graders talk, and if they do, she is on them like that.  It feels like an atmosphere full of shaming, rigidity, and emotional control.   Um, maybe it's dead silent because someone showed up unannounced?  What does "on them like that" mean?  It feels like an atmosphere of "shaming, rigidity, and emotional control" to you, yet as far as you know, none of the other parents have an issue?  What was the class doing when you showed up?  Was it something where it would be appropriate for them to be talking?  I mean, were they completing a worksheet or taking a test? 

 

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