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Teacher Troubles

Teacher Troubles

[box style=”lavender rounded” ]We get a lot of questions here at RCM, and decided to start a local advice column where our super-smart readers provide advice for the toughest parenting problems. We’ll be running these questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences, opinions, and anecdotes. As always, please do your own research before following any advice given here… or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. [/box] [sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” cite=”” quotestyle=”style01″] How much should you ask of/expect of your child’s teacher? We’ve been running into issues this year and have asked for help/collaboration from the teacher, but have been ignored and then flat-out denied. We’ve involved administration to a certain point, but have hesitated taking it to the “FIRE THEM!” point. How much is too much?

– Anonymous in Huntsville[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

Do you have advice to offer? Please leave it in the comment section below.

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View Comments (11)
  • Sounds like our kids may have the same teacher….ugh! I have no answers but am so frustrated that I’m exploring other options. Can’t wait for this school year to be OVER!!!!! Good luck to you.

  • What is the concern? Playing the devils advocate here, perhaps the teacher doesn’t think the concern is “valid”. Not to mistake, every teacher should have an open ear. Have you shown her examples of work, tests? If the teacher isn’t trying to help your child , yes go to administrators. For the most part, teachers should and would do anything possible to help your child grow and excel. Sorry your having trouble

  • My daughter goes to Challenger Middle in Huntsville and missed a week of school due to court out of state. When I printed out grades and highlighted the missing work because I couldn’t find it on Edmodo they just send a note saying look on edmodo. How can I find it on Edmodo if its not there. I have been dealing with this for almost a month. I am going to be forced to go down there and have them show me or give me the work for her to finish. I will be happy that we wont be at this school next year.

  • I know you are frustrated, especially with changes in last few years. Suggest you set meeting with school counselor. Since budget cuts, they are at various schools & are not as afraid to lose their jobs, with any certain admin.

    Not sure of your issue, but send email to teacher, which
    is what our principal demands, but cc:
    principal & Wardynski. If still no solution, send same email to your elected Board Member. Good luck to you ! 🙂

  • Are the “issues” behavioral or academic? Do they involve other students or just your child?
    Document everything–save all emails, written correspondence, notes on telephone calls. Request and attend an in-person conference with the teacher, administrator, and school counselor, and bring the documentation with you. If it is an academic problem, make sure to bring copies of the types of assignments you need to refer to.
    Good luck!

  • Great advice! Keep it up, Dear Readers!

    I echo documentation (you’re probably already doing this) and asking that administration file your concerns/documents in-house, preferably in the teacher’s file if one exists.

    Of course, there comes a point when things escalate so much that you might need to ask yourself if the school or that teacher is the best place/instructor for your child. If not, I hope you have options.

  • Hi everyone- I sent this question to a local School Board Member, Dr. Robinson and here’s her suggestions:

    “I’d say it all depends on what the “issues” concern. Are the parents asking for exceptions for their child? Are there concerns about preferential treatment of some children? Are there concerns about ethics or immorality or abuse? Or just plain old incompetence? The response would be different in every case. Hard to answer this one unless you know what the issues concern. The blanket response would be to follow the chain of command to discuss concerns. For HCS that would be conference with the teachers (you wouldn’t believe how many people skip this one), talk to the principal (another step they skip), contact the Director of Instruction for their school (Edith Pickens for Secondary, Cathy Vasile for P-8’s and some elementary, Helen Scott for Title I schools), contact Dr Barbara Cooper the deputy superintendent. If there is no resolution at any of those steps, they can go to Dr W or their local school board member. If the issues involve abuse, ethics or other serious violations, I’d say skip straight to the top and go to the superintendent.”

    Hope it helps!

  • First, as a former educational administrator, the best advice I can give (and it has been given here already) is DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Send emails, keep a record of when you call and how often, keep copies of notes and letters you send. This helps to prevent a he said/she said scenario down the road.

    Also, I agree with other commenters that the type of issues you are having matter a lot here. Likewise, what level of help are you asking of the teacher? Teachers can be wonderfully generous and sometimes we (parents) seem to expect them to always be willing to go above and beyond simply because it’s our child and so, OF COURSE, who wouldn’t?

    Provided what you are asking for is within a normal teacher’s duties/job description you should absolutely expect them to provide that assistance and if they don’t you need to complain. If you are asking for more than that, perhaps you need to have a heart to heart with the teacher and if they still can’t help, you talk to the next person up the chain of command.

  • I taught high school for 14 years and agree with the response that Lexie provided from Dr. Robinson. There is not enough information here to adequately provide an answer to this specific issue. As a general response, I would like to echo the “chain of command” path. Too often, parents get upset and go straight to administrators with problems that could be solved easily in a face-to-face meeting with a teacher. This inevitably puts the teacher on the defensive, which is not conducive to working out an issue. While email is convenient, nothing beats sitting down together as two human beings to talk it out. Tone and feeling get lost (or misconstrued) in email communication. I also agree having the counselor present is a great idea, especially if it is a non-academic issue. They have more training in social/emotional issues that most classroom teachers.

  • It’s certainly important to keep records of communication and events, but sometimes you’re on a one way trip downhill once you make a complaint. We tried to do all of the things suggested when we had problems at Jones Valley Elementary, but the principal wouldn’t help us, and the teacher began verbally and emotionally abusing our child in class to get back at us for complaining. When we found out what was happening we pulled our daughter out and began homeschooling her. I know that’s not an option for everyone, but it’s important to think about what you will/can do if the issue cannot be resolved or things get worse because you “rocked the boat.”

  • I agree with the advice to document everything. As a matter of fact, that is always a good idea in the case if a dispute. I don’t know the right answer here because as others have pointed out I would need more information about the specific problems so I will just say that you are your child’s beat advocate. It is up to you to follow your instincts about what is best for your child.

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