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!

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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?

B.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Beth

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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!

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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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Hi A.,
Glad you got things worked out. A friend of mine gave me a piece of advice that her daughter's teacher gave to her. "If you promise not to believe everything your child says about me, I'll promise not to believe everything your child says about you." In short, it sounds like your son left out some of the story. This doesn't excuse the teacher's method but next time I would probably talk to the teacher first before going to the principal. Only a suggestion. Best of luck to you and your boys:)

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Hi A.,

I am so sorry that your son's teacher humiliated him in that way. I think that's terrible. I taught high school before I had my son--and let me tell you that I wish I had been a parent when I was a teacher (I think I would have been that much better)--however, I did the best that I could and I was always sensitive to kids' feelings especially since I can remember being humiliated by a couple of teachers when I was a kid.

(In fact, I am going to go through this with my son's karate teacher--he called a 3 year-old in the class a "crybaby" repeatedly in front of the other kids and parents. It bothered me a lot, and it wasn't even about my son! I am waiting for the right moment to speak to the teacher alone. This kind of teaching shocked me because it's very out-of-character for the teacher. I am going to do my best to speak to him calmly!)

Anyway--that's what I think you should do--speak to the teacher quietly alone. A good teacher will appreciate your input. A good teacher would not intend to hurt or humiliate a kid. Perhaps this teacher thought your son would handle it differently and guessed wrong? Regardless, speaking to the teacher should open her eyes to this kind of "teaching moment" and should save other kids from this kind of embarrassment. If her goal is to get kids to put their names on their papers, surely there are better ways to get this message across. (Although, if it was a clear rule, then I probably would have taken points off of his grade, but I can't see giving him a zero unless this was an egregious problem.)

Good luck!
D.
P.S. I just read your response--in the future, I would agree that you should always approach the teacher first before speaking to the principal. It's good manners. Give the teacher the chance to respond. That's why the principal didn't call back--he/she probably asked the teacher if she had already spoken to you. Call the principal only when you don't get a response from the teacher. If you screw up at work, don't you want someone to speak to you directly first? It's more professonial. :-)

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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?

B.

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Dear A.,

You have every right to be angry. Humiliating a child undermines his self esteem which is never appropriate.

If you feel you can approach the teacher directly, do so.
Nothing excuses a teacher from doing what she did, but if your son is going to continue in her class, it's best to try to work with her.

If you feel you are too angry or already feel you don't have a good rapport with her, go to the principal. The principal has a resposibility to make sure every child at his/her school is getting a quality education in a safe, secure environment.

Ask the principal what the school district's policies are regarding inappropriate teacher behavior and ask what steps he will take when dealing with the teacher in this situation.

If you like what the principal has to say and you feel the situation with the teacher will be handled appropriately, great. You might ask to then have a discussion with the principal and the teacher afterward to make sure you are all on the same page regarding moving forward in the best way possible for your son.

If you feel the teacher will not respond in an appropriate way, or you feel your son is not in the best environment for his learning, ask to move him to another class.

If you feel the principal is not taking the situation seriously or you feel you are being "brushed off", contact the district and request to move your son to another school.

I know this sounds drastic, but like you said, it's only the 3rd week of school and there is a risk that the teacher could humiliate him again, which will undoubtedly erode his self esteem.

Children will be humiliated; it's part of life. But to have that come from someone who is supposed to be a trusted adult is not tolerable.

Best wishes and good luck.

R.

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In my opinion, that is totally unacceptable. I would be speaking to the teacher AND the principal of the school!! If need be, even higher up than that!!

how awful and this teacher should know better. go to the principal and if you don't get satisfaction go to the board. children have a hard enough time as it is.........

I just despise this tactic of teaching while at the expense of our children. What's it teaching? How to bully and humiliate?
Your not off here Mom. I pulled my son out of a math class in high school because the teacher chose to pick on him to many times...AND I shared a phone conversation with said teacher and put him in his place.
I raised two daughters on my own and my son is the youngest here at home still with me. Now 15
I beleive its VERY important to keep a close eye on your sons self esteem while his dad is not around. I would talk to him and let him know that what she did was wrong. Don't keep those protective thoughts from your son..Clean them up a bit but let him know. I am always and was always objective until I got the whole story. There are other tactics the teacher can use. E MAIL HER..What a great time we live in that we do not have to set up a conference and take a day off work you can send her an e mail..Let her know that she humiliated him. this should not go unsed.
Also how you project this experience is how he will remember it... " Mom I was so embaressed ..my teacher held up my paper with 100% and told the class that I wont get credit because I forgot to put my name on it" Your response might be " Well, I guess everyone in the class knows your smart and got 100% !!!!!
H.

A.,

Oh boy this is just not right.

My first reaction is to say call the school and make an appointment with the teacher and the Principal together. Let them both know that you feel that this behavior from the teacher is unacceptable and that she has to appologize to your son, and then the Principal will move him to another room with another teacher right away.

I am a Parent Center Director at a High School and if you were to come into my office and tell me this I would take you right away to his counselor and have a conference to have this taken care of. Then have your write a letter to the Principal and let her know what happened, and what is going to be done about this teachers actions.

Hope this helps you in some way.

D

A.,
Of course your mama tiger comes out when it comes to your boyz. Especially as a single mom; I believe WE are a special breed of WOMAN personally. I have raised my boyz for 16 years alone and have learned quite a lot and one thing is not to allow anyone to mistreat my children- instinct kicks in and I am there "protecting" my kids. YOU are what he has, and you are enough!! Also, as a TEACHER I know the demands as well. Some of my classes are so large and organization is crucial to keep up and names on papers is HUGE in teaching organizational skills/responsibility/accountability as well as grading purposes. Although your son's teacher I think could have handled the situation differently yes, I would let her know that you will work on this at home (partnership with teacher) as well in "assisting" her in her role and let her know you "appreciate" all her hard work and efforts. This is when you bring to her attention you know her "job" is demanding, and the reason you know is because YOU too have a difficult "responsibility" as well single parenting and you would appreciate her "assistance" as well in not taking the "teach by humiliating" stance when she is "teaching" our children responsibility (writing his name on papers). Just a suggestion!!! Good luck! And remember YOU ARE ENOUGH- just take the tactful road and oh so classy road in handling this teacher. Remember if she feels you are partners there will be no reason for her to feel defensive- you are in charge mama!! BE smarter here....

Hi A.,
That was so wrong of the teacher. She owes your son an appoligy in front of the whole class. I would also speak to the principal to make sure this bad behavior does not happen again. Also keep a record of what happened, who you talked to and what the out come was. If it continues get in touch with the school district. I think I would ask the teacher if she would like it if you confronted her about this in front of the class or the whole school, because to your son 30 kids probably felt like the a million. Good luck to you. Also I am sure you have told your son how proud of him you are and that the teacher was wrong.

About me I am stay at home mom of three. Two girld 14 and 10. A boy who is 3 1/2

How does your son feel about it now? Does his dislike the teacher now? Try not to let your son know how mad you are. I teach high school and have to remind kids to put their names on their papers all the time, but w/ 180 students a day I can't determine who's writing it is. Clearly the teacher knew it was his. I feel she was out of line for that age, but it isn't uncommon. I know of a teacher who told the whole class a girl failed her math test. My best suggestion here is to log the date and a description of the event then let it go until you find out about other transgressions. Speak to the teacher. See if it continues, Then when you have a list of complaints, it is time to inform the principal. Then take it from there. Hopefully your son can put it behind him and move on. (Percentages in elementary don't really count for much anyway). Best wishes for a good year.

You are not over-reacting in any way. It is completely innappropriate for the teacher to treat your son this way. I would demand a meeting with the school principal. Since it's only the third week of school, I can't imagine what other demoralizing tactics this teacher has in mind for your son and the other students. It must be "nipped in the bud". Don't back down! Bullying is not to be tolerated- by anyone. Good luck!

Personally, I would confront the teacher about it in a calm manner. I also would involve the Principal/Director if the Teacher doesn't appologize in front of the class and also correct her behavior in front of the students... In other words, she needs to explain to the students why it is wrong to do the exact behavior... I would also ask for an appology letter.

If the Principal doesn't nip it in the butt, I would go district level...

Ultimately, the Teacher should have taken another side on this, for example, I would like to congratulate the student who received the 100% on their test but I can't b/c I don't know who it is. They forgot to write their name on their test... Reminding the children that they should do that first... and also making an example, that when you don't put your name on your test, you can't get credit for your good work...

Hi A.,
That seems very harsh for an 8 year old! My son and I went through something similar when he was in 5th grade. His teacher spilled out his desk on the floor,demanding that he clean it up. She ripped papers in front of the class if there was no name on them. Not only did my mommie hairs stand on end, my son was so terrified he had to go to a therapist.
The good news was that I talked with this teacher and asked her what her goal was for this tactic. I really tried to understand it from her point of view. Then I let her know how my son felt. She was very upset at herself and her tactic, and has not dumped out a desk since. By trying to be objective, we got her to mellow out.
Good luck with this-I know how hard it is. Stay cool, ask questions, find out what is expected and let her know how you feel.
Sincerely,
J.

i see you've already gotten your responses but just had to say something.

you know the #1 job of moms is to doubt ourselves (hence websites like this). absolutely put yourself in their face. and always deal with stuff like this immediately. YOU are your child's only advocate. no one cares about your kids as much as you. not the principal not the school counselor. it's up to you.

and ANY time someone (kid OR teacher) humiliates your son, it's up to YOU to immediately deal with it! i'm so irked with that teacher. she may have played it off but keep your eye on her. it's a way of being passive aggressive when they have no other ways to express their frustration. peace.

Hello A.. The only thing I see here is the teacher making an example of your son in front of the class. Unfortunately, she went about it the wrong way. I know as a mother it is sooooo hard to deal with someone doing your child wrong, but please don't explode over this. I, too, am quick to anger, so I know this is not easy to do, especially when it pertains to your child. Again, I'm not saying the teacher was in the right for doing this, but it is my perception that she used your son as a teaching tool. She could also have been having a bad day and taken it out on him, or maybe is frustrated with kids (your child included or not) not putting their names on their papers, because at that age, it should be automatic. Who really knows what went on in her head? I do think the right thing to do is talk to the teacher, and have her apologize to your son, in front of the class, though. Just my opinion.

Oooh yeah, nothing makes me madder than something like that, that's done by a supposed professional! That can really hurt a child's feelings and be so embarrasing! I hate when teachers try to make an example of someone - it's so vicitimizing! But DO remember to keep your cool even though she's set you off. You don't want to appear like to out of control, emotional mom. What you DO want to do, is make her feel sure that she made a bad decision and that you're NOT happy about it. I would even say a word to the principal is certainly warranted, because that was "not okay". So go in there, keep calm, but express that you hope she finds better ways to get her point across than to humiliate ANY child in front of the class. Just as there's nothing better than a great teacher, there's nothing worse than a bad one!!!!
Hopefully she'll learn.
M.

Does your school have a school counselor. You could tell that person, and they will talk to the teacher. Or you can send an email, so you can look over your wording before you send it. I agree, something has to be said. The teacher could have genericly said, "even if you get 100% on your test, I will give you 0 if your name is not on it." She did not have to single a person out.

Oops! just say that you already talked to the teacher. Take care.

The teacher's reaction would be 'normal' for mid year or older grades, but not the 3rd week of school! Go to the principal after you talk to the teacher if you don't get anywhere with her. Try to be calm when you talk to her, you don't want her to take more anger out on your son.

That does sound really harsh. Especially for 3rd week in. Was she trying to joke about it to get her point across and NO ONE got the joke?
Humiliation and fear are never good and don't help the learning evironment.
I'm having a really hard time w/ my 5 yr old transitioning into kindergarten and he is feeling insecure about everything he is doing at school. Boys need all the encouragement they can get to feel good about their work. I think you would be wise to gently approach your son's teacher and let her know how he felt. That he came home feeling bad about what happened and that approach doesn't work well for him.
Can you write a big 100% with a smiley face on his paper and stick it on the fridge?
I'm currently going thru divorce, so I'm soon to be single, and yes, it is a challenge.

definitely say something to her first and then to the principal if things don't change. What she did is condone a bullying type atmosphere for the rest of the kids as well. They probably think it's ok to humiliate people because the teacher has done it openly.

Stop for a minute and consider that this lady isn't mean but misguided. That doesn't excuse her HORRIBLE behavior but it might change the way you deal with it. If you fly off the handle you risk her being a jerk to your son all year. Play it safe for the sake of your son and simply let her know in person what your son said when he came home that day. Tell her that he was embarrassed and that it overshadowed his pride in making a good grade on his spelling. This should make any person with a heart rethink that kind of talk. Ask your son to let you know if she treats any other kids that way. If she continues it isn't worth talking to her again. Move him to another class. This teacher obviously shouldn't be working with kids you son's age if she is that unforgiving about a kid putting their name on their paper! Good luck and remember your mommy instinct is ALWAYS right!! Do what it tells you to!

I would go to the principal and request that your son be transferred into another class. Be specific and let him know why(because of teacher's behavior). I would not confront the teacher at all; will just make things worse. If switching him to a different class is not possible, maybe switch to another school. good luck in your situation.

Unbelievable. I am so thankful for our teachers - I have had many who have changed my life for the better, but I really do think some go into the profession just to take out their anger on helpless children.

Do you happen to know any parents who have had children in her class previously? It would be great for you to know if this is a pattern before going in there with guns blazing - although, I know I would sure want to wreak havoc on this teacher's life if I were in your shoes - because the most effective way to curtail the behavior, if this is something she makes a habit of, is to have several examples of her inappropriate behavior, and to approach her superior, perhaps the principal, with these clear cases from other parents so that he or she can see it's not an isolated incident.

I think it's completely humiliating that she singled him out - she really didn't have to make an example of your son, and besides driving a wedge between herself and your son during the first month of school, she kind of set a negative tone for his classroom experience this year.

So sorry this happened and hope it works out for you.

Take care,
K.

Personally I would've been in that classroom talking to the teacher. Let her know how you feel, and how damaging that was instead of reinforcing. Self-esteem is so important at this young age. Forgetting the names on papers are so common. My son's teacher has a "no name" basket, yes, they do get a zero...but they can go to the no name basket and find their missing homework then turn it in for full credit. If she wants to "teach them a lesson" then maybe a "little" ding of 10% off. This is elementary school...you're still molding and teaching their little minds! Don't destroy them! Good luck!

Hey A.,

This happen to us when my son was in the 4th grade and she ruined him for a lonng time!!! She tore up his paper and made an example of him in front of the whole class!! So to nip it in the butt I showed up in her class and sat in the back and watched and took notes on her behavior with the kids!! Before class ended I went up to her and told her if she didn't change her tactics and apologized to my son in front of the class I would bring in the school board and my lawyer! Well, my intimidation worked and I transfered him to another class, but it took till 9th grade for him to get over it!!! Now his a senior with a 3.4 grade average!!! Good luck

V.

you should definately talk to the teacher about that. that is not right. with it being the third week of school she should make some allowances for mistakes such as not putting a name on the paper. to call him on it in front of the whole class like is unproffesional. try to schedule a parent teacher conference and bring up this problem. let her know that your sons feelings were very hurt by that. i am with you on feeling angry. just responding to this makes me remember the teache my daughter had. she was so bad about things like that it caused me to homeschool for a year. she needs to stop this now, or your son may not have any self esteem by the end of the school year.

In writing, shoot a note to the Teacher, and "cc" it to the Principal.

What this Teacher did is just plain mean. Maybe she was trying to teach the class about being thorough in school work...but in this case, I believe, the Teacher went overboard.

I would be FURIOUS if this happened to my child. I would EXPECT the Teacher to answer to Me....with an appropriate attitude... and then I would complain, formally, to her and the Principal...especially if she seems to flip me off so to speak or give me excuses.

Yes, some may say doing this will only set up your son for more "vindictiveness" on the Teacher's part toward your son...but at least you will have a paper trail on it, and know that you attempted to take care of the problem. Retaliation against a child is NOT acceptable...no matter what. Secondly, this will show the Teacher that your Son DOES tell his Parent about things that goes on in class... AND that YOU are aware of her behavior in class, should she do things like this to your son again.

In no way, do I feel this is appropriate for the Teacher to do.

Look, it is affecting your son, emotionally, and his self-confidence. This Teacher seems like a "Bully" herself. NOT acceptable. Is this what you want your son to encounter in class, by the Teacher?

For all you know, maybe she has a history of being like this....but other kids or Parents being too afraid to speak out.

My philosophy is, and which I also teach my children, is to NEVER be "afraid" to speak out when any wrong doing happens... especially anything intentional and "mean."

Frankly, I would be pissed off about this, and go to the school to have it taken care of.
For all you know, maybe the Teacher has done other things to him, that is slowly eroding his morale and enjoyment in school... and most importantly, his self-confidence.

It takes only 1 mean thing to disparage a child and send them on a spiral downward....which can ripple into other behavioral issues for them. Remember that. And then the Parent is left to pick-up the pieces and build up their child again. Is this what you want??? All because of "fear" of a Teacher and not wanting to Correct the Teacher?

If you say nothing... you are not being proactive... nor stopping this "bullying" from the Teacher. Kids need to SEE their Parent doing something about it... and knowing they can TRUST their Parent for taking care of any wrong-doing against them.

This Teacher needs to be corrected. Teacher's are not exempt from "corrections" from Parents. In this case... it needs to be taken care of. You DO need to do something about it. Put it in writing. This is simply NOT acceptable.

All the best,
Susan

Wow, just reading this made me upset. What the teacher did was mean and unnecessary. Children should have their confidence built up not torn down and you have every right to be upset. I would suggest calling or set up a conference with the teacher and explain how you feel her conduct over the situation was inappropriate and you feel your son deserves an apology ~ in front of the class. If nothing gets done about it or something happens again I would take it to the principal. I have heard many stories similar to this and it should not be tolerated at all.

I wish you and your son the best.

That was cruel and unnecessary, and I would make sure to say that to your son so that his feelings are validated. If you can keep your cool you might want to make an appt with the teacher, and explain that while she had every right to give him a zero, after all, it would appear he did not follow the class rules, that sharing this with the class was humiliating to him. I doubt she did it on purpuse, rather, just was not thinking. Good luckl

I have a son who is the same age as your youngest. If his teacher ever pulled something like that, I would be on the phone with the principal immediately. All of my son's teachers have told me countless times how much power a parent has and how easy it is for a parent to make something happen in a school. I would insist that the teacher make an apology to your son, in front of the entire class and admit that teachers make mistakes as well. I would also discuss with the principal about the possibility of moving him to a different class.

This teacher could easily have made her point in private to your son. She could have told the class that this would have happened, but not mentioned any names. This was uncalled for an simply wrong. Not only would I be worried about your son's esteem, I'd watch his grades carefully. You wouldn't want something like this to stop him from excelling at school.

I think it's time to be the mama bear and fight. He deserves it. It will also prove to him that when someone tries to do something that is wrong to him, you will be there to stand up for him immediately.

By the way, Congrats on the 100% on the spelling test. I'm sure he's worked hard for it!

As much as you want to go bark at the teacher, she is trying to get her point across, he needs to put his name on the paper. To use him as an example I dont see her point in this, she could of said warning kids if you turn your paper in with out a name even though you got a 100 % on it your going to be given a zero. Now she might have already given plenty of warnings, and so your son was the first one to not follow instructions. Well he was warned !! a gentle note to the teacher asking her to explain about this and how you feel in a gentle way will solve the problem better than if you went off on her. If you still feel she handled this wrong speak with her boss, the princible.

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.

Hello,
Well, yes, you must handle your own anger before directly approaching the situation. Who knows, maybe it is the teacher's anger issues that fuels her "intimidation" style approach of teaching, if that is what is going on.

I spent years working in NYC public schools as a staff developer for various emotional literacy programs. This kind of teaching does exist but is highly scrutinized by many education communities. So . . . you are in line and justified to set up a meeting with the teacher (with a cool head on your part.) Tell her that you want to know what guidelines she has in place with her students to create a supportive learning environment in the classroom. Begin the conversation. See where her approach lies. And then you are completely justified in letting her know that this action: 1) induced shame which hinders learning - this has been proven by the way, and, 2) left your son feeling "threatened" instead of "inspired. See if you can use logic with her.

If these scenarios continue you should meet with the Principal or AP and find out what the school policies are. In my experience, sometimes teacher's unproductive behaviors went unnoticed until a parent got involved. Principal's and VP's have a lot on their plate especially in these first few weeks of school. Sometimes a new teacher needs more training to deal with these aspects of teaching and learning how to enforce rules in a positive way that further academic learning.

good luck.

I was a teacher for 10 years before quitting to stay home with my daughter, but your story really infuriates me. It's stories like this that makes me want to continue teaching. You need to call the school and schedule a conference with the teacher AND the principle. The teachers job is to remind her students to put their names on their papers before the test. Here's the paper, write your name and date, now write 1-20 or however many spelling words there were. Maybe a warning system on the first time they forget, but tell them in private. If the teacher wants to make an example out of no name, all they need to do is say, "If you forget your name, you WILL get a zero." You are to NEVER use a name or kid (especially at that age) to make them feel bad about themselves. There are actually LAWS against this now. You can't even post grades with their names (we had to use their ID numbers). So, she's also breaking the law (which isn't the point). So, a warning would have been nice, and I'm sure your son would have gotten the point. It happens, even in 8th grade where I taught. And, I NEVER gave any zero's for work turned in or tests...just plenty of warnings. Give them a stinkin break. I was known for being one of the stickest teacheers at school too and never did that. My classes were VERY well behaved and yes, every once in awhile, a kid forgets, big deal!!!! She needs to be reprimanded by the principle as well to make sure NO kid has to go through that again.

Wow, I'd be ticked! My son is super sensitive and after only a few weeks a teacher couldn't possibly know the true nature of your son's personality, hopefully he is a resiliant kid and this won't ruin the rest of this school year or the next few to come like it would for mine. I would go directly to the principal, describe what happened and why you are so upset and tell him/her that you felt you couldn't go directly to the teacher because you are so angry you know you wouldn't act appropriately. Hopefully the principal will get the idea of how upset you are and resolve the problem. I would also try to talk up the teacher to your son so that he doesn't feel like it's ok to hate her and rebel in class because he feels he has your ok. Just fake it in front of him (of course acknowledging that he is hurt and you understand how embarassing that was) and wait to see what happens. If it's not working out, see if you can move classrooms otherwise you'll have a heck of a year with the teacher knowing you don't like her, your son being miserable.... Good luck!

Hi there. I know this isn't quite the same, but last year was my daughters first year of pre-school. She had been in a home daycare before. On the first day, both my husband and I took her to her classroom. The teacher was there with other kids who had already been to this school. She was sitting in a circle with them and didn't even acknowledge us. We stayed with Sarah for a few minutes, tried to get her comfortable in the classroom and then inched our way to the door. We knew we had to leave, and we knew Sarah would be scared, but I kind of thought that the teacher would come over and introduce herself to us or the very least our daughter. She never did. When we left the classroom finally, my poor little girl stood at the door crying. I was heart broken. I wanted to take her home right then. I was furious that the teacher never once came to her and asked her to join the circle or anything. Well, after a while I finally left the school, went to work and fired off a letter to the school principal, and administration. I got her moved out of that classroom the very next day, and I was never happier. My daughter did very well and all was good after that.
This year, to my dismay they moved my daughter back to this first classroom and first teacher that initially caused me so much grief. However, she has been great with my daughter and me ever since. Maybe she was spoken to by the school, and maybe it was the right thing to do. If no one talks to the teacher about her way of teaching, she will continue to hurt other kids self esteem. She needs to know that this kind of teaching is not appreciated.
Good luck.

good!! im so glad that you worked out that situation so beautifully.
i was so mad when my sons teacher did the same thing to him last week! hes only six! he left his book at home and she scolded him in front of the whole class about it and after that he didnt want to go to school anymore. she called me the same day and was upset about it and i told her we looked for the book and couldnt find it, how ridiculous is it to expect a book back the next day everyday from a little kid anyway? last year they gave us a week to return it. anyway, she called me up again the next day and apologized and thanked us for returning the book. she was just being too emotional i think. all of us women get like that sometimes and i totally understand, but it doesnt justify being cruel to a child! whether or not it was a "joke".

good for you for standing up for your child! it gives me courage to do the same!

I would make a HUGE deal out of it with the Principle. That is completely uncalled for. I've gone to the pronciple for things before and threatened to switch their class and report the teacher to the school board. Humiliation and/or making an example of him was WAY overboard. I would go tot the teacher before school while other parents are around and confront her. I'm like you. I can be a bit harsh, but I feel in this case, it's warranted! Good luck!

I'm a 3rd grade teacher and I would never do that to one of my students. I think you need to calmly speak with the teacher and express your concerns over this matter. Students continually forget to put their name on their paper. I am constantly reminding my students of this. It doesn't sound reasonable to expect them to remember every time. Take a deep breath and address it. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, I would speak to the principal. I hope this helps.

You have every right to be angry! I swear the so called "professionals" have no brains in their heads at all, it seems. I would definitely have a very nice but very firm discussion with his teacher to let her know she was in the wrong and that you don't and won't tolerate it happening again. Our kids have so much pressure to perform in school as it is; the last thing they need is negativity from those who are supposed to be inspiring them to do their best. What, his teacher has never made a mistake? Why make an example of your child by telling the others? Kids can be cruel and they follow by example; she should have spoken to him privately and let him have a chance to redeem himself by letting it slide this time. Don't let the teacher slide, go in and let your feelings known. If she doesn't respond with a compassionate and sincere apology to your son, I would go to the principal and make sure her mistake is brought to her attention (see how she likes it!) Good luck to you and your son. :)

I am glad to hear that everything worked out for you. As a teacher, I am saddened by all of the negative attitudes in the responses to your post about teachers. While there was wrong done on the teachers part, children often do not bring the entire story home. I am in no way saying that your son is a liar or was trying to deceive you, but sometimes when you are upset, you just remember the worst part of the situation. There is always more to the story that doesn't make it home. Talking to the teacher was exactly the right thing to do and I am glad that she apologized. Teachers are sometimes expected to be perfect, but in reality, they are just people like everyone else.

HI A.~

I am so sad for you and for your child. I am a mom to an 11 mo. old and a step-mom to a 13 year old, so I know how devastating it must be to hear this from you child. I am also a 3rd grade teacher, so I have both sides. I know as a parent, I would want to immediately lash out at the person who hurt my child. But as a teacher, I always appreciate the opportunity to explain what I did or said and why it happened that way. So, I think if you calmly call and ask to speak to the teacher or set up an appointment to meet with the teacher and ask her about the situation and explain how it made your son feel, you would get more out of the teacher. If she stands by him receiveing a zero, which is silly, and you don't like the answers you got, then ask to meet with the principal. Getting kids to write their names on their papers can be a problem. What I have my kids do is stay in for recess and practice writing their name. I believe that not putting his name on his paper should not affect his grade.

I hope this helps. I know you want to protect your angel, but I think it's important for both of you to have a positive and open communication with his teacher.

I think that the teacher was completely wrong about this situation and there should be a discussion about it. She could have told him in private about the mistake that he made or if she was trying to make an example for the rest of the class then she could have said that a student forgot to put their name on their paper without announcing to the class who that student was. Good luck and don't be afraid for sticking up for your child.

glad you got it sorted out. Sometimes going to the source of the problem helps :)

I am so furious with this teacher that I don't know if I can offer sound advice!
No it is not ok to humiliate anyone like that.
It sounds personal?
A classroom is a safe place where you should feel comfortable to make mistakes and learn from them in a positive way.
I don't know what the best way is, maybe ask the principal? I would definitely put that teacher in her place with a discussion.
What would make your son feel better?
She could apologize during the next class.
That's the kind of thing that kids remember forever-I'm livid!

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