Substitute teacher holds difficult child's past against him

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Andy, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Ugh Ugh Ugh - Scream Scream Scream -

    I think I posted about a month ago about a substitute teacher who told difficult child that because of his behavior last Spring she could not believe anything he said and refused to even figure out what was going on. She automatically blamed and yelled at difficult child! I talked to him and told him that she does not know how he has changed and that many people will take time to be able to trust that what they are seeing now is what they are getting. He has the advantage that many people saw the kid he was before last year's episode so they know he can be good. This substitute teacher had also taught him before last year so should know better.

    She was a sub again today. As I was leaving the school (difficult child had already left to walk to bowling) I asked if she had noticed the difference in difficult child. "No, I haven't seen any difference." I told her that he is more respectful and does not lie or behave like last Spring. She looked at me with such disbelief, "He was disrespectful today!" I told her that he is like any other kid in his behaviors and that he was upset that she used his past against him last month. "Oh no! I would never do that!" "Yes, you told him that because of his past history that you would not believe him or listen to what he had to say." "He did not call E a name." "Oh yes he did!" "I am sure he did not and if he did, she had a part in getting him going." Sub shakes her head "No she did not and that is all I am going to say" I closed the conversation with, "Don't ever use difficult child's past behavior against him."

    I am so upset! If he really was behaving like she is saying, I know his current teachers would be talking to me about it. Her behavour toward me was screaming loud and clear that difficult child is a troublemaker and that she is looking for opportunities to put him in his place.

    I did ask difficult child how today went and he said fine. I asked if she got after him for anything and he said "no".

    I hope the school will not need her services very often. So much for giving her the benefit of the doubt last time!
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think you should notify the principal of this and if he's on an IEP, call an iep meeting to make issue of it, too, and get something in his iep about teachers needing to deal with him in positive ways not negative ways. That might sound extreme, but more and more, I think about some things I KNOW teachers said and did and difficult child still periodically reveals more about some things that transpired when he was in elementary school, but I was too trusting and timid to deal with it then. Knowing what I know now, I would never tolerate it without making some stink over it.

    Chances are, the principal, if he/she is any good at all, has NO idea that these things are happening. If the principal does know and doesn't care or doesn't put a stop to it, then I'd send a certified letter to higher ups and copy the principal.
  3. Jena

    Jena New Member

    I totally agree also. Obviously this teacher has it out for him, and does not like him. They say, whomever they are that teachers dont' do that and that's just a bunch of bull. There are alot of amazing teachers out there, yet there are others with whom are not capable of staying professional. I went through this experience last year with difficult child's teacher who lost her cool on more than one occassion.

    As far as the rest of it is concerned, id' make sure that somehow someway you are notified when this particular sub is subbing in the school. I'd also talk to the principal about it, besides the modification on the iep and calling the mtg. as klmno said just to state that this teacher has no place in his classroom and that "her" being there for just one day could strongly affect his progress.

    ugh also
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think I broached this in an iep meeting (where the principal attended) by saying that it cast a shadow on the teachers that were not that way and that did handle things appropriately. I also had 1 or 2 teachers names ready to brag on and put good words in for. I think it helped them see that not only was I trying to help all the kids and the school as a whole, but by giving examples it seemed to emphasize how wrong this really was. And, the bigger point is that it is not effective in getting our difficult child's to improve things, it actually sets them back.
  5. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    Let me just start out by saying that I have nothing against subs AT ALL. However, like was stated above, there are some are more amazing than others. My difficult child's IEP screams REWARDS and POSITIVE reinforcement because it works. In our school aparantly the principal does not inform subs of IEP/BIPs (much to my dismay) and not all are trained for positive reinforcement (or naturally gravitate to that). Ah heck, I'm not usually like that either!! Oh just lost my train of thought...

    Maybe she just doens't notice the little things like we parents do. (I see change in my difficult child when others don't.) Or maybe she doesn't expect to see any changes and gives off that type of "vibe" when your difficult child is around so he's not showing her those changes (like she doesn't deserve to see the good in him) Ok this all sounds pretty stupid to me!!

    Anyway, I think you should talk to his regular teacher and pricipal and see if they can arrange a meeting with- her so that you all can talk it out. If there is a chance that she'll continue to be teacher in his class, it's worth getting everything on the table. If the regular teacher and other staff see the changes then why can't she?
  6. ML

    ML Guest

    I think it would help if you were notified when she would be subbing if at all possible. That we he could be prepared. The good part is that difficult child truly is doing better and the regular teachers see it and that's what matters most. Hugs, ML
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Thank you! I love how Nancy reminded me of the difference between positive and negative. Last year when this year's teacher asked me how she could help (she taught Math and Science and Computer). I did tell her to use positive discipline or teaching methods.

    His homeroom teacher last year was the best person for him in that situation. I was very nervous about this year's teacher (the math/science/computer) because difficult child had decided he couldn't stand her. They are getting along great and she tries so hard to teach and deal with him where he is at. I think this sub is "old room" teaching. She didn't want to take the time to figure out what happened.

    difficult child is part of a very small day school. 21 kids Kindergarten through 6th grade. Two teachers for 1st - 6th. The teachers each have their subjects that they teach to all the kids (one teaches every science class, one teaches every reading class, ect.) They work really hard to not take days off. They are not gone very often.

    difficult child does not have an IEP. Last year he would have needed it if he was in a public school (or maybe even another school). However, these teachers work with me to meet his needs. They accept my input on how to handle him and look for ideas to present to me. They are very creative thinking outside the box type people.

    We do not have a principal. My husband is school board chair.

    I will know each morning if she is subbing and will keep very close tabs on difficult child. He told me that she was fine today so whatever it was she confronted him about must have been minor or he would have called me. I am sure it was everyday kid behavior that he corrected with her direction. If it was a major issue that he didn't want to tell me about, I would assume that it is the teacher's responsibility to inform me. So, no visit from teacher and no news from difficult child - Sounds like a no need to worry about.

    I also like how Nancy referred to "Vibe". difficult child really is very sensitive to "vibes" and he isn't very tolerant of anyone that "clashes" with his "vibe". He will definetly make life harder than it needs to be if he doesn't feel comfortable. It doesn't help if that person can't deal with it positively.

    Thank you again. You have all given me more food for thought to continue forming the words/view points I will need to take in preparation for her next sub at our school.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    What really cheese me off with people like this (they could be teachers or not; full-time, part-time or subs) is that they DO NOT treat the kids with respect, but do require to be treated with respect. They also change the definition of "respect" depending on who they're dealing with.

    Go back and re-read what she said to you and how you spoke to her. Play it over again in your mind. Now mentally put her age back a few decades so she is 10 years old, and put yourself in a position of authority (maybe in her shoes as she is now). How would she, the teacher she is today, have responded to her attitude and words coming form a ten year old?

    In other words, how true to her own standards is she?

    What we so often fail to understand (and people like her are the worst) is that if there is the slightest amount of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in a kid, they do not cope with double standars like this in behaviour. It is confusing. The kids get angry because it feels like there are different (and unfair) rules for different people. The adult in the interactions puts a ridiculously high premium on "respect" as shown to the adult) and zero on respect as shown by them to the child.

    With kids like ours, they need to have respect modelled for them by the adults in their life.

    We also should not be quick to accuse the kids of disrespect when in fact the problem is anxiety, or panic. Can you imagine the scene as follows:
    A traffic accident, the driver of the car that got rear-ended is dazed and afraid. She bumped her head and is bleeding from the temple. She may have a broken arm. The driver of the rear car is unconscious. The ambulance is there. The police arrive and go to speak to the woman in the front car.

    Cop: Ma'am, can you tell me what happened?

    Injured driver: I saw the light was orange and turning to red so I stopped. But the car behind didn't, it was going so fast, OMG it was so scary, I don't know what I'm going to tell my husband, why do idiots like that drive so fast, what am I going to do? I'm bleeding, I have to be in a meeting, I have to pick my kids up from school... [begins to really panic - she is in shock]

    Now, the cop SHOULD say to her, "Calm down, you did nothing wrong as far as I can see. You've had a bad shock, I'll get the paramedics to check you over as soon as they've loaded the unconscious driver for transport. They will have radioed for back-up."

    What a cop might say, who thinks like your sub - "Snap out of it, woman! Stop talking to me like I'm a naughty child, don't you use bad language, I won't stand for it! Now, I'm running out of patience but I'll give you one more chance. Speak more slowly this time, I can't understand when you gabble your words, I have better things I could be doing than listening to you if you can't be polite to me."

    What some adults fail to understand - a lot of difficult children are feeling the same sort of panic, as the woman in my example. All The. Time. And especially when they have to talk to an adult who they know has been hostile in the past.

    To speak harshly or aggressively when panicked, is NOT rudeness or disrespect, even though it may seem so. You should never try to correct it while the person is in panic; you also need to try to not 'answer' the panic with aggression or panic on your part; instead, try to gently hose it down. Maybe at a later time, you can address anything inappropriate that was said.

    difficult child 3 was shouting at me one night (a dispute over homework). He yelled at me, "I hate you!"
    I chose to not react at all. I certainly didn't punish him for his words because I knew a punishment at that time would have NO effect at all, except maybe to make him worse.

    What I did was FAR more effective - I waited until I was dropping him off at school next day. He gave me his usual hug and "I love you, Mum."
    I THEN gently reminded him, "That's not what you said to me last night. Last night you said you hated me."
    He hung his head and said, "I'm sorry, Mum. I was angry. I shouldn't have said it."
    I said, "I'm sorry too, darling. I understand you were angry, but you still shouldn't say things like that even when you're angry. Because some words are so very easy to say, but very hard to un-say them."

    That got the message home to him, loud and clear. Of course there were still times when he said he hated me, but fewer times and he was increasingly remorseful afterwards, with no reminded needed.

    As for this sub - two things you can do.

    1) Keep nagging the school to have it in his IEP - if there is to be a sub, he needs to be forewarned, preferably 12 hours. Five minutes is not forewarned, it's a blindside. An ambush. If necessary, insist that if this woman is to be the sub for his class, you have to be given enough notice to make alternative arrangements for him for school that day because she is NOT to teach him. If necessary, make it clear tat you are not making a formal complaint about her ("I choose not to at this time") but your son is the Special Needs child in this, he is the one who needs the special consideration in the equation. The sub is a big girl; she can look after herself. Sometimes these personality differences happen but the sub will get over it. Your difficult child will not get over it so easily, it can really set back his good progress.

    2) Keep the sub on her toes by letting her know constantly that you are vigilant, you are watching, you are a paranoid, nasty person who will ALWAYS put the worst possible construction on whatever she says, so she'd better watch her step. She had better not give you the slightest chance to make a formal complaint, because you have the paperwork sitting in your "in" tray ready and waiting for the opportunity...

    Or possibly gentler words, to the same effect.

    I had to do this with the local school when I feared my past activism was going to come back and bite me, in the possible discrimination against my other kids. So I said the same sort of thing - "You know I can get things done, you know I have used my political contacts to get my own way. So please be aware - if I even suspect you are taking any of your frustration with me, out on my kids, I will automatically issue it to be a personal attack on me and I will use every contact and resource I have, to let you know how unhappy I am about this."

    I never had a problem with them from then on.

    Andy, you're probably far too nice to do what I did. Take what you feel you can use.

  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Since the school does not have a principal does it have a director or someone who fills that position? If so I would make a BIG deal out of this.

    This woman is NOT someone who needs to be a sub. She just doesn't. ANYONE who would tell a child basically: I saw you a few times last year and you behaved badly so from now on you can't do anything right. That person needs a job where she isn't around kids. It would be terribly easy for a sub to see a child ahveing a bad day on the 3 or 4 times she sees that child, then to hold it against a child a YEAR later. someone isn't terribly mentally balanced, in my opinion.

    HAve a chat with the director, or whoever calls teh subs. Let them know that if she is there you do NOT want her having authority over your child, even on the playground.

    A few run-ins with her could easily send a child who is anxious into a down-hill spiral. Maybe if they can give you notice that she is going to be there, ESPECIALLY in his classroom, you or husband can keep difficult child home that day? Not work-free, but at least in an area she can't get to him. Or have him spend recess in the library, or at gym or somewhere.

    I do think a meeting with her and your husband (as school board chair) and the director or whoever would be a good thing first. But you are not going to get very far with most people like that.

    And I, also, have NOTHING against subs. It is a very difficult job, even more so than teaching, because you really have to work hard to make any rapport with kids, and you see so many many different kids.My dad spent a YEAR as a permanent substitute teacher when his school district stopped teaching wood shop and didn't have any full-time science teacher openings. It was a really HARD year. So I have tons of respect for most subs. But not for one who would tell a child that, or treat a child that way.