30 answers

Should I Confront My Child's Teacher??

My daughter is in 4th grade and has a teacher who has a reputation for being pretty strict. Mostly everyday she comes home telling me how she or someone else got yelled at for getting in trouble, sometimes to the point where the child starts crying, or how the teacher is always sarcastic in her response to the student's questions, has yanked things out of hands, thrown backpacks that were not hung up, one time hitting my daughter's leg, and (get this) just today my daughter asked her for a pencil because she didn't have any at her desk and her teacher first gave a sarcastic response about how she should have already had one and then said something along the lines of 'oh my gosh I can't even say out loud what I'm thinking right now it's too inappropriate!' My daughter said she picks on all the kids not just anyone in particular. She also gives out white slips for every little thing (white slips are for when the kids do something wrong or get in trouble) like even if it's an honest mistake or a child forgets something. That I can handle, I actually thought it was a good thing at the beginning of the year when I heard my daughter was getting a strict teacher. She has had problems in the past of goofing off or talking in class but this I think is overboard. Should I talk to the teacher? I want to email her but should I wait for the conferences that are around March 14th? I don't know if I can wait that long! I tried to give it some time to see if maybe my daughter was over reacting but she says all the kids say they can't stand that teacher and I can't believe I'm the first one who would talk to her. What would you do?? Thanks for reading.
*I forgot to add my daughter is hesitant for me to talk to her because she doesn't want her to pick on her more, and she has said that the teacher is much more milder around the room parents and principal.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I would try and talk with some of the other parents and see what their kids are saying. And Yes, definitely talk with the teacher, she does not sound like a very good role model!

4 moms found this helpful

I had a teacher like this in high school and I cataloged every infraction for two weeks then with my mother's support brought it to the principal and things were adjusted.

3 moms found this helpful

Yes, absolutely. A teacher abusing her authority over children is appalling. If it were me, I would bring my concerns directly to the principle. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

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I've taught elementary and my gut is telling me from your post that this woman is truly acting this way.

If you volunteer, she will be a different person while you are there. If you email her, you need to have specific issues and ask for specific solutions. If you do not get a response, CC the principal in all of your email communications. If you do say anything, you have to keep it very sweet and to the point. You may have to say that your child is on the sensitive side and that you are concerned that your daughter doesn't get the teacher's sense of humor (gag!).

My suggestion is to go straight to the principal and tell him/her your concerns about how the teacher doesn't seem to be treating the students with respect. If possible, write some of these scenarios down with dates. You should schedule an appointment and share your concerns in a nonconfrontational way. Put it out there that other parents may share similiar concerns and that maybe he/she should look into it further. Be prepared that the principal will remain very professional and not throw the teacher under the bus to you....however, he/she will make a mental note and possibly real notes about the situation and action may be taken regardless of what you see.

If you talk to the teacher about it and she becomes offended and gets defensive....it will be your child who pays for it. If she truly treats the kids this way on a daily basis, she is the type who will be extra mean.

You have to do something about this. You are your child's advocate. Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful

I agree with the other parents here who say to call a few of your child's classmates' parents and try to verify what she is saying. However, you know your child and if you trust her, I would assume there is truth to what she says. I had a teacher like that way back in 2nd grade - she was known for being "mean" and I saw her humilitate so many poor kids who did not deserve what she put out. As for myself, the one thing I remember from that class was the time when she refused and refused to allow me to go to the bathroom and I pooped my pants - I was a good kid with excellent grades who was never in trouble and never abused the bathroom privilege, and she wouldn't budge, so I paid the price. I was never so embarrassed. My oldest daughter is very much motivated by caring teachers, and if I were hearing this about her experience, I would surely be contacting the principal to resolve this. I would call (not e-mail) the principal and remain calm and explain your concerns (including your daughter's fear of retaliation). I would be very clear that I believe that there is truth in what my daughter is saying and that I am hoping that she can resolve the issue without having to involve take this further. At the very least - maybe they can transfer your daughter out of the class...Yes, this teacher is being a bully, and bullies count on fear of retaliation to allow them to keep on going. Don't fall prey to this bully, and show your daughter that this is absolutely unacceptable and that you have her back on this! Good luck to you!

4 moms found this helpful

I would try and talk with some of the other parents and see what their kids are saying. And Yes, definitely talk with the teacher, she does not sound like a very good role model!

4 moms found this helpful

I had a teacher like this in high school and I cataloged every infraction for two weeks then with my mother's support brought it to the principal and things were adjusted.

3 moms found this helpful

I would maybe talk to the princaple with your daughter i would not talk to the teacher because it might make things worse

3 moms found this helpful

Yes, absolutely. A teacher abusing her authority over children is appalling. If it were me, I would bring my concerns directly to the principle. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Please do not go to the teacher. She will hound your daughter.

Go talk to the other parents in the class. As a group, you all should schedule one meeting with the principal. This happened in a school my children attended. This was a 2nd grade class, and the teacher acted JUST LIKE this teacher you are talking about. She actually threw a piece of paper at a child's face and gave him a paper cut that bled. That was certainly a freak accident, but she still caused it. Anyway, this whole group of very upset parents went to complain, and boy did that teacher shape up that year. It didn't last - as soon as she got a new class the next year she was up to her old tricks again, but a new principal 2 years later ended up getting her moved into ESL, and then to another school.

There is strength in numbers. None of you will get into trouble if you all stick together, and you may make a huge difference.

Good luck,
D.

3 moms found this helpful

Mommyof2,

You should absolutely talk to the teacher. I had the same situation take place and it started just like you describe and turned into a physical and mentally abusive environment for my son and most other students in the class. By the middle of the school year parents started coming together only to find out our children had been made stand in the hot sun as punishments, had their desks knocked over, had their pictures taken by the teacher when they would cry, called names, and the list went on. My son said the teacher pushed him as well and would walk by him and push his hand away from his paper so she could see how much work he did.
My son as well as other students were experiencing anxiety before school. Some children were even sleepless at night knowing they would have to go to school. One little girl's parents said she would sometimes throw up in the morning because she was so nervous to see the teacher.
We as parents had no idea how bad it actually was until we started talking. I decided to confront the teacher, but of course she denied it. I took it to the principal which was little to no help. Me and 6 other parents decided to file formal written complaints to the school district. I felt that the action by the school district was too slow considering the serious accusations by our kids. I spoke in front of one of the public board meetings and the very next day the teacher was removed from the class room pending an investigation. She never returned (she had been teaching for 41 years) and was forced to retire.

I urge you to back up your child and talk to the teacher. Yes, there is a possibility of the teacher retaliating against your child, but that is where communication with your child is key. You have to talk to your daughter and make sure you document every occurrence. If the teacher is not helpful, then the next step would be to have a meeting with the principal. Talk to other parents and see if they are having the same issues. Your children are worth fighting for, don't let the teacher, district, or principal make you feel you have no rights to protect your child. I am so glad we fought to have our teacher removed. We found out that this teacher had been abusing children for YEARS and previous classes had also tried to have her removed.

Best Wishes,
T

3 moms found this helpful

You should have a discussion with your child's teacher as opposed to a confrontation. Others suggestion skipping straight to the principal; but the principal's first question will be "Have you discussed this with the teacher?"

If this teacher has a reputation for being strict then the kids probably don't like her. Please don't forget that they are fourth graders and they are prone to hyperbole at times, and I'm sure there are urban legends abound regarding this historically strict (i.e. unpopular) teacher.

Simply present your case exactly as your child relayed it to you and allow her a chance to share her side of the story - I mean, if your kid got in trouble for something you would want to hear your kid's side too, right? From there, decide how you want to proceed.

3 moms found this helpful

Talk to her right away. I would talk to some other parents first, to see if they are getting the same story. If this is how she is acting, you must act on it. This is completely inappropriate, and certainly won't help the children focus on learning. If talking to her does not stop the behavior right away, you need to talk to the principal. Strictness is okay. Throwing things and this kind of punitive atmosphere is NOT!

2 moms found this helpful

I am a school counselor so I've heard many complaints about teachers from kids and parents over the years. I agree with many moms saying you should observe the class. I would not talk to the teacher about the issue, I would go to the principal. To be most effective in this discussion, have the facts ready. Who's backpack was thrown, when and "why" (like there is ever an excuse... but I'm sure the kids know the terrible reason she gave for doing it)? Quotes and dates of her sarcasm... Who's hand she yanked things out of. This gives the principal the opportunity to build a case against the teacher by asking for statements from these children. Also, it will keep your meeting factual rather than emotional. We hear a lot of... "my child doesn't like the teacher" and then we ask the teacher and the kid isn't turning in homework or something so we just assume that the child doesn't like being held accountable. If we don't have facts of mistreatment, we assume our teachers have the best interest of the child in mind. Good luck to you - Best case scenario, they remove the teacher promptly, worst case - your daughter can be moved classes. No matter what, you must take action so as not to expose her to this anger and abusive behavior from an authority figure.

2 moms found this helpful

OMG! i would be livid! what i would do is call the office and tell them that you want to observe your daughters class one day because she has been having a hard time in class. if it continues to happen after the parent teacher meeting i would bring it to the school board.

2 moms found this helpful

She's a bully. She probably needs medication. Or a different line of work. It's bad enough if it happens to other kids, but if it were my own, I would make an appointment with a principal and teacher together. We are very big on discipline, and my husband went to an all boys school in Europe where there was a lot of that (and some was way across the line)...we believe if the TEACHER can be disciplined while teaching it, that's great. But I'd have a serious issue with someone just dealing out their form of discipline without keeping their own words and actions under control. I would explain to my child that I do hear her concerns about not wanting to get picked on more, but she needs to understand that you're doing it FOR her and if she gets picked on again, she needs to tell me again. The situation will be handled and either the teacher will fix her attitude, leave, or your daughter can be moved to another classroom. But you do need to check and see if this is the report everyone sees.
My son has talked for 2 weeks about "the bad kid" who got in "so much trouble" in his kung fu class. I was present, it was nothing. An older boy visited my son's class (don't know why, guessing it was a makeup class or something) and he spoke out of turn a couple times. They are big on discipline and respect, so he was warned once, and then sent to the back to kneel in "time out" for a bit. After class, the teacher had a group meeting where he had a little lecture about respect and discipline, to everyone. That's fine and good. I saw nothing wrong with it. But my son was like "Whoaa". It could possibly be exaggerated coming from a child. HOWEVER, I've had some seriously messed up situations over my educational years, and I wouldn't take it lightly. The teacher sounds like she has an issue or two. I would want to talk with the principal and teacher together.

2 moms found this helpful

I would talk to the teacher in a non-confrontational way, but start with other parents first.
My son had two teachers that I constantly heard were yelling at kids and being unfair. I asked my son if it was true, and he said NO. He said the kids who goofed off got in trouble for it and the teacher wasn't unfair at all. One boy even said a teacher threw a chair at him and his parents went ballistic. They wanted that teacher's head. Well, after reviewing the situation, the other kids backed up the teacher.
Just saying. It happens.

There are teachers who are inappropriate. I would never say there aren't. But, you won't really know what is going on unless you ask from another perspective.
I've had parents come to my son wanting to know what the teacher does because their kid complains all the time about being picked on and my son has told the honest truth. He never had any problems, didn't feel the teacher was yelling or unfair. The chair "throwing" incident? ALL the kids defended the teacher because they said it never happened.
My friend has a daughter older than my son and when he got a certain teacher, the girl told my son he would hate her, that she's mean and all she ever does is yell at kids. Aside from his kindergarten teacher, she was his favorite. He said she wasn't mean and didn't yell at all.
So, maybe different perspectives from different kids. Hard to say.
You won't know until you ask around a bit more.
I'm not saying not to believe your child. Obviously there is a conflict of some kind that she's feeling.
Be sure to get all the facts first, is all. You can't know how to proceed appropriately without doing so.

Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful

I think i would ask the other parents to see if their children are having problems and then go to the principal because no child should ever be bullyed especially by a teacher and im sorry any teacher shouild know that and i can see her being more scarcist and rude to ur daughter if go talk to her about the sittuation

2 moms found this helpful

YES!!!! I would say talk to the teacher. You don't need to attack the teacher but put the two stories together and you will figure out what is going on. I know this is a tough spot, momma bear wants to come out, I feel that way when I hear something like this.

2 moms found this helpful

I would voulenteer in her class room, I heard so many things about this one teacher, I even seen her in a kids face on the play ground, well the next year my son got her it was third grade, I was not happy, so offered to volunteer twice a week and I found out she was just the opposite of what i heard and what i though when i saw her in the kids face on the playground. J.

2 moms found this helpful

I would talk to other parents and get their take. If a teacher is bad, other kids will tell other parents. Then I'd also go to the teacher and talk about what your child is reporting. If she has a sarcastic or less than remorseful response and your child reports any retaliation, go to the principal and remind your child that she can go there, too, or go to the guidance office.

We've had to deal with teachers nobody liked here and there (and a few coaches, too) and only occasionally did we have to go farther than a discussion with the teacher and a plan of action for our child. Sometimes teaching them to get along to move along is also an important lesson.

Which is not to say you should teach your child to be a doormat, but sometimes a child's behavior doesn't help, either.

I do agree to keep in touch with other parents. If you all go in, even one at a time, then the teacher and/or administration should take notice of the numbers. Parents complained bitterly about a Calculus teacher who was unfairly teaching all his Calc classes the same as his AP class and eventually the administration listened.

2 moms found this helpful

I would get her fired and go to the board of education have your daughter record it on a phone or camcorder secretly. if she doesnt have the patience for kids she doesnt need to be teaching period

1 mom found this helpful

I would talk to the teacher right away. If you can you should see if you can observe the class. This is totally unprofessional and abusive behavior by this teacher and not appropriate. If she doesn't change I would talk with the Principle. (I would want to secretly tape the teacher in action)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Mom,
I would ask for a meeting with both, the principal and the teacher, immediately. The teacher's attitude and behavior IS inappropriate without no doubt. Find out more details, talk to other parents, and get more information that way it will be easier to deal with the situation.
Don't be afraid to stand up for your daughter; if she thinks that the teacher will pick on her after you have the meeting with them, you just have the option to move her to another class or another school in case this happens and turn into a more intolerable situation.
Keep in mind that these persons who act like that not always act the same way in the presence of their bosses or co-workers, so be smart and choose your words very well when you talk to them. I have been there.
It is really unfortunate for your daughter to go through this since it won't help her to love school and learning. I hope this will pass soon. School and learning are so much fun and some adults contribute so much to deteriorate the learning environment, but I am sure that she will be OK with your trust and confidence. There is a conflict there, do not stop until you find out what really is. Being strict is one thing, but being abusive is something totally different!
Good luck !

1 mom found this helpful

I would not wait until the parent teacher conferences. No teacher should treat their students like this. Maybe you can ask some of the other parents if their kids are making the same complaints. Personally I would go and have a talk with the principal.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like the teacher is innapropriate with the students. Sarcasm with children is never ok, in my book. Are there other parents you could talk to, just to see if other children are reporting similar things? If so, perhaps you and the other parents should talk to the teacher first, and then address the issue with the principal. If a teacher bullied my daughter, I'd likely bully the teacher right back. I don't tolerate anyone being a jerk to my child.

1 mom found this helpful

I would call a meeting with the principal or email the principal.

1 mom found this helpful

In this situation I would talk to the principal, not the teacher. If it was just one incident then talking to the teacher would be great, but this a teaching style situation.
The principal needs to be aware of this teacher's regular, inappropriate behavior. The principal can't do anything without parents complaining.

1 mom found this helpful

Okay.... when my daughter was in 2nd Grade, she had a regular Sub-Teacher, that was JUST like that.

ALL the kids, including my own, complained about her. They told me how she treated them and what she did.
Other parents said so too.
They were all scared of her.
Kids got physical stress from her, cried, did not want to go to school etc.

Well, I wrote a letter to my Daughter's Teacher. I itemized everything. I detailed everything. I told her kids AND parents were complaining. Including my own child.
The Teacher, then also with my Permission, showed my letter to the Principle and they discussed it.
The Teacher informed me... that they will NO longer, have this Teacher, in the classroom. She will be placed in upper grade classrooms, where she is perhaps more suitable. AND yes, they did have a talk, with this Sub-Teacher. Reprimanding her.
My Daughter's regular Teacher, apologized to me. SHE did not know, this was happening.
She thanked me for bringing it to her attention.

NO Teacher... should be BULLYING their Students.
It is NOT acceptable.

MY daughter AND my Husband.... thanked me for speaking up.
My Husband, did not want to cause conflict.
I said, NO... we HAVE TO speak up. This is a BAD situation.
NO Teacher, should be abusing the kids.

The other Parents, thanked me as well... as well as the other kids.
My Daughter... was SO PROUD OF ME, for speaking up.
My daughter said I was her "Hero."
My Husband said "We can always count on Mommy" and thanked me for speaking up as well.

all the best,
Susan

1 mom found this helpful

I would go straight to the district with the complaint. I would have it in writing and a copy cc'd to the principal as well. This behavior is destructive to the children she is supposed to be "teaching". I love and admire teachers but we have all seen a few that just should not be teaching any longer. There are so many good people wanting a job as a teacher and with all of the cut backs they are not able to get in and start. It's teacher's like these that need to be told that if their behavior does not improve they will no longer be in the position. Kindly make the district aware and ask for a follow up or seek one. If this teacher does not tolerate what she considers misbehaving or treats children poorly then she needs someone to let her know what true misbehaving is!!

sorry but this really gets to me...your daughter's education, along with the others in her class is being compromised by all of the distraction and fear that is going on in that classroom.

1 mom found this helpful

I can pretty much say I would be volunteering in that classroom so I can see first hand how the teacher handles the class and form my own opinions. Also that way it's not hearsay if you need to talk to the Principal about issues. He is going to be more inclined to take your word over that of a child.

I assist in a classroom where the teacher not only treats the kids like this she treats me like that also. I have explained to the principal that there is a 'bully' of a teacher (best way I can put it). I am afraid I am not believed and am simply a trouble maker. I just had an evaluation and this teacher complained about me! and I kept waiting I guess far too long to see if it went away since my complaints to administration didn't mean much. So I am asking you to please let the administration know what you can and I will do my part in these classrooms to see what is happening. I even thought it was possible but apparently it's entrapment to tape what was going on (that's what the principal said). So I am stuck not able to help a lot of you moms out there with these situations. I am however able to document notes, which I will now do. So emplore you (is that a good word?) to also let the principal know-it will back up people like me who really care about the kids. Learning is difficult in a scarey environment and it is pretty scarey for me to work there also when I cannot do anything.

My daughter was always hesitant for me to talk to her teachers as well. I would wait until conference and as she brings up issues with your daughter, ask her how she handles these issues.

It all sounds like things that can be avoided by being prepared. Teach your daughter to be prepared so she stays out of trouble. I bet all the kids leave that class with a little more responsibility.

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