54 answers

Teaching by Intimidation

Hi all,
Well my youngest son came home from school last Friday feeling pretty sad about himself. Appearantly his teacher announced to the entire class that my son had gotten a 100% on his spelling test but she was going to give him a zero because he forgot to put his name on his paper. I am really upset about the way she went about humiliating him infront of the class. This is literally the 3rd week of school. Am I wrong to be so upset about this? How should I go about expressing my anger for my son's self esteem that she just bull dozed over? I am usually quick to react however I can be harsh to others when it comes to my children, natural I guess but right now I want to go into his classroom and do the same to her, I know childish but gosh I am so angry.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to all the moms that wrote to me and gave me their take on things.
So I called the school and asked to speak to the principal. He was not available so I left him a voicemail telling him I was very upset with my son's teacher and that I wanted him to call me back. Well the teacher ended up calling me back instead. At first I wasn't sure why the principal hadn't done so but it turned out for the best.
She was very apologetic and explained to me that she did so in a joking matter and that her intent was not to single him out. I told her that regardless of her intent to play it off as light hearted to the class it was not okay by any means and that I expected more from her. With that she apologized to me again and said she would apologize to my son as well, and also wanted to tell me that she had already pulled him aside and told him that she gave him full credit and that she was proud of his 100% but that next time he needed to put his name on such a beautiful acheivement.
She did ask why I skipped the step of going to her first and I was completely honest with her and said just as she had skipped the step with my son and talking to him first I skipped the step with her in talking to her first. Things ended well and I am hoping to see a very dramatic improvement in both my son and his teacher.
Thanks again for all the advice. Take care all!

Featured Answers

I am a mother also of 2 grown children and 2 grown grandchildren. if i were you i would go and speak with the teacher. there is no reason for something like that. that to me is unacceptable. she could have taken him aside and told him that and at least given him a warning. how does she know that it was not accidental that he had forgotten to put his name on the paper?


1 mom found this helpful

You should speak to his teacher. I can understand her wanting to make the point to the class that it is something they need to do, but you are right that a child should not be used that way as an example. If the teacher doesn't understand then you need to tell the principal. I had a teacher emberass me in front of the class when I was in kindergarten for something similar and I still remember it. No teacher should do that to a child.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., I'm with you, when it comes to my kids, and protecting them ( their grown ) but still, I kbow some teachers take points off for no names, but a zero, and then announcing it to the class, how awful, if you have already spoken to the teacher and are not happy with the results, go to the princible, that was wrong of her, and she needs to know you don't treat children like that. Let me know what you decide and what happens. J. L.

More Answers

Go and talk with the priciple about what happen and call a meeting with the teacher. That is so very much the wrong way of doing things!!!! That teacher should be in the high school not grade school. How RUDE and WRONG of her to do something that way.
I am very sorry your son had to go through that. I am like you, to react to people that hurt my children. But i have learned that when it comes to the school, go through the principle.
Wow! I am floored by this. It makes me mad to know a teacher has done this to such a young child. GGRRRRR!!
Don't let her get away with this. File a complaint, do what ever you must to make her understand that this way of teaching is NOT right.
Good luck.
I hope your son comes out the winner!!

1 mom found this helpful

You should speak to his teacher. I can understand her wanting to make the point to the class that it is something they need to do, but you are right that a child should not be used that way as an example. If the teacher doesn't understand then you need to tell the principal. I had a teacher emberass me in front of the class when I was in kindergarten for something similar and I still remember it. No teacher should do that to a child.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A. from another A.--
As a former Master's level school psychologist, I am not only familiar with teachers, teaching methods, educational systems, and administrative matters, but obviously also child psychology. What this teacher did to your son was wrong and cruel. My suggestion is for you to immediately put the incident in writing (being careful to note that your take is based on what your son told you [which is nonetheless crucial!]), then request to meet jointly with the teacher and the principal. A joint meeting ensures that (1) you are not going behind the teacher's back and (2) the teacher cannot talk you out of going to the principal. But please request the meeting and go into the meeting with an open mind, knowing that you do not have all the facts because you were not present when the incident happened. Nonetheless, any kind of public humiliation is NOT appropriate nor can it must not be tolerated. Best of luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful

i'm glad your situation turned out well and you had a good conversation with the teacher. i'm a teacher too, and i also feel that even with joking, your son's teacher shouldn't have done what she did. glad everything turned out well.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you need to go in and have a nice talk with the teacher. Giving him a zero and embarrassing him in front of the class when he didn't have his name on his paper is a bit extreme for making an example. If she's not reasonable I would talk to the Principal. After all he's what in the 3rd grade? Give the kid a break...there will plenty of time later where you can beat them down right now she should be working on reinforcing good behavior, not tearing down his poor developing self-esteem.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
My girls are young adults now but I still remember several times when we had conflicts with their teachers. I encouraged my girls to go to the teacher one on one and let them know that the teachers action seemed unfair and was hurtful. Then, if not resolved, and it wasn't always, I would then meet with the teacher and if necessary, bring in the administration. It's a good lesson for our children in problem solving. Both my girls now, are very comfortable in conflict resolution and not afraid to stand up for what is right. I think that is very important today.

While there are many great teachers out there, it's so sad what one bad one can do to our kids.

Good luck to you and your boys!


1 mom found this helpful

What that teacher did was very wrong. I feel a 0 was uncalled for and to use your son as an example was horrible. The teacher should have given the child a private warning. Kids have it hard enough now in school. I think you need to have a meeting with this teacher and if it does not stop then go to the school administration and put in a complaint. Just remember to remain calm when you talk to this teacher. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Your headline is quite misleading, but it says a lot. Your son's teacher is not teaching by intimidation. I think you are not wrong to be concerned about this, but it is definitely not something be angry about or to exaggerate so hugely. The teacher did not bulldoze your son's self-esteem. You are blowing this way out of proportion. That does not serve your son well. He is at the age when the teachers really start to focus on doing things properly. My youngest son is the same age, and he is not always diligent about putting his name on papers, etc. It is important, and your son's teacher is trying to get that across. She perhaps did not go about it correctly, but this is not a huge transgression. You do not know how many times in the last three weeks your son has neglected to put his name on his papers.

I have four sons. My oldest is 26. There is no more protective mother on earth. I understand how you feel. The mama lion wants to protect her babies. But you must choose your battles. You are going to give yourself a stroke or a heart attack before you even reach the hard years - and they are coming. Your attitude can do so much! Instead of getting upset and angry about this matter, perhaps you should have minimized it with your son in a reassuring way and reinforced that it is important to put his name on his work. Then you could have brought it up in a lighthearted manner with his teacher, letting her know that you had reinforced the lesson with your son, but also letting her know that your son had been embarrassed by her comment to the whole class. Instead, you went straight to her boss. That was a big overreaction. Your son's teacher handled the situation graciously. Please give her the same consideration in the future.

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