16 answers

My Daughter Says Her "Teacher's a Bully"

My 5th grade daughter came home from school very upset yesterday by her teacher. From what I gather, they were working in small groups on a science experimemnt. Once the kids were done, they were visiting and one of them became too loud. My daughter and another boy were laughing at the antics of the "performer" when the teacher yelled at them and without a "quiet down" warning...gave them all zeros. When my daughter tried to explain and apologize, the teacher told her not to talk back and not to bother even telling her parents about it because "the parents will always lose and the teacher will always win".
She cried all afternoon, then when she got up this morning, it all started over again. I've emailed the teacher to get her side of the story, and even considered letting my daughter stay home today. I ended up sending her on to school because I realized she'd only spend the day stewing about it at home which would raise her anxiety levels about returning to class Friday. I knew she'd have to face it eventually, and if she went to school she might gain a sense of control in facing her teacher knowing I was dealing with this. She has ADHD and sometimes finds it difficult to control her impulses. She happened to have had to miss her meds yesterday because of some UNRELATED stomach issues ~ so she was probably feeling more intense emotions than usual. She's never reacted to any situation like this before and I am really worried. I'm having lunch with her today just to check on things....any advice would be appreciated!

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That seems a bit harsh to me as well. I would schedule an appointment with the teacher to discuss what happened.

3 moms found this helpful

That seems harsh to me too. I can understand getting on their case about noise level but a zero on an assignment and her comment about "the parents will always lose..." is crossing the line, I think. That comment is what a "bully" would say. I'd be upset too. Emailing to find out is a great idea. I hope her teacher will respond with understanding. Dealing with children takes a lot of patience and understanding. Good luck!

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I think you handled it well. You listened. and then you sent the teacher an email .
I do not care or her comment about parents and teachers, but I also suspect there was more to the statement than that.

5th grade teachers try not coddle the kids. 5th graders are the oldest students in elementary school and are expected to begin that transition into middle school.

They do this because next year in middle school your daughter will be expected to behave and pay attention at all times. Your daughters behavior from yesterday could end up having to speak with an asst. Principal. Disrupting classes in middle s school is just not tolerated. There is not enough time to deal with kids being silly in classes, so they are sent to the office.

Also I am sure in middle school Science classes have lots of behavioral rules because once again leading into high school, the Science experiments are more advanced. They are also expensive so if you mess up your experiment or someone elses, it cost money as well as time.

If she really cannot keep it together because of her ADD, you may want to consider getting an IEP, so that when these things happen, there is a plan of action for her.

Hang in there.. I was a talker and a jokster too. I needed reminders to keep it down and not bother or react to others.. Remember your daughter is about to go through puberty.. so get ready for some more melt downs. I am sending you strength.

7 moms found this helpful

the teacher may have over-reacted. or not. i can understand her frustration. it does sound as if your daughter is very emotional, and having missed her meds on top of it?
i'm sorry, but it sounds to me as if your best plan of action should be helping your daughter cope with a fairly common life occurrence, not dealing with the teacher. if indeed she did make the comment about 'winning' it was quite inappropriate, but honestly it sounds like a bit of a stretch coming from a kid who was already pretty overwrought.
it speaks well for your daughter that she is upset at getting in trouble at school. it shows that you have raised her to recognize correct priorities. but crying all afternoon and morning is overkill.
having lunch with her today is nice. but i wouldn't coddle too much. be calm and somewhat sympathetic, but basically she needs to stop crying, not associate with class clowns, and move on.

6 moms found this helpful

Hi K., I'm sorry you're going through this. It's an icky feeling when you feel your child has been wronged, and it's impossible to not immediately dive into the 'battle mode' when she comes home from school with a story like this!
That said, the likelihood that a teacher actually used the words you quoted in your post is very small.
There is a lot of teacher bashing on this sight, it hurts my heart.

I'm assuming you sent her teacher an email/letter with a heads up to your daughters ADHD at the start of the year and have already discussed your concerns about behavior/extra help/extenuating circumstances?

Unless there are cameras and recording equipment in your daughters classroom (and some DO have it), you will likely never get to the bottom of this He Says/She Says situation.

It may be better to take a proactive approach, working WITH her teacher to acheive what's best for your daughter. It is possible to form a bond even after having gotten off to such a rough start.

The goal here is not to punish whoever is not telling the whole truth (teacher or student), but to create the optimal envirnoment for you child's learning.

Call the teacher, make an appointment to see her, give her a chance, tell her how you feel when you hear these reports from your daughter. Come up with a plan, offer help, insight, encouragement. I'm pretty sure the two of you can come up with a better plan for the child in question then for you to go barging in with your fists up ready to save the academic word one lousy teacher at a time!

6 moms found this helpful

Yes, I would ask the teacher if she really said "don't bother telling your parents because parents always lose, and the teacher always wins" If she did say that, that was highly inappropriate. I wonder if one of the kids in this instance, or even in her past experience has threatened to "tell their parents" over some consequence at school they did not like. Perhaps the teacher is a little defensive or bitter from having kids being rescued and excused by getting parents involved when they have been in trouble. I can understand she may feel this way, but she still needs to behave like an adult professional, she probably slipped up during a moment of stress. However, kids should see that parents and teachers are a united team. Personally, I would back up the teacher giving my child a zero if she thought her behavior wasn't acceptable, but it is that comment that is not OK. What I would do is tell the teacher you absolutely will back the teacher in giving her a zero if she thought that it was deserved, and it will be a good lesson learned for your daughter that she needs to keep quiet even when others are misbehaving. But you would like a sit down meeting, and for the teacher to explain and clarify for daughter that parents and teachers are on the same side, no winners or losers. If teacher denies saying this, I would confirm again with your daughter that is exactly the words she used, and get in touch with the principal. Again, stress that you are not asking to have her zero overturned, just not happy with the unprofessional commentary. I'm sure your daughter meant no disrespect by trying to argue her case, she's just a conscienious student very shocked and upset to receive a zero. Hers is an understandable reaction, the teacher's remarks were out of line.

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I think your doing the right thing by emailing the teacher. Maybe even after the teacher explains her side, you could ask the teacher to have a meeting with you and your daughter so your daughter can air her side and feelings then hopefully the teacher will apologize too. If she did indeed say don't bother telling your parents...
Gosh that seems very harsh to me.

4 moms found this helpful

You did the right thing by e-mailing the teacher. If the teacher hasn't responded within 24 hours, place a phone call.

If the incident occurred exactly as your child described it, then the teacher's reaction was pretty harsh.

However, you have to remember that your child is in 5th grade and there are two sides to every story. I can only imagine being called out in class for misbehaving is embarrassing, perhaps mortifying for a child who is usually well-behaved. Please be sure to get the teacher's side of the story before forming your final conclusion. It could be drastically different than what your daughter described.

Once you've gathered all the pieces of the puzzle you can begin to move forward - either working toward making sure this inappropriate action by the teacher doesn't happen again OR making sure your daughter understands the importance of honesty and taking responsibility for the situation. Until you've heard both sides, you won't know exactly what happened.

4 moms found this helpful

I think you are handling this well. It sounds like the teacher is harsh - let's hope she was just having a bad day??? Maybe she has mellowed on it today and an email from you may help. If not, and she is really being this difficult, then next time something like this occurs I might speak with the principal. I know it's best to go to the source first and not go above her head, but if she is uncooperative you may need to seek advice from the principal.

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A fifth grader is how old?9-10-11? The adult ? No excuse for this teacher and don't take sides with her. She is off limits to respond to the children like this. Yes, I have worked with children and for the most, they are just enjoying life. Now, the grade thing,,,knock off 5 points but not a zero. Someone worked very hard to make their grade. Go straight to the principal, tell them of the situation and you, the parent, want a three-way meeting with principal, teacher and you. No children allowed. They would feel scared, threatened and intimidated by the teacher's presence. I had to do this once for my daughter in high school. Believe me, the principal is accountable for HIS employees behavior with your child. You leave them in his trust to protect them. Now, do not excuse this teacher for "having a bad hair day"...She is supposed to be trained to handle herself. If she can't take it, then she needs to leave teaching. Keep any emails you sent as proof you tried to communicate with the teacher. If other parents have concerns, too, ask them to do as you are doing. Groups are stronger than one. Then you are singled out as the "parent that makes all the trouble". I take an antidepressant and if I am out of my medicines, I do have an emotionally tuff time until I am balanced again in my system. It is a medical issue that must stay balanced. So do not come down on any child because of their medical needs. It isn't funny! Put the teacher on the spot in FRONT of the principal,,,'Did you threatened or not threaten my child and these children that....don't tell your parents, parents always lose and the teacher always wins?' No, wonder your child can't cope in that room..Even if the teacher promises to change, demand your daughter be moved to another teacher. The trust and protection issue with your daughter and this teacher is already destroyed. Yes, don't let your child use you as not being responsible for her behavior, explain that to her, but do not turn your ear away from this. Bullying is ZERO tolerance from children, how about teachers? Let me know. You and your husband, or a friend, go together and stand strong. Your child is worth it!

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