I had a difficult child moment with difficult child's teacher

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mattsmom27, May 4, 2007.

  1. mattsmom27

    mattsmom27 Active Member

    difficult child's teacher called again the other night. Turned into a very frustrating 45 minute conversation. I swear I just wanted to stick a sock in her mouth. I had a difficult child moment, several even, I was extremelly irritated, angry, disappointed and frustrated beyond belief with his teacher.
    Ok, so when difficult child moved home with me back at end of November, for the first time EVER he was failing, his report card came home 2 days after moving home and he had a 35% average. At March break his 2nd term report came back and he'd pulled himself up since living home to a 67% average. I was so impressed that difficult child managed this while also managing to maintain positive behaviours, adjusting to living back home, death of his uncle at Christmas time, some painful learning experiences about grandmonster #1 and #2 and about bio-dad. Now difficult child indeed DOES need to do something about getting organized, not procrastinating on assignments, bringing his agenda home to be signed every day from school etc. To me, this needs to improve but is small potatoes compared to old difficult child issues. He is making progress, slow but steady. As a mom who is learned to really appreciate the hard work difficult child has done to make great changes, they are super small potatoes.
    Not to the school. NOTHING will satisfy this school. Because difficult child is very intelligent, his main teacher and the principal continue to call his current B- grades "sub-standard based on difficult child's intellectual capabilities". Ok, they have a point, to a degree. difficult child, in another world, maybe just another time (baby steps, he's getting there) he could be a straight A student. However a person is not only made up of intelligence but also emotional capabilities, mental, etc etc. I have tried over and over to help the school understand that difficult child has made huge strides, and that rather than pointing out over and over that difficult child "could get better grades because he is smart enough", perhaps they could try encouraging difficult child to continue the current path and praise him to a degree for the progress he has made. I believe that it is working at home, that approach is building difficult child's very low self esteem and confidence and helping him try a little harder than normal, thus the huge improvement in his grades.
    So anyhow, I get this call from his main teacher. She was all over the place and after about 5 minutes where she basically ragged about difficult child "compared to other intelligent boys in the class" I stopped her mid sentence and asked her to please explain the actual point/reason for her call since she was all over the place and I was unsure what the purpose of the call was about. Was difficult child in trouble? Is he being difficult? Acting inappropriatly? Late assignments? Incomplete homework? Well no, not at all. The problem? "difficult child is capable of much higher grades and we are tired of watching him not work to his potential and continue to hand in work that is not reflective of his true capabilities". HUH???? This AGAIN? I had just had it with this teacher.
    I told her difficult child was working harder than he has since he was very young. He is not happy in this school and is not encouraged by the school in any way, nor are his efforts acknowledged in any way. Rather he is being discouraged by constant comments from teacher and principal that he is "capable of more" and that what he does is never good enough. Self esteem and confidence are addressed as serious issues in difficult child's IEP, and there are tools in the IEP that are effective with difficult child to help with these areas. I told her that difficult child often comes home with a new assignment and once completed with my approval after I check the work, he will tell me that "Mrs. M and Mrs.J are just going to say that this isn't good enough anyhow, I shouldn't even bother". This has gotten worse from him the harder he tries. He has a assignment due today that is a fairly large one. He put quite alot of work into it, more than any assignment all year. He told me he bets it will just be criticized. Sadly he is right, he will be.
    difficult child's teacher refused to believe that it wasnt' "helpful to push difficult child with this technique which will help him reach his true potential". Are you kidding me? He put alot of effort into this assignment to make a point, that it still wont' be enough for this woman. She'll still want "better". He has such a loathing of school at this point and is counting days till school ends because he'll switch to high school next year and away from this teacher and principal.
    Well the teacher carried on and on and I asked some hard hitting questions. She had no responses, got defensive, starting listing all of the things she's "gone out of our way to do for difficult child". I finally got so ticked off I asked if she was done now, because if she would quit repeating the same opinions over and over just in different words, perhaps I could respond. She shut up. Thank God. I explained again how it was in fact harming difficult child and was unacceptable to put difficult child down for his work and that it was making difficult child feel like a "loser". It was embarassing him in front of his peers and that in turn was making him angry and definitly is not goign to provoke more efforts from him to satisfy her of all people when he now sees her as someone who will never be content.
    Then came a big issue that I'd been unsure of how to handle but had to be dealt with. This teacher is acting principal when principal is away. In her place is a teacher that used to be MY teacher when i was a student at this school as a child. This guy has humiliated difficult child often in class. He was asked the definition one day of a certain type of angle in math class. He'd missed the previous class due to being at pediatrician for his hand tremors. He told the teacher he did not know the answer. This teacher snapped at difficult child (in front of entire class) that if he can't figure out the definition of a simple angle in grade 8 math, perhaps he won't be progressing to grade 9 at all" then he went further and said "it's bad enough you got expelled last June from the last school with how many suspensions? How often were the police there for you? How many times did family kick you out? When will you learn" etc. difficult child walked out of classroom and left school and came home to me in tears. He was suspended for leaving grounds. Nothing was done regarding the teacher. He continues on tirades like this pertaining to difficult child. So this came up talking to main teacher during this call. I told her what the heck do you want from a 14 year old boy? Why does he even have a IEP? Because certainly you do not treat your special needs students as "individuals", that all kids are obviously meant to be straight A, perfect children who hand in top notch work every time. I asked if there was room in her school for students who are a work in progress and who need "individual" consideration. If not, I recommended that perhaps her and I attend the school board office to see head of Special Education department and explain the director how her school is incapable of balancing the needs of students academically, emotionally, behaviourally etc.
    I was ticked off everyone. This school gets away with humiliating my son in front of the classroom, nothing is done about it. I told the school difficult child has my permission any time this particular teacher crosses that line to public humiliation and violating school policy by stating confidential student information in front of other students (ie. talking about difficult child's history at old school in front of class), to just walk out of that class room. Originally it was that he was to quietly walk out rather than act out (ie. telling teacher where to go), go to office and speak with principal or acting principal (difficult child's regular main teacher) about what just happened. Well quickly difficult child realized he had no voice in that office, that it doesnt matter what the teacher says, he is to shut up and deal with it, and if he was being the A student he is smart enough to be, he wouldn't hear comments like that. So our deal switched to just walk out and walk home when this teacher does this. If I force difficult child to listen to that I am first sending him a message this is ok, it is NOT. And second, difficult child is going to blow up and end up out of control either swearing and screaming at teacher or throwing something or whatever. Not fair to set difficult child up that way. And I don't agree with this teacher even being in a classroom, let alone being allowed to continue acting this way.
    This school will never get it. I at one point told the teacher to lose the condescending tone because I am not some intimidated pre-teen sitting in her office to be scolded, I was her peer and she should speak to me as such or we could try the conversation another day when she was willing to treat a students parent with dignity and respect. At one point I told her that for a Catholic school supposedly basing their teachings on Christian values, I am stunned they continue to refuse to practice what they preach and teach by example in their treatment of students. I was told difficult child is 14 years old, he is a man now, he should be challenging himself. I told her 14 is a "young" man, not a grown mature woman such as herself with restraint that comes with maturity. I told her she would quit a job where she was treated like she was no good in all of her work, but difficult child is a child with no power at school and in my mind humiliation and constant negative messages was a abuse of that power. I told her that it IS a challenge very single day for difficult child to walk into that school and hear things like he isnt' good enough, his work isn't good enough, he "could be" a good student if he only produced more, did more, gave more, etc. I said it is a challenge every day for him to not tell you all to go to hell and refuse to ever walk back in the door to her school. I told her it is a challenge everyday and testement to just how hard difficult child is working to do well that he continues to show up and do work at all. Given difficult child's behaviour history she is lucky that he is at this point maintaining himself out of respect for me, but definitly not out of respect for her or the other staff at this school. God, I was boiling.
    Yes, I turned difficult child. I finally told her look, if difficult child beats someone up, fails to do homework, is swearing or breaking school code, call me. That we have to deal with each other for 2 more months until summer break and that I would not listen anymore to how difficult child isn't living up to "her standard" and finished by saying that I especially won't listen anymore to those in glass houses who throw stones. She said she was confused and didnt' know what was meant. I told her well I happened to read about one of her children on a MSN conversation and perhaps she best use her energys at home for some positive intervention before her 13 year old girl gets herself pregnant. God, that was below the belt for me, I dont' feel proud of myself. But there it was just sitting in my wealth of information (ammunition?) about what is actually going on amongst the other students in difficult child's school, including her children. I then stated that perhaps when her and her husband go out for an evening she might install some computer cams to catch what is happening because difficult child wasnt' at the party at her home but alot of other students were, and perhaps her husband should check for diluted liquor in his cabinet etc. I asked if it would be appropriate for me to spread this info around to humiliate her daughter and her personally? Of course not,and I was woman enough never to do it. COuld she start using some common sense with my child in return. I hung up.
    I crossed a line, I was pushed but it doesnt' make it okay. I am counting the days along with difficult child till this school year is over. I said more, she said more, it is just much along the lines of all I typed already. By the end both of us were beyond frustrated and angry. I don't like her, I could care less if she likes me. I have worked with this school, difficult child has worked with this school, but when does it become their job to work back with us?
    Argh! I thought I was over losing my cool with people in situations like this. Even worse, this call was after school and difficult child came in during the middle of the call and got an earful of the conversation, from my end anyhow.

    *deep breaths* Just a vent!
     
  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I am sorry you were pushed to that extent, but I think you made a valid point to the teacher. It will be nice when difficult child is in a different school next year.
     
  3. lordhelpme

    lordhelpme New Member

    gee i don't know what to say to all that! some teachers see students not living up to potential as a failure on there part. sounds like some of this is her ego.

    now i wouldn't have brought her kids into it the way you did but boy she does need to look at home. i'd be mortified to know that my kids personal life was all over the internet like that!

    i just hope this gave her a wake up call and that she doesn't take it out on difficult child.

    {{HUGS}} i think we all have had our share of difficult child moments with-schools, i know i have!
     
  4. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I was in a similar situation and now am homeschooling for the rest of this year for exactly the same problem. You are my hero, wish I had your rant on tape. My only concern is if the teacher would retailate against your child. You made so many thoughtful and true comments.
     
  5. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Sorry it's so hard for your difficult child at school. I'll be one to say congrats to your difficult child for coming so far and working so hard to improve. Going from a 35 to a 67 in a 4 month period is amazing to me. He deserves praise for that, which in my opinion will encourage him to do even more. To me, a child's "potential" is the best they can do with the situation they're in at the time, and with all your difficult child is overcoming from the last year, I think he's doing pretty well. :bravo:

    My difficult child is one who does not do school work up to his potential according to their tests and IQ tests etc., and I know how smart he actually is. But on his report card his marks go from 60s in Social Studies and Fine Arts (not turned in homework mostly) to 88 in math. He told me the other day he had the highest mark on a grammer test in his class (87). So going from 67 on his report to 87 on a test, you know some potential isn't being lived up to :rofl:. But to me, with all the troubles we've had in the past, and difficult child's feelings on school in general, having him going every day and not getting sent home and actually getting half-decent passing marks in everything is a HUGE difference to a few years ago. We're working on turning in homework on stuff he doesn't like to do, and maybe his marks will eventually reflect his "potential" but for now I'm happy.

    I am totally behind you on your rant to the teacher, well except for her kid part, I do agree with you that maybe that was a bit over the line but don't really blame you. I might have gone there as well. I don't know how you can get them to see that constantly telling someone it's not good enough will not encourage them to do better. It only makes a person say why bother trying, nothing I do will be good enough, just as you and your difficult child said. When someone has their mind set that way, differing opinions go in one ear as blah blah blah, and right out the other. I hope he can work throught he rest of this year and keep doing as well as he has, don't let the teacher get him down, and good luck on next year.

    I don't know how you feel about it, but I'm kinda :smile: :faint: difficult child made it to HIGH SCHOOL!! <span style='font-size: 8pt'> Oh no, high school :eek: :crazy2: </span>
     
  6. mum2JK&TH

    mum2JK&TH New Member

    :smile: I'm speechless!

    But knowing what some of our "Catholic" schools are incapable of...

    You Rock Mum!!!!! :bravo:

    We had similar issues with difficult child's old school. I actually had to recheck where in Ontario you were, such similarities with teacher, lol. Got him the heck outta there and wow what a difference. Still sounds like you handled it better than I would have and I have to agree...

    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
     
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Good for you for standing up to this teacher. Never praising a kid for their effort and instead just always expecting more and more is just setting them up for failure. It IS possible to praise the effort AND let them know that they are aware of his potential without making him feel like a loser. If I were you, I'd send a certified letter addressing these issues, highlighting what is in the IEP and letting them know that if a teacher at the school ever again publicly discusses confidential information that you will be contacting an attorney. I don't know the laws in Canada, but they aren't allowed to do that here. Parents aren't even allowed to view the video footage from the high school security cameras because of student confidentiality.

    difficult child's 3rd grade guidance counselor told me that, "[difficult child] doesn't have a problem, Heather. You do." This was after she had spent...hmmm, oh, that's right...ZERO time with difficult child. I knew, this being a small town and all, that her son had sold a deadly combination of OTC and illegal drugs to a high school student who died from them. While, I think that as a guidance counselor she does more harm than good (and not just from this one incident, but from years of history with her), I wondered if as a mother she carried a lot of guilt and was transferring some of that in some way.
     
  8. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    (is nobody looking?)

    ^5!

    I've been there. Two times in my life have I lost control, each time protecting one of the kids, each time letting loose like I though I was not capable of doing. And when it was all said and done, there I sat, shaking, saying to myself, "who was THAT?"

    Sometimes, ya need to say it. You just HAVE to let it fly or you will explode.

    It's all good. She'll get over it.
     
  9. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Don't bait the mama bear!!!

    Seriously, this school (and many schools) really need to read up on gifted education and gifted kids. I just had a similar conversation with someone else.
    Do you know that a LOT of gifted kids wind up dropping out of high school? With this kind of "pushing" it's no wonder why.
    And if your son doesn't ever get to his "potential"? So what, it's just as important that he's happy! Someone riding him continuously isn't going to do that, either.

    The best thing we did for NL was to pull him from his gradeschool and send him to a private school for gifted but Learning Disability (LD) kids. It was extremely expensive, and we had to really sacrifice to do it, but it helped him emmensely. I wish he could have continued there, but his biodad refused, even though I was paying all the tuition.
     
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

  11. Luminosity

    Luminosity New Member

    My parents pulled my brother and sister out of Catholic school for similar reasons but my brother and sister are not difficult child's. I have a feeling it is the same school but not sure. Can you home school for the rest of the year? Can you pull him and have him do correspondence or independent study? If it's the school I think it is can you move him to the public school just up the street? A friend of mine that lives in the same city you do drives her boys to a totally different area to the school we went to as kids because of both the Catholic and Public grade schools bad reputation. I am proud that you stood up to them. I would have done the same. Her step daughter unfortunately has to go to the Catholic school and they have a miriad of problems as well. I am sorry you had to go through this after your tests etc.... it was the last thing you needed.

    Luminosity
     
  12. ROE

    ROE New Member

    It sounds to me like you told her what needed to be said. I have no knowledge of how private schools operate or if the school system in Canada is much different than the U.S. I think how they are treating your son is inexcusable. They should be held accountable for following his IEP. Can you go over her head to a director or Supt., if need be, to get through the rest of the year?

    Over the years I have had several issues with different personnell for different reasons-inappropriate, unprofessional comments, failing to maintain confidentiality etc..I have always confronted the offender one on one, first of all to verify the accuracy of difficult child's account. When they confess to it, and they have, I let them know sternly but calmly how I feel and that I
    expect it to stop. Lucky for me, I have never had to go anyone's head. Twice I lost my cool-once with a teacher and a GC in my difficult child's middle school. I smoothed this one over, I did not agree with her but I politely agreed to disagree. He had several months left in this school before he would move on. Even though she was driving me crazy all year, I felt that I did come on a little strong. Second time was this year, I was called to a school "conference" which was little more than a difficult child bashing session. The GC was condescending and argumentative. The more I thought about it later the more I believed he was trying to set difficult child off -but difficult child didn't go off. I did. I found myself saying, "I don't appreciate the fact that I am raising my voice to you (and getting louder by the second)in response to you raising your voice to me." It all went down hill from there...I was never so angry with a staff member before. Afterward, I thought about it over and over do I owe GC an apology? I decided No, I believed every word that I said to him. I have had to talk to GC since, we managed to be civil but I do try to avoid him.

    The hair on the back of my neck stood up when I read how the substitute teacher has been treating your difficult child. It's completely unprofessional and INEXCUSABLE. If confronting the teacher about his behavior did not put a stop to it, I'd go right to the top (since it sounds like the next step-acting principal is useless). This person should not be allowed to teach. GRRRR.

    As far as the personal comments about the teachers own child. I wouldn't feel too badly about it. You probably did her a favor, it sounds like information that she needed to know.

    Hopefully, your difficult child will get through the next couple of months without any more hassles from the school. If the teacher has an ounce of common sense, she will listen to the message you so clearly portrayed...BACK OFF.

    Next year will be a fresh start.
     
  13. mattsmom27

    mattsmom27 Active Member

    Thanx all for not beating up over my little hissy fit with the teacher. I think I'm going to just hold my tongue and hope that things smooth over for difficult child's sake, but if there is a single additional incident I plan to march into the school board office and speak to the head of Special Education myself.
    Luminosity, this school must not be the one you are thinking of as there is no public school on the street, however I do think I may know what school you are thinking of LOL.
    It is shocking to learn how much people can relate to this as they have experienced similar things at their kids schools. I find it appalling and unacceptable. I can accept teachers are only human and might blow it once it in a while, lose their cool, behave as humans instead of "professionals". This however goes beyond that. :frown:
    Well as I said, hopefully this put the school on notice that for the next 2 months I expect a different approach to be used. If not, well I made it clear what the next step would be for me, and it doesn't include a single further conversation at the actual school level with any in school staff.
     
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