23 answers

Problems with Teacher and School!!!! HELP

My son is in first grade and has been dubbed as a "day dreamer" who does not pay attention, one who "can not keep on task", and "defiant". At home, he is a very well mannered child, he might not say please and thank you all of the time, but at least he stays out of trouble. However, at school he does not follow along with the class. For example, he keeps track by reading with his eyes instead of pointing to every word that is read. The teacher sees this as not following along with the class, even though he can tell her exactly where he is, which is where the other students are as well. He has also gotten in trouble for joking around with his friends and calling them "knucklehead", finding a dollar and not giving it to the teacher, and "disrupting the class" by looking down at the floor for his pencile. His teacher even claims that he throws books and all sorts of things that I could never even imagine my son ever doing. For one, he respects books, and never has torn, ripped, or thrown books on purpose or out of anger, or anything for that matter. He realizes that books and other objects should be treated with care. The only time he has ripped a book was on accadent, and he was so upset that he was in tears because he thought that he would never be able to read it again because it was "broken". Above all, when I ask my son if he has thrown books or other objects during class, he becomes very defensive and explains that he would never do that because it is not nice to throw things that are not made for throwning. I have even asked his friends in the classroom about it, and they have told me that Demitri has never thrown things at school except for balls on the playground. This is not the first time that I have caught his teacher lying, and yes I have talked to the principal, but have gotten no where. Usually I am told by the teacher and the principle that children lie, and that I should not always believe in my son. I am not sure about you, but that sounds wrong to me. I should not think the worst of my son, but the best of my son. The school year is almost over, but my son becomes very upset when his teacher is telling me untrue things about my son, or downtalking my son. Such as "He never pays attention in class", or "He is very immature for his age". She says these things right in front of him! I tell her that she should talk positive about him instead of the negative, and have offered her to barrow my child psychology books, but she always denies the offer with "I have been teaching for 27 years".
Lately it has been very diffacult for my son to do his homework because he claims that his teacher does not believe in him. I have talked to his teacher about it, but I get no where.
His teacher just says that she has been teaching for 27 years and that she knows what she is doing. She also states that she informs the class that they are all treated the same and that everyone is special in their own way. She never gets down to the answers that I want, no matter how direct the question is. Am I missing something here, or am I going about this all wrong?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

My husband and I have been looking into differant schools, the ones that looks the best so far is Enslen Elementary, Everett Elementary, and University Charter School. I have been really working with my son's self esteem, and I had a seriouse disscussion with her on Friday, and it seems that she is finally catching on. I have noticed that she is not nit picking on everything that my son does wrong such as backwards written letters, or letters that are written slightly too big. So instead of missing all but one of his spelling words, he only missed 2. She has also been writing positive notes on his school work, so this is a plus so far. I have gone in to her class room before, but it always seems like she puts on a show while I am there, but I am intending on going in agian here soon. Hopfully she is doing the same thing in class, positive feed back. But so far this week, my son has been coming home happy and no tantrums!!!!! Thank you ladies for your support and advice.
By the way, no my son has never been sent to the principles office. I have asked the principle, and he said that he has never been sent to his office and thinks that Demitri is a smart and reasonable boy. We are trying to work things out to were my son can get through the rest of the school year.
I have also documented in writing of everything that has gone on, and have saved every letter that I have typed with date and subject attatched. What is absurd is that everything that I wrote (excluding the letters)is not "reliable" because the teacher did not "sign it". I think that is strange. But like most of you have mentioned, the school year is almost over, and during the summer I can do my "homeowrk". I am a college student, but am currently on summer vacation, so I have plenty of time to do my research.

M. *~

More Answers

This sounds very damaging to your childs self-esteem, and to the feelings he will carry on about schools, teachers and learning. Change schools. Google Charter schools in your area. These are schools that welcome and are built on parental support. They are technicly public schools. I think only good can come from the change. It may not be easy for him to leave his friends, but he will benifit from a teacher who is not so stuck in her ways. If your son is in fact immature, believe me that is better then him being too mature for his age. 6 years on this earth is not a long time. Schools expect a lot from children, and our children are sponges who soak up knowlege, they also soak up negativity if exposed for long enough. Find a better teacher.

1 mom found this helpful

I too have a son in first grade and have had a few of the same problems. Not quite to the extent that you have. I know how frustrating it is. You want your kids to enjoy school and when things like that are going on it does the opposite. My only advice to you is look into putting him in a different class. I know it is close to the end of school but it might make the remainder of the year better for him. What school does he go to?

It is inexcusable that a teacher could get away with this kind of behavior and nothing is done about it. I am not saying all teachers are this way and it is understandable that they have a difficult job to do. However, what should not be tolerated are those teachers who select one student that they will single out and treat unfairly for the sake of it. If you have talked to the teacher and the principal, then I would go to the district office and file a complaint. There could be other issues with your son that are not being addressed, but for the teacher to treat him this way, it is only going to cause damage to his spirit and self esteem and that should not be tolerated. Schools need to work with parents to get children through the difficulties they face rather than single them out and label them as a problem. I believe that by doing that, they are the ones creating a problem. The fact that your son’s teacher made the statement that she has been doing this for 27 years doesn’t mean anything. It seems to me she stated this fact merely to imply that no one will believe your son over a “seasoned” teacher. Not true, possibly she has just gotten away with it for far too long. For the teacher and principal to comment that you should not always believe in your son is absurd. If we, as parents, do not believe in our children, then who will? I hope you can find resolution to this before it really changes who your son is. Best of luck to you.

Hi! I'm a teacher--just commented on your spelling post.

I was going to suggest that your son sounds very bright--possibly GATE. I see several others who have mentioned the same. Spelling, and anything else, that requires rote memorization is often a problem for gifted kids.

Inattention and the other things you describe are often signs of a gifted child also. Or just signs of being a normal boy. I really feel too many boys are being called ADD and medicated just so they'll sit still in school That is SO wrong.

Gold luck to you, M..

First off, SOME kids do lie, but ADULTS ALWAYS lie to keep their butts out of trouble. Go to the District office and file a complaint, demanding that your child(ren) be placed in a different school for next year. If the principal isn't doing anything to ensure your child is getting the education he deserves, then you do everything you can to ensure that they don’t do the same to some else next time. Name them BOTH, in you complaint, as this will be added to their personnel file. Most of the time the District Superintendent will value your in put and add you in making education a GREAT experience for you AND your child. At this point in the year, I would probably wait another 2 weeks before filing the official complaint, as that you don’t want to make things worse for your son through the end of the year. We’re down to only about 6 to 8 more weeks, ride it out, but start the complaint process before the district closes for the summer. That way you can choose your school for next year. Take care, and I hope it works out for you! -J

M., my now 15 yr old had this same problem and sometimes still does. But thank god her 4th grade teacher recognized that it wasn't "daydreaming" and asked if my daughter could be tested for GATE. I said sure and she passed the problem was she was sooo bored with the work that she could keep up without actually looking at her books and so when it came time for her to go to H.S. I went online and found the best one in California for her to attend and then we moved to Sacramento. She is going to College Prep classes and has been on the honor roll since last sememster. She did have a rough freshman year due to the move and losing her childhood friendships nearby. But now she is back to her oldself and is excelling so my advice don't listen to the jerky teacher and insist your son be tested that way he gets the education he rightfully deserves. Hope this helps.
W. H.

Where in the world does your son go to school. This is awful.


My son who is in second grade also had a hard time adjusting to his first grade teacher- some of the older teachers are a little intolerant towards some regular childhood behaviour- they pick on everything.This teacher does not seem to be coming up with helpful solutions either so you can work together to find a happy medium. Talk to the Principal about moving your son to a different class with a teacher who is maybe more energetic, enthusiastic and tolerant when teaching. Best of Luck :-) R.

Yikes! What a horrible situation. A truly competent teacher wouldn't get so defensive about your questions. I want to echo what someone else said - it sounds like your son may be a little (or a lot) ahead of the class. You might want to have him tested for GATE. Even if he doesn't make it into that program, he may a really quick learner - or any number of other wonderful things. He needs a teacher who will understand and work with his skill levels and abilities. It's great that you're involved - as someone else said, he will learn that he is worth believing in and fighting for.

As a parent you also have the right to ask for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and the school has to provide one within a certain time (I think 60 days).The whole IEP thing can be very confusing and overwhelming - there are some agencies that help you understand the process (off the top of my head, Family Focus Empowerment Resource Center at CSUN is one). IEP's are for gifted students as well as developmentally delayed. You will sit down with the principal, your son's teacher and anyone else you want to be there (school psychologist, school counselor) and hash out what he needs to be successful. Make sure you document EVERYTHING in writing from now on if you aren't already. All your conversations with the teacher, the principal etc. Write letters to back up your phone calls. Having a paper trail will help you and will let them know you're serious. It's probably too close to the end of the year to have an IEP meeting this school year so I would follow the other great advice you got and spend the summer doing your homework so that if you need to ask for one at the beginning of next year, you're prepared. You can certainly have your son evaluated (for GATE) before that and the results from the tests will be helpful if you do go through the IEP process.

One other thought I had - are there any teacher's aides or counselors at the school that you can talk to about your son's behavior at school? Someone else's opinion may help you figure out what's really going on (although it sure sounds like a burned out teacher with a bad attitude!) I hope the end of the school year goes well and that you get some support from somebody in the school system!

Dear M.,

Yes, children do lie and exaggerate, but in this case, I think that you need to just quietly ask that your son be transfered to another class. If they say no, then go to the School Superintendent - an office visit, not to a School Board meeting. You don't need to be intimidated, just ask that he be in another class.

If necessary, just keep him out of school for the rest of the school year, and ask that he repeat first grade - in another teacher's class. If there is no other first grade teacher, then you walk him to school and home each day for the rest of this school year. Give him a lot of love and understanding, and be very close to him - get him through this year. ...and don't talk about all this stuff, just be calm. That will help him more than anything.

If he cannot repeat first grade, then make sure that you stay in close touch with him and the second grade teacher. Don't go over the bad stuff - just go forward. He needs support and peace. I can tell that he is scared and doesn't know what to do.

Bad things sometimes do happen and we have to teach our children how to get through them with dignity.

You don't need to go over all the stuff that has been said and done. It is over and needs to stop, that is all that you need to say. Your son probably did throw a book, and so what? He is a child that has been harrassed, it seems to me. I was a teacher too, and those things that she says that he does wrong are really silly. Don't let you son be in the middle of this thing. Just quietly, as I said, get him out of there. It is so close to the end of the year, they probably will say no.

Sorry that I don't have any better solution. C. N.

It seems like you have done all the obvious things (talk with teacher, child and principal). You want your child to be in a school that works with you and helps your child to grow as a person - it doesn't seem like you are getting that where you are at. First of all, is his teacher the only one for his grade? If not, ask that he be moved to a different room. I don't care if this teacher has been teaching 27 years, she doesn't know it all. all children are individuals.
2nd, look into other schools. If this school can't do its job properly, you should find one that can. Good luck.

Personally I would just try to ride out the rest of the year, but it sounds like that isn't working for you or your son. I would start keeping a log of everything that has gone on, especially contact with the teacher and the principal, and then contact the district office, probably the assistant supervisor in charge of elementary schools. Tell them about the problems you're having and let them know that you want your son moved or at least assigned to a more understanding teacher in the fall. Most likely the district will say they can't do anything this close to the end of the school year, and that they don't give preferential treatment in assigning students. Tell them that you understand that, but your child is not being given fair and equitable treatment, and you want them to do their best to ensure that he doesn't continue to be treated unfairly. Try to stay calm and be polite, no matter how aggravting they can be.

If things get really nasty, don't be afraid to mention filing a lawsuit claiming harassment and discrimination. Most districts are terrified of lawsuits, and will do whatever they can to keep it from getting to that point. Hopefully you won't need to take it that far, but if the problem is serious enough and you aren't getting anywhere with the district, that may be the only route left to go.

have you tried sitting in on the class while hes in school? most schools will let you do it, and you can usually come in and help in the classroom, maybe get a feel for what the environment in the class is like during class time. chances are your son wont act out while you're there but you can see the teacher in action and what her dynamic is with him and the other kids. i'd check with the other parents too, and see if maybe they've had similar issues. somethings wrong if the teacher and principal both had the response of "children lie" and werent willing to check the situation out further or offer any support or solutions. teachers are supposed to help with behavioral issues (if there are any) and usually will have constructive advice for you. sounds like maybe after 27 years of teaching, shes burned out and needs to move on. keep asking questions and talking to the principal. if the year wasnt almost over i'd suggest trying to switch teachers. good luck!

I understand that you want to believe your son, but keep an open mind. most teachers don't have a reason to lie. Maybe it was another kid and when the teacher looked your son was teh one standing there. I come from a family of teachers and I have also been on the receiving end of lying teachers so it is important that you look at both sides.

I do think that you may be hurting the situation with your son by not supporting the teacher and pointing out the problems in front of your son. When you are talking about the teacher you need to send your son off to play and talk quietly. Your son is a witness to your frustration and it is passing off on to him. the school year is almost over so just hang in there and encourage your son.

Have you thought about ahving your son tested for ADD? he may not be hyper active, but the daydreaming and not being able to follow along with the class when needed is a big indication. My daughter always had problems. She was behind and everyone thought she wasn't very smart. She was immature and we held her back a year and there were still problems. She was tested for special ed and never qualified so I had her tested with a Psychologist, not a pediatrician, and since she has been on Strattera (A non-stimulant) she has absolutely blossomed.

Ok about the teacher. She may have been teaching for 27 years and that may be the problem. there have been thousands of studies done in the past 27 years. The education system has made changes based on the results of these studies and we like to call it progress. Next time that she brings up that she has been teaching for 27 years, let her know that may be the problem. If she hasn't changed her methods or beliefs to coincide with the times it may be time for her to retire. things are different and she may need to take some newer spychology classes. When she started teaching homosexuality was believed to be a mental disorder. Also point out that treating all the kids the same isn't appropriate either. Each child has a different personality and needs to be handled differently. You can't be effective by treating everyone the same.

I think things can be done differently on both sides and I'm sorry that I can't agree with you that it is all the teachers fault. I am looking that issue by having been on both sides and I hope that I helped you.

What is the principal saying to you about the situation? If he was really this much of a discipline problem I imagine that he'd have been sent to the principal several times by now.

And sometimes you just get a bad teacher *for your child*. My older son's fourth grade teacher was horrid, horrid, horrid, awful. She had a view of my child that had never been expressed by any adult in any context till that point. In that case we could do nothing but wait until the school year ended.

Finally, have you talked to other parents whose kids might have been in her class in the past? This just might be how she is.

Take care!

My suggestion is to go to the school and observe privatly. Watch through windows and ask the principal to observe your son during recess and class time. You ahve a right to know what is going on during the day while you are away from your child. I agree with the other repsonse to go to the superintendent office and file a formal complaint, because if she has done this to you whos to say there aren't other complaints and if there are then something needs to be done with her. You have to tell someone and see for yourself what is really going on.

Good luck!!!!!

All of the reasons that the teacher is giving for being disruptive or not following along with the class is rediculous. I think that as long as he's on track that everything should be fine. He shouldn't get in trouble for calling other kids "knucklehead", but instead she should ask him to choose a better word (although I don't believe that it is a bad word or that he is trying to be harmful in any way). I do agree that sometimes chilren are not honest, but sometimes adults are not honest as well. Unfortunately it's seems hard to resolve conflicts in the school system. The teacher should NEVER talk about your son to you or anyone else when he is around. It sounds like the teacher is picking on your son and that she needs to take some ECE classes because times have changed and more research has been done to show that there are more effective ways to talk to children and different ways to handle situations than 27 years ago. I think you are doing everything you should be doing as a mother and the most important thing is sticking by your son. GREAT JOB. It doesn't sound like your missing something. I think his teacher might be missing something. Good Luck.

Sounds to me that this teacher should NOT be teaching. She will destroy the children's outlook on education, themselves and just "life" in general at a very young age! I am sooo mad at what you were sharing. I am a mom of 5. I just got lucky that so far, my 2 kids who are in school, have great teachers. Yes you are right that she should not be talking BAD about them IN FRONT OF THEM, much less...MAKING UP LIES ABOUT THEM!! No one knows our kids like we do, so I believe your son because you believe him! This teacher should be grateful that you are very involved in your son's education. I get praised for that a lot because I respond/communicate with my kids' teachers about every little thing. I got surprised to hear that most parents are NOT like that. If you feel that yours on is being picked on, and you have expressed this to the principal and got nowhere, its time to take it to the next level. Go straight to the superintendent or contact the ACLU. My sister was bullied several yrs back in school. It affected her A LOT! She became withdrawn and depressed. When we taled to the principal, the principal had THE NERVE to blame my sister saying she might be too sensitive!! Bullying happens in many forms...there is also teacher to student bullying! That, I think, is worse than peer to peer bullying beacuse it is an authority figure inflicting harm. It blurs everything that teachers, caregivers and educators stand for! And who's to say the child wont carry this stigma, this trauma throughout his life?! After the Virginia Tech shooting happened, someone wrote something that really really struck a chord with me! The writer said that society is responsible for all its individuals. We are all responsible for treating other people the same way we would like to be treated. We can't say that respect and compassion are only for us...and that we are the only ones who are rightful to receive them. What about how we treat everyone we come across everyday...whether we're driving, grocery shopping, walking, running errands, etc. The writer also said that we shoud go back to basics. Teaching our kids and OURSELVES kindness, tolerance and respect towards others! If that were the case, this world would be a much better place to live in...starting with our schools!!! It scares me to know that so many horrible things can happen to my kids when I send them to school. But I have to send them there not just to get an eduaction, but to learn many things about life there that they can't learn from home! I fully understand you and your concerns. NO IT IS NOT YOU! It is that darn woman that calls herself an experienced educator for 27 years! If thats the case, then she has been a bad influnece on so many innocent kids for the past 27 years! It doesnt matter if the school yr is almost over or if its already over. There was an injustice that happened here and I think you owe it to yourself and your son to fight for the truth. Seeing you do this, will teach your son an amazing lesson or two: That HE IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR...no matter how petty or how massive the issue is, if he is being wronged by anyone, he needs to speak up and fight for hismelf. With this you can also teach him to choose his battles...that there are some instances where you just have to turn your cheek and let it go. But in this instance, when he is being put down, demoralized even and lied about by someone he should be able to trust, look up to and respect...a teacher...then this deserves serious attention and that teacher should be reprimanded (TO SAY THE LEAST)!
I hope I have helped you. Please let me know how everything works out. I am so sorry that your son had to go through all this...but I believe that everything has its reasons and that this too, shall pass. Its just very important for your son to know that YOU ARE BEHIND HIM ALL THE WAY!!! Whatever insecurity this demented teacher of his has caused him, will be countered by your love and your support! Good luck to both of you. I am cheering for you all the way!!!!

PS: The ACLU has a website. Just go on google.com and type ACLU on the search field. But try the superintendent first. This teacher and the school needs to know you mean business and that your son is not a liar!

Write a letter to the school district's superintendents, administrators, etc. You can find this information in the phone book or at the school's website or other school info websites. Get other parents involved. Ask other parents if they have been having trouble with this teacher. Also, it is possible your son it too advanced for this class. Find out about getting him evaluated.

Hello M.,
I feel ya i am having one of those years too and my son is in 4th grade, don't ever give up on believing your son teachers will do/say anything to make it the childs fault I have learned that. I feel unless my son does something that makes me feel different i will always give him the benifit of the doubt and question the teacher. I know it is not always possible but if you can make some suprise visits to the class room and observe for yourself how your son is at school so the next time you will know that it is the teacher and not your son just put your mind at ease and forget what they have to say and just reassure you soon that he is a good boy and you believe him always. My son is doing the same thing with his teacherhe doesn't want to work cause his teacher isn't going to notice anything good anyways but I just keep incouraging him that he is great and sometimes other people are unhappy so they can be that way. Another thing is keep going back to the principle and let her know if she can't take care of the problem then you will have to go higher and keep a diary of everything that has happened and everything they say to you so you have it on record just in case.
Hope this helps i know how fustrating it is I have spent more time in the principles office this year than I ever have before so good luck.

My God, I would go to the school board and get that teacher fired. Not only is a threat to your son but she is threat to the other children. I am not sure where you live, but if the prinicipal is backing up that teacher then you go to the district. The district has people in it that can help you. You may even need to switch schools. Also, go in and observe her in action with your son. Go there and watch what she does. I would not tolerate that behaviour in a teacher. You have options. Your son may be in public school but that school receives money from our taxes for your son. Remember that and remember that you are enpowered.

my first idea would be to talk to as many of the other parents as possible to find out if their kids are treated the same or if your son is singled out. also, if it is allowed, volunteer in your son's class or for field trips or have a friend or relative do it so you know first hand how he's treated. Some teachers are just terrible, no matter how long they've been teaching. Accusing your son of lying is a serious matter & I would not stand for it. Some kids have "split personality" though & act completely different in school. Usually it goes the other way though--one of my daughters is brilliant & talented, almost impossible to manage at home, but a complete angel with teachers & coaches. Sometimes teachers are prejudiced against certain students, too. My oldest girl had a dance teacher like that--real shame because dance was that daughter's love & talent. Teacher did everything she could to keep her down. So now we have a new one. If you have a pretty strong case your son is being prejudiced against or even if he's just terribly unhappy in his class, would think you could request transfer to another class. Threaten to involve the school board once you get the facts. that usually gets results!

This sounds just horrible! The teacher is the one who seems to be immature....what kind of adult tells lies like that about a child!? She has nothing to gain from it! Clearly she is burnt out & the principal should see this. I feel so bad for your son. It's been made clear to him by this teacher that he's unliked & now his school work is starting to suffer. And who do you think will be blamed for that!? I'd say at this point, even tho it is the end of the year, you need to make a formal complaint to the principal's supervisor. Write a letter w/all the documentation you can remember: all your conversations w/the teacher, the principal, & all of the teacher's 'complaints.' Be sure to let this supervisor know you've spoken to both the teacher & the principal on several occassions, that neither has been helpful & there's been no change in the situation. Maybe make one last ditch effort to speak w/the principal but mostly to let him/her know you're sending off a letter to his/her supervisor. This might scare them into helping make a change. But definately send a letter off to the principal's supervisor so that they'r aware of the problem & the school's unwillngness to help w/the problem. Before kids I was a teacher's aide & the teacher I worked w/was just horrible & treated me so poorly that the kids were starting to pick up on it. I complained verbally to the princiapl who did nothing so I put all my complaints in a letter & finished it off with, "If you can't help me with this problem, please let me know who can." When she realized I was going to her supervisor, she got scared & acted pretty quick! Of course, it helped that my husband is in Human Resources & helped me write the letter & put in things about 'hostile work environment.' I'm sure you feel a bit helpless & aren't sure how much of a difference this will make at this point in the year but at least your son will know you fought for him & stood up for him & then maybe this won't happen to another kid who gets the same teacher. Hope this helps & good luck!

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