Friday, October 15, 2010

We interrupt our regularly scheduled posting...

so that your friendly blogger can rant about a shall-remain-unnamed educator.

Yeah, you may not know her but I guarantee you knew one like her.  You know, the one who called you out in front of the class when you didn't know the answer?  Who made you feel stupid when you got the answer wrong?  Who rolled her eyes like she couldn't imagine how she could ever be burdened with someone so ignorant?  Yeah, that's the one.  I had one too...a band teacher who sat me in last chair the entire year for some unknown reason.  The next year I moved to second chair and stayed there the rest of my years playing flute.  Who knew?

Hey you.  Yeah, I'm talking to you, the one who told my kid she shouldn't be struggling because hers is an honors course so the work shouldn't be that hard for her.  Uh, yeah.  Actually, the work in honors courses is, by definition, harder.  That's why it's an "honors" course...get it?  You're the one that my usually loves-school-can't-get-enough-of-it kid complained about a few weeks after the year started.  Yeah, you remember now, with the first incident I described above?  I let it go then because I thought maybe you were having a bad day, and after all, my kid's eleven and she does need to learn to handle some things on her own.

But you've done it crossed a line and I'm roaring mad.  I'm so angry that I can't pick up a phone right now and call the school because there is no way in hell I could facilitate a meaningful and positive conversation with you.  When you implied she was dumb not to understand the work, that was bad enough.  But when you told her that she asks too many questions and rolled your eyes?  What did you think her response would be?  That she would work harder for you?  Maybe you thought she'd pull an Edgar Cayce and sleep on her books, so the knowledge could somehow seep into her brain during her state of unconsciousness.  Or maybe you thought she's SO smart that she had nothing better to do than to sit around making up random math questions to torture you with.  Are you kidding me?  Oh, and to put the icing on the cake...when she asked why she got a question wrong you told her "Because it's wrong.  Do the math."  Sister, if she could DO the math she wouldn't have gotten the question wrong, now, would she?

I'll tell you what her response was.  She pulled her mother aside in a room with a closed door, told me the story, and cried.  And she doesn't want to go back to your class.

A teacher's job is to assess a student's learning and then reteach if the assessment indicates a failure of understanding.  Clearly, you don't understand your job.  Your teaching methodology is leaving at least one (and according to my kid, many others) confused and belittled.  Nobody performs up to standard when they're beaten down.  Nobody.

It's ironic that this experience has come on the heels of my unofficial discipline posting week, because I think it's an excellent example of how discipline has no starting and stopping point.  It's also a great reminder that even when kids reach whatever difficult stage they're in, whether it's toddlerhood or adolescence, they still deserve respect. While we all reach different levels of accountability based on our age, ability, and careers, we never stop learning about discipline and self-discipline. We never forget how it feels to be respected and valued, nor how it feels when we're disrespected and dismissed as though we mean nothing. You, my colleague, could take a lesson from some of the children around you, including my child, who have treated you with respect and professionalism.  She has come to you asking for assistance.  Assisting her is your JOB.  If you don't like that job, then get another one.  Sheesh.

People who disrespect children in this manner bring out a level of contempt in me that is forceful.  Nobody deserves to be belittled or insulted while trying to learn.  My kid can be as snotty and eye-roll-y as anyone else, but she has never done that to you.  She has shown more maturity in this situation than you have, teacher colleague.  She has approached you asking for assistance in a respectful manner multiple times and been treated as though she is a stupid, whiny brat.  Shame on you.

As my daughter shamefully told me today, amidst tears, how she is struggling in your class because she isn't understanding the material and you refuse to answer her questions; how you belittle her in front of her classmates and roll your eyes at her questions, I was reminded of what a great kid she is.  She's already made an appointment with the school counselor to discuss her options in dealing with this situation.  She may not get any resolution, but at least she's trying.  And guess what?  If she doesn't get resolution at the ripe old age of eleven, you're going to be dealing with me.  And an angry fellow educator who's the mother of a student you bully is a lot harder to push around.  I most definitely will kick your figurative ass if need be.  Too bad you've missed out so far on seeing what a wonderful, smart child you have sitting in your midst.

Just sayin'.


  1. Whoo-hoo, you go mama bear! I hope this all gets resolved soon.

  2. Me too. We'll see how she does with it...she had a plan of how she wanted to handle it before she ever talked with me. A friend pointed out that I can't make people be nice, so I need to focus on making my kid successful, and I think that's hopefully we'll make that happen.

  3. what a jerk. my chemistry teacher did that to me my junior year. handed back a quiz on moles, that i just didn't get, and in front of the the entire class said, "well, we know who didn't study for this one."
    i spent the majority of that period at the park until the principal called me in for a meeting with my mother and the teacher because i was caught ditching.
    i will never forget that man and how he made me feel.

    but, i'm thankful. it hurt me so much, i always had that in the back of my mind when dealing with my own class.

  4. I had a college professor one year in children's literature who poked fun of my answer on a test--I had said something about how the Berenstain Bears modeled how to handle real life situations. The professor went on in class about how bears don't talk in real life. I dropped out of that class shortly after and retook it the next year with the same professor--who was then using the same book--yes, from my test--as an example of how children's literature models real life. @@