Teacher told me too much.... - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So my DD is in a Pre-K class at our local elementary school to help with her special needs. She's there just 2 hours a day, but she has been there for over a year now, and I have developed a bit of a friendship with her teachers. I enjoy talking with them every morning and perhaps it's my fault that I crossed the boundary of a teacher/parent relationship by staying and chatting with them in the mornings...I don't know.

Anyway, the lead teacher called me and asked me if I would write a letter in support of the progress DD has made since joining her class. I said, "Why? Is everything okay?" And she just broke down in tears and told me that her job is at risk.

I feel like I was put in an awkward position... and I feel like maybe I put myself there.

I told her I wouldn't write the letter as that would be far too obvious and make me more involved than I want to be... did I make the right choice? I just don't know.

I hate drama...

Becky ~Blessed to Mother (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#2 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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Has your daughter made progress in the class?
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#3 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She began making progress a few months before her enterance into the program when we had in-home speech and OT. We also began treatment for her sleep disorder at that time. She then aged out of the in-home program and was placed in the pre-k program where she has absolutely continued a steady progression. I can't say for sure it is due to the sole efforts of this teacher. I think the work we do at home, and then the structure at school, the work with the speech therpaist and OT there in addition to the social interation there...and of course love and consistency of the two teachers all plays a part in her progression. I considered writing a letter saying just that... but she seems to want my letter to specifically address her part. And she wants to hand this letter to the pricipal to support her side. Well, I'm going to have kids in this school for the next 8 years.... I don't know that I want to be known as the Mother who crossed the lines with a teacher who crossed the lines, ya know?

Blah...

Becky ~Blessed to Mother (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#4 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 06:56 PM
 
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Having been a teacher and watched teachers being picked on- I would ABSOLUTELY write the letter. And 5 more to school board etc.

-Angela
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#5 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 06:58 PM
 
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If I were the teacher, I'd really hope you'd write the letter for me if you think I have anything at all to do with your child's progress. I mean, she's not asking you to lie or anything. That would be a different story. But you're a parent she's fairly close to, or feels close to so maybe she's more comfortable asking you than anyone else. I don't think it says anything negative about you for being close to your child's teacher. In some classrooms that I have been in, teachers and parents are extremely chummy with parents bringing the teacher coffee and Christmas gifts, etc . . . I don't see how writing this letter, if you believe she has helped your dd would hurt you in any way in the future. It just shows you support a good (in your opinion) teacher. Furthermore, she's not asking that the letter be to say something like, oh, I don't know, she's not a thief or that she's a good driver--you don't know her in that regard. She's not asking you to tell folks that she didn't "cross the line"--just your personal experience with her. And I think it's fine to say you don't know if the progress can be solely attributed to the teacher; that it's a combination of things.

Stay-at-home mom to 2 beautiful.busy.boisterous boys b. 08.17.05 & 12.29.08
Nirvana is . . . the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal. --Gandhi
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#6 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 07:00 PM
 
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Id' definitely write the letter. In my experience, those teachers ahve way more put on them than is fair.

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#7 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 07:01 PM
 
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I think it might be something that is worth looking into. There are a lot of times that rumors get spread about good teachers or a parents look for a reason to make an accusation, and often times the administration wants to avoid the controversy so they move to the quickest action, which is removing the teacher. Or, the teacher could be a victim of a principal or another teacher who wants her gone. Unfortunately that is not uncommon in the pre-K field. I don't think the teacher told you too much because a well-loved teacher needs parent's support sometimes, especially if they are being wrongly accused of something. Sometimes a teacher can be really good but just have a different style than her superiors want her to have, and sometimes this can create an illusion that her student's "aren't making progress" in the higher-ups' eyes. The parents can and should be involved if a teacher's job is at risk for something that occurred or is occurring in the classroom. Given the information that she provided, my guess is that the situation is probably something stemming from her performance. If you are happy with her, I would consider writing a letter of support stating that your daughter is happy in her room and is doing well there, if she is.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#8 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Having been a teacher and watched teachers being picked on- I would ABSOLUTELY write the letter. And 5 more to school board etc.

-Angela
Thanks Angela...she put into two sentences what I wrote an entire paragraph about. Sometimes having a writer's brain isn't the best thing.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#9 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The teacher was not supposed to tell me anything, so wouldn't writing the letter make it blantantly obvious that she had confided in me and crossed professional boundries? That's my biggest concern.

I considered also rather than writing a flat-out letter of support... writing a "Thank You" letter. I've done it in the past for teachers, so it wouldn't be out of the norm for me. I think I'd be more comfortable with something like that rather than a direct letter to the principal.

I should also mention that I have thought in the past that there were a lot of things she wasn't doing right or at all. (ie - the fall bullitein board was up till January, she never sent in my scholastic book money, there is never a classroom update/newsletter, there is never a letter sent home with injuries, etc.) She's not very detail oriented... but she does love the kids. And since I need someone in there to really love the kids, I've let the other things go.

Becky ~Blessed to Mother (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#10 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 07:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaRBH View Post
She began making progress a few months before her enterance into the program when we had in-home speech and OT. We also began treatment for her sleep disorder at that time. She then aged out of the in-home program and was placed in the pre-k program where she has absolutely continued a steady progression. I can't say for sure it is due to the sole efforts of this teacher. I think the work we do at home, and then the structure at school, the work with the speech therpaist and OT there in addition to the social interation there...and of course love and consistency of the two teachers all plays a part in her progression. I considered writing a letter saying just that... but she seems to want my letter to specifically address her part. And she wants to hand this letter to the pricipal to support her side. Well, I'm going to have kids in this school for the next 8 years.... I don't know that I want to be known as the Mother who crossed the lines with a teacher who crossed the lines, ya know?

Blah...
To me, it seems like she's just asked you to write a letter of recommendation. I don't see how that can be perceived as you crossing the line. She might have asked other parents as well. If you are happy with her as a teacher, just write about that. Write about her strengths. If you are feeling neutral about her, then don't write it.
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#11 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaRBH View Post
The teacher was not supposed to tell me anything, so wouldn't writing the letter make it blantantly obvious that she had confided in me and crossed professional boundries? That's my biggest concern.

I considered also rather than writing a flat-out letter of support... writing a "Thank You" letter. I've done it in the past for teachers, so it wouldn't be out of the norm for me. I think I'd be more comfortable with something like that rather than a direct letter to the principal.

I should also mention that I have thought in the past that there were a lot of things she wasn't doing right or at all. (ie - the fall bullitein board was up till January, she never sent in my scholastic book money, there is never a classroom update/newsletter, there is never a letter sent home with injuries, etc.) She's not very detail oriented... but she does love the kids. And since I need someone in there to really love the kids, I've let the other things go.
If you're concerned about it seeming as if she breached professional boundaries, then I think a thank-you letter would be a very nice way to address the situation.

As for a lot of things that she wasn't doing right or at all, unfortunately this will always be true for every teacher your daughter ever has. Some will be better than others, but sometimes this is just because they better match your vision - and it may not be shared by other parents! I think that at the preschool and pre-K levels, it can be especially difficult to get and keep excellent teachers because salaries are usually quite low, and let's face it, it's a hard job! So, if she loves the kids and is good with the kids, then that is the most important thing, right?
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#12 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 07:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaRBH View Post
The teacher was not supposed to tell me anything, so wouldn't writing the letter make it blantantly obvious that she had confided in me and crossed professional boundries? That's my biggest concern.

I considered also rather than writing a flat-out letter of support... writing a "Thank You" letter. I've done it in the past for teachers, so it wouldn't be out of the norm for me. I think I'd be more comfortable with something like that rather than a direct letter to the principal.

I should also mention that I have thought in the past that there were a lot of things she wasn't doing right or at all. (ie - the fall bullitein board was up till January, she never sent in my scholastic book money, there is never a classroom update/newsletter, there is never a letter sent home with injuries, etc.) She's not very detail oriented... but she does love the kids. And since I need someone in there to really love the kids, I've let the other things go.
MamaRBH,
NAK. Did she give you any idea of why she thinks her job is in jeopardy? Does it seem likely to you that it's a matter of politics or personality?

As a practical matter, how would you feel if your DC's progress was disrupted by having to get used to a new teacher, even a good one?

It sounds like you would feel comfortable helping her if you could be subtle about it. Perhaps you could address a casual note to her directly or drop her an email and briefly describe whatever it is about her teaching that you do appreciate.

It sounds like the magic phrase has to do with "DC's improvement" but you don't have to say that unless you feel like it's true; and you can be specific about an area of improvement.

~Cath
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#13 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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MamaRBH,
NAK. Did she give you any idea of why she thinks her job is in jeopardy? Does it seem likely to you that it's a matter of politics or personality?

As a practical matter, how would you feel if your DC's progress was disrupted by having to get used to a new teacher, even a good one?

It sounds like you would feel comfortable helping her if you could be subtle about it. Perhaps you could address a casual note to her directly or drop her an email and briefly describe whatever it is about her teaching that you do appreciate.

It sounds like the magic phrase has to do with "DC's improvement" but you don't have to say that unless you feel like it's true; and you can be specific about an area of improvement.

~Cath
To be very honest, I do understand a bit of where the principal is coming from. DD's teacher said that last May she was given a warning and a plan for improvement. She said that she has tried to do the things asked of her but said "I admit, I haven't done my lesson plans, and I went to the wrong place to observe." She went to the wrong place on purpose because it was closer. I felt kind of sad hearing this because I thought by not doing those things she wasn't just risking her job...but my child's education. She did say they referred to her leaving at the end of the year, so I appreciated that for the children's sake. It's hard enough to take the teacher of "typical" children away...but special needs children would really have an even harder time with it. So, I'm glad that's being considered.

I love her as a person, and I love how warm she is to those children.

Thank you so much to you Mamas for letting me sound off here and helping me with this situation. I am grateful to you all for being so contructive in your thoughts and feelings.

I'm not going to write a letter to the principal. But I am going to write a Thank You letter directly to this teacher and thank her for her warmth, love, and consistent support in my DD's development.

Becky ~Blessed to Mother (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#14 of 18 Old 02-21-2008, 08:39 PM
 
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Yes, be noble, and don't chicken out. Write the letter! NCLB has put a lot of good teachers at risk in ways that other fields of work would never put up with. It is right for workers, it is right for society, and it is right for children! What are you afraid of? The school administration needs to respect you and consider the wishes of the parents. And it sounds like bureaucracy was what nailed this teacher. You could have a callous witch who fills out all the paperwork perfectly and doesn't give a damn about your kids. BTW, there are plenty of those in our schools. If she is warm and loving, and the children respond to her, then that's what we need. A lot of ivory tower administrators need to get clued in about that.
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#15 of 18 Old 02-25-2008, 03:48 PM
 
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A kindy teacher at my husband's school had to do those things you mentioned to keep his job and he didn't (unless you count his wife doing his lesson plans as getting his lesson plans done). His heart wasn't in the job, though.

My son is in kindy now and I have to say, it doesn't seem like most of the teachers I come in contact with want to be with children. It's very disheartening.
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#16 of 18 Old 02-25-2008, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I got a second call from her saying "Did you tell the principal because she knows I spoke to parents?"

Blah. That is why I hate drama and why I didn't want to be pulled in. All the "he said she said" business.

I wrote the thank you and gave it to her... I also politely said that with all the "talking and telling" going on, that I would prefer to be less informed. She was very understanding and graced me with a very kind hug and "Thank you."

Becky ~Blessed to Mother (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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#17 of 18 Old 02-25-2008, 06:44 PM
 
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I don't understand what the big deal is...she asked some parents to write a letter in support of her. If you like her and she is warm to your child, then I don't understand the hold up in writing the letter. I have known pre K and kindy teachers who were organized about bullentin boards and such but were mean and disconnected from the kids and I have known warm fuzzy loving pre K and K teachers who were a bit flakey about bulletin boards. I take the warm fuzzy flakey teacher any day.

If we the parents don't support our teachers than who will? The same goes for if we the parents don't complain about mean teachers who really don't enjoy children, then who will? The kids are too young to have a voice that will be listened too by adminstration. The parents have to speak for the children.
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#18 of 18 Old 02-25-2008, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There was no big deal.

I came here to sound off on the situation and get feedback on how to go about helping her in a way that was more comfortable to me.

I did that by writing a letter of Thanks of which she shared with the principal.

My part is done.

Becky ~Blessed to Mother (DD - 1/3/02) (DD - 2/16/04) (DS - 8/11/05)
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