It's decided, I can't stand my son's teacher

So, my daughter (now 15) had a string of the most godawfully bad teachers ever in existence (I could pit them for days on end and still never get enough vitriol out of my system! I mean, she went into Kindergarten able to read, write, and do simple math, but came out unable to do any of that at her level. It took her almost 3 years to get caught back up!!) but my son (now 7) has been lucky. Until this year.

For Kindergarten, he had * the most wonderful* teacher, Miss Shannon. I loved her. She was new enough to teaching to still be idealistic, but had been doing it long enough to be good. She loves kids, and she treated every one of her students (even the one I wanted to knock through the wall) with respect and love. I adored her, almost as much as her students did. My son went into Kindergarten barely able to do more than recognise the alphabet, but came out reading well above his grade level.

For First grade, my son had an equally awesome teacher, Mrs. McC. She has been teaching forever but still loves it. A few years ago (I found this all out from another teacher at the high school where my daughter goes), Mrs. McC’s teenaged daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Mrs. McC did not come back the next year. It was just too hard for her, with her loss and the community kept bringing it up by way of memorials at every school function. Her husband finally convinced her to come back to teaching, as she loves it so much. I am glad that he did, she is just about the most amazing teacher ever. One day, my son told me “mom, I cheated on my spelling test. When Mrs. McC wasn’t looking, I pulled out my list so I could look at this one word. I am so sorry.” I told him that he had to tell his teacher, and he was so scared (as young kids are) that I agreed to tell her, but he had to be there when I did. I started to tell her and he (my brave little man) spoke up and admitted what he had done. She hugged him and thanked him for being honest. He didn’t get in trouble. She values honesty above punishment – I appreciate that.

Fast forward to this year – his new teacher, Mrs H started off the year snotty. We walked in on registration day and she said, “Hi, I am Mrs. H, and who are you?” Niq replied “I’m Niq, nice to meet you!” Now, my son has been taught how to be polite, and I was quite proud of his response. However, there seems to be some rule that I missed whereby she expected a last name from him. She responded with (a very snotty) “Niq who? I have at least two Niqs in my class this year. Which one are you?”

Meh. I could have let this go, except. She has been snotty like this all along. Apparently, she’s not snotty to the kids, my son seems to like her well enough, but there have been minor annoyances that just bug me. At the Parents’ Night meeting, one parent asked about the spelling list on the board – it was completely different from the one that had been sent home. Were we all practicing the wrong list with our kids? Mrs. H laughed it off and said, “oh, no the one you have is right. I put the wrong list up. It’s not the first mistake I’ve made this year, and it probably won’t be the last.” :dubious:

She went on to talk about how when we call to let her know that our child will be absent (school policy) that we should never leave her a voicemail, but instead leave a message with the secretary up front, because she hasn’t figured out how to work her VM. :dubious: She has worked at this school for something like 10 years and still can’t figure out the VM? Uh, yeh, I feel real comfortable with her as a teacher.

The dealbreaker came last night. Each Thursday, she sends home an envelope with the previous week’s work in it. We get to look over the work, and sign the envelope to acknowledge that we saw it all. One of the items was spelling sentences. This paper is not graded, it is just a means to practice the week’s spelling words. The child is supposed to make up sentences using the spelling words. Remember that these kids are in second grade and their vocabulary is generally larger than their spelling abilities. (Well, at least in my son’s case!) Some of my son’s sentences included the following:
[li]Plese(please) tune that big pinao(piano) over there.[/li][li]He broek(broke) his littel(little) nose.[/li][li]Theyr(they’re) late for skule(school).[/li][/ol]
Now, I appreciate that the teacher will go through and correct the spelling of the non-spelling words, it does help to see where you have made mistakes. What pissed me off beyond words, and was the final dealbreaker was on sentence # 3.

“Theyr” was marked off and replaced with “Thier.” I am not joking here. No, it wasn’t a child that had corrected this, it was in red ink, in the teacher’s handwriting. WTF? First of all, my son was correct with his assumption of they’re, if not in his spelling of it. Grammar – it’s something a second grade teacher should know. Second of all, I am dyslexic as all get out and almost always mix up the ie/ei thing – I will even say the rhyme backwards, but when I see it in print, I know when it is wrong. So, not only did she correct his grammar incorectly, but she MISFUCKINGSPELLED her correction.

The more I think about it, the more this should go in the pit. Seriously. I want to say something to her, but I don’t want my son to have to put up with BS from her, and she does seem the type to take something like this out on the parents. If this were a graded paper, I would most definitely be saying something, but I just don’t know what to do.

I told my son that he was correct on the word, and went over the correct spelling of “their” for future reference. I re-iterated to him when to use each version of the word (there/their/they’re) but I don’t know what else I can do. Would you say something to the teacher or let it slide? We’re not even to the end of the first 9 weeks and this is already going on, would you be bothered or am I overreacting here?

One of the most important sentences I learned as a parents: “Whoops! See, we all make mistakes. Even dramatic whisper mommies and teachers make mistakes!” :eek:

I suspect this would have been a laughable mini-rant for any offense alone. My guess is that this woman is one of those people who go into elementary teaching because they’re not very good at relating to other adults. Unfortunately, she has to do that anyway. She made a horrible first impression with you, and so you’re understandably going to view everything in a negative light.

You mention your son doesn’t have any problems with her. I’d trust him. Keep an eye on things, check in with him often, but don’t make it your problem. IF his understanding of things starts slipping, then absolutely make a fuss. But he’s going to have to learn to work with rude people and ignorant people and learn how to learn from stupid people as well.

So yeah, again, keep an eye on things. But I don’t think you should break out the tar and feathers yet.

I don’t see the problem. I’d have simply gotten out my bright purple pen or thick, black Sharpie marker and corrected her error with no further comment.
(I actually did similar things when my kids got erroneous corrections.)

Yeh, this is kind of how I am looking at it right now. I agree that we all make mistakes and I think it’s great when a person can own up to them, but she seems to make more than her share. I only highlighted a few of the issues (and we’ve only been back to school for like 7 weeks!)

Like I said, since it was not a graded paper, I am not making an issue, but it still irks me beyond belief. As long as my son is getting the grades he deserves and is not having issues with this woman, I will keep my mouth (not my fingers, though!) shut and not say anything.

tomndebb – When my daughter was in grade school, one of the schools she went to was so bad that I would pull out my red pen whenever there was any correspondence from the school (newsletters, notices, etc) and correct the grammar and spelling and send it back to them. We’re not talking about hand-written stuff, we’re talking stuff done on computer – why people don’t use spell check, I will never understand!

I’d probably bring it in to the parent/teacher conference where you both could share a laugh about it. Then again, if this sort of thing keeps up, you have reason to be ticked.

There was a second grade teacher who had a misuse of an apostrophe on display in her classroom. This was pointed out by a friend whose son was in her class. Two weeks later, it was still on display. :rolleyes:

For the first time since kindergarten, I am grateful that my son has Mrs R. He’s doing well in 4th grade so far. And she’s already called me about a minor something that I am glad to be aware of. Good teachers are worth their weight in gold. Bad ones are just so…bad. Good luck this year. It may turn out better than you expect.

Oh, yeah, absolutely, vent away! Did I ever tell you about the time my son’s teacher played them the Alanis Morisette song “Ironic” to teach them about irony? Talk about ironic! I vented about it here and a bunch of other Dopers got in on the “what a doofus!” act, and in real life I let it go. It was enough to know that I was right and she was an idiot and correct my son’s mis-learning at home.

I blame Women’s Lib. Back in the good old days, when teaching was just about the only career open to women, a lot of really smart women went into the profession. Now that brainy women can do other things, the elementary teaching profession has been left to those who can’t deal with anyone or anything above a fifth-grade level.

(said very much tongue-in-cheek)

eleanorigby – true story. In the town where I used to live (which is still just a few miles from where I live) the Emissions testing center was directly across the road from the community college. There was a sign that had an arrow pointing towards the ETC that said “Vechicle Testing Center.” I used to giggle everytime I saw it thinking that I was just being my normal dyslexic self until one day I pointed it out to my husband why I giggled everytime we drove past that spot. He :eek: :smack: :eek: and then said, “Litoris, I know you’re dyslexic, but that sign is misspelled!” We got a good giggle out of it until one day, in a letter to the editor (the only one I have ever written, coincidentally – it was in response to a High School “teacher” who had written in some incoherent gibberish about how we need to teach xtianity in the schools), I mentioned the pitiful state of education in this town that a sign with a misspelling like that could be parked in front of the community college. It was replaced within a month or so, still, we counted the days to see if it would be replaced!

WhyNot – thanks. This is something about which I really needed to vent about.

Thudlow Boink – it may be tongue-in-cheek, but sadly it may be true. As a side note, one of the people I went to school with who was not anyone I would ever think would be a good teacher now teaches at our Alma Mater. Seriously, she sent out a bulletin on Myspace the other day, encouraging people to read her blog, because “it’s adorable.” A high school teacher. Wants people to read her blog. Because it’s adorable? :dubious: yeh.

Litoris, I feel your pain. My son is going through a similar experience right now: his teacher cannot write to save her life - the sentences she strings together are very difficult to follow, she has no understanding of proper apostrophe use, and she wrote a formal note to the class telling them she feels “priviledged” to teach them.

Moreoever, her personality is a terrible fit with my son: she is constantly writing nasty little notes to him. (“Pay attention!” “You should have asked me if you don’t understand the material!” and so forth.) At the same time, she is unbearably cutesy and touchy-feely: she uses STUFFED ANIMALS in a class with fourth graders. My son hates to go to school every day, and that makes me sad.

Our son is in 4th grade and this is the first time he’s had a bad teacher. My feeling is that we can be sympathetic to him, but he must learn to grin and bear it. The message we give him: We expect him to be gracious (if not falsely enthusiastic), to pay attention, and to do his best even if the teacher drives him nuts. When he grows up, he’ll have co-workers, in-laws, and all kinds of people he must get along with even though they rub him the wrong way.

With a second grader, it would be much harder to keep out of the way. That’s too young to be expected to endure a bad teacher! So thank goodness your son likes the teacher. You can just hope her poor grasp of English doesn’t do any damage.

I so feel your pain. Like I said, I learned to pick my battles, thanks to my daughter having had such bad luck with the teachers she did in grade school. I taught her exactly what you are teaching your son (and coincidentally, what I am teaching my son) – to be the better person.

I would suggest keeping up with all the crap that woman is doing, and turning it over to the principal at the end of the year. You might be surprised. I actually ended up getting my daughter’s kindergarten teacher to lose her tenure over a stunt she pulled (when I sent a note asking her if there were any reason she could think of that my 5 year old child would be calling herself stupid, she took her out in the hall and yelled at her for “telling your mother I called you stupid, you’re just a little liar.”) – but because of how extreme the situation was, I waited until the end of the year, showed the principal the entire year’s worth of correspondence and also my daughter’s test scores from before she started Kindergarten and after she left – she was reading on a 1st grade level going in and on a preschool level coming out. The teacher kept her job, but lost her tenure. She eventually did lose her job because she pulled the same crap with other students the next school year. If not for my anal retentiveness, she would have had tenure and still been retarding children.

Litoris, nothing that she’s done so far sounds especially heinous. You’ve posted on other threads that you don’t much like other people in general. I agree with WhyNot. If your son likes her and is learning well, don’t let your personal dislike of her become an issue.

Okay, this is not cool, and if it happens again, I’d be worried. As the wife of a second grade teacher, though, I can understand how the teacher would do this accidentally, especially if she was grading the papers at the end of the day. Your brain is pretty well fried by that point. Again, not an excuse, just a possible explanation.

Actually, there’s a lot of truth to this. If you give a damn about it, teaching is hard work. People who stay in the profession tend to do so because they genuinely love learning and children, or because, while the pay isn’t great, it’s a steady job with state benefits. It’s incredibly hard to fire bad teachers.

burundi – you are correct, I don’t like people, but as I responded to WhyNot, I am not making an issue of this because 1) my son does seem to think she’s ok and 2) it was not a graded paper.

Teaching is very hard work, if you give a shit. Unfortunately, this woman doesn’t seem to give a shit. Like I said, I’ve only highlighted a few of the things. No, the things are not heinous. Even as a group, the things I have mentioned in this thread are not heinous, but trust me, at 7 (maybe 8) weeks into the school year, she has gone beyond the realm of “wow, she’s got some quirks.” I am not being flippant when I say that I have begun to wonder if the woman has some kind of mental health issue or addiction – the mistakes, comments and general behaviour is worrisome to me.

I am ticked, not about my son being corrected, but about him being corrected so completely incorrectly. I mean, if she had made a simple mistake like thinking perhaps he meant to say “their bus is late” I could have overlooked it, but the combined issue of it being the wrong word and misspelled to boot? No, sorry, no quorum from me.

Like eleanorigby said, the good teachers are worth their weight in gold, the bad ones…words can’t describe.

That’s tough. I’m certainly not trying to defend bad teachers; heaven knows, I’ve suffered through my share of them. I hope your son manages to have a good year in spite of her.

Thanks! Second grade is tough on the smart kids, it’s not really any new material, and so much is review that the smart kids tend to get bored. Fortunately, AR (the accelerated reading – don’t know how widespread this is, I can answer questions if you don’t know what it is) is being pushed more this year at his school, so that helps. The kid is a reading machine. I think his reading level according to the tests is already at like 2.6, which is pretty good for the first of the year for a boy. We are buying him books left and right and he is eating them up. Hopefully, he can just keep his nose in a book and make it through.

That’s something my husband is really struggling with right now. He has such a wide range of abilities in his class, from “smart as a whip” to “dumb as a box of rocks.”* Being a smart kid himself, he knows how frustrating it is to be bored at school. And of course, when they’re bored, they get squirrelly. He’s trying very hard to find ways to reach out to the smarties so he doesn’t lose them.

*My words, not his. I don’t know what kinds of learning disabilities, problems at home, etc, these kids might have. They might be perfectly bright and just have difficulties for some reason. I just know that a lot of them can’t spell “one.”

Yeh. You know, as bad as it sounds, the best way to keep the smarter kids interested is to give them more work. When I was in grade school, my mother would just go in the first day and say “look, you need to either give Litoris twice as much work as the other kids or deal with the fact that she will be bored an doing one of the following: writing mirror image, reading, talking, singing, wandering around, mocking you, drawing or throwing things at random people.” All of those things were things that I had gotten in trouble for doing. Boredom is not a good thing for little kids, keep the smart ones so busy they don’t have time to get bored.

No need to apologize for this. Teachers use the same terms, believe me! My description of my 1st period Government class to my wife was “They are a bunch of amoral thugs.” But they are my amoral thugs, and an absolute ball to teach! :smiley:

How about, bad teachers are worth their weight in (getting rid of) nuclear waste?

What’s wrong with this? At least she’s acknowledging that she makes mistakes. I’d have hated it if someone had said would never make a mistake–I mean, how do you know?

The their/thier thing is pretty disturbing. I could see if you were typing too fast and “their” becaome “thier.” But when you’re handwriting something as basic as the word “their,” it seems a lot less likely that you’d make a mistake like that.

Zoggie – it’s not 1 thing or the other, it’s all of them together. Like I said, owning up to one’s mistakes is great, I prefer that to the alternative, but she seems to make a lot of them. It’s like a bad employee who says “we’re all human, don’t you ever make mistakes” everytime they screw up. How many times are you going to agree and smile and be happy that they admitted their mistake? In the end, she is my employee, only one that it is exceedingly difficult to fire. The amount of careless mistakes she is making worries me. I would have put a workplace employee on probation by now for this kind of carelessness.

I really don’t want to go into the whole list of issues thus far, because it is quite numerous, the ones I listed already are just those that peeved me the most, as they were more careless than the others. The other stuff she is screwing up are things that I can honestly just say “eh, I could make that kind of mistake easily.” Like sending home a sheet talking about her goal for the students with the AR program, but failing to fill in the actual goal (I asked my son what his goal was, as it is usually based on points, he didn’t know – when I sent a note asking the teacher, she said “oops, sorry. I told the kids, they’re supposed to read 8 books.” Maybe she did tell the kids, my precious little snowflake, unlike some, does actually forget things, big deal.) – so, a form letter without the blanks filled in = a big meh from me. But hanging the wrong spelling list up in your classroom and having it still there for parents’ night = a big WTF? from me. YMMV on what irks you the most.

Pygmy Rugger – yes!