Friday, January 25, 2008


We just got back from the Smile Day assembly at the boys' elementary school. Andrew was named Citizen Extraordinaire in the area of tolerance for his classroom. YOO HOO Andrew!! Unfortunately, it is being timed with a frustrating situation with his teacher. So I am not sure if she is trying to wash over the situation Ron and I infuriated about or if Andrew really earned it. I am sure he is very tolerant in school, if only he could tolerate his sister a bit better.

So this situation with his teacher... a few weeks ago, a packet of papers arrived home with a note attached. The note read "Andrew wasted an hour and a half of centers time today. He got no work done and will be losing recess and Fun Friday time. He will need to get the work done at home. Unfortunately, you won't have the resources to help him as the resources are in the classroom." Not the kind of note you hope to ever see. I asked Andrew about it, only to get shrugs and I don't knows.

The next morning, I called the teacher to ask about what happened. She explained that with the NYS testing going on, the classroom routine was out of whack. Their usual morning centers time for Social Studies was done in the afternoon and on that day it was longer ( 1 1/2 hours). She started the class explaining what the kids were to be working on, did the first question with them, and sent them out to do the rest on their own. Come to find out, there were two teachers in the room at the time. Both, his teacher and the reading resource teacher that Andrew works with. Andrew has struggled with ELA (english language arts) since preschool. He despises reading! Anyway, after an hour and 15 mins of centers time, Andrew came up to the teacher asking for help, still only on the 2nd question of the 1st sheet.

I was floored, I was flabbergasted, I was speechless!! I asked "was Andrew misbehaving?", No. "was he talking, goofing off, anything?", No.

He literally sat in his seat for an hour and a half and with two teachers in the room, no one noticed him or that he didn't know what to do!!! BOTH teachers, who know full well that Andrew doesn't advocate for himself, who know full well that Andrew struggles with reading and writing... left him to read and write for an hour and a half solid WITHOUT CHECKING ON HIM OR OFFERING HIM ANY SUPPORT!!! How can teachers do that? It was NINETY MINUTES!!! Not 10mins, 90 minutes of walking around the room, helping other kids, doing this and that while completely over looking a child they know struggles!!

Needless to say, the conversation with his teacher didn't go well. She said things like "if you think you can teach centers better you are welcome to come in and try". She told me "at some point Andrew has to take responsibility for his own education". (um, he's eight?) And when I said I felt her note was rather condescending, she said that she doesn't think I know what condescending means.

Grrrrr.... talk about making a Momma lion mad.

I broke into the conversation and simply said "my husband and I don't feel that Andrew is getting the support he needs in your classroom. What steps do we need to take to get him an IEP (individualized education plan) or other additional support?" And that is where we are going now. With meetings set up first thing next month to get additional services for him in regards to reading.

Now, two weeks later, out of the blue, Andrew is getting the tolerance award. I'll say he can tolerate a lot!!

I would love to hear other appalling teacher stories. It'll make me feel like I don't have things so bad. Please feel free to share!! (oh and I heard from another parent that this same teacher has been TAPING a student to his seat who won't keep still!!)


WillowLuna said...

Taping a student down?!!? That seems like she is COMPLETELY out of bounds there. Instead of doing that, she should be checking into why the kid can't sit still, talking with the parents and school psychologists. Argh!

Kerry said...

I know!! That is what I said. I couldn't believe that was happening. Ron keeps bringing it up and wants to know why she hasn't been fired yet.

Anonymous said...

I know how it is.
My son was silent and quiet in middle school and didn't do well. They had this program called NO Child Left Behind. I think it is abunch of BS. Because they only look after the good students and with the ones that struggle they just get by and just think a D is passing. SO help what so ever. It is like they are brushed right under the rug. UGH!!!!!!!!!!
SOmetimes I think the rooms are overcrowded.

Lisa said...

That teacher sounds like the younger sister of my DD Freshman Algebra was more on the lines of "if I'm such a bad teacher why don't you pull her out of my class?" snappy response: "I tried last semester and your dept. head said NO." So I am relearning Algebra 1 (what a pointless subject if you think about it) to try to explain it as calmly as I can to my ADHD/ODD/OCD daughter whose retention of math material lasts a nanosecond. I've told them she will not do 50 problems every night...she will do as many as she can (20 is about the max). It has been a frustrating year so far...much different from middle school interactions with teachers.

I feel your pain.

Julie said...

UnbeLIEVable yet so common is this teacher's behavior.

Thank God my son is in college now because earlier schooling was sooo all started when in elementary school the kids had homework over Thanksgiving...uh, can the teacher say HOLIDAY??? I doubt she was grading papers on HER 4 days off!

My son just fell into that awful category where schools here in California decided to cram algebra down the kids throats in 7th grade instead of 8th...the teacher was even flabbergasted and completely unprepared with the suddenness of the decision.

I mean, basic math was all that was required for me to graduate high school in the 70's...algebra was an elective.

And those are only a couple of stories about the ugliness of public education...expecting an 8 year old to be responsible for his eduction...good about letting him responsible for being a little boy and having a fun life!

Davena said...

Ohhhh I can tell you stories... my son had the worst teacher. She kept insisting he was ADHD, and insisted that we get him tested for it, even though our family doctor said he didn't have enough symptoms to even (3 out of 8) be referred to a specialist. Finally we took him to a specialist and he's not ADHD, and even the specialist said that he thinks he's an intelligent child, bored out of his mind in class. The teacher SO didn't want to hear that. "He's not bored, I keep my children very busy."

I got a note home saying that he had headlice, and with step by step instructions on how to remove them, and then at the bottom of the note she wrote "I know TK has lovely curly hair, but maybe a haircut is in order." Condescending Cow.

We moved him to a new school, and thankfully he's really doing so much better. SO much better.

Kerry said...

You know, Kathy, I am thinking Andrew is going to be the silent. He could so easily fall through the cracks. He's the type who is just biding his time till he can be done with the whole school thing.

Thanks for your comments Lisa. WOW, 50 questions a night! But it is college, so it is to be expected right? Just hard to deal with the difficult teachers that can compromise. grrr. Andrew was getting 45 - and hour of work, every night when school started. PLUS, read for 20minutes!! I know for dang sure that if I hated and loathed reading because it was hard for me, I wouldn't want to read after spending and extra hour on homework. And that is just what he made us sure to know every evening.

Julie, I agree, school is so concerned about posting the right numbers to the state or to win an award in the newspaper that they cram too much down the kids throats without considering if the kids can even process that information. Forget about teaching in lines with a childs actual learning style.

Davena, welcome to my blog! I hope this rant about education isn't your first experience here, lol. I hope I haven't made a bad impression. But back to your comments... we went through the same thing with Andrew in 1st grade. Teacher comments on his report card were enough to have is PCP giving him ritalin, adderal, and strattara. Yeah we tried THREE, and obviously nothing worked!! It was a 6 week process of experimenting with meds that I hope we never go through again.

Thank you soo soo much for sharing your stories with me. It is helping the edge come off a little bit. We will get things worked out!! And hey, if Andrew decides he wants to skip college and become an artist like his Mom in 15 years, I would be down with that!!

sandi said...

Pardon me, but the NY school system sounds like it sucks!! Those teacher comments are totally uncalled for, and TAPING a student down???!!! - isn't that some form of harrassment? Don't know what the hierarchy is but you're darn sure I'd be on the phone with the Principal, School Board and PTA, pronto. These are such informative years in a child's education that don't need to be screwed by someone who thinks they can teach. Yes, she should be fired. I know you have enough to do - but perhaps this is an example of why I keep hearing more and more home schooling as the alternative to incompetent public schools. Oh, perhaps this teacher should be reminded that it is you, the taxpayer, that pays her salary!! (PS-I almost was a teacher, and no, don't have children!) Hearing this kind of stuff boils my blood!

Lisa said...

Actually Kerri...she's a freshman in high school...with a 504 order from her doctor. Had to love the one teacher who said she "needed to own her ADHD"...she can barely get the morning routine of shower, hair, teeth, clothes, backpack down each morning. College is a distant dream right now and of no interest to her (so hoping her school experience gets better...looking at alternatives now)

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I really, really hope you called the principal. I dread this. My son is starting Kindergarten this fall and he will fall into the "needs special help" category because he has Sensory Integration Disorder. For now, his preschool teachers are understanding and working very closely with us, but I have a sad feeling that will go out the window with "real" school.

Jo said...

I'm sitting here in the UK fuming!!! I'm an ex-teacher and I've worked with some fantastic collegues and some who should not have been working with children but I've never come across such an appalling attitude! Teaching is often a very thankless career, but there is no excuse for her attitude.