day 200: where the author has a snarky moment

This week I have discovered that it is very difficult to be a public school teacher that loves her job and feels like she is promoting an environment of trust and encouragement, and to watch as your kids are experiencing anything but.  In the past few weeks I have written three emails to various teachers asking for an explanation of certain discipline strategies, a reason why my son (and his other brainy, but "cool" friends) is verbally bullied in last period everyday, and to ask for some compassion (last term when my son broke his pelvis every teacher accomodated his struggle, except one who failed him.  6 As or A-s and an F.  Yeah.).

I always think through the email before writing it, and I pass the content by my husband, just to make sure you can't hear my clenched jaw in my rhetoric.  And I always write from my work email account so that the recipient can see some semblance of collegiality.  But nothing beats the self-control we both exercised this week when my son asked who John Birch was, because his teacher was showing movies created by the John Birch Society as part of his history lessons.  My husband asked what else was being shown, hoping a balancing opinion was being thrown in.  You can guess here.

For days we debated back and forth what to do.  This was the same teacher that gave the failing grade last term, and we were on shaky ground (did I mention we went to the principal over that and the grade was changed to an A by the end of the day?).  So we are still mulling over our action plan.  My blood pressure rises when I think about it. 

I wish my own kids could have an experience like I try to foster in my class.  Positive feelings.  Encouragement. Happy teacher.  Sheesh.

post script:  I am starting to dislike email now...
post script 2:  sorry for the negative vibe.


Valerie | March 6, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Amen to that! My youngest had a terrible school experience last year (2nd grade). There are some really great teachers out there, and some, uh, not so great ones too. :( Hope you can get issues resolved soon.

Heidi | March 6, 2010 at 12:34 PM

I so hear you. As the wife of a school teacher, I relate to your feelings. The MC was violently ill the week of finals and all of her teachers found a way to help her make up her final except for one. This same teacher was totally inflexible about it and railed against the other teachers for not being flexible (they all were--it took all their flexibility for her to make up the finals she did manage to take). When she was in middle school, I discovered that questioning certain teachers meant that your child was going to have trouble with that teacher in class. So not right but I suppose everyone is human (my school teacher husband certainly is). At this point, we are thinking that private religious schools are going to be a must. We are first in line.

Anonymous | March 6, 2010 at 12:36 PM

How frustrating. :( I feel so bad for your son. I know that with a mom like you on his side, he is learning some valuable lessons here. Hang in there. It's so hard to be the mama bear.

Jenny | March 6, 2010 at 7:42 PM

We have had some rough experiences with teachers. It is hard to know just what to do. Right now I work as a teacher assistant, it wears me out working with some students.

Unknown | March 6, 2010 at 8:25 PM

Why are you apologizing? If ever there were a reason to feel 'negative', this would be it. I don't have any advice to give, but I will say that you're good to stay involved and on top of the things that are going on in your son's school, and you are under no obligation to allow the indoctrination to be one-sided.

My very wise SIL once told me, "I totally believe in brain washing. It's what I do every day, when my kids come home from school."

Dona | March 6, 2010 at 11:42 PM

You are so cool. It sounds like you are handling the situation very well. I sensed frustration, not negativity. Any chance you could transfer him to a different teacher?

Mrs4444 | March 7, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Maybe you could check out the same movies and use them as teachable moments at home, so he gets a balanced view?

Luann | March 9, 2010 at 3:23 PM

*sigh* I just don't get it. Not you, him. I'm behind you 100%.

Charlotte | March 9, 2010 at 3:23 PM

How sad! We've had mostly good teachers, with a few so-so from time to time and a couple of terrible ones. They make my head want to explode. Hope you figure something out, the guy shouldn't be teaching- especially that way.