Parents, what would you do in this situation ?

My daughter joined the school chorus this year. She likes singing a lot.

She had her first performance today, for a grandparent’s day at school, so I was not allowed to attend, only grandparents. On Friday, the music teacher sent home a letter telling us that for performances the chidren should wear black or navy skirts or slacks.

My daughter didn’t have a skirt that color, but I had a lot of fabric that was navy blue, so I made her a navy skirt this weekend to wear.

At the time of the performance, the teacher told her that her skirt stood out because it wasn’t black, and that she must change it. The school nurse has extra clothes in her office so the music teacher called down for a black skirt and made my daughter go to the ladies room and change.

My little girl was embarrassed by the situation, since the teacher did all this in front of the rest of the chorus. She was also embarrassed because the skirt she had to put on was way too big and it dragged the ground. She was crying through the performance.

The teacher pulled the same thing when my son was in chorus last year and he felt awful too. And just like this time, he was wearing a dark pair of slacks.

I’m beginning to think that the teacher has it out for my kids, for some reason.

So, what should I do ? Should I call or send a nasty letter to the teacher ? Bring it up with the principal ? Fight the bitch ?

Or should I shut up and just run out and buy my daughter a black skirt for the next concert ?

My daughter told me that she doesn’t want to quit chorus, but she’s very upset with the teacher. She said that she is afraid that she will be yelled at by the teacher if I sent a letter.

What should I do ?

Help !

If the letter about what to wear said “or navy,” then there’s no way the teacher should be allowed to get away with that.

Arm your kid with a copy of the letter next time. And send a letter to the principal complaining about said treatment, with a copy of the teacher’s letter attached, the words “or navy” highlighted.

Screw “next time”. Head on up to the school right now!

I’m not a parent. But I’d call the teacher, tell her I’d like to make an appointment to discuss something, and then ask in person why the children were told that navy skirts were acceptable when in fact they weren’t. Then sit there silently until she answers.

The one thing I’d make sure of, though: was this fabric actually navy blue? If it wasn’t - if it was some other shade of blue - then the teacher was right, although perhaps she could have handled the situation a little more tactfully. Navy blue is a very dark blue, almost black, shade. Just make sure before you go and say something. You could still let her know her handling of the situation embarrassed your daughter.

I also think that one shopping day’s notice as to what clothes are required is absurd, and perhaps let the teacher know that next time more time should be given to parents to acquire the proper outfit.

According to the OP the letter came on Friday so she did have a weekend to get the skirt.

Still, the uniform requirements should have been sent out the first day of chorus, not last Friday.

How old is your daughter? To me that would make a difference.

The teacher’s behavior is very puzzling. Was your daughter really the only one in a navy skirt when navy and black were both specified? I can’t imagine she would stand out much even if that were true, at least not any more than wearing that huge skirt!

I would certainly talk to the teacher. Call her to get her side, or schedule a conference with her but don’t be confrontational about it. Assure your daughter that you are not going to embarrass her or yell at her teacher, you just want to find out what was wrong. Simply ask what the problem was, say something like “I thought the children could wear either black or navy as the instructions said, was I mistaken?” See if you can get the teacher to say exactly what was wrong with her skirt. Ask if anyone else had a navy skirt or pants. If the teacher does not answer satisfactorily to you then you can decide whether to talk to the principal or higher-ups about it. Maybe (hopefully) it is a misunderstanding.

I would also get your daughter a black skirt so she can feel comfortable at her next concert. The real issue is that your daughter likes chorus enough to stay even if she doesn’t like her teacher, hopefully she can still have a positive experience. I can understand her reluctance to bring up the issue if she just wants to be in chorus - kids usually don’t want their parents to raise a fuss even if they have been slighted. Even if you feel the teacher was unfair I would allow your daughter to decide if it is worth it to her to do something she enjoys even if her teacher is a moron :).

I really wish I could send the note with the performance costume requirement to the principal, but I threw it out after I read it.

My daughter is ten years old.

I would be lying if I said for certain it was navy blue. It was a very dark blue skirt.

I just don’t understand why the letter said one thing, but the teacher was so rotton to my daughter. My girl did say that all of the others had black skirts.

I just wanted to add that I had a similar experience with a drama teacher once where I felt like I was being treated unfairly. I brought it up to my parents and they agreed it was unfair and offered to talk to him, but I asked them not to. For me it was enough that I knew they were on my side and supported me and didn’t think I was making it up. I continued with drama and still had a good experience and was able to vent to them about it when I needed to. I think it helped teach me how to deal with people who don’t treat you fairly. I was in high school then though, so if your daughter is young it might make a difference if she is unable to stand up for herself.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck.

I’d say she had only Saturday OR only Sunday. If the letter came in on Friday, sensible people figure that people work, so the parent wouldn’t have gotten the letter until Friday night. Perhaps not opened it until Saturday.

Sensible teachers should also figure that some families might have religious activities planned on one of those days such that shopping isn’t part of the picture. Sensible teachers should also figure that parents with children make schedules in advance and can’t change everything to go shopping for one of them. Perhaps they are busy or have to budget for a new skirt or have four other children who have games and practices and lessons scheduled and they cannot just fit in a shopping trip at the drop of a hat.

Even two days’ notice to buy or make an outfit for a concert whose date was surely set a month earlier is not enough time.

Make some trouble anyway for two reasons. It lets your daughter know that you are looking out for her and wont let her be stuffed around and if the teacher does have some grudge against your kids it forewarns her that you are on the case. I think a meeting with the teacher and a pleasant chat about the “misunderstanding” with a quick mention of how easily children can be embarassedshould do the trick.

Even if the skirt wasn’t truly navy blue, the teacher should apologize to your daughter for making her so upset that she was crying. You can’t demand that the teacher do this. But when you meet with her, it would be good to angle part of the conversation toward that. And the apology shouldn’t be an announcement in front of the class, it should be private, so avoid further embarrassing your daughter.

Which is why I added that the uniform requirements should have gone out on the first day of school. (presumably weeks ago)
Since your daughter is ten she probably is still learning how to resolve conflicts.

Perhaps since all the other girls chose black, even though black or navy was deemed to be acceptable, the teacher chose to make her change. Perhaps, perhaps, your version of navy blue was not the same as the teacher had in her mind.

In any event your daughter can’t read her teacher’s mind and neither can you. Your daughter must learn how to confront her teacher. And by how I mean she doesn’t start crying or screaming. You should talk to the teacher with your daughter and simply ask why the skirt was unacceptable. If she says, “It wasn’t black” you then point how the letter said ‘black or navy’. The teacher probably doesn’t know she hurt your daughter’s feelings. I know you think she should, but she probably doesn’t. The teacher had to get a group of kids on stage and have them sing for the grandparents. There were probably 20 little dramas going on during this. The teacher, for some reason, thought your daughter’s clothes were a problem and she fixed it as best she could. The teacher probably thinks she saved your child embarrassment by changing her clothes to make her fit in better.

But I think this is an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate to your daughter how to resolve conflict in a constructive way. She should not go around thinking ‘the teacher has is it in for me’. This needs to be settled in an adult fashion.

This is the heart of it for me; even if the skirt was that obviously different from the other students, the way to handle it, I’d think, would be to put the child in the second row where no one would see her skirt, blue, black, purple, too big, too small or whatever. Even if this was a massive change from how it’d been in the past, it would’ve prevented calling the child out in public and embarrassing her to tears, and the whole skirt switcheroo which only made things worse. (Who gave her the skirt? When it was seen to be too big, why was she made to wear it? That person needs to explain themselves as well, IMO.)

Go to the administration. Take in all the facts, and ask what’s going to be done to a.) fix this for your daughter, who still feels badly and b.) make sure that nothing like this ever happens again, to your daughter or any other student. The obvious answer, to me, is a.) an apology from the teacher, the nurse and whoever else was involved in this escapade and b.) a directive from administration that the chorus teacher send these requirements much earlier and if she really wants black, she needs to specify black, or not penalize students when they (and their parents) take other options which have been presented to them, no matter how it “looks.”

Honestly, I think you’re blowing things out of proportion. I’m a parent. Both of my kids are a little younger than yours, and both boys, but they go to elementary school like yours. Granted, the teacher should have given you more notice. And there was some mixup on colors; I don’t really know who’s at fault there, but even if it is the teacher, she went out of her way to fix it. I don’t see why it’s so embarassing to tell your child she needs to wear a different skirt. The teacher has plenty of things to worry about organizing a bunch of ten year olds for a show.

Another thing; I know all of my kids teachers and see them once every week or two, so the idea of sending an angry letter seems weird to me. Have you ever met this music teacher? Personally, I think it’s important to keep a strong relationship with your kids teachers for a lot of reasons. Even the bitchy ones. In fact, especially the bitchy ones.

First, the letter should be sent at the very beginning of the year, so parents have an opportunity to shop for the proper concert dress.

But if the letter specified “black or navy” and the skirt was, indeed navy (not another shade of dark blue, but genuine navy blue) she should have been allowed to wear it.

I would schedule an appointment to meet with the teacher and the principal (it’s always good to have a witness, so no one can accuse anyone else of bullying or other shady doings) to discuss it. If you still have the letter, bring it. You might bring the skirt as well.

Go in with the attitude that you want to straighten out the misunderstanding, not that you want a wrong redressed. This can help you save face if it turns out you’re being unreasonable or misinterpreting things. And it also keeps the teacher from being defensive and possibly retaliatory in the future. Don’t make it personal on behalf of your child, but rather clearing things up because you thought you actually were doing what the teacher wanted.

At the meeting, you might want to address, as a side issue, the way the teacher handled it. No teacher should be allowed to embarrass a student in front of all the other students, and if the teacher upset your daughter, (s)he and the principal should be made aware of it.

Chorus is an extracurricular activity that your daughter has chosen to participate in, not an empire that this community college theatre reject was chosen to rule over.
People who work with pre-teens should always be extra sensitive to the delicate self esteem of children, and should especially never point out how someone in the group is “wrong” or “different” from the rest of the kids unless it directly involves disciplinary actions. I can recall similar humiliations at the same age and I still cringe at the memories. The only thing that rectified that situation was my parents involvement in exacting apologies and making me feel safe and looked after when I was powerless.

In other words, defeat this woman with all that you can muster. Call department heads, call administrators, call the school board, call anyone who will listen until you feel you’ve stood up for your daughter and assuaged her ignored dignity.

Oh right. Defeat the woman who is going to be teaching her child?

She might want to try dealing with the source of the problem first. That is usually the most appropriate and successful route and the one which will teach her daughter to be assertive rather than aggressive.

Certainly the teacher should have given you three or four weeks notice of the dress requirements. In my own opinion as a retired teacher, her failure to do so in a timely manner should have meant that she waived any color requirements at all. Further, a dress rehersal would have saved tender feelings. (Don’t expect a first day of class notification, however. The first two weeks of school can be utter chaos in some systems. There is a lot going on behind the scenes.) Don’t argue. Just be firm and pleasant and find out why the skirt you provided wasn’t suitable.

It would be a good idea to get to know the teacher anyway and to let her know that your daughter’s feelings are a little tender as are many children’s feelings at that age.

Naturally, monitors differ. The first quote and response are black. The next to paragraphs are navy. This is paragraph is in black again.

This is in “dark slate blue.”

This is just “blue.”

And this one is called “royal blue.”

I hope that helps a little.

seems like a few people here could use some time on a couch. “Crush that teacher! she reminds me of someone who made me cry as a child”

Let me add my voice to the few that have recommended going to the teacher to get clarification on a misunderstanding. Perhaps there is a chance your child has not represented the entire scenario as it played out. For example, not long ago I had an angry parent call my principal and send an angry note to me over sending her child to the nurse to change pants. The child went home and cried because she was “so embarrassed” to have had to wear the “school’s” pants during the day. However, the child neglected to inform the mother that she had fallen in the mud during recess, cried in class because she was “so embarrassed” to have muddy, wet pants in front of her friends, and that the school nurse had tried to call home for replacement clothes, but nobody was there.

In my opinion, going in with guns blazing to “defeat” :rolleyes: the teacher is a little premature until you’ve clarified the teacher’s reasoning and the entire situation from more viewpoints than that of a ten year old child.