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View Full Version : OT: Undesirable Teacher Assignment-What Would You Do?


gottaluvdis
06-21-2006, 09:13 AM
I know this is OT, but this board has wonderful advice. Yesterday DD9 was assigned her teacher for 4th grade next year, and she was assigned the one teacher (out of 8) that she really didn't want. She's heard from other kids that this teacher is mean and strict. I've also heard from other parents that she's difficult to deal with and odd. Our neighbor is a teacher in the school and has said this particular teacher should have retired years ago, and that she wouldn't want her son assigned to her (her son is the same age as DD - I don't know who he has been assigned to yet). DD broke down into tears when she learned who she had. I wanted to bring her for ice cream after school to celebrate the last day, but she was too upset to go. This is unusual behavior for DD, who normally is a strong person and a leader in the classroom etc. She did, however, seem to get over it pretty quick and we haven't discussed it since yesterday.

Now the dilemma - do my DH and I interfere? Do we see how things go once school starts? I've been told it's much easier to change assignments in the summer than once school begins, but it also nearly takes an act of God to change at all. I tend to think we should let her be and see how things go. My cousin's DD had this person and didn't like her at first, but liked her toward the end of the year. I plan to quiz my cousin and his DW about their experiences with this woman. DD has never met this teacher and doesn't even know what she looks like, so I had the talk with her about not judging people until she's met them. I also haven't spilled any of my own insecurities about this situation over to DD. I'm trying to remain neutral as far as DD's concerned.

Has anyone else been in this situation and how did you handle it? I'd appreciate any advice anyone has. Thanks! :goodvibes

Evil Queen
06-21-2006, 09:20 AM
That's tough.

In 3rd grade my son was assigned a teacher, who my sister (a teacher at the same school) would not be good for him. Really strict and sometimes loud, he tends to like soft spoken teachers, he has Asperger's.

She requested a change and they said no. I told her I would wait and if he doesn't do well, I'd request the change.

Best thing that ever happened to him. He had to learn at sometime that not all people are easy going and soft spoken. She really liked him too.

Personally, I would wait and see what happens. Teachers sometimes get a bad wrap. There is one teacher next year, he doesn't want. He's not a bad teacher, but he really gets them prepped for 6th grade and is tough.

Cinderella Fan
06-21-2006, 09:21 AM
If the teachers are still in school for "teacher workdays", then I would go to speak with her, look around her room, and get a feel of her teaching style. My second year teaching, I had several parents some to speak with me regarding their children's assignments to my room, as I was the "NEW" teacher in the school and no one really knew my classroom style.

Then, if you choose not to have your DD in her classroom, speak with the principal to have her re-assigned. It is MUCH easier to move a student before the school year starts....

Hope you are able to make the best decision.... And don't let it bother your summer, things always have a way of working themselves out... :wave:

MommaluvsDis
06-21-2006, 09:29 AM
I had a similar stuation with my DS when he was in first grade. There was a teacher who everyone said was fantastic. So, I campaigned to get him in her room. It worked. As the first few weeks went by, I noticed that DS wasn't excited about school anymore. One weekend, he was sitting on the couch and broke out crying which was so unlike him.

He begged me not to send him back to that class, not school, just that class. I questioned him and decided that I would parent volunteer for a week in his room so that I could see for myself what was going on.

After that week, DH and I went to the principal and told him that if he didn't remove my son from that environment, we'd pull him out and take him to another school. At the time, we could do that if we wanted.

I told him what I'd observed and he did, in fact, place him with another teacher. DS went from F average to the A honor roll but more importantly, back to loving school.

This teacher is no longer in the school system and it's a really good thing.

Change her now. If she's scared of her teacher, she won't learn.

AussieAngel
06-21-2006, 09:35 AM
As a teacher myself, I have to say this is a very common problem. There are always kids who don't want to have a particular teacher, or kids who want to be in a class with their friends, or parents who have heard "bad" things about a certain teacher...

Since you've never actually met this teacher, and your daughter hasn't either, I'd say just wait and see. Have a fun summer, and if the worst happens and she really is a horrible teacher, do something about it then. But chances are, she's not that bad. School communities have a funny way of spreading opinions amazingly quickly. Sometimes you just have to decide for yourself.

I remember when I was in Grade 3, I had the nastiest teacher ever. Mrs Saunders. *shudder* She had a big mole on her cheek which grew hairs out of it, and she was just old and frightening. But you know what? That teacher loved me and I ended up having a great year! Yes, she was strict, but sometimes a bit of strictness doesn't hurt!

I think it's nice to have a variety of types of teachers. Some men, some women, some laid-back, some strict, some wacky, some boring... That's what school's about!! Don't we all look back and laugh at some of our teachers!?

patsal
06-21-2006, 09:49 AM
I guess it is a tough decision, but things to consider include that change can be good, we learn how to deal with people we may not like when we are forced to deal with people we may not like. IF you feel your child is not learning in the environment then you would have the recourse to request a change. Though it is easier for both teachers (for organization purposes) and students (for the routine) to make the change before the school year at least you know you gave it a try and have a real concern before making the switch not just basing the switch on hearsay or others experiences, but on your own.

robinb
06-21-2006, 09:56 AM
I just dealt with a horrible first grade teacher. I would ask to have her moved now. Don't even bother giving the teacher the benefit of the doubt since it will be much, much harder to get your DD moved after class starts. I wish I had followed my instincts and had my DD moved. Instead I kept on hoping that things would get better and that having some good "buddies" in her class would help. It didn't. My DD had a lousy first grade and has a lot of catching up to do :(.

pweyl36
06-21-2006, 10:07 AM
This should be a learning lesson for your dd. Sometimes there are people that
are not nice,but thats life. I had some mean teachers when I was in school and I turned out fine. She will always have a mean teacher,you as a parent can not always be there to make sure every thing is perfect for your child. You do not want to be a helicopter parent? :rotfl:

kizmac
06-21-2006, 10:14 AM
I would do nothing and just see how it goes. It has been my experience that most of the time, the so called "bad teacher" that no one wants and says is so mean or hard turns out to be just fine. I've even really liked some of the teachers that others said were a nightmare. My kids seem to always get the one they didn't want but I have never requested a change. My bet is that it will be just fine for your daughter. :goodvibes

GillieRose
06-21-2006, 10:31 AM
Next year I have the same fear. My daughter is going into the 1 st grade and she has 1 out of 13 chance of getting this one teacher I can not stand. My nieces both had her. But at this point there is nothing I can do. I have to wait untill August to find out if she gets her. She had the best teacher this year for Kindergarten. I hoping for the same next year.

mrsboz
06-21-2006, 10:42 AM
GillieRose: Maybe you could send a letter of suggestion to the principal. Saying something liker her teaching style would not benefit your child and to ask her to consider this when placing your child. I heard from a teacher that if you are asking not to have someone it is not so bad as asking for someone???

It is never easy. My sisters son had a teacher in kindergarten that no one wanted. She and he hated her. In first grade she got the teacher again that no one wanted but this time he and she loved her. You just never know.

Tamarap
06-21-2006, 10:51 AM
Thats a tough one, but I personally would make the child at least start in the assigned class. The same thing happened to us. It was 2nd grade. When my DS found out who he had he was horrified. I told him he had to at least give the teacher a chance. Well after Christmas break his whole demeanor changed. He was visibly depressed when I picked him up from school, didn't want to do his homework and didn't care about the consequences. After a couple of week or so of this I went to the Vice-Principal and shared my concerns and he agreed that my son needed an "environmental change" (class change LOL). He was switched to another class within the week and back to his old happy self again. This happened again in the 5th grade and I did not change move him. It was a tougher year for him, but he made it through okay, although things never got as bad as they did in 2nd grade.

La2kw
06-21-2006, 10:56 AM
I know this is OT, but this board has wonderful advice. Yesterday DD9 was assigned her teacher for 4th grade next year, and she was assigned the one teacher (out of 8) that she really didn't want. She's heard from other kids that this teacher is mean and strict. I've also heard from other parents that she's difficult to deal with and odd. Our neighbor is a teacher in the school and has said this particular teacher should have retired years ago, and that she wouldn't want her son assigned to her (her son is the same age as DD - I don't know who he has been assigned to yet). DD broke down into tears when she learned who she had. I wanted to bring her for ice cream after school to celebrate the last day, but she was too upset to go. This is unusual behavior for DD, who normally is a strong person and a leader in the classroom etc. She did, however, seem to get over it pretty quick and we haven't discussed it since yesterday.

Now the dilemma - do my DH and I interfere? Do we see how things go once school starts? I've been told it's much easier to change assignments in the summer than once school begins, but it also nearly takes an act of God to change at all. I tend to think we should let her be and see how things go. My cousin's DD had this person and didn't like her at first, but liked her toward the end of the year. I plan to quiz my cousin and his DW about their experiences with this woman. DD has never met this teacher and doesn't even know what she looks like, so I had the talk with her about not judging people until she's met them. I also haven't spilled any of my own insecurities about this situation over to DD. I'm trying to remain neutral as far as DD's concerned.

Has anyone else been in this situation and how did you handle it? I'd appreciate any advice anyone has. Thanks! :goodvibes

I wouldn't base my decision on what your daughter says about the teacher. She doesn't even know what the teacher looks like, she's just basing her opinion on what other kids say. Most kids don't like the idea of "strict" teachers. :confused3 Being a "strict" teacher myself, I can't tell you the number of compliments I get from parents thanking me for having clear expectations and rules in my classroom, even though their kids may not like it at first. ::yes:: You are the adult and you seem to understand that we shouldn't always judge people. My suggestion is to see how the year starts. Observe the teacher in action for yourself. If you see a problem that concerns you, then definitely ask for her to be moved at that point.

FergieTCat
06-21-2006, 10:58 AM
Not a very helpful comment, I guess, but ...

I was terrified of my teacher in 6th grade. He was strict, he made us sit in rows, and learn by memorization. 30 years later, and I can still recite the preamble to the Constitution.

But he was an excellent teacher and one of the few that I still remember. If there were a way to contact him, I would and thank him.

So ... she might not be that bad. Is there anyway you can meet with her before school starts so you can get a sense of what she's like.

Cindy B
06-21-2006, 10:58 AM
Tricky call.

I was not fond of my sons placement this year. (today is the last day of school).

I wound up speaking to the principal and the superintendent about this teacher. However, I did not allow a switch to occur. I wanted my son to learn that in some situations you will have someone that you don't like.. whether its a boss, coworker or a professor that you have to get along with, like it or not.

I did get his math teacher switched due to the fact that the math course he was assigned to was not challenging enough.

I had enough evidence to support a move from this teachers class. However, I did want him to learn something from it.

Due to my complaints of the teacher to the principal and superintendent, the teacher got more training and has some development scheduled. She is a veteran tenured teacher so she could not be removed. However, my problems with her have been documented.

Go with the teacher. If all you hear is that she is mean, honestly, thats really nothing. We got verbal abuse and comments. We got unethical comments, and unprofessional behavior. We got threats.

See how it goes, it might be fine.

gottaluvdis
06-21-2006, 11:02 AM
Thank you all for the quick replies and advice. DD said she doesn't want DH and I to interfere, and I think she really wouldn't want to be moved once school starts. I definitely don't want to be a helicopter parent, as someone said, but I also don't want her to have a bad experience. She seems to have resigned herself to the fact that she got that teacher. I like the suggestion for me to go in on a workshop day and meet the teacher myself. DD has already said she doesn't want to meet her prior to the start of school. At least I can get a feel for her myself. I'll check to see when the teachers will be there. DD will also be in an advanced class nearly every day (taught by the same gifted teacher she's had since 1st grade), so at least she'll get a respite from the regular classroom each day. I agree with those who said they had some not so great teachers - I had some doosies myself! It's good for her to be exposed to different personalities, as long as she can get over being initially upset and not hate school for the entire year.

gottaluvdis
06-21-2006, 11:11 AM
Tricky call.

I was not fond of my sons placement this year. (today is the last day of school).

I wound up speaking to the principal and the superintendent about this teacher. However, I did not allow a switch to occur. I wanted my son to learn that in some situations you will have someone that you don't like.. whether its a boss, coworker or a professor that you have to get along with, like it or not.

I did get his math teacher switched due to the fact that the math course he was assigned to was not challenging enough.

I had enough evidence to support a move from this teachers class. However, I did want him to learn something from it.

Due to my complaints of the teacher to the principal and superintendent, the teacher got more training and has some development scheduled. She is a veteran tenured teacher so she could not be removed. However, my problems with her have been documented.

Go with the teacher. If all you hear is that she is mean, honestly, thats really nothing. We got verbal abuse and comments. We got unethical comments, and unprofessional behavior. We got threats.

See how it goes, it might be fine.

Wow, my situation doesn't seem nearly this bad. I did have one parent tell me this teacher asked her "what's wrong with your son" when he couldn't sit still in class. She told the parent that he must be ADHD, but he was tested and found not to be ADHD although he does have a learning disability. Her son had this teacher for 2nd grade and he just ended 6th grade and is apparently still jaded by this teacher. It's that kind of thing I'm hoping to avoid with DD, but then again she's not in the same situation as the other boy. I'm going to keep my eyes and ears open for inappropriate or unprofessional comments. If she's just strict and runs a tight ship, I'm all for it!

ETA: It is my understanding that this teacher is tenured as well, and despite complaints in the past, the administration's hands are tied until she decides to retire.

PA Princess
06-21-2006, 02:19 PM
Sounds like you have a great perspective on how to handle this. Hopefully, it will all work out in the long run for your daughter!!

Though, I have to say as a former public school teacher, it is situations like this (or perhaps like this, since this teacher's inadequacies are not confirmed officially) that really upset me....an obviously poor teacher and the hands of the "boss" are tied due to tenure. You wonder in situations like this, who are the schools for...the students or the teacher???

J&D
06-21-2006, 02:20 PM
Being a "strict" teacher myself, I can't tell you the number of compliments I get from parents thanking me for having clear expectations and rules in my classroom, even though their kids may not like it at first. Same here.

daisax
06-21-2006, 03:00 PM
My 6th grade nephew is smart and all the teachers have always loved him... until this year. His teacher isn't just strict, but genuinely doesn't like him, according to my sister, who works in the same school. Their parent-teacher conferences have been peculiar, to say the least, with the teacher giving feedback that sounds like she's talking about another child all together (fortunately the teachers he has for other subjects adore him so it's purely a personality conflict).

The plus side? He IS intellectually lazy so things come easy to him, and he IS learning that some people cannot be pleased, but may still have constructive criticism that can be honestly accepted and turned to good use. He has been used to coasting, and this year he hasn't been able to.

Also, all bad things come to an end, and next year as he switches to more of a Jr. High atmosphere he should be back in his teachers' good graces.

trip
06-21-2006, 04:52 PM
My DD's elementary school didn't post classroom assignments until two days before school started. I liked it that way.

RADOPT
06-21-2006, 05:07 PM
Yesterday DD9 was assigned her teacher for 4th grade next year, and she was assigned the one teacher (out of 8) that she really didn't want. She's heard from other kids that this teacher is mean and strict. I've also heard from other parents that she's difficult to deal with and odd. Our neighbor is a teacher in the school and has said this particular teacher should have retired years ago, and that she wouldn't want her son assigned to her (her son is the same age as DD - I don't know who he has been assigned to yet).

I am not going to give an opinion but this happened to my sister years ago in 6th grade. The teacher was very strict and difficult BUT to this day my sister says that she is one the the best teachers she every have. Just a thought.

Debbie
06-21-2006, 05:14 PM
Ahhhh. I strive to be the MEANest teacher on staff!
A MEAN teacher insists that each student do the best s/he is capable of doing.

A MEAN teacher insists that students hand in their assignments on time and takes off points for late assignments.

A MEAN teacher does not accept incomplete assignments.

A MEAN teacher requires each student to think carefully and to make her/his own decisions.

A MEAN teacher holds each student responsible for her/his own behaviour.

A MEAN teacher makes students keep the classroom, themselves, and their belongings neat and clean.

A MEAN teacher does not allow free time in class until all classwork is done.

A MEAN teacher gives homework regularly, sometimes even on weekends.

A MEAN teacher calls on students who don't raise their hands to answer questions.

A MEAN teacher requires all students to treat each other with respect.

A MEAN teacher makes life miserable for students by insisting that they always tell the truth.

A MEAN teacher produces students who are respectful, responsible, and successful.

*(MEAN = Making Excellence A Necessity)

gottaluvdis
06-21-2006, 05:14 PM
My DD's elementary school didn't post classroom assignments until two days before school started. I liked it that way.

This isn't a bad way to do it, especially if the child(ren) will be anxious all summer worrying about it. My DD already seems OK with it - a classroom friend called her today to see who she had, and even though the friend didn't get the same teacher, she told her about another friend who did. DD called that friend and feels better that she has at least one friend assigned to that class as well.

It will probably all work out fine, but I'm with the other poster who said it's disturbing if someone is tenured and not good at their job, but nothing can be done about it (I'm not saying that's the situation with this teacher). I certainly don't have that kind of job security! We have a friend who was recently elected to the school board, so I plan to ask him about this next time I see him.

jpmandan
06-21-2006, 05:56 PM
Kudos to Debbie from another MEAN teacher!! :wave2:

luvsgrumpy
06-21-2006, 11:01 PM
Thank You to all the MEAN teachers out there!! DS9's third grade teacher was an experienced teacher but new to his building and I was unsure after they got their homeroom assignments. She turned out to be a truely MEAN teacher (and one of the coolest at that).

BTW, the one teacher I remember to this day seemed to be the nastiest I had ever had but I have given her credit for the last 20+ years as the teacher I learned the most from.

I have a feeling that DD's teacher will work out just fine. As well as meeting her before the year starts (great idea), how about volunteering at the school if possible. That is a great way in our kids school to meet and get to know the whole staff.

Good Luck

AussieAngel
06-22-2006, 12:54 AM
Gottaluvdis, you mentioned you'd go into school when the teachers will be there, to get a feel for the teacher yourself...

Augh!

As a teacher, may I say please make sure you do this at an appropriate time, if at all!

Teachers need their holidays too. And they need their organising days.

The days when students aren't at school, but teachers are, are usually dedicated to staff meetings, setting up the classroom, and planning for the school year - not for parents to come in and check up on you!

That might be a really good way to start off on the wrong foot with this teacher!

hambirg
06-22-2006, 01:28 AM
As a public school teacher turned SAHM, I think the best person to talk to about this is you DD's current teacher. She/he knows your daughter well and probably knows a fair amount about the assigned teacher. When I was teaching, the teachers from each grade would meet and do initial class assignments for their students. I think what would happen most is that we would try to match learning styles to teaching styles. I HTHs.

Mskanga
06-22-2006, 06:53 AM
I would wait and see what happens after school starts , for all you know it could be a blessing in disguise for your daughter.
Last year I wasn't happy with the teachers that DD2 got but I didn't do anything , it turned out to be one of the best years in school.
Next year she can get one teacher that I absolutely do not want her to get and IF for some reason she does , I will have her changed , this woman made a big mistake with my oldest and told me to my face that she's just working there for the paycheck and if the kids don't want to do well it's not her problem. DD1 had her for math and she admitted that she never noticed her in class ( because she was always quiet ) and didn't think that going from all A's to a D was a problem. Hello???
No I do not want her again and I will switch DD2 if she gets her.

daksmom11
06-22-2006, 07:21 AM
Our system doesn't post which class your kids in till about 2 weeks before school. This year my DS11 will be moving up to middle school and was very excited -untill we got a call that he will not be able to go to the school that he was supposed to due to budget cuts. We have 2 middle schools in town and they can't afford to have his special needs class in both(not enough kids to justify it) so there shipping all kids with this special need to one school. I was givin a choice-he can go to school with kids he knows and stuggle or he can get the help he needs. At first he was devestated but now that the shock has worn off he's kind of excited again. :banana:

daisyduck123
06-22-2006, 07:27 AM
Gottaluvdis, you mentioned you'd go into school when the teachers will be there, to get a feel for the teacher yourself...

Augh!

As a teacher, may I say please make sure you do this at an appropriate time, if at all!

Teachers need their holidays too. And they need their organising days.

The days when students aren't at school, but teachers are, are usually dedicated to staff meetings, setting up the classroom, and planning for the school year - not for parents to come in and check up on you!

That might be a really good way to start off on the wrong foot with this teacher!

From one teacher to another...
I've been thinking the exact same thing since the beginning of this thread but didn't want to say it. Thanks! :goodvibes

RoseNJ
06-22-2006, 07:44 AM
As a third/fourth grade teacher with 25 years experience, I had to chime in on this topic. I agree that talking to your child's current teacher is an excellent idea. I totally disagree as a parent, however, that your child should "tough it out" and learn an early life lesson about dealing with difficult people. A child in a self-contained, elementary classroom spends more waking hours with their teachers than their parents. I personally want someone who respects that responsibility and treats each and every child accordingly. I always tell my students that I am trusted by their parents to take the best care of them while they are with me. Yes, being strict and making sure your child learns is important, but so is their emotional well-being. As a parent, I feel you need to do your homework about the real story of this teacher, and act in the best interest of your child. :teacher:

DsnyDrmr
06-22-2006, 07:47 AM
we learn how to deal with people we may not like when we are forced to deal with people we may not like. IF you feel your child is not learning in the environment then you would have the recourse to request a change.

I totally agree. When my son was in 2nd grade he had a teacher that I absolutely felt sick about after meeting her at open house and the first teacher conf. We had a rough year, and after talking to parents found out that this teacher had a reputation for being the way she was, and it wasn't just us getting bad vibes. One thing I did was to call every other teacher my son had that year to get their view on his behavior, as this teacher was making a case out of my son's behavior. Everything was so negative, there were no positives in her class. This teacher's personality was just not kid-friendly. I also spoke to my son's teacher from the year before to see if there had been any issues in her class, because this was the first time we were being told about it. We never did speak to the principal about her because we figured it would do more harm to switch our son after he had been in that class for 10 wks and basically would have to start over again with another teacher. It was a rough year to say the least, we couldn't wait until it was over. There are people in life like that that you cannot avoid, and we all must learn to deal with them. The teacher left that year or the next, but I swore if my other son had been assigned her I would have went straight to the principal. She should not have been in teaching. We so appreciate the good ones we get now!

I would let your daughter start in the class, see how it goes, and if she is not learning then I would see the principal.

vellamint
06-22-2006, 09:32 AM
One of my sons was assigned a 1st grade teacher that had the reputation of being mean. My neighbor went so far as to say that she would take her daughter out of the school and pay for private schooling if her daughter got her. I was very concerned and upset but there was nothing I could do and hoped for the best.

Well my sunny, happy little boy went from LOVING school to hating it in the space of a year. I overheard the class mothers talking about things but they would not tell me what went on in the class (unfortunately). This teacher favored girls over boys and used humiliation as a teaching tool. This saddens me to this day.

The next year she was assigned a 5th grade class (the highest level in the school) and I think the administration did it on purpose knowing that the 5th grade students AND parents would not put up with her tactics. She retired before the next school year started.

Well, same son (poor child), had a 3rd grade teacher that had the same teaching style. I made myself seen alot in the class and went on field trips. I TRIED my best to make myself aware of what went on. I dont think he was treated as badly as the 1st grade teacher treated him but it was still no picnic and I had no recourse.

Our school district does not allow switching teachers unless there is a specific reason and it goes before the school board.

One of my daughters received this teacher as well....you KNOW I wrote a letter to the district and got her out of that class. I was able to tell them exactly why and quote statements from son and reasons why it would be detrimental for my daughter to be in there.

Tenure is not a good thing in these cases. Even if they know there is a teacher with problem it is heck to remove them.

gottaluvdis
06-22-2006, 09:34 AM
Wow, thanks again for all the great posts! I certainly have a lot to think about. Thanks to those who mentioned that meeting the teacher on workshop or moving days wouldn't be a good idea. I would certainly make an appointment beforehand, and only go if the teacher had time. Right now the building is in literal upheaval because we are moving our 5th grade from middle to elementary, and the new wing just opened and all classrooms have to move by tomorrow. There's no way I'd request a meeting anytime soon. I thought maybe in August before school starts, but I'll check with friends who work there as to how tight their schedules are etc. I agree about not wanting to start out on the wrong foot. DD doesn't want me to meet her before school begins at all, so that's something else to consider. I definitely plan to meet her early in the school year if I don't go during the summer though.

Volunteering in the class is also a great idea, but unfortunately I work every day during school hours. I may just take a day off early on to volunteer, especially if I'm getting vibes from DD.

Yes, I have thought about contacting DD's 3rd grade teacher. She definitely had a lot of say in the placement of DD into this class. The computer initially places all children, then the teachers sit down and individually discuss and move kids around to the place they feel is the best fit. Unfortunately we lost a class next year (8 4th grade classrooms next year as opposed to 9 third grade classrooms this year) due to juggling the new 5th graders coming in. The classes are going to be large next year, which doesn't help the situation. I think DD's 3rd grade teacher purposely placed her in that class because of her personality - I'm sure her 3rd grade teacher figured she could handle the new teacher.

I'll take everyone's advice to heart and see what happens. I plan to leave her in the class and see how it goes once school starts, but I also plan to collect as much information on this teacher as possible before-hand to know what we're up against, if for no other reason than to be prepared.

I loved the MEAN teacher statements and agree with all of them. If that's all we have to worry about, then it's not a problem. Hopefully that's what MEAN means to this teacher.

cats mom
06-22-2006, 09:41 AM
This is a tough one.

If it's just a matter of a strict teacher who may not be well-liked, sticking it out may not be all bad.

When my DD was going into 1st grade the most popular, well liked teacher at the school taught 1st and every parent I talked to (read: ALL of DD's friends) had requested him. But I had a good friend who did her student teaching at our school and she shared the fact that while kids undoubtedly had a great time in "Mr. Popular's" class, their test scores coming out were dismal in comparison to the kids in any other 1st grade class and it was a serious concern for the administration.
I bucked the trend and requested a not so popular teacher (easy to fill request) and DD had a great year.

However in your case I think I'd try to get some more details.
Unfortunately there are a few teachers out there who can really do some damage and can influence the way kids feel about school long after they are out of that particular class. I'd fight with everything I had to keep my child out of one of those classrooms and I'm thinking it would be best for everyone to make any changes before school starts if it's necessary.

The new official policy at our school is that you may only request a teaching style, in writing, through the administration office and may not request a particular teacher. In practice though several of my kids' teachers have asked if I had a teacher request for the next year before they sat down to do placements. I hope that trend continues next year as the only teacher I know of that fits the above description will be coming up for DS.


Good Luck - I hope it all works out for your DD and she had a great year!

juligrl
06-22-2006, 10:06 AM
My 4th grade teacher was one of those purportedly "mean and strict" teachers that I dreaded having. Thank God my parents didn't interfere because she turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened in my educational experience at that age.
What mean and strict boiled dow to was that she expected you to behave in class (shocking I know), be a good person (WHAT?), and do your best in everything you do (how dare she).
I wouldn't interfere with it, likely the teacher just expects the students to work and not coast as too many students get away with doing.
If something is truly wrong once the school year begins, then you make the change.

Mickey'snewestfan
06-22-2006, 10:24 AM
Wow, my situation doesn't seem nearly this bad. I did have one parent tell me this teacher asked her "what's wrong with your son" when he couldn't sit still in class. She told the parent that he must be ADHD, but he was tested and found not to be ADHD although he does have a learning disability. Her son had this teacher for 2nd grade and he just ended 6th grade and is apparently still jaded by this teacher. It's that kind of thing I'm hoping to avoid with DD, but then again she's not in the same situation as the other boy. I'm going to keep my eyes and ears open for inappropriate or unprofessional comments. If she's just strict and runs a tight ship, I'm all for it!

ETA: It is my understanding that this teacher is tenured as well, and despite complaints in the past, the administration's hands are tied until she decides to retire.

As a special educator, I have to wonder about this. It sounds to me like the teacher raised concerns about a child, the parents got the child tested and it turned out the teacher's concerns were valid, and because she raised the concerns he was able to get the testing and help he needed. Now, I'll grant that the teacher shouldn't have raised a specific diagnosis, but it can be really hard to tell the difference between a child who is unable to sit still or pay attention because the material is too challenging for them, or not presented in the right way, and the child who is behind academically because they can't sit still and pay attention. It is really common for families of children with learning issues to want to "shoot the messenger" that is, to have lingering anger at the person who first brought the isseus to their attention.

My other thought is that parents can have very different opinions about the same teacher. DS's kindergarten teacher was an awful match for him -- he learned very little that year, and went into first grade very unprepared, but I know other parents who were thrilled with her. On the other hand, his first grade teacher was perfect for him, and I know other parents who really don't like her. The other day I had two parents talk to me about the same fourth grade teacher -- one told me how wonderful she was, and how her daughter "blossomed" in her class. The other parent told me that she was awful, she couldn't control the class and she "gave up" on paying attention to anyone who wasn't a trouble maker boy (BTW the first parent has a very well behaved, academically talented girl). I would give this teacher a chance, and then if you still have concerns a month or two into the school year go in and make an observation and maybe request to have her moved. Of course if you hear anything that makes you think she's cruel or dangerous then I'd suggest you act faster, but there's a big difference between a "mean" teacher (i.e. one who gives a lot of homework and expects you to do it -- at recess if need be) and a cruel one (i.e. one who belittles children or expects them to do things they simply aren't capable of, and then punished them for failing).

Zim
06-22-2006, 08:42 PM
Hi! I feel what you're going through. To make a long story slightly less long, a little hands on early in the year seems to help more than anything IMHO.

Volunteering even just one day early on tells a teacher that you're interested in your child and his or her environment. I've had at least one issue each year... okay I tried to write them out but it got too long... Basically, we've had issues every year from teachers leaving mid-year to my daughter being repeatedly placed next to troublemakers because she kept them in line (and was miserable for it!).

I've managed to develop some rapport as an interested, but not annoying, parent - to make sure my daughter is not lost in the shuffle. Even the principal knows which students I don't want sitting next to my daughter now.

Next year I managed to get the most desirable teacher (not as far as the students are concerned) - my DD8 came home depressed because she didn't get the cute male teacher, she got the strict male teacher. But he's so engaging and works several extra-cirricular challenges on top of school work. I told her a strict environment might not be so bad - he might be able to control the bad kids - she liked that, now she's looking forward to it! And I'll still volunteer early on, it's worth a vacation day or two to witness the environment my daughter is in most of her weekdays!

StephMK
06-22-2006, 09:40 PM
I've been through this several years w/my 12 yo & now 6yo in the school system. Typically I have always been a "well you need to learn from different personality types" not involved in placement kind of parent. Based on the reactions you've heard from several sources, I'd say trust those sources!! It's one thing to get a "mean" teacher but another to get one known as mean, should have retired & odd. That big of a reaction is now a red flag to me.

Last year my DD got a teacher in her second year of teaching. The first 5th grade class despised her so much that she did not loop up to 6th grade w/them. While I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, after a few weeks, it was just awful. She ended up quitting in Feb & the long term sub was awesome but had tons of work to make up w/them. Our school unfortunately has several to avoid & most of the opinions are accurate. That same year, the first grade teacher that used a whistle was moved up to 5th grade. She got her for the last quarter of math (they switch for math) and her grades went down. The teacher is a yeller & doesn't teach the material. She also has an awful reputation.

I think your situation goes past just a mean teacher from what you've heard. Don't wait, act now. When they get a reputation as you described, it's usually with cause. Good luck in your decision.

anb163
06-22-2006, 10:04 PM
I say stay with that teacher for now. I remember in third grade I received the so called mean and strict teacher. My grandmother, who knew her, even said she was mean. I was so scared, but my mom kept me in the class. I don't believe she considered changing me. It turns out she was one of the best teachers I ever had. She did make us work and didn't put up with nonsense, but I would say she had a great influence on me.

Ozymoe
06-22-2006, 10:29 PM
Our youngest children are now 17, girls, excellent students (between the twins they have a three year total of one B and the rest A's (would be entering senior year in high school, but I am taking them out for a year to go to Epcot F&W Festival, Washington DC, New York, Caribbean and Germany (I know, mean mother, ruining their senior year...but my DH and I did leave the choice up to them...some of their friends were horrified..."But you'll be a whole year behind for college!"...lol, they are May babies so they are already some of the youngest in their class.

Anyway...when they were in third grade they went to two different teachers...one, a teacher everyone, parents and students raved about...the other, a teacher several parents (and students!) told me was much harder than the other. The first was a woman, a lovely person who was loved by all her students...the second a man who was never spoken of with the same devotion.

You can imagine how hard it was for Valerie when the lists came out and Elise had the favorite teacher and she had the "hard" one. When my DH and I met the teachers we found many positive things to say about Valerie's "hard" teacher...since after talking to him we were impressed (and puzzled as to why he had a "hard" reputation since we found him most pleasant, indeed, a kindred spirit!)

Long story short...Elise had a predictably ordinary year with the "favorite" teacher and Valerie had an adventurous, exiting year with hers (he had them tracking the Iditarod on a class computer, they did amazing hands-on experiments with plants, also household "chemicals" (lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda etc.) We were so impressed with his teaching gift we requested that both girls have him for the following year!

Lol...I DO remember their first day of school when Elise went to the Favorite Teacher and Valerie went to the Teacher Who Was Hard. Although I didn't interfere (or show any negative emotion), it was difficult to wait through the days for Valerie to recognize that SHE was the one who actually had the best teacher. (...it was equally as difficult to live through the last of the school year when Elise wished to be this teacher's student!)

Luckily, they BOTH had him for the following year. To this day, both girls fondly remember this teacher and credit him with awakening many of their current interests as he continued to both challenge them and make them smile!

I would urge you to talk to this teacher and form your own opinion before you dismiss him/her.

mlwear
06-22-2006, 10:36 PM
As a third/fourth grade teacher with 25 years experience, I had to chime in on this topic. I agree that talking to your child's current teacher is an excellent idea. I totally disagree as a parent, however, that your child should "tough it out" and learn an early life lesson about dealing with difficult people. A child in a self-contained, elementary classroom spends more waking hours with their teachers than their parents. I personally want someone who respects that responsibility and treats each and every child accordingly. I always tell my students that I am trusted by their parents to take the best care of them while they are with me. Yes, being strict and making sure your child learns is important, but so is their emotional well-being. As a parent, I feel you need to do your homework about the real story of this teacher, and act in the best interest of your child. :teacher:

Will you be my son's teacher? We need more teachers like you! :goodvibes

JMHO, but since other parents are telling you the teacher is odd and difficult and your neighbor who is a teacher at the school said she should have retired by now (did you also write that neighbor wouldn't let her son in her class), I wouldn't wait for the next school year on this one. Try to get some specific information of what this teacher does or doesn't do and how it would hinder your daughter's education. Then with that information go ask for a different placement. As a pp wrote, you should not ask for a specific teacher as most principals have a policy against granting those requests. You have good reason to believe that you are just waiting for a problem, nip it at the bud. A change after the school year has started is much less likely to happen. Save yourself and your DD the potetial grief. I am sure that of the other teachers is strict ;) but also a good teacher. Your job is to be sure your DD gets the best education. You don't need to worry about giving the teacher any benefit of the doubt--not your problem.

princesspumpkin
06-23-2006, 08:10 AM
I'd say give the teacher a chance, as well. My experience - DD's first grade teacher. At the end of kind., we saw who this teacher would be. She looked "mean" to me, kind of unhappy. This would be her first teaching assignment. I didn't want DD to have her, but I didn't complain. On the first day of class (parents were there - it was sort of an orientation), after addressing all of us, she told the kids start doing some work that she had placed on their desks. No ifs, ands or buts, get to working. She seemed to lack warmth, sort of military style. I feared for my sensitive DD. EAch parent/teacher conference, she had the same demeanor. DD never complained, learned a ton of stuff and received her best standardized test scores to this date. DH and I constantly compare DD's subsequent teachers with her first grade one. No on else compares. Perception :confused3

eeyore45
06-23-2006, 08:33 AM
I"m also a teacher. I've been in the school, and there are teachers that can be horrid... and I've always been shocked at how the school handles "the elephant in the room"...

I dont care that I may have "made waves" my dd deserves to have an advocate, and I will write emails to the teacher, or to the principal - I will not get involved to change, but to question, I try very hard not to put a teacher on the defensive... I leave messages, or emails to be returned at their discretion (maybe 4 last year! I went on 2 field trips - and both bombed, which I just chuckled because the horrid teacher has a "holier than thou attitude" the field trip mistakes she made proved she was human, and we just laughed, but I did mention "everyone makes mistakes" - she sent home the letter about the field trip was to see the Penguins at the Shedd Aquarium, but didnt pay the extra $4 per student to get into that area - dolphins and penguin area!! It became a learning tool for my group, as she actually 'snuck' her group in!! My group wanted me too - nope, we literally sat down and had a discussion... what if everyone did that? why do they charge extra? etc..)

Is it harder on dd? I dont know, but in the end, my job is to keep my child safe. when ds was in a 1st grade class, the buzz on a 2nd grade teacher was horrific, kids starting bed wetting, the recess teacher's complaining, etc. all well founded incidents - the admin said she must keep her door open? THAT solves NOTHING! 2 parents pulled their kids and placed them in private school, because there is NO changing - no one would keep a child in that environment if there was a choice!

And for all the negatives about tenure, let me remind you, school districts the people in power are few, and its cheaper to get rid of old fat women, and replace them with new fresh faces - but the admin, superintendents, principals, THERE is the job security, THERE is the "good ole boy network"

I rather change the topic of tenure over to political tenure - talk about money and job security - the retirement benifets in govt are astronomical!!

mimif1
06-23-2006, 11:57 PM
I volunteer a lot in our school (not necessarily in my daughters' classes but in the whole school) and I love a lot of the strict teachers! That being said, there are several in our school that I would homeschool if my children had to be in their classrooms. I really love the fact that our pricipal lets us non-request one teacher per year if you have a valid reason, and she tries to honor all non-requests. I have had two different teachers tell me they can't stand the kids in their room. Do I want my daughter in there? No way! Do I listen to the buzz from other kids and parents? Yes. I also have the time to get to know each teacher personally, and I know that some of the buzz is warrented. I try to find out exactly what another person doesn't like about a teacher. Is it teaching style or is it really verbal abuse? Does the teacher yell and insult or just expect work to be completed on time and expect respect. It makes a difference to me on whether I'll non-request a teacher or not. My DDs are very different and I might non-request a teacher for one and not the other because they perform best in different situations. I would really ask why a teacher isn't liked.

my3kids
06-24-2006, 06:50 AM
We've had it happen a few times. It always turned out okay. Once it was truely "okay." another was the best assignement any of the children actually ended up in any school year. I wouldn't do anything. At least in our schools I've found those doing the assignments really do know the kids and the teachers and try to put both groups of children together for a reason and kids with teachers where the kids are likely to do well.

mamalle
06-24-2006, 06:56 AM
I would just wait and see. I would be worried about "labeling" before the class even started.

snowy76
06-24-2006, 07:32 AM
To the OP: My DD was in similar situation one year ago. Our DS had a particular teacher and couldn't stand her. When DD was assigned to the same teacher, she cried and cried. DS finally admitted he hated her b/c she didn't allow him to talk with his friends during work time, and she made him clean his desk every week (he is a pack rat). Our DD is quiet and is very neat/organized. She thrived in the same classroom setting and rules that drove DS crazy. So DD and the teacher were a better fit, and DD loved her.

But.... if you decide to pursue this, I would not say anything to DD. In case it doesn't work out, you don't want your daughter being resentful of the teacher at the start of the school year. Kids have to learn to make do in situations that are not ideal. They also need to see their teachers and parents working as partners or they're going to feel it's okay to defy/disrespect the teacher.

His teacher isn't just strict, but genuinely doesn't like him, according to my sister, who works in the same school.
I'm sorry about your DN's situation. Teaching a colleague's kids can get sticky. Perhaps this teacher is feeling (rightly or wrongly) second-guessed and is allowing herself (wrongly) to take it out on the student.

Last year my favorite student's mom worked in the school (not a teacher). I found myself constantly interrupted by her, during lessons, several times per week to check on him. I felt like she was checking on me, too. It was very frustrating to feel like my judgment wasn't trusted, even though this boy loved my class and got good grades. While I did not let my feelings about mom reflect on the son (he was such a darling!) I'm sure not all teachers do this.

momm2four
06-24-2006, 07:48 AM
Ok, I typed out a long reply, but then deleted it all b/c it was starting to rival War and Peace . I then went back and read a few more replies, which resulted in my trying to reply again. :)

I would say look into changing her teacher, and here's why I think so.

As a teacher, I know that kids don't want the "strict" teachers, so I wouldn't pay a whole lot of attention to that argument. I also know that parents have a gossip network that rivals CNN, and their opinions of teachers is usually based on what "so and so" said, so, once again, I wouldn't give that too much weight either.

The comment that makes me say change her is what one of the fellow teachers said. If a teacher who worked with her says that it is time for her to retire, that sends up a serious red flag to me.

I have worked with teachers that have caused me to say exactly the same thing. A school's staff knows who the burned out, over extended teachers are. We had one of those at my middle school, and EVERYONE knew she should retire. It was almost sad to watch. Thank goodness, she chose to this year. I'm hoping and praying now that we get a wonderful science teacher who can get kids excited about his/her subject.

Good luck with your decision,
Lori P. :)