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What happens if you get a so-so teacher?

Take charge of your child's education by making the most of a less than ideal instructor.

Bored students in classroom

By Carol Lloyd

The hour of judgment has arrived. School's back in session. You've heard a few anecdotes about your child's new teacher. You've seen some homework assignments and maybe even met her at a back-to-school night and heard her talk about her plans for the year. What do you think?

Are you impressed? Concerned? Reserving judgment? If you've got a sneaking suspicion that this particular teacher either isn't terribly great or simply isn't a terribly great fit for your child, you don't need to bemoan your child's horrible luck or storm the principal's office.

These four tips can help you make sure this year your child makes the best of a less-than-perfect educational situation.

Message in a bottle

Don't wait for the parent-teacher conference. Although you may sometimes feel like a hovercraft zooming down on your child's teacher, trailing not-so-subtle messages like an advertisement for your child — "She's a hands-on learner!" "He loves being given responsibilities!" — don't underestimate the power of getting your child on the teacher's radar, especially if you think the teacher may not be attuned to your kid.

Offering lots of information about your child's challenges and talents not only allows your child's teacher to "see" your child's strengths and challenges. Giving the teacher the lowdown on your child (who you know better than anybody) will send a clear message to the teacher that a) you care and b) you're aware of how much the teacher is able to influence your child. Or more crudely put: You're watching her.

Play into the teacher's strengths

Every competent teacher has strengths and weaknesses. If you feel uncertain about your child's teacher, you need to make sure your child gets the most from whatever this teacher has to offer. Say the teacher is old school: well-organized, routinized, and academic (if in a slightly boring way). You might wish the teacher designed more hands-on learning projects or even brought a sense of fun into the day. But complaining about these deficiencies to your child will only undermine his learning.

Instead, accentuate the positive in the following ways:

  1. Articulate to your child why this teacher is so good at what he or she does. If your child's teacher is creative, for instance, point this out to your child. "I love how Mr. Hobson dressed up in a Mars outfit to teach you about the planet's weather and size. You'll probably never think of Mars in the same way again." Do something at home to make the most of the teacher's strengths.
  2. Maybe a highly organized (but otherwise uninspiring) teacher can inspire your child to organize her own study space or carefully plan a long-term project. "Let's fix up your homework desk the same way Mrs. Ronaldo does. She puts everything in a place you can find it." Maybe the teacher, who has a propensity for funny, inspiring stories about his life (while cutting corners on the curriculum) can offer your child a model for regaling the family with tales over dinner. Or perhaps the teacher who seems obsessed with math (to the detriment of language arts and other subjects) can inspire a conversation about how math applies to so many real life situations and how this numerically laden year can support your child's dream of making a killer lemonade stand or building a go-cart.

is the executive editor of GreatSchools and mother to two raucous daughters, ages 9 and 13.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

04/23/2012:
"We do except an awful lot out of our teachers AND WE SHOULD. I am a teacher too but if the pressure is too much for you then you shouldn't be teaching. A teaching job is 8-8:00 and you should be thinking, eating, and sleeping your kids. Teaching is not an easy job like a lot of people think. However, there are BAD teachers out there who are really stuck into getting to work at 8:00 and leaving by 3:00. They show no compassion, care or concern for their students. They don't differentiate instruction when necessary, etc. We are going through these problems right now and the principal is just as bad so no need to complain. The Supers. hands are tied. Of course, his answer anyway is "I try to look at everything positively". Please---it's great to look at the positive side when possible but there is also a thing as "sticking your head in the sand" and not seeing was blaring you in the face. However, With the Union it is almost impossible to get rid of "Bad" teachers an! d "Bad" administrators. Since I am a teacher I mostly support the Union. But when teachers aren't doing their job there needs to be a way to get them out. My son has suffered tremendously this school year. We are open enrolling him into another district next year. I only hope that it isn't too late to bring back his love of learning. These people have done incredible damage to him. His own doctor said it was a "toxic environment." The most sad part is that parents want to be involved in the school and help out but they aren't allowed to. Some teachers complain about parents not supporting teachers---how about teachers not supporting parents. As a teacher I'm amazed at the incompetence of the staff, teachers, and principal at our LOWER elementary building. (The beautiful city of Amherst, OH) Things go on like telling the kids that the time out wall is the "wall of shame", the principal tells parents there is nothing she can do to differentiate instruction, the tea! cher doesn't have to differentiate, the teacher won't differe! ntiate, parents are told that "parents don't go to school" when they ask why they are not allowed to volunteer, etc. etc., etc. The list goes on and on of rude comments made by the principal. We have had the teacher and the principal bold face lie to us. Again, as a teacher I'm amazed that people in education would behave in this manner. I would like to think that all people in education are there for the children because I do breath, eat, and sleep to help my students in any way possible. But this school year has proven to us that these people do exist in our system and no matter what we did or said to try and help and support them there was just no working with them. Our district is complaining we need younger families in our district and get levies passed. Good luck with that if you can't support your current families you have. We will never vote for another levy again. This district has relied too much on it's good report card ratings with the state and have ! become very stale and complacent. These kids come from great families--our schools are doing anything special. I hope someone steps in to fix these problems before it's too late and our community is ruined all because of bad people at our schools. That's what will ruin our community. "
01/30/2012:
"I've read parent's comments on this article and most complain how some of these teachers should have not chosen this career due to either they are not qualified or does not have the patience to be with kids. My child's current math teacher is both and it amazes me that only few parents are complaining. I've gone thru the right channels to try to fix it, from speaking to the teacher, to the principal and to the district superintendent. I don't know what it would take for a teacher to be replaced, all I know is that majority if not the entire class will fail this class. The sad thing is, my child is in 8th grade, Geometry, an advanced class. Half of the school year have gone by without learning anything. Kids are complaining, expressing each other's frustration via facebook. STAR testing is also another concern but most of all, it's affecting my son's GPA because he's a straight A student except for Math and that's his strong subject too. This teacher doesn't check homework, d! oesn't give lectures, no quizzes, seat work and have only given three tests from the beginning of the school year. Now tell me, is there any other teachers out there who is worst than this teacher? "
01/9/2012:
"We expect an AWFUL LOT of teachers. I am one. To do my job right, I have to eat, drink and sleep my students. I'm not only required to deal with at home problems, unsupportive homes (parents simply not there), learning disabilities, junk in students' backgrounds, culture/language support, learning types, students' lack of responsiblity for own actions, testing, motivation, inspiration for 30+ kids, be a counselor, a friend, a disciplinarian, a wife/mother, and work from 8a.m.-8p.m. (to plan and think right, you've got to) etc., but I have to deal with the stress and pressures of people who think I don't do my job well enough. What teachers need is support, kind suggestions, ideas, and people working with them to make their jobs, which are now near impossible, a little easier. Please, be on our side. I'm not a teacher because I want to have it easy in the world, but I would like to make it easier for others in this world. Most every teacher started out this way--our jo! bs are simply hard. Harder than most--we can never leave the work place--it stays with us. Walk in our shoes for a while, and perhaps, you will see best how to help us. "
12/12/2011:
"To use the term, "watching her" reminds me of the old Big Brother terminology. Why not say work together? Being a teacher is no easy task. They are observed by principals and other teachers. Maybe collaboration is a better concept? "
12/12/2011:
"I would just like to say a lot of people are overreacting here. This article is about so-so teachers not bad ones. If your teachers are really that horrible and you're not just fudging then you should do something major about it not just complain. "
12/5/2011:
"Further evidence of our systems failure. This article provides a list of strategies to "tip-toe" around a teacher who does not do their job properly. Bottom line - since they cannot be penalized or fired, our educational system will continue to contain people who are not good at teaching. Government and Unions working together to ruin America for future generations. "
11/18/2011:
"I'm having a terrible time with my childs teacher this year I know its 4th grade and can be tough for a child but that doesnt make it okay for her teacher to tell her she is a failure and will never succeed. Not only that but I've tried serveral times to work with her teacher like one example is I dont understand her math homework most of the time and I've asked her teacher over and over to send me something home like a book or worksheet or anything to help me explain it to my child better so she can at least try and her teacher has ignored me everytime another example is that with reading homework we sit down and do it together and her teacher leaves notes that my child if my child doesnt do her own homework that she will never pass the 4th grade which is very insulting because I do not do her homework for her. Its not my fault that I can make her writing appear neater than she can and I have went to the school with my concerns and nothing has changed she continues to insul! t me and my child and is very rude another thing that really is pushing my buttons is they send home their work every friday and you have to sign it and return it after you've looked it over well we did that and I noticed that there was another child's homework in my child's packet which is no big deal accept how completely rude she was with the comments for the other child which did upset me because I now know that I am not the only parent with these problems so I signed the packet with a note and sent it to school well monday rolls around and she sent the same packet back and never corrected her mistake so I took it out of her backpack the next day she went to school her teacher litterally yelled at my child and made her stay in for recess again because she didn't have the other childs homework so tell me since when is it okay to belittle a child when the teacher made the mistake not once but twice for just that incident I seriously am thinking about pulling my child out ! of that school asap. I never had any problems at my child's pr! evious school and even last school year was very good please keep in mind that these are only a couple out of about 20 other problems and concerns am I losing my cool or is there a bigger problem that I am missing? "
11/7/2011:
"we need a hero but one is not gust going to pop up but they have the parents they need to stand up for there children and that is that!!!!!!! "
11/7/2011:
"My daughter has a so- so teacher this year. She was just diagnosed as learning disabled after 4 years of behind the school to get her tested. She is now in a few ese classes with a new ese teacher in the school district. This teacher knows my daughters weaknesses and she knows she needs hands on aproch. She also knows that my daughter does not learn in an environment that there us yelling. She yells to the children across the room instead of getting up and talking to them. I went to talk to her and asked her to please be careful with her tone of voice when my daughter is in her classroom because she will shut down if you talk in a strict voice.. Her teacher looked at me And said I raised 2 children and you need to start reading between the lines.. After she said that I walked away and went to the office demanded another meeting to update her IEP. And demanded that the director of ESE will be present. Once they update it. I am then going to go and sign up for the John Mcay s! cholarship and find a private school to put her in. I wished my school district evaluated her a bit more before they hired her!!!! I am I the proccess of writing a letter to the governor and I'm going to send him her how poorly this techer wrote this IEP. "
11/1/2011:
"I want to respond to the parent whose child is being intimidated by her 1st grade teacher through withholding snacks for the class not revealing the hummer. I really feel for you!! I'm in a similar situation. My daughter's 2nd grade teacher tells her she"s "Disapointed" in her when she doesn't follow directions properly and I saw her say it 3 inches from her face. I would never tell my daughter I was disapointed in her. With eyes tearing up and her face turning red, the teacher just continued to let her have it. A tongue lashing I was not expecting. I don't know what to do either. I think she overreacts when the children don't follow directions and gets offended as though they are doing it on purpose. She kept asking my daughter, why didn't you turn your paper over when I said it twice to the whole class but you didn't turn yours over? My daughter said she thought her paper was turned over to the right side and the rest of the class was wrong. Simple 8 yr old mistake. But! the teacher deamed it as though she had way too much self confidence to be the only one in teh classroom right. 8 yr olds don't think like that. She's 8. Not 12. Big difference. The teacher seemed to to bullistic over this. "
10/31/2011:
"Help "
10/31/2011:
"I have a great little 5th grader who seems to have ADD.The school has meetings he gets some small group and tests alone.All the other things are not followed through on.Plus he came over from another PISD school and by 4th grade was never taught any cursive.He has been at the new school since 4th grade and I keep requesting help for this and other problems and so far I am not getting anywhere.I do not want him to enter middle school with out this.I wish I had the money to send him out for other help but I am stuck with hoping I get this from his school.I thought they are required to teach this.Any ideas would be appreciated. "
10/5/2011:
"my teacher gets on my nerves she call parents cause we left our homework home or in the locker. she has a policy of no lockers after you been once. this claSS is the gifted class "
09/26/2011:
"As a lifelong learner and career educator with certification in four areas--elementary, secondary and transitional bilingual education, and administration--in addition to thirty-two years of cumulative teaching experience spanning the elementary, secondary, and university levels in both public and private institutions, I find Carol Lloyd's two recent GreatSchools articles targeting "bad" and "so so" teachers informative and helpful. Clearly, many, if not most, parents stand to benefit from Ms. Lloyd's generally sound advice and direction with regard to how they might better support their children's teachers. After all, there are great, good, and not-so-good apples in every profession and walk of life, including those of teaching . . . and parenting! "
09/19/2011:
"I feel so sorry for the person who's child is suffering abuse. I agree you need to do everything necessary to make your voice heard so that teacher is removed. That is horrible! Are there standard obedience "rules" given to teachers? My daughter is in 1st grade. She loved Kindergarten but she dreads going to school now. Her teacher yells at the kids, rips up their good behavior coupons they have earned if they act up, and recently withheld snack time as a punishment. My daughter is only 6 and I don't agree with withholding food as an appropriate punishment. I sent the teacher a letter telling her I did not agree with this and to please refrain going forward. She left me a message that snack time is not required and she can withhold it whenever she wants?? Should I complain to the principle or let that go? I don't like power trips when it comes to discipline of my child (she was punishing the whole class for not tattling on someone that was humming because no one would tell h! er who did it) It seems like she has been around too many children and is starting to act like one. "
09/6/2011:
"We agree with this article. In addition, we personally have experienced two non-caring teachers who were both close to retirement and should have been removed from the classroon altogether. We realize that this specific issue is at the center of the storm for teacher unions, but other than union leaders, most teachers realize that one bad teacher spoils the reputation of the whole school. This is why we have switched two of our children to other types of schools; one to a charter and one to a private school. The results have been fabulous and dramatic for our children, as the teachers who love their jobs and are empathetic to the students are rewarded most;~~~ Believe us, it shows in the work and performance of all the students!! America and our children deserve better, or we will continue to fall behind. "
09/6/2011:
"To the Parent Whose Child Will Have the Abusive Teacher: Complain to your state's teacher credentialing commission about her so she will be investigated. Googling it should be easy. Call her union and ask how to file a complaint about a teacher in this kind of situation. Call the police and file a complaint. File a restraining order. Call the local newspaper and get them to investigate. I guess what I'm saying is get the word out about this teacher. It needs to go public that this abusive teacher is being allowed to teach without penalty. If you can get other parents to help you out with this, even better. I'm a teacher and this mortifies me. I've heard stories about an abusive teacher at my school who was allowed to go on and on and on. Finally he was put on administrative leave and I don't know what's happened since, but the someone who should have done something sooner about him got demoted. I would say make as much public noise as you can and get as many parents as poss! ible to join you. It's going to take courage on your part, but you can't just let you child suffer abuse, as you know. I'm appalled that your child's school administrators, board members, and superindendant allow this. They should all be fired. Good luck and you will be in my prayers for sure. "
09/6/2011:
"To 8/30/2011 parent. Yes you are overreacting. Too many parents equate "I wouldn't do it that way" to (=) "My child has a bad teacher." Try a polite conversation with the teacher, but beware teachers are so accustomed to being bullied by parents who want their way because they want their way that you're likely to get a defensive answer - but that is far better than bullying the teacher by going to his/her boss before you try 1 to 1. "
08/31/2011:
"School managment has a great influence on how teachers are as well, as a consecuence your child´s education will show concerning results about it. "
08/31/2011:
"As a parent and a teacher, I think it is good to focus on the shared responsibility of helping students be successful. However, comments such as "you are watching her" is not a shared responsibility of collaboration. Parents AND teachers should work together and build a trusting relationship. That is what helps children learn. "
08/31/2011:
"My son is dreading returning to school (elementary). He has a teacher that's prone to outbursts, violent tendencies, I myself have witnessed her outbursts! (throwing things in the classroom, screaming, intimidating children). Many parents have complained to the superintendent, and the school board. The parents who could afford to have removed their children from the school and opted for a private education. This particular teacher sucks up to the super, and a few board members, this assures her continued employment despite the complaints and fears of parents. We've filed complaints with the state as well, no action has been taken...NOW what do I do? MY CHILD IS BEING ABUSED AND FRIGHTENED AT SCHOOL! I CAN'T quit my job to home school and I can't afford private school! I'm sick to death over this and desperate for a solution, so TEACHERS what should I do?!...oh and BTW teachers START at 30K in our school district with a 7% raise annually! So, all of the teachers complaining you don't make enough should think of relocating. "
08/30/2011:
"There are so-so teachers and there are sadly teachers who are worse than so-so. One point of view would say that a family is fortunate to have a teacher who's only so-so -it could be worse. When this happens, it's important to be supportive of your child. Children can blame themselves and can feel at fault when they don't look forward to going to school to be with their so-so teacher. It takes a strong child to be with a so-so teacher every day and not feel bad about it. To keep a child's spirits up, try to make that school year good in every way outside of school and keep reminding the child that June is coming. In the better world, every parent would observe the next year's teachers and have a voice in choosing their child's teacher and in the perfect world, so-so teachers would be helped and mentored to become better teachers. "
08/30/2011:
"Teachers no longer create exciting or boring lessons. We teach our state standards using the same curriculum and the same formative and summative assessments as everyone else. We aren't to give homework. Everything assigned should be done in class. Oh yes, we also test kids all the time. Isn't No Child Left Behind Great? "
08/30/2011:
"When I read the title of this article I got very excited because this is exactly how I feel. Unfortunately I didn't feel like this advice helped my situation very much. My daughters first grade teacher is less than mediocre to state it nicely. I have tried to give her the benefit of the doubt but I'm really at a loss. She has been providing skittles as positive reinforcement for good behavior. The extra sugar before reading is NOT what my daughter needs. She also uses"time outs" instead of consequences like loss of recess etc. But the final blow was when she told my very imaginative daughter that there were no such things as fairies when she overheard her playing. My daughter pondered and replied "well what about the tooth fairy" The teacher told her the tooth fairy is not real and an adult takes the teeth. Since she has her first wiggly tooth on the verge of falling out lets just say this was rather devastating. I'm pretty upset. Am I overreacting?? "
08/29/2011:
"The college teacher/educator who thought that parents should be "supplementing where you see a deficiency" and stated that "frankly, I am amazed that someone has to actually TELL PEOPLE TO DO THAT. People really can't come to that conclusion on their own? Wow. Sad." has obviously never been held accountable in her career or work. As an engineer, I am held responsible for the quality and timeliness of my work. If I can not get the job done, I don't get to use the excuse that I need to be "supplemented"; I will be looking for another job. If any old parent can supplement or teach their child more effectively than the teachers we pay with our tax money...then what the heck are we paying for? "
08/29/2011:
"I was a regional and national award winning teacher who put in 7 years of teaching and have decided to stay home with my own children. Most of the opinions on here respresent how most idiotic parents feel... you aren't doing enough and I could do better. 75K a year? Try making under 40K with a masters in teaching after 7 years in the field. I make more money riding a bike taxi!!! Just as many have suggested teachers should walk out... well I did, thanks to the poor support of our government and about 20% of parents who think they know how to teach. "
08/29/2011:
"This is so tedious. Parents failing? - blame the teachers...community support fading? - blame the teachers...health care, poor nutrition, crime, and global warming too?...and yet some people think that the teachers unions are the problem. I was a special education teacher for 12 years. I left the profession when it became blatantly obvious that my professional opinion meant nothing to an administration hell-bent on high test scores (willing to throw anyone under the bus to make it happen..including our children). Teachers are miserable, children are miserable - some say that more pressure and higher standards are the answer. Parents if you really want your children to grow up to be educated, well adjusted adults, stop worrying about their grade-level performance and ask yourself these questions: Are they healthy?...Are they happy?..Are they optimistic. If the answer is yes these three questions, you as a parent are doing a fine job and need not worry about their future.! "
08/29/2011:
"Last year I sent an e-mail to all my daughter's teachers regarding her grades. I got one e-mail back! One. One teacher who appeared to value and care about my child. This is a kid who was in advanced studies since 4th grade and is failing P.E.? For no reason apparently! What a joke. "
08/29/2011:
"I have a learning disabled 8 yr old son. He was held back in kindergarten so this will be his 5th school yr. He's had 2 excellent teachers and 2 so-so teachers. I volunteered in the class with the kids a lot and got to see the daily styles. I think the difference between the excellent to so-so teachers was that the excellent teachers had better control and order of the classroom - the kids heard instructions and knew what was expected of them before they started any task. They also seemed to have the ability to pinpoint my child's strengths and weaknesses and play up his strengths and do work arounds for his weaknesses. Watching them even for an hour here and there I know its not always easy being a teacher. They have kids all different learning levels and have to adhere to a very strict schedule. They have to deal with pushy parents and chaotic kids. I communicate with the teacher best I can and ask her/him what they feel I should spend extra time with on my child a! t home. I send a note at the beginning of the yr - not to hover but to inform and communicate. I am never pushy or preachy. They know how to do their jobs. Some teachers are just more effective communicators than others but that doesn't mean I'd move my child out of a so-so teacher's class. Give the teacher the benefit of the doubt and try to communicate with them without getting defensive. If it turns out they are not a good fit (like my son's teacher last yr) do what you can at home to fill the gap or find a tutor via online website, At end of yr parent/teacher conference talk to them about a better placement for the following yr. You can't get the best teacher every yr - but learning to adapt and adjust to non-perfect is part of life. "
08/29/2011:
"I refuse to support or prop up an incompetent teacher.Years ago, I tried the suggestions mentioned in this article to no avail. I ended up pulling my daughter out of public school after an abysmal year in kindergarten and homeschooling for the remainder of her time in school. I was strongly discouraged from doing this by public school officials. My daughter is now a beautiful, articulate and self-confident student in dental school. Had I left my daughter in public school, she would have received a substandard education that left her unprepared to meet academic challanges. "
08/29/2011:
"I often wonder what occupations the folks have who are writing negatively about teachers. Are you the best worker at your job? Do you know someone who works harder than you or maybe not quite as hard as you? Do you know someone at your job who is better at one skill than you while you may be better than they are at another? Do you know anyone who is only mediocre? Here's the thing-we are all human beings of all varieties and strengths. You might say, it's different because this teacher has the important job of teaching MY child! OK, so is that job as important as say a doctor? We wouldn't want them to make mistakes with our bodies or health- but are they perfect? No. Yet they earn very high salaries...because their job...is important. So,why do we demonize teachers? Should we sue them if they do not do their job to perfection? Are they really given the tools and respect needed to do their jobs as most doctors are? NO. Many now are working with less and less support. C! hildren do not have art, gym, or music anymore. There are no assistants to help the children or keep them safe on the playgrounds or on the way to the bus. They cannot purchase new materials or plan field trips because neither their school or their students can afford it. Teachers try to do their jobs with less and less. Would you suggest your doctor care for you without an x-ray machine or perform surgery on you with out an anathesiest? Of course not. So, it is extremely ironic to me that people get more and more angry with teachers as teachers are forced to perform their jobs with less and less. If their job is so important then why aren't we doing our part. So many parents are too busy with their life and survival that they expect schools to do EVERYTHING for the children-beyond the academics. People may pine for the old days but parents were more involved then and could be because they had less stress to make ends meet than they do now. Many teachers I know have ! a genuine interest in caring for and teaching children, but th! ey get grouped together with those who are mediocre and blamed for all of education's failing. The issue is so much deeper than the teacher. She or he is just the first face fighting on the front lines. "
08/29/2011:
"I think that one of the main problems in public school is that teachers are coming out of teaching programs that focus on what I call the "Harvard Business School approach." Too much emphasis is spent on assessments and rubrics and strange models. Young teachers are taught to rely on these tools instead of using their own critical thinking skills. Even really good teachers are up against this teaching method designed to accommodate testing and federal mandates. Our kids are losing out, not because teachers are only in it for what they think the system can give them but because the system is broken. My daughter brings home test prep books for homework and when I ask her, for example, what a literary device is (a question in the book asks her which literary device is being used) she has no idea what I am asking. Kids need to learn things and understand them before they can be tested on them. That teacher, particularly, wanted to let the test prep teach the kids. It is really! hard for me to see this happen, especially because I am a college professor who sees these kids down the road. Right now I have 18 year olds who can't spell, don't know how to use punctuation and homonyms and other parts of speech correctly and cannot synthesize information at all. Testing is what's ruining our kids education not a few bad apple teachers. "
08/29/2011:
"Most teachers nowadays are so-so. After an excellent 5th grade, my daughter was accepted to this so-called very competitive and outstanding DC charter school for her 6th grade. As the school uses the Expeditionary Model of learning, there were not textbooks. More than two monthes into the school year I still did not know what my daughter was learning -- neither did she. I had a meeting with the teacher who said that all the articles were about food, so the math would be about food, the science, the social studies, reading, writing and everything 6th graders needed to learn would be covered. The math they covered was something she had done in 4th grade. The readings, which was never brought home was apparently way too difficult and she could not understand it fully. I contacted the teacher and every time another excuse was given about why it would not be possible to have a copy of the articles to be sent home. We met with the academic advisor who promised to help but unfortu! nately nothing was delivered. To make a long story short, after a year of utter frustrations, we found out the source where all these articles came from -- a USDA study about organic and non-organic food. So a 6th grader's entire curriculum consisted of photocopied chapters from a book. When I shared this with parents, they told me that there was not much to be done except pull out the child and enroll her in an expensive private school, and that at least children were not throwing each other from one floor to another like the nearby middle and high schools. What is happening in schools in appalling and unfortunately parents who cannot afford private schools seem to think there is nothing they can do. "
08/29/2011:
"This never works. Teachers get immediately defensive and they attack you and your child. I have almost 60 years of elementary schooling with all of my five children and I have never had a teacher respond positively to ideas about the student. They almost always become defensive and it backfires and makes your child's life unbearable. So I disagree with your recommendations. "
08/29/2011:
"This article was sent thru today with a headliner of "Stuck with a so-so teacher at [insert high school]? We've got the solution!" Only the information applies to much younger students and is not applicable for a high school student's environment and school administrative circumstances. Sure would be nice if the email messages Great School sends met the suggested criteria. "
08/29/2011:
"What about improving the teacher? Most parents apply all of your suggestions regularly and with good teachers. Some teachers have been in one place too long and some were less than stellar in the first place, but how do you deal with them? "
08/29/2011:
"Support the teacher by letting them know what your child needs (like stated) show your child that you are honoring teachers and adults. Don't be your child's friend, be your child's teacher! Parents are the child's first teacher and should teach Respect, Honor, and Perseverance. There are many so-so parents, should we fire them and video them in thier homes? No, we should focus on ourselves, show by example, love our children and let the home be a place where learning takes place first. When we do that, our children will learn more and come out on top regardless of a so-so teacher. "
08/29/2011:
"What if the teacher is in a regular classroom because the class they taught has been cut from the budget? More interesting in teaching dance and singing, these suggestions do not work on them! "
08/29/2011:
"Just wanted to inform a reader that No Child Left Behind does NOT give you an excellent teacher. It gives you test scores. And as a PUBLIC school educator, each child gets an equal share of my day. 33 kids in 6 hours. You do the math. It's not one on one instruction many parents think they get. "
08/29/2011:
"This article is very detrimental to all teachers. Instead of telling parents to jump right in with "suggestions" for their child, why not wait to see the teacher's style and manner of teaching as she/he gets to know each child, and their capabilities. She/he will adjust the program to suit each child's strengths and weaknesses if given the chance. "
08/29/2011:
"I read these comments and believe that I have definitely made the right decision to LEAVE teaching. Parents are not interested in the class or school being the best possible learning environment for everyone. They are only interested in their own child - forget that a child needs to be exposed to different environments in order to progress. They don't even care that the change for their child might make things the worst possible situation for everyone else in the room. These parents are beyond hovercraft/helocopter parents. These children will NOT be ready for anything unless Mommy and Daddy make it just right for them - forget about ANYONE else in the room or school. These people have gotten out of control and they have no idea that they are driving good people out of teaching. And just in case you were wondering, I never had less than excellent on my performance evaluations, welcomed anyone visiting my room at any time, and was put in charge of special programs on multiple! occasions - special programs that turned out fine. I'm just done with the concept that I have to make every single parent happy with every single thing that I do. It felt like I had too many bosses. Oh yeah, when things didn't go the way that they decided, they felt free to email the superintendent - too bad some of them couldn't even spell his name right. I especially loved it when it was determined that I was right in what I did - as acknowledged by the students, parents, and administration. I am DONE! "
08/29/2011:
"No one teacher, no one set of parents can adequately prepare our students to face the 21st century. It takes an involved community. If you feel your child needs more than a particular school or teacher can provide, one possible course of action is to volunteer to coach an afterschool academic team (FIRST robotics, Future City, Science Fair, etc.). For ideas, might I suggest the workbook "When Being a Homeroom Parent is Not Enough" at www.growageneration.com. "
08/29/2011:
"We are talking about EDUCATION. If you are going to post on thi topic it is critical that you at least have correct grammar. The post from 02/22/2011 is painful to read, the use of "there" instead of "their" - get educated!! "
08/29/2011:
"It's time to stop the nonsense. A classroom is not a museum, nor is it an amusement park. The teachers are there to facilitate learning, and, whatever else is not done in the home. The cow-towing of parents to their children these days is over the top! A steady diet of discipline, morality, conservative principles and loyalty to our children - giving them what they need and not what they want - is the total solution. They cannot write, spell, reason, and,they are missing an entire host of other primary actions required for survival. Children need to learn from early on that they are going to be confronted with good and not-so-good teachers, bosses and even personal relationships. This is life - learn to deal with it! "
08/29/2011:
"I tried all of this and the bad teacher was protected by the union. On the other hand a young outstanding teacher that took my child from history is not needed to the best class in school got laid off. Tese steps will work on a teacher who wants to be the best, part Artist and part Scientist who cares about the final product our children. "
08/29/2011:
"As a special education teacher of 16 years in public and private, a parent of special needs7 year old and now I work in "training" teachers that have no idea what it means to teach without a worksheet. Teaching for 20 plus years doesn't make a great teacher- I have seen so many lazy, blameful, incompentant and uninterested teachers. This are my collegues and yet I am ashamed at what I have seen. Get out of teaching and quit waiting for retirement if you are threatened by a review. As a teacher, if I am afraid of seeing what I am doing in my classroom, then I have to ask what am I doing that I wouldn't want to see. I tired of seeing great new teachers not get jobs because bad teachers are protected by the union/tenure. I have never wanted tenue and and continue believe it has been one of the downfalls of the american educational system. Why should anyone be allowed to shut their door and teach without an evaluation because they got tenue after three years of teaching a! nd then there is no quality control or evaluation process for the remaining part of their career. As teachers we make good money, benefits and many days off compared to other professions. If you are a teacher I no longer want to learn new ways to teach as our children change, then retire early before you damage a child's enthusiasm for learning. There are plenty of recent graduates that would like your job. A teacher for sixteen years that is ashamed and embarrased when I watch the behavior of some of my collegues and their resistance to a child's differneces, parents concerns or the boredom they create in a classroom. "
08/29/2011:
"There are some very good suggestions and tips in this article. While the teacher(s) may like the "help," I'm wondering if school administrators will accept them or allow them to happen. Administrators seem very protective about their school and system and may see the extra help as Interferring. "
02/22/2011:
"There is a system in place where the administration makes all the rules of what goes on in the school. This has nothing to do with the teacher's philosophies of teaching. Kids here are taught for the famous fcat test which schools are graded upon hello wake up. It is not the teachers but the system the higher the grade the more money the school gets its a business. And also an ego thing with most of these principals. They are tyrants and controlling. What they let you see and reality are two different things. School is not the same as when you went. The Ms. Crabtree teaching style of old is no longer these teachers are under great pressures and allot of stress. Why is it you think teachers get paid so little for trying to cultivate tomorrow future? Most are thrown into the wolves because of what has happened to them or by what they look like. If You read the teachers contract and see how many infractions there are on a daily basis you will know the Union really does nothing! . Its called, 'sleeping with the enemy', this union does nothing perhaps cause most teachers don't know there rights and about 95% of them have never read there contract. So your allegations are ridiculous don't run your mouth if you haven't walked in a teacher's shoes."
02/21/2011:
"I think it is hilarious that so many people think that teachers choose their career based on the time off they receive and the money. Have you looked at a teacher's salary lately? Better yet, have you tried to live off of a teacher's salary? I am a teacher, and my mother and late father were both teachers. Several times, they were faced with complaining parents who said they were teaching their child inadequately. When my father passed away (he was a Behavior Disorder/Learning Disability Special Education Teacher), about 10 former students of his came to the funeral home and said that they are successful because of the love, care and compassion my father showed as an educator. When I say former, some of the students were now in their 30s. It is funny that he encountered so many sorry parental complaints, yet made such a long-lasting, influential mark on the lives of those who mattered the most: THE STUDENTS. I am not saying that there are not bad teachers out there, or teach! ers that were probably once great but are now 'burned out', so some complaints may be legitimate. But if you are a parent who thinks that every year, your child's teacher is awful, then I hate to break it to you....the problem is you or your child. News flash: your child is not perfect; your child's teacher isn't perfect to every student they teach either. But to you, your child is a blessing no matter what, and to many, your child's teacher is a blessing as well. If you feel your teacher and child does not click, try to uncover the issue without automatically assuming it is the teacher. You may discover you are right, but on the other hand, you may learn that the teacher is only doing WHAT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO DO BY HIS OR HER BOSS: the wonderful school system that they work for. You can thank the government for making teachers plan extensive instruction, fill out endless paperwork, and deal with 100 different other issues other than focusing on what really matters, which ! is making learning fun and comprehensible for all students. Th! e teachers who do not follow the ridiculous rules of the school systems and do actually make learning fun and comprehensible like it used to be do not remain teachers for long; they get fired. Instead of hassling teachers, go hassle the government. You might actually get somewhere instead of looking crazy for blaming teachers for doing what they are forced to do in order to keep their job. "
02/16/2011:
"I can certainly respect all of the different articles posted, however, I am going to take this to a different level. I hear so many times, from friends who are teachers, included, that they are sick of teaching. I challenge that by asking them to get out here and find another profession! Most public school teachers, in my state, are protected by the unions! The unions have to go! They are allowing inadequate teachers to stay at the helm and continue to be 'inadequate' teachers. I say this is not to be stood for. My tax dollars help employee teachers, and I am the type of parent who does stay in tune with what my child is doing in school. I have to say that there have been far times than none that I have had conferences with teachers who do not really wish to 'teach' outside their own comfort zones since it does require too much work! Imagine that. A teacher who does not really want to teach/work. I agree that children learn by example and they also respond to how they are being treated. As we all know, if we are not happy with what we are doing then it bleeds into other areas, and these areas are our children!! It is like cancer. I have seen a completely motivated, bright, energetic child become beat down by his middle school teachers. He came from a productive, involved, energized environment and upon moving into a new area is going to a 'top rated' middle school with a very different philosophy. Teach by loading up, lots of 'do-nows' NOT a lot of 'teaching' time, but a lot of book work and tons and tons of homework. It is amazing to watch the excitement being sucked out of my child who attends this school. I have fought hard and long to have some of his teachers 'teach' outside of their comfort zones and try something new and fresh, put some excitement back into their day. It is like having a relationship, you have to work at it!!!! No different. I also would like to challenge teachers that have become board and 'over worked' or 'stressed' out, to start walking the pavement and try and find a different career path that would hold you accountable, and a career path that would not have a 'union' on its side to protect your inadequate teaching style. Stop with all the whining teachers, do your job, you signed up for it. If you don't like it, well the door is right in front of you. The inadequate teachers have to go and so do the unions! This is coming from an involved, educated, and open minded parent who has watched her son start to become infected with the cancer of some unmotivated, stressed out, union protected, teachers!"
02/16/2011:
"I can certainly respect all of the different articles posted, however, I am going to take this to a different level. I hear so many times, from friends who are teachers, included, that they are sick of teaching. I challenge that by asking them to get out here and find another profession! Most public school teachers, in my state, are protected by the unions! The unions have to go! They are allowing inadequate teachers to stay at the helm and continue to be 'inadequate' teachers. I say this is not to be stood for. My tax dollars help employee teachers, and I am the type of parent who does stay in tune with what my child is doing in school. I have to say that there have been far times than none that I have had conferences with teachers who do not really wish to 'teach' outside their own comfort zones since it does require too much work! Imagine that. A teacher who does not really want to teach/work. I agree that children learn by example and they also respond to how they are being treated. As we all know, if we are not happy with what we are doing then it bleeds into other areas, and these areas are our children!! It is like cancer. I have seen a completely motivated, bright, energetic child become beat down by his middle school teachers. He came from a productive, involved, energized environment and upon moving into a new area is going to a 'top rated' middle school with a very different philosophy. Teach by loading up, lots of 'do-nows' NOT a lot of 'teaching' time, but a lot of book work and tons and tons of homework. It is amazing to watch the excitement being sucked out of my child who attends this school. I have fought hard and long to have some of his teachers 'teach' outside of their comfort zones and try something new and fresh, put some excitement back into their day. It is like having a relationship, you have to work at it!!!! No different. I also would like to challenge teachers that have become board and 'over worked' or 'stressed' out, to start walking the pavement and try and find a different career path that would hold you accountable, and a career path that would not have a 'union' on its side to protect your inadequate teaching style. Stop with all the whining teachers, do your job, you signed up for it. If you don't like it, well the door is right in front of you. The inadequate teachers have to go and so do the unions! This is coming from an involved, educated, and open minded parent who has watched her son start to become infected with the cancer of some unmotivated, stressed out, union protected, teachers!"
02/15/2011:
"What do we do when none of this works? Set my child off to a horrible year? My child's in kindergarten at that, great way to start her schooling. Meet the teacher night; she was in the hall gossiping, confrences; didnt give me the time of day; when I try to get up there to volenteer(Ihave 2 other children, 1 a baby with disabilities, other in preschool) and I can't make it; hold a grudge? When my daughter is just getting an award for knowing all her letters and sounds, when, even her preschool teachers vouch, that shes known this since last year? Wheres my daughtgers credit she deserves? When I am up there and shes going above what the class is doind and the teacher merely says 'We're not that far yet.' unimpressed, and right in front of me! My daughter needs and likes a challenge, and this teacher has no children, is young (Iam too, but I know I'd make a better teacher than her, and eventually will) and very impatient. Its not fair to my child. I am with them, and my son 24/7 and I get frustrated but not all day long like this teacher. Hopefully next year is better, if not, I'm home schooling. "
02/14/2011:
"I would say 50% of teachers care nothing about our children."
02/1/2011:
"Cameras in the classroom? Teachers reviewed 3-4 times/year? The teacher's job is stressful enough. I invite any parent to go into your child's school and take over the teacher's job for one week. I am sure you will think differently. Teachers love kids and WANT to teach. But most teachers are so overwhelmed with paperwork and meetings and pressure from the principal and data analysis and things parents can't even imagine...that it is very had to do a great job even if a teacher's intelligence, training, and desire are exemplary. I know many teachers who have been teaching for a very long time, who agree that teaching is becoming an overwhelming task that has gotten away from the heart of what teachers are supposed to be doing...teaching. If any of you parents are dealing with education budget cuts in your state, please fight to keep those funds. Pretty soon it is going to be VERY hard to find teachers at all, let alone good ones!"
01/31/2011:
"All very sad. Person who wrote the article is doing the best she can with a bad situation. Consider taking your child to the UH psychology department; have a graduate student give her/him an IQ test. Have them also give something like the Kuder Preference Test. Now you have some idea of the childs mental horsepower and where occupationally he/she might fit in. Kids that I have known are either word or number oriented. Take the child to the library. I have a grandson for whom I yesterday bought two Japanese dictionaries - he likes to translate Japanese comic books to English. His brother, who is a member of Mensa, love transformers. We buy him a lot of transformers. Their father and mother are both very bright; both read. Let them study what they love... if they are translating from the Japanese before they are teenagers, chances are they can get at least a 'C' in English. The poor teachers are working with unmotivated customers. Reading is the key to everything. Go ! talk to Mrs. Bush (Senior or Junior) "
01/31/2011:
"This article did not address what to do after you have done all the above and talked to the principal and the teacher is a great person but has NO control over her classroom and students. The classroom is chaos. What is the next step....move my child to a different school. How can I get my child moved to a teacher that is structured and has control of her students? On top of this, my son is being bullied in their class too, on the playground and on the way home from school and the principal say IF it is happening my son provoed it and probbly deserves it. This absolutely shocks me. I need help and my child need haelp. When and how do I get it at this point? Thank you"
01/31/2011:
"You are saying that parents, as you pointed out with little resource of time, should somehow fill in the educational gaps missed by so-so teachers. With those kinds of stupid, unrealistic ideas no wonder we are not getting anywhere in improving our educational system. You are basically saying, let this teacher be. Accept her so-so performance. And then she'll move on to another group of kids and so on and so on. On a macro level, I suggest that parents put pressure on the educational system to oust teachers who are not dedicated to the education of all their students and principals who are so-so (good leadership in school is crucial). On a micro level, all parents should have high standards for their kids' teachers and put pressure on mediocre teachers to perform better. If direct communications with the teacher doesn't work, contacting the principal should be the next step. I know a woman who did just that and believe me the teacher improved a couple of notches because they realized that this parent was going to be a pain if they didn't do it. I have tried your soft approach of supporting the teacher and trying to compensate for their poor performance but I achieved poor results compared to the parent who spoke up and was more assertive. Taking the path of least resistance is tempting but not always the best approach. I believe that all parents should be able to choose their children's school and teachers. Believe me, students and parents know who the good teachers are. Why are we not included in the teachers' evaluation process? Initially, all that's needed is for schools to let the parents choose their kids' teachers -- You give parents: 1st, 2nd & 3rd choice & you ask them why they are choosing those particular teachers. And voila!!! You know who are the exceptional teachers, the average teachers and whom everyone is trying to avoid. Unfortunately, I don't believe that there are only a few bad teachers. I hear that teachers are not appreciated. That we don't pay them enough. That the work is hard. That the parents are terrible. And I am sure that is sometimes the case. But I think that educators often exaggerate their miseries and make excuses for their poor performance. At an open house at the beginning of a school year, we had a teacher complain to us parents how she was not paid well, only to find out later that, as a teacher, she was making over $75,000/year with good benefits for working less then 10 months of the year. I'm insulted by this kind of entitlement and victim mentality I hear from SOME teachers. Those attitudes degrade them and in my opinion affect their ability to perform at their best. Of course some teachers make less. They may start in the lower to upper $30,000 but how much is the average wage for college graduates? Let's put all that in perspective when we discuss how to improve education in our country. Otherwise we'll get nowhere. Let's not just accept the rhetoric without questioning it. There is one thing with which I agree: and that is that teachers and parents should try to resolve their issues without putting the children in the middle. Our common goal should be the best education for all children. P.S. My experience with children is that, with little exception, children will behave well when respected and lead wisely. Why do children behave differently in different settings and with different people??? None of us are perfect but for kids' sake we should set better standards for ourselves. "
01/12/2011:
"As a college Teacher Educator (former teacher now teaching prospective teachers), this is the posted comment that I feel has the most common sense embedded. I have, therefore, cut and pasted it so that it does not get overlooked: 'I have been teaching for 9 years no. I have been the new/exciting teacher that everyone wants, and I have been the teacher targeted with complaints. I have been on both sides. People (forget 'children', but PEOPLE) are different. We learn differently & thus we teach differently. Part of the school experience is about learning to adapt to less-than-ideal situations. These students will one day, in all likelihood, work for a boss they don't like either, but they'll have to learn to deal with it. Just as there may be a student struggling to learn, there is a teacher struggling to teach. We are not all jovial, likable folks on this planet. In my academic history, I remember coming home with 'My teacher hates me!' plenty of times. It was usually because I was doing badly in the class & most likely trying to shift the focus from my bratty attitude & lack of motivation to having a 'bad' teacher. Some tips here are great, such as supplementing where you see a deficiency. But, frank! ly, I am amazed that someone has to actually TELL PEOPLE TO DO THAT. People really can't come to that conclusion on their own? Wow. Sad. In my school, it boils down to working as a team. Similar to a modeling a healthy adult relationship, we shouldn't bad-mouth each other to children. It isn't healthy. Teachers who criticize parenting techniques are just as awful as parents who berate, negate, undermine, and criticize the teachers their child sees daily. Mutual support is the key.....in my OPINION.'"
01/10/2011:
"I as a parent am frustrated with my childs teacher. We have sought help on several occasions to help our student preform better. One solution that we (teacher and parent) came up with quickly was disregarded by the teacher 3 days after our conversation. We have asked for more meetings to help our student with no response. Feel like no one cares about our student and helping them succeed. She is hating a once loved subject."
01/5/2011:
"I think this advice is terrible. I have a straight A learning loving seventh grade son, who had a not so great teacher. I was the one who hindered him, but trying these suggestions on my own. As an educator myself I wated to give this teacher a chance, but when I realized things were getting worse not better and finally asked for my son to be removed from her classroom the principal actually told me, 'yeah she is not the greatest, normally I would have to talk with you and her together to switch, but your son is such a great kid he deserves the best'! I was thinking really, than why isn't someone doing something about this? I did my oldest a similar disservice when I allowed her to be moved into another teacher's classroom in fifth grade after having a state awarded 'Teacher of the Year' , I did so agin to 'play nice'. I was on the PTA and knew the class was overcrowded, because our principal allowed 'teacher requests', but I thought my strong student daughter would be fine, especially since she would still get the 'great' teacher 1 hour a day, but she had such a bad experience it soured her to school ever since and she actually lost her love of learning that year and has never been the same driven student. I know 'No child left behind is scary for most teachers, but isn't it scarrier to not give our kids 'the best' teachers we can????????????????"
01/4/2011:
"I have much concern about a high school math teacher. I just found out that she is teaching with no books the students dont have a geomentry book, my son is a senior honor roll all 4 yrs. now has an F in geomentry and now i find out they have no math book how could this be. how does a student learn without books."
12/21/2010:
"Parents need to learn how to be problem solvers and stop complaining. Rarely is a kid the 'smartest kid in the school' nor is the teacher the 'worst teacher' in the school. The principal can opnly do so much the parent needs to develop a relationship, and not an adversarial one, with their child's teacher. These are days of salary cuts but no work cut and parents need to be more supportive of teachers because we barely have enough tme to teach what is required by the district, and clearly not enough time to deal with tour 'little angel' who is acting like a snot-nosed brat while we are trying to teach a lesson!!"
12/1/2010:
"May I also add dont be the last of the parent teacher conference on the teachers schedule. My sons teacher looked at the clock the whole time while informing me of his grades, strengths weaknessses"
12/1/2010:
"Teaching how to be a helicopter parent? Good advise.....these kids are screwed when they go to a job interview with you in tow......"
11/29/2010:
"My daughter's kindergarten year was phenomenal. She learned a lot and she had a ball. I had to make her stay home when she was sick. Now in 1st grade, she doesn't really enjoy school. The teacher seems to forget that her audience is 5-7 year olds. I sit in the class and she talks to them and doles out assignments like she's talking to 5th graders and barely explains the assignments to them. Like one of the commenters below, I am a single mom and this year I have basically had to teach my daughter what the teacher is supposed to be teaching as opposed to reviewing with her. For example, on her math assignment, I asked her 'how did you do this in class, did you use fingers, tick marks?' because I wanted to use the same method so as not to confuse her. My daughter had no clue. When I questioned the teacher, she said it was up to the students. I was floored. I'm not making this up. I have the email to prove it. I couldn't believe it. I talked to the principal who p! romised to look into the matter. She never got back to me. I know for a fact that a few of her students are getting 'F's on their progress reports because I overheard them talking amongst themselves when I was volunteering in the class last week. Who gets 'F's in the first grade? I thought it was a shame that my bright child was getting 'C's. Go figure. (She was one of the brightest students last year and was even chosen for the kindergarten spelling bee) She has no control over her class when two doors down the other 1st grade teacher has complete control and the students seem to be enjoying school. I talked to one of the parents from that other class just to be sure, and yes, they love it. I could go on and on, but I disagree with the article. I am going to try and change her teacher. Every teacher is just not a good fit for every student and this is definitely one of those cases. When I was in her class last week, I spent the entire day there and they only comple! ted 1 assignment all day. I was thinking 'Are you kidding me?'! . I know this sounds unbelievable, but I assure you that I am not making this up. I am waiting for the Vice Principal to call me back right now since I didn't get a response from the principal a month ago. I can't sit by and let my daughter's education suffer just to spare the teacher's feelings. I have only been courteous and patient, but it does not seem to be getting better."
11/29/2010:
"My observation on teachers are showing lack of teaching methods due to being uninterested with teaching, therefore I strongly feel teachers should be evaluated three to four times annually. "
11/29/2010:
"QUESTION YOURSELF: My parents NEVER sat down 1on1 with me and had to go over every single thing from that days lesson because they didn't have to, it had already been taught in the classroom throughly and if it wasn't understood teachers didn't move on to the next lesson! "
11/15/2010:
"I am saddened to have read some of these comments listed below. Some stating how there are too many teachers just in it for time off and tenure which is a complete lie. These statements have grown out of proportion over time. Yes, there are teachers like that, but they are far and few between that would fit the description. If you somehow run into one, which can occur, will only happen once in a blue moon and usually they will be removed. I see many parents ranting about teachers or how the education system functions. You are not a teacher so what makes you the expert? I am not saying they do not bring up good points, but these points need to be addressed to the actual teachers they are complaining about. Time after time too many parents would rather go to a principle rather than talking with their child’s teacher. They would rather complain than fix the problem is all this proves. I have had many concerned parents come to me with mostly legitimate concerns and we have worked together to best help their child’s needs or wishes. If you really want to get into works of things you will have to understand what teachers are allowed and not allowed to do. Our hands are mainly tied behind our backs now and days and many of the hands-on-activities I would desire for use to do will take to much time or not fit with the tests questions that need to be answered. Any complaining parent about a horrible teacher is poorly mistaken about the facts of learning. Here are some tips that can hopefully remediate some of the discrepancies. 1. Learning is purely dependent on the learner. You will only learn what you are willing to learn. There are plenty of awful teachers that you can learn from; what do you think college is? They have never been taught how to teach and yet so many students have learned so much from them. This is based off of the mentality of the learner. Basically, are they willing to make the effort to learn on their own? 2. Students behavior in class has to be tip-toed around since so many bad parents will demand it. Example, a student received a bad grade in class because they turned it in over a week late and they came to me demanding I fix it even though they did not come in for over a week to get help, find out how to do or what the assignment was. Parent came in yelling how teachers have to make accommodations for student’s sports and that their child deserved a better grade. The student was quite smart and had great grades. This was one assignment. I worked with them and we figured out a program that worked for their student. They then transferred the child out of the class teaching them that it is better to not fix a problem, but run. 3. Safe environment is essential to any learning. Many parents blame a lack of this on schools or their child’s friends. It is actually based off of parents. Even straight A students will have a dangerous environment because the parent smothers them or forces them to do things they don’t feel are necessary in their lives. I feel for those students who have parents yelling at their child who forgot to turn something in or didn’t receive 100 percent on the work. I also feel for the child who has the parent who defends their poor behavior with excuses. I will have to end this short though now since I have to grade papers on the weekend. Man I feel like I am teaching because of the great pay and all that time off seeing as I am working on my “day off� and have to now go to my second job afterwards. "
11/4/2010:
"Quote from a teacher comment below: 'Uh uh......And they all have adhd nowadays. And their meds either are being adjusted or he forgets to take them.' Offensive. I have a student with adhd. Unmedicated, and learning real world strategies to compensate for what is difficult from us, the parents. We never expect the teacher to cut extra slack or modify classroom activities beyond a seating arrangement that is more condusive to a lack of distractions. We have had teachers that have worked out well and ones that have been horribly detrimental. Avoiding the 'helicopter parent' syndrome has been a high priority for us. Giving the teachers the tools and information they need has been beneficial. However, we have run across teachers that request the information, don't use it and blame the student. The teacher (I am thinking of one in particular) even lied in an IEP meeting saying she was using a cost/reward system (PUT IN PLACE BY A GUIDANCE COUNSELOR, NOT US THE PARENTS) every single day. Whe we stated that our child must not be understanding it because the student reported it hadn't been used in months, the teacher then said 'we! ll, I forget. Maybe I haven't been using it.' If the plan isn't one the teacher feels up to participating in, honesty would be a better approach and stating that it's too high of an expectation. You, sir or madam, sound like a bitter, unresponsive teacher that really should consider a different source of income. "
11/2/2010:
"One of the comments from a bitter teacher below wants to blame her students rather than taking responsibility. If the student is staying after school for extra help, he did not get the information. If it is because the student was goofing off, why would the student bother coming in for help? Clearly, there is something wrong with the learning environment and it looks like the teacher. Thankfully, many teachers are happy to help their students who take the initiative to get help outside of the classroom. Unfortunately, there are too many who are in it for the short hours, excessive time off and job security through tenure. "
11/1/2010:
"I think the education student needs to realize that, contrary to her and many people's opinion, not everybody learns best by 'hands-on.' It's just that the 'hands-on' types are usually the most vocal. The key is to present material in at the 3 main modalities (auditory, visual, kinesthetic), if possible. "
10/26/2010:
"Sadly, I think the frustration comes from only being able to see one side of the situation. Yes, you want your child to learn and enjoy school. I think most teachers want that for your child too. Now let's get a picture of a typical school: A typical school day is 6.5 hours each day Monday through Friday and in that time your child is dropped off and pick up from school, may have breakfast, has lunch, and needs recess to be a kid and develop the mind in other ways. In an ideal world that leaves 5.5 hours of learning. Let's now take out time for special classes such as Physical Education, Music, Technology, and Library (and those intermediate and secondary students who have band). That now leaves the teacher with a little more than 4 hours (depending on the school) to be learn math (and I mean really learn: have time to problem solve, have hands-on experiences, be shown effective strategies, and be given practice time), learn to read, learn to write, engage in hands-on science, learn social studies, learn health, and whatever other curricula your child's school or district has adopted. It's a lot to do. It's difficult for teachers and students both, but even more so when apathy, poor behaviors, and general life get in the way. Parents should not be expected to teach their child what they should have learned in school, but yes, parents should be expected and encouraged to extend their child's thinking as it relates to their own lives because, as Lloyd stated, parents know their children better than anyone else (or at least they should; since I typically only have your kid for one year)."
10/19/2010:
"I am a college student studying education for 4th - 8th grades math and science. The classes I learned most from I didn't take notes while the teacher talked. I did hands-on activities, wrote my own stories, and acted scenes from the time period I was studying. The other way I learned the most is when I was able or shown how the material I was learning connected to other content areas. Social studies, science, and math are all connected. And yes I left out reading and writing!!! Students can learn how to read (and I mean comprehended, not just read the words in a book) by reading a story about a famous explorer or inventor (and these are just two examples anything you want to know more about is in a fiction or nonfiction books, NOT texts books). The student can also learn math and history from the same book. No wonder we have such low math and science scores. These subjects are put on the back burner for reading and writing. I know teacher have too many kids in their classro! om and tons of paper work. And the TEST that doesn’t really tell how a student (they learn test taking skills but if you ask them deep, rich question about the content more than likely the students don’t know). All of the above are mandated by law makers, who receive money from lobbyist (test making companies, textbook companies, and others) and the law makers themselves don’t know a thing about education! The saddest thing is the teachers all know what the problems are, whether overcrowding, underfunded, too much paper work/red tape that takes away teaching/planning time and don’t forget the bad teachers (the yellers, lazy, the “oh this is cute� project giver, the teacher who ignores/favors students). I had them all and still see them in schools today. The saddest thing is parents let their schools run like this! Be involved in your child’s school and for the love of your children VOTE!!! For those of you who will read this and say I’m not a teacher so I can’t pass judgment! This is what I have to say to you. I have a second grader (7 ½ years young). The knowledge he has isn’t from school. We do fun, interesting things with him every day. Read, dress-up, go out and explore, and attend functions that provide entertainment and learning opportunities. The biggest thing is TURN THE T.V. OFF! I come from a family of educators who believe and follow the practices I have stated. It can be done. I have been in classrooms for observations for my degree that do it. It can be done. It may take time for teachers, principals, and school districts to change their ways, but if we push and encourage them it can happen! "
10/18/2010:
"So far I have read many statements about teachers, but nothing about today's student. I have parents contact me to ask about tutorials for their child. The implication is that I'm not doing my job. The reality is the child doesn't take any notes, texts under his desk, puts his head down, doodles while I'm teaching, and generally pays very little attention to what we are doing academically. This is standard operating procedure for a 15 year old boy and his parents want me to stay after school with him every day to 'tutor' him? Uh uh......And they all have adhd nowadays. And their meds either are being adjusted or he forgets to take them. I honestly don't see any difference in most of them, medicated or not."
10/13/2010:
"I am in the education field (college) and have two younger children in school. I am amazed how many parents judge a teacher within the first week of class. They also are also quick to conclude that they have no idea what their children are doing in school, yet fail to check the available resources. My childrens' school offers on-line homework lists, detailed progress reports (online and on paper), and parents have to sign agenda books daily etc. yet I still hear this comment. I find that if you talk to the teachers and let them know you are interested in working with them as a team (i.e., that you will work with your child at home and have appropriate consequences), then they are very receptive. Of course, one caveat is that my kids go to a smaller charter school so I can talk to their teachers daily if I wish. However, I suspect teachers at larger schools would welcome this sort of interaction as well."
10/13/2010:
"I have been teaching for 9 years no. I have been the new/exciting teacher that everyone wants, and I have been the teacher targeted with complaints. I have been on both sides. People (forget 'children', but PEOPLE) are different. We learn differently & thus we teach differently. Part of the school experience is about learning to adapt to less-than-ideal situations. These students will one day, in all likelihood, work for a boss they don't like either, but they'll have to learn to deal with it. Just as there may be a student struggling to learn, there is a teacher struggling to teach. We are not all jovial, likable folks on this planet. In my academic history, I remember coming home with 'My teacher hates me!' plenty of times. It was usually because I was doing badly in the class & most likely trying to shift the focus from my bratty attitude & lack of motivation to having a 'bad' teacher. Some tips here are great, such as supplementing where you see a deficiency. But, frankly, I am amazed that someone has to actually TELL PEOPLE TO DO THAT. People really can't come to that conclusion on their own? Wow. Sad. In my school, it boils down to working as a team. Similar to a modeling a healthy adult relationship, we shouldn't bad-mouth each other to children. It isn't healthy. Teachers who criticize parenting techniques are just as awful as parents who berate, negate, undermine, and criticize the teachers their child sees daily. Mutual support is the key.....in my OPINION."
10/13/2010:
"Are you kidding me????? A so- so teacher is unacceptable in my book and there should be a course of action rather than support the dysfunctional teacher."
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