Monday, April 13, 2009

Going Head to Head

My daughter has a crappy teacher this year. A while back I posted about E being called out in front of the classroom because she supposedly used the word "brake" incorrectly in a sentence because she said "The brake on the scooter fell off." Or something to that effect. That was just a minor incident in our year from hell. We've had a lot of lovely things happening.

For example, E skipped 1st grade. She did this after taking a battery of tests and meeting with guidance counselors, the whole nine yards. On her tests last year, she passed with flying colors and then some. In both math and reading, she tested off the charts. So you would think 2nd grade math would not be all that challenging to her this year. Imagine my surprise when I got her 2nd quarter math assessment test and found out she was failing math. She was failing math because she had been taken out of the classroom during math to go to the gifted program for writing. Of course, the teacher never told me this, even though there were numerous emails and calls made to the school. I had to find out from E that she hadn't had a math lesson in several weeks. How is she supposed to learn how to do the math if she is not there for the lesson?

But it got better. There were several emails from her teacher that I couldn't even comprehend. There were sentence fragments, run-ons and lots of misspellings. I have several emails that never answered my one-sentence questions. It was like getting an email from a 5th grader. Because I can not be calm when it comes to all things E, I stepped aside and let Hubby go to the counselor to seek help dealing with the teacher. Even the counselor had no idea what the teacher was trying to say. We tried working with the teacher, but everytime we "complained" about something, E's seat assignment would be moved. She went from being with a group of kids, to sitting next to an EC kid with severe problems, to sitting totally alone in the classroom. She was never moved because of any sort of discipline problem, it just seemed like subtle punishment.

Collectively (and because of this) Hubby and I decided to keep our mouths shut unless something REALLY bad came up. We seemed to be doing okay. I started working with E on her math. There were some minor things, but we let them go and E was moved back into the seating arrangement of the classroom. But today as E was doing her homework, she insisted that her teacher had taught her to round up in measurements. If it was 1/2 inch, she was to call it 1 inch. You can imagine the problem with this. She labeled something on her homework as 4 inches when in reality it was 2. I ground my teeth and tried to think of how to handle this, but E got really upset with me. She thinks I am making her turn in her homework incorrectly and is afraid her teacher is going to yell at her. So, I decided I needed to step in. I emailed the teacher. I was very nice and gentle and used words like "E misunderstood what you said....could you please go over the concept with her again?" I tried very hard not to lay blame...but if E comes home tomorrow and tells me she's had her desk moved out into the hallway, you better believe you're going to be reading a news story on Yahoo about "Pastor's wife in a throw-down with Teacher!" I'm more worried that the teacher is going to tell me that she IS telling them to round up in measurement. Estimation, yes. True measurement, NO!

So anyway, here we go again. The thing that I hate about this is that I feel like I am throwing my teaching experience around. And maybe I am, but all of this really comes from a mama bear perspective. I think there needs to be some accountability. So, E's Mama Accountable.


Jeannie said...

It sounds to me like the teacher dislikes E for some obscure reason. Resents her or something. Poor kid. I don't understand how she could have been penalized for missing math classes. I'd be going over the teacher's head to the principal. Seriously. Try to set up a meeting with the teacher that includes a mediator. The teacher needs to be made accountable. Take copies of emails.

Anonymous said...

As long as no adult is actually making waves, this teacher rules and will do as she likes. Its so nice of you not to upset this teacher and make her feel bad for being a bully to a child. After all you can make this up to your daughter by telling her to follow mommys example of meekness and mildness while the bitterness eats away the lining of her stomach. Next year she'll even be even more used to adults in positions of authority that are always right no matter what they do and that she should learn to put her head down and accept what ever life hands her and basically give up because if her parents can't help her what can she do?

Anonymous said...

Wow, it is such a good thing you are getting out of this place. Seriously. This is crazy.

Academically, I'm not sure how the school is getting away with skipping E out of Math. That's a federal guideline and, gifted or not, they are breaking MAJOR laws by not teaching her math. MAJOR laws. So, given that fact, I am amazed that the teacher has the gaul to try to push you around. One well placed call to your local legal aid would shut that show down.

As for the subtle punishment, in that, you are kind of in a corner, especially if the principal backs the teacher up. I have seen friends of mine pull their kids out of the school system and homeschool because their kids were "targeted" in a similar way. There is little protection in that regard and since you can't be there all day, you can't really protect E from the subtle ways that the teacher may target her. That is sad.

It's all bad. I hope that her next school is better... have you had a chance to check it out yet?

Green said...

Some people are REALLY against kids skipping grades. It's totally common on the East Coast, where nobody sees any reason for it on the West Coast and they're 1000x more likely to hold kids back.

Here in SF, my friend's kindergartner's spelling NEVER gets corrected and the teacher apparently tells her to "just do 'kid writing'" even when the girlie ASKS how a specific word is spelled. Her mother has had to instruct her to go look words up in the dictionary instead.

It's like these teachers DON'T want kids to get smarter and learn.

Anonymous said...

I7d say screw the teacher AND the counciller and go right to the principal, vice principal, PTA, Board of Education and even threaten to go to the local press if these shenanagans don't stop.

When it comes to your kids, and more importantly the developmental years of your kids education, screw the community and your status quo. It might only be grade 2, but a kids opinion of education is formed early, and if she's too scared to rise against authority when it's wrong, and not encouraged to go for every grade point she can, she's going to have a poor opinion of work in general as she's going to soon see it doesn't matter what she thinks or how hard she tries nothing matters unless she pleases the person with the most power.

I'd have a throwdown with the teacher, keep track of all the events that lead up to your daughter being moved, make the teacher tell you, in writing or tape record any verbal meetings (tell her you're recording because it's illegal not to warn her in most places) get your daughter to talk about anything and even go back to the assignment with the "Bad break" and bring it up to the principal.

Your choice is to either be the mean mom, or let this woman walk all over your kid and any other kids that cross her path and rub her the wrong way.

Fight Fight Fight!

((There is also the added danger of not fighting in that if your daughter learns to keep her mouth shut to problems because you won't fight for her, when a really big problem arises, she might keep her mouth shut when she really shouldn't))

But then, if you think you'll be out of there soon, then yea maybe don't rock the boat, but certainly explain to your daughter that the teacher is wrong and bad but realize when the teacher picks on someone else, you could have been the one to stop it.