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What happens if you get a bad teacher?

How to cope when your child's teacher is out and out terrible.

By Carol Lloyd

When I learned my daughter had been placed in Miss W’s second grade class, I began hearing whispers around the playground. There were complaints of strange punishments — something called “the walk of shame” — and of students being yelled at and publicly humiliated. It was also rumored that she was running a boat-parts business off her laptop and cell phone during class time.

“What class is Anna in?” I asked the mother of my daughter’s best friend. Her older daughter had already graduated from the school so she knew the terrain well. “The other one,” she said with a bright smile, not elaborating. But I knew what she wasn’t saying.

Most schools have them: Teachers whose reputations precede them in the worst possible way. Some such reputations are wholly unearned. Just as the most popular teacher is not necessarily the most effective, so too the cranky school marm may turn out to be an educational rock star. But other bad raps reflect a sad reality: There are bad teachers roaming the schools of America and every year countless kids must endure their whims.

There are bad doctors and bad garbage collectors, why should teachers be any different? Still, they occupy a special place in the occupational world. Lifetime tenure and a flaccid evaluation process can conspire to keep terrible teachers in the classroom until retirement. Firing a tenured teacher is a complicated and expensive process, involving months and even years of hearings and appeals, and thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Once they are installed in their classroom, teachers wield prodigious power over the students they teach. This vast sphere of influence makes teachers godlike in the best possible way; it can also translate to catastrophe for a young child’s education.

Yes, I know. To say teaching is challenging is an understatement. Given a big class full of diverse, often squirmy, students in an underfunded public school, even the best teachers are stretched to their limits — intellectually, emotionally, and organizationally. There are so many ways to fail. As Tolstoy might have said: Every ineffective teacher is ineffective in her own way.

My daughter survived Miss W’s class, but many of her classmates didn’t fare so well. A boy who was not allowed to go to the bathroom during class time got so nervous he ended up peeing in the car after his mother picked him up, and needed psychotherapy after reverting to bed-wetting. A girl became math phobic and required months of private tutoring to get back on track after Miss W publicly yelled at her to “cut out the nonsense” when she handed in an error-strewn math quiz. Another child, who was wrongly accused of stealing pencils and made to do “the walk of shame,”  spent every morning weeping and refusing to go to school. (For the "walk of shame," a child had to walk around the classroom while other students, egged on by Miss W, glowered to make her feel bad about her transgression.)

Since then, I’ve heard plenty of nightmare teacher stories from friends. There was the teacher who punched a locker within millimeters of a seventh grader’s face, while yelling full-throttle. There was the fourth grade teacher who broke his students into two instructional groups: “the brainiacs” and “the numskulls.” There was the fifth grade teacher who sent her difficult students to the hall in the morning, where they bullied other students for the rest of the day. There was an OCD kindergarten teacher whose room was immaculate because he kept the children from doing anything — including the curriculum.

For each of these tales of terrible teaching, no matter how savvy the parents were, there were no easy answers — and plenty of pitfalls. Regret was a common theme. Parents prefaced their stories with, “I wish I’d done it differently,” or, “If I’d only known.” Advice from educators, parent advocates, straight-from-the-trenches teachers, and expert pundits produced a smorgasbord of responses.

Bad teacher=good lesson?
Some experts and parents suggest that not only is the bad teacher experience probably inevitable, it’s actually a blessing in disguise.

Tiffany Andrews, coauthor of Sincerely, the Teacher, a book of advice for parents from a teacher’s perspective, recommends that parents use the experience as a “golden opportunity for a student to learn how to adapt.” Mother and parenting writer Loulie Scharf suggests that it’s a good chance to teach kids that, “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

A less-than-effective teacher may not lay waste to a child’s entire education, but parents who have had more than one negative experience — or a truly nightmarish teacher — may not be willing to look for the silver lining in the maelstrom of their child’s misery.

To broach or not to broach
For many parents, the first question is whether the chance of upsetting the teacher or administrator is worth risking the child’s standing. “I think I’m going to complain anonymously,” confided a colleague grappling with whether or not to confront her son’s English teacher. After she went on Ratemyteachers.com and read multiple tales about the teacher’s vindictiveness, she made her decision to go incognito and leave a message at the principal’s office.

Most experts I spoke to contend that parents shouldn’t shy away from openly raising concerns, but they also advise planning the approach with all the strategy of a guerrilla general. First, parents need to make sure they have the right intelligence.

“Take all information from your child with a grain of salt,” says principal Steve Perry, CNN education correspondent and author of Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve—Even If It Means Picking a Fight. “Kids do some stupid things and they sometimes blame the teacher," he points out.

Once you’ve established the basic facts, or at least your child’s version of the facts, set up a meeting to communicate your concerns, without your child. “It’s an adult conversation,” Perry says. “Children don’t belong in the back and forth.”

Tactical triage
Because parents are at a natural disadvantage, Perry recommends that they plan carefully for potentially difficult conversations with a teacher or principal. “Schools are like car dealerships,” Perry says. "When you go to a car dealership, I don't care how much research you’ve done, the car salesman always knows more than you do.” He recommends that parents dress professionally, and bring someone to referee who has your best interest at heart. “Treat the meeting like a business meeting: Send an email in advance, communicate concerns, be precise, solution-oriented, document everything, and then go up the chain of command.”

Elaine Meyers, a reading specialist and the founder of READS, recommends first doing a close analysis of the teacher, and figuring out exactly how he's ineffective.

“Less-than-desirable teachers fall into three categories: the fluffy, the boring, and the mean, and each requires a distinct response,” Meyers says. Boring teachers, she says, read from the curriculum script and are “just deadly.” Children with a boring or unchallenging teacher need parents to fill in the learning gaps with extra-curricular activities, tutoring — whatever it takes to help their child get excited about learning.

Fluffy teachers, Meyers says, show movies or tell personal anecdotes when they should be teaching. “For this kind of teacher, begin by asking to see the curriculum and look up the Common Core Standards to find out what your child should be learning. This will send a message that you are informed.” Meyers acknowledges that such situations may also require parents to fill in the learning gap outside of class. Even homework duties may fall to the parent: “If you have a teacher who doesn’t mark the homework, you should be the editor, check homework, AND be the ‘rewarder,’ offering stars or praise.”

If your child feels the teacher has been mean — or worse? Meyers recommends asking the child if he would like you to talk to the teacher. “If the kid says no, validate that you’re upset and that you’re proud of him for talking," she advises. "And tell him if this happens again, you want him to tell you about it. If it does happen again, make an appointment to talk to the teacher or principal.”

Fight or flight?
In these difficult conversations psychologist Jennifer Powell-Lunder, the founder of talkingteenage.com, suggests presenting concerns as issues that require clarification, as in, "'Mrs. Smith, I need your help. I am a little confused about something. Johnny said ------ , but I think he may have misunderstood. Can you explain it to me?'  This gives the teacher an out for an inappropriate comment; it also implies that her approach to your child is unacceptable."

For an intransigent problem, Richard Horowitz, former superintendant and author of Family Centered Parenting, recommends joining forces with other parents: “If no progress is made, I strongly suggest contacting other parents in that class and going to the principal as a united front. There is strength in numbers.”

In the end, all experts agree on one thing: If your child has been bullied, threatened, or abused, you should take action. “You need to say, 'I want my child taken out of the classroom,'” Meyers says. “It will not reflect poorly on the child or the parent. Your child will be welcomed into the next room. I’ve done it myself.”

“In the end, your job is to protect your child,” Steve Perry agrees. "If a teacher does something so unprofessional, they’ve jeopardized their status and all bets are off.”

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

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

06/25/2012:
"My son was in third grade and we just suffered a full year of what our country's education system is really all about...poor teachers, administrators who lie to protect them, and parents who don't pay attention. My child was supposed to be in a self contained gifted classroom...you might think that there was staff to support those needs? NOPE! It's sick. He went backwards. We were lied to about the "enhanced curriculum"...yet it seems that I was the only parent in his group that noticed it was not enriched, but in fact a backwards step from his FIRST grade class....not a typo...FIRST grade!!! He ended up with a horrible attitude about school (used to LOVE it). We are forced to move to another school....THAT"S how bad it really was. Will we most likely be facing more of the same? This school claims it is a full time gifted program. Or am I being lied to again about the "enrichment"? I used to be a pretty low maintenance parent (ex-teacher myself) until my son was RIPPED! OFF of his educational rights. The more I tried to intervene the worse we were treated. His teacher was lazy, unprofessional, incapable of complementing her students, lacked any form of classroom control, taught via videos, NEVER checked student's work, did NOT follow the curriculum...need I say more. I ran into a child at our "future" school who is now entering sixth grade. He ( a child mind you) is so angry at this woman because he says he learned NOTHING and has suffered two years because of her in trying to catch up!!! Gross!!! She is a young woman trying to raise a family and obviously is not CAPABLE of being a successful teacher...my son was screwed. Principal was of zero support. Seems it's all about protecting staff versus what's best for our children. I will be doing some research and joining ANY movement organizations out there to put an end to this rediculous system. I will not stop advocating for these kids who deserve better. "
06/20/2012:
"This article was so discouraging. So the truth is we, as parents, cannot protect our children and their education from bad teachers. There is no hope. This is so sad that I cannot believe it really happens. My children are the most important thing to me and I can't protect them from a bad teacher. Sad. "
06/4/2012:
"My son is excellent from all aspect but unfortunately he met a psycho during his first grade. The teacher has problem to communicate with parents, have no heart to love the kids and have no effort to teacher, no homework throughout the whole year, My son always tell me that she always screaming in class without any reason, and frightened kids even to cry. And she only hug girls that she like.... My son always shows unwilling to go to school and Thanks god, the first grade is finally coming to an end, and we will eventually fly away from the bitch . I am thinking about writing to the school, school district to make an effort to fire this bitch, together with other parents whose kids were also suffered from her. "
05/24/2012:
"My son is in first grade in the middle of the school year she left for maternity leave and now its the end of the school year, and berly two months ago she send me a letter saying he wasnt on reading level and he was going to be retained in first grade my problem is why during all the school year i was never informed about this? my brother is going through the same problem with his child on reading except hes been having meetings with the teacher and they have been working with him for a while. What can i do so my son wont have to repeat first grade please help! "
05/11/2012:
"I really don't know what to do! My child just finished a science course and most of the year was filled with videos and looking at animals. We brought it to the attention of the teacher, administration, and other parents. The teacher believes the book is only a supplement to hands on teaching. My child has a 99 in a class and on national testing scored below average on all science sections. I am very upset, some teacher's are not held to standards! "
05/11/2012:
"Do you think that teachers should be allowed to... 1 clip there nails in school 2 use there cell phone while teaching a class (txting) 3 chew gumm 4brush there teeth 5 eat and then talk with there mouth ful "
05/9/2012:
"My son unfortunately is being bullied by his teacher and when I tell the principal or confront the teacher....OF COURSE it is my son who is the problem. they are robots and I get the same answer from all the way up to super intendent...OMG searching in my area for a new school. he has missed out his entire 5th grade year and gone from A to F I am so sad for him... hopefully we can make up things during summer "
05/7/2012:
"i am really hoping someone will help me pretty please...i over heard a kendergarded mom at the store (all upset) saying that kay's teacher from last yr. was at it again....so i called the princible and told him about it and said i will let the media know if i hear it again...kay still will not let her know teachers if a kid hits her and i don't want any other kids to feel like kay... there is suposst to be (no bulling in school now )!!!!!! and i am pretty sure that the school will mot get her to stop... i will do whatever u wont me to.. if i can get someone to stop her. "
04/26/2012:
"Bullying between children will never stop if the adults around them act no better. It's sad that teachers aren't held more accountable for their actions (or in-actions, as it were) especially since they should instill confidence, self-esteem, fair judgement and values in our children. What of teachers for special-needs children? I really don't see how they fit into these neat little boxes. Special needs children often have trouble 'adapting,' and these types of teachers are in no way a 'good' experience. I believe there needs to be a more rigorous scrutiny and evaluation process for these teachers. "
04/24/2012:
"My granddaughter (who was overweight) was bullied by her male PE teacher in 8th grade. Made her work harder than the other kids. One day he called her out from another class in the rain and made her run the track over and over again alone. We were horrified. School did nothing but give us a voucher from the city thrift store for a new pair of sneakers. "Tenure" was their answer. By the end of that year she had lost a tremendous amount of weight. she is 18 yrs old now and at this writing she has been in and out of eating disorder facilities for years. She is 5'6 and weighs 61 lbs and is curently being hospitalized. "
04/23/2012:
"I have a problem with Social Teacher. She is sloppy and recently misplaces the student's works and willing to give zero without consider situation. Dealing with her is hard. She is stuborn and tent to over her power toward my kids. Involve principal is effect a short period time, then things go wrong again. Could anyone give me direction to correct her? "
03/6/2012:
"Ok. We have done all the things listed in this article, about the mean teacher. This teacher is a 10th grade High school teacher, calls the students retarded when they don't understand the math problems and in her own words she told them that they should already know this stuff and she's not there to teach, she's there to give them notes. When the students ask questions, she doesn't want to take the time to help them, and tells them they're useless. I have been to a parent/teacher conference with this woman, she made remarks about the kids that weren't very nice...I've talked to the principal about her, his advice was to talk to her. Other teachers in this school have the same opinion as the kids do about this teacher, they disagree with the way she teaches also. But the school is doing nothing to solve this problem. This woman needs to quit teaching, most of her students are failing, my daughter has her class and she shares it with many seniors because they failed her class! . I wish I could move and take my daughter to a different school district, but unfortunately I can't do that. What do you do when the school refuses to acknowledge the problems? My daughter is now failing math, she has never had problems in school, has always had good grades and an honor roll student. Help. "
02/28/2012:
"If Parents only knew---my 7th grade teacher told us that your first sip of coffee was your first step toward the Electric Chair. Did we repeat this at home? Of course not! "
02/8/2012:
"We are going through this right now. Unfortunately the principal is also a problem herself. To me a "ship" is only as good as it's "captain". If she is allowed to behave the way she does and talk to parents disrespectfully how can we expect the teachers to act any differently. We've heard many parents have complained to the super. about her yet she still has a job. We will be moving our kids out of this district school system. It's very unfortunate that we feel our children can't go to their own schools because of poor teachers and administration. The union is good in some ways but when it comes to bad teachers and bad administrators keeping their jobs it is not. These are precious children. If you aren't in it to do all you can for them then get out! There are other people who would love your job and be better at it. "
01/27/2012:
"i have a teachere who is to old to teach and she is hate full and i want ur help closeing my school down because are school is out of hand at this point "
01/10/2012:
"My teachers curse andd yell at us. One smokes in her classroom, and one is on her phone the whole time and yells when we take notes in class. We tell our parents, but the either dnt care or the school doesn't do anything. Btw, this is an elementary/middle school i go to. Cant wait til i leave. "
11/21/2011:
"Report the teacher to the DCFS(Department of Children and Family Services) from your state. You will have to give DCFS your name but if you can have a group of parents give their names also, it will give credibility to your case. Verbal abuse by teachers should be reported to the government agency so they can investigate, question the teacher, bring it to the attention of the administration. "
11/7/2011:
"There is a lot of these kind of teachers in schools. Most of the time principles support these kind of teachers. Sorry to say but this is so true. "
11/3/2011:
"It is an unfrotunate process to get a Teacher Ousted or Discplined within the arena of how they are tenured and backed by a union. What most people don't always readily comprehend, that although the fight may be a right thing to do, the consequences can be grave for the effected child. My wife and I are currently dealing with a "Bad" teacher issue at WTS in East Porter County, Indiana, in the middle school. No matter what we do, it always to appear it is the "students" fault. So beware of challenging a School Corporation, they are powerful and have difficulty discplining tenured teachers ... SAD STATE but it is what it is. "
10/31/2011:
"Hm...sounds like what ms. R is doing to me... she humiliates me so much I don't even want to go to school? Why do people wonder why I don't want to school? I'm going to injure my foot and make myself get sick so I don't have to go tomorrow.... she humilates me for forgetting ONE homework assignment. "
10/27/2011:
"A student who chews their fingernails and eats pencils, must learn there is a difference between hiding in the bathroom, and apologizing for insulting classmates to gain attention. Costing the class the respectfulness that others have by applying standards, and depriving others of food for the soul, becomes problematic when the other student's can not accept their environment, as their choice becomes to continue with class work under conditions that are damaging and painful, or to trust that the school will report its failure to comply and console with effective training skill. "
10/3/2011:
"its not true, other parents dont stand with a colored childs family..and inspite of telling a school such as the chappaqua school district also, nothing was done to the teacher..the child was not given a new class. "
10/3/2011:
"At Cabell you have thrid grade teachers who threaten to hit students with rulers. Who bully children and scare them. It's one thing, if one child says mommy or daddy please don't write a note I don't want to get in trouble. It's a new ball game when you have a lot of students saying the same thing. They are afraid to erase answers because they get in trouble. The teachers slam their hands against desks to get the kids to jump. It's imtimidation and talking to them does not work because they deny, deny , deny. I have talked to former students of theirs who recall the same treatment. Slamming kids in chairs, roughing them up. It's ridiculous and still the school admin does nothing. They won't transfer my child and my child cries every day because she has to be abused. If it were a parent doing the abuse, we'd be in jail. But teachers get a pass. "
10/3/2011:
"I've endured schools filled with ineffective, bullying teachers whose only love was for their paycheck and job security. Kids were nothing more than a resource to those teachers. I've been on the receiving end of abuse by some of the NEA's finest. When teachers are dealing with kids, they know they have a captive audience. That makes it easier for the bullies and harder for the kids. My challenge to any teacher reading this is: talk face to face with an adult who will tell you how full of crap you are. Raise a hand to that adult and see what happens to you. Go on. Try it. That's right. you won't because displacing your aggression onto the most helpless -the children- is so much easier for gutless losers like you, isn't it? Do yourselves a favor. Don't let me catch you picking on a child. Ever. I'm big, I'm tough, I'm strong, I'm trained, and I'm righteously pissed off at those who bully children. "
10/3/2011:
"As a teacher, I like your approach. I much prefer to have a parent approach me with questions about what is going on, as opposed to telling me what is going on, since they aren't there. It is also critcal that the first contact be with me, and not with my administrator "
10/3/2011:
"I wasn't going to comment on this article. However, we just started having problems with a teacher that has been on the parental "bad list" since one f my older children had her three years ago. She was allowed to stay "on probation" after my daughters 7th grade year. Four years later, she is now picking on my son. Other parents have told me she has had their child in tears. What to do? She pulled my 11 year old son aside during class to go through his notebook. She muttered something under her breath that included the word "hate." He now believes she said she hates him. Then, she proceeded to tell him that he would never be ready for the quiz the next day and definitely not ready for the test at the beginning of the next week. We went over the work when he came home (right after her class, he went to the office and had them call me so that he could come home. He said he was feeling sick) and he knew exactly how to do the math she was saying he wasn't ready for. ! I am so angry. My husband had to send a few emails and he is going to handle the situation because this particular teacher doesn't appear to like me either. This is a private school where we pay upwards of $20,000 per year for each child. I have had three older children come through this school. We've had great, good, and terrible teachers. It just seems to me that the rule of thumb should be "Don't be a teacher, if you don't like kids." Really, telling kids they are stupid, that you hate them, or that they will not be able to pass a test is not acceptable. This teacher picked a bad time to mess with another one of my kids. I have had enough. "
10/3/2011:
"My son told me his teacher was mean. He started acting out in class and his grades fell. I spoke to the teacher and found her to be nice. So I believed her. The next year my son acted out and was difficult. He didn't say his teachers were mean, but he acted out anyway. The third year he said he had another mean teacher. This was the same school--so this time I went in because after speaking to the teacher and the principle I was convinced my son was becoming a real problem. Well--I walked into the class unanounced and stood in the back. Neither the teachor or my son saw me. I was horrified by what I saw. She spoke to him in such a nasty way you could tell she just hated him--then he responded in the same tone she used on him. Then she said she was sending him to the principle. I cleared my throat and they both looked at me. I shook my head, told my son to gather his things and went to the principle's office. I couldn't get his class changed so I went to the school to "superv! ise" the teacher and my son --daily-- for the rest of the year. My point-- sometimes teachers are nice to parents and seem convincing that it is all the child, but when people aren't looking they can be the instigator. It took my son two years of decent teachers to return to normal and get his grades back up. One year with a bad teacher impacts the child for many years. Keep that in mind when you talk about "problem children". Children aren't naturally problematic--they are TAUGHT to be problematic! "
10/3/2011:
" I have a child who is in high school. The teachers are really great at teaching, its when they are coaches that favoritism sets in. After 3 years of listening to the teachers/coaches same speech our child decided to quit sports because she said the talk doesn't mean anything, she has her favorites & that's it & you can not change her mind. And I had to agree. We also have a problem of favoritism with the counselor/teacher, now she really has favorites & if your not one, you can forget getting help from her. No amount of talk has helped to change her attitude( this includes how she treats other employees) & now she is also an assistant principal. She is to spread out to do a good job with any of them. Our child doesn't attend the school at a daily bases but is doing Running Start( which we had to do all the paper work & be on her to get her to sign what had to be signed by her, which by the way is suppose to be her job) but when she has to talk to the counselor every quarter! she makes our child feel dumb & stupid yet her GPA is 3.89. I'll still keep up the fight to get her out of our school, but it is a battle, but for the future kids it'll be worth it. "
09/27/2011:
"My child had a teacher who failed in previous her career as a "therapist" but was lucky enough to land a teaching position in Walnut Creek, California. She proceeded to practice her therapeutic strategies on the children in her care. She incorporated an enormous amount of physiological intimidation in her daily assault. I complained but the damage was already done to my child. I hear that she is now taking her medication. Again, too late for all the kids she had abused prior. Changes need to be made in how California deals with these type of teachers. "
09/27/2011:
"I have had the same issues with my oldest son...He wasn't doing well in school because I wasn't doing my job at home...I was excusing his behavior...Or I was in denial of his situation...Well now he is online school...So I do everything with him..I spend close to the same amount of time working with him as I did when he was in public school...He is exceling...He is performing above grade level...So what I would like to know what is different? Answer nothing other than taking the teacher out of the equation...Parents you know your child and follow that instinct when it calls out to you... "
09/27/2011:
""The writer seems to be implying that parents have no responsibilites to help ther children at home." Help does not mean TEACH, correct? What I did I needed to teach at home, what was not done at school. Anyone can imagine doing the same after surgery????? I saw a good teacher, once. It's rear phenomena. "
09/26/2011:
"I have four children and unfortunately this happened to my oldest child and my youngest child. With both cases, the child got pulled out of that school at the end of the school year and went to different school the next school year. Mind you, the two schools with difficult teachers were private schools and pushed the idea that the oldest needed psychiatric help and the youngest couldn't read. No matter that the oldest had a 4.0 gpa and the youngest had an assessment done showing that he reads above is grade level. We encountered high handedness from the Principal to the couselors and unfortunately the children had to suffer during that school year. But note the teacher in question for both cases were either released the next school year or quit. My children transferred to public schools, the oldest graduated and is in college and the youngest one is 6th grade and thriving. What ever happened to keeping the childrens' education/interest/well-being first at school? "
09/26/2011:
"How about the teacher having a bad student?? In most cases the student which the parents are in denial that their kid was the problem. I worked with all the the teachers at Ensign and they all are great and put up a lot with disrupting kids. And the Principal being ineffective to correct it. "
09/26/2011:
"I didn't find this article too useful. I am dealing with a teacher that has been in the same role for 20 years. I just had to go in and question my son's grades from his interm report were different from the papers he was bringing home. His teacher is very defensive when you speak with her and she overall does not seem like she is very well educated. I asked to have my son moved and was told not at this time. The other 4th grade teacher seems more open and friendly. "
09/26/2011:
"Are u kidding me ? The public schools are under funded ? Why must that myth be thrown into this - WE spend more $$$ then we EVER did on education - yet the results are FLAT !! Why u ask ? It cones down to teachers ! & teacher Unions ! They are bad for education. Teachers PAY by the HOUR WORKED are close to if not more then RNs - and CPA s . Yet we are programmed to to feel sorry for done of these folks - why ? I urge you to take a look at many Charter/Magnet Schools results ! Most blow public schools away ! Why you ask ? Cause If a teacher there doesn't do their job - they don't have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove them ! I have never heard if a job ( unless it's union ) that u can't be fired if you suck at it ! And on top of that - these non union schools cost Thousands of dollars less to operate per child - and many of these schools operate much longer days - most till 4 or 5 pm teaching. Do u really think today's tenured teachers would agree to that ? NOT !!! It's time that we as parents stand up and demand that our kids are educated the best in the world and it shows that they are being short changed and we are being over charged !! "
09/26/2011:
"God,that is SO true...and Lincoln, unfortunately, has a few bad teachers AND assistance principal. I am SO glad that my children are out of there. "
09/26/2011:
"I cannot agree with you more that there are bad teachers out there but it is important to keep in mind that most often we lack the support of parents who want to blame everyone for their child's lack of performance in the classroom and behavior issues as well. I can't tell you how many times the tables have turned back on me as the teacher being blamed for students not doing homework and assignments and their behavior problems in my classroom simply because it just couldn't be their little Johnny.. Good and effective communication is necessary but more important is the parent/teacher support system. "
09/26/2011:
"If the student is in elementary school, perhaps it would be acceptable to have a parent-teacher meeting without said child, but in high school and probably middle school, that is simply not appropriate. Many students elaborate on and skew the stories they tell their parents. Mostly, they are trying to get out of "being in trouble" by finding a way to make the teacher appear to be at fault. Without the student in the room, the truth is more difficult for some parents to discern. It is my policy never to have a parent meeting without the high school student present, unless there is an issue that is extremely sensitive or the parent refuses to cooperate. "
09/26/2011:
"I would like to read something about the difficult to prove the inconpetence of a teacher an the power of the union that mantain bad teacher working even if it is clear that they don`t have professionalism, and ethic to do so.In the public school system, who is the person who can really do something efective about a bad teacher? "
09/26/2011:
"Regarding mean teachers, I am thoroughly disgusted that this situation is allowed to continue. And continue it does. My child had a football coach as a teacher in a triple AAA public high school who was doing very well bullying the kids on the football field to championships..He didn't stop there and was known by the kids for his rediculously rough tactics in the classroom (with a closed door allowed, I might add). Once my child and another told me how rough this teacher was, including telling the kids daily they were stupid- mforcefully and to the point where the kids NEVER wanted to irritate him- I called the principal. Let's just put it this way: even though the teacher had to go through some type of counseling, he remained in the classroom and later, I heard he continued the behavior. I pulled my child from that school. I was so incensed that I contacted Pacer, the organization dealing with bullying in schools..and wow, I am amazed how quiet the response was. Absolutely awful. I have 5 teachers in my immediate family, with the utmost respect for the teaching profession. However, there is a HUGE elephant in the room and it is time to speak up! "
09/26/2011:
"my son has a great teacher this year at East End Elementary in Robersonville NC. "
09/26/2011:
"Considering that one parent swears BY a teacher and her neighbor swears AT the same teacher the waters become quite muddied. Two years ago I had a similar 'wetting' incident and was called to the office. The mother was very upset, but two months later I learned from another student that no such thing happened. This was junior high. Never did tell the principal, but should have. Oh yes. I was taking attendance when she asked so I told her to wait. Hey, we are three minutes into the period and she has to . . .? Then she spent half the period in the hallway talking to someone from the school paper.??? Lets deal with 'bad' teachers. Meet with them personally. Close knit schools are difficult to breach so you might have to even go to the press when superintendents don't cooperate. Second last resort? See other parents whose child shares the same teacher. Good luck, and teach your kids the Mozart Effect. "
09/26/2011:
"I have been very lucky in the last 4 years. All of my grandsons teachers have been great, not good great. Having transferred to a Spanish Immersion School was the best thing we ever did. Every one in the school is bilingual and there for the children not a paycheck. Three of them were asked to help another school dig it's way out of the ditch it dug itself. They all said no since they are at this school where parents choose to send their children, work to get them there. I realize that we are truly lucky but we all work towards a positive goal for all the students in that school, not all teachers can say that. They ride the students to get them to achieve what is possible for each student. "
09/26/2011:
"Where is the article about how to support a good teacher? Parents don't have a clue how to do that more often than they will EVER encounter a "bad teacher". Ed. Note: There are a few on our site, but here is a recent article about the value of great teachers: http://www.greatschools.org/improvement/teacher-quality/4891-all-about-the -teacher.gs?page=1 "
09/26/2011:
"No bad teachers at all' as far as I know. He likes his teacher! "
09/26/2011:
"the incidence of "bad" teachers is probably low yet you choose to have this website... why? It's not that complicated to move your child if your child out of the "bad" class. "
09/26/2011:
"First and foremost, I am very sorry to hear that your child has such a poor teacher at Vanderlyn. In fact, I'm shocked. I went there years ago and had no problems. I am disappointed you are having such a tough time. I assume you have told the principal and nothing has been done to rectify this problem. I would reccommend you call Dick Williams, the publisher of The Crier, and let him know what's happening at Vanderlyn, a school with such a "superb" reputation. I hope to read an update soon that your problem has been solved. I'm on your team, as I have a first grader at another public school. "
09/26/2011:
"I feel your pain, but the problem is much larger than I think most know. We have given up so much power to the teachers and administration that now we are paying the price. Bad teachers are generally backed and supported by a poor Administration. Teachers and their unions have become what I would call a "gang" type atmosphere and parents have their hands tied. I have experienced a situation where the Principle backed poor ethics by a teacher. When I went higher to the school board, they made personal attacks on my character to discredit me and isolate me. Once isolated, my hands were tied. The situation was unfair and there was nothing I could do about it. A teacher herself told me that Administration do not want to admit when they have a bad apple, they are too afraid of being sued. It is a terrible web we, as a community, have woven. Some how we need to restrict the power of the Administration and Teachers, they need to be held accountable for their actions. "
09/26/2011:
"There is a teacher that I will not allow my daughter to have. She has a IEP but no learning disabilities, so with the backing of her Dr. (VERY respected in his field) I have her going to the resource room for the one subject she would have with this teacher. When I spoke to this teacher it confirmed my decision! I make sure anything I have to say is done in writing or email with copies to the administration. Next year we will be switching schools, too small of a school to meet her needs. We need to remember as parents that we have a right to protect our children. I was willing to sit in the class EVERY day if I had to! "
09/26/2011:
"Sadly my child was the victim of a cruel teacher. Everyone knew about her. After I talked to her, she retaliated to my child. Other kids in class developed stress headaches, etc. We followed the steps above. Teacher is still in position, doing the same thing to new kids. That this is allowed is immoral. This episode turned me from a union supporter to a strong anti-teachers union person. "
09/26/2011:
" The writer seems to be implying that parents have no responsibilites to help ther children at home. Regardless of whether the teacher is perceived as "good" or "bad" parents still have a responsibility to check and go over homework with their elementary aged children. I am also a little confused by the comparisons of "bad" teachers... Let's see, the teacher who follows the curriculum is "boring," but the teacher who spices things up with stories and personal anecdotes is "fluffy." Guess we just don't have enough perfect people going to teacher school... "
09/26/2011:
"While it's true there are a few teachers who don't care about their jobs, the vast number of them most assuredly do. For every teacher that isn't interested in teaching, there are far more who are working 60+ hours a week preparing lessons, grading compositions and talking to parents, etc. There are far more teachers dealing with parents who can't or won't make sure their children are reading, doing homework etc. after they get home instead of spending hours with their electronic toys. It's easy to blame the teachers, but most are doing all they humanly can to ensure their students are doing well. Much of the bad rap teachers are getting in the media is politically motivated--and ironically, those politicians who complain the most are the very ones who continually cut funding to Education. "
09/26/2011:
"And what does a teacher do with a disrespectful student who has a parent who doesn't have a valid phone number on file and can't be contacted? What about the parent who allows their student to stay home from school for no particular reason? Maybe that's what made the teacher mean? "
09/26/2011:
"Doing everything on that list will not help. If the teacher in question is a public school teacher then they are unionized. Unionized teachers are harder to "fire" for being a bad teacher or even worse. I've heard about a teacher that had a years worth of documents from witnesses that he abused a select few of his special needs students. It took 4 years and cost the district nearly $250,000, the cost of lawyers and later the cost of the substitue. This abusive teacher still got paid by the school for the 4 years it took for the courts to grant his termination. Best advise: insist on a diffrent teacher or seek a diffrent school. Beware though those "bad" teachers generally get transfered to another school or district in order to save from the financial hassles. "
09/26/2011:
"Another reason for homeschooling if I ever saw one. "
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