My Son's Teacher Is Driving Me Crazy!!!!

Updated on August 24, 2010
T.O. asks from Athens, GA
23 answers

Ok, so first I want everybody to know how much I respect teachers. I could not do their job nor would I want to do their job!! I am also very supportive and involved in my kid's school. I volunteer weekly, attend pretty much everything, donate items to the class, etc. So I'm not someone who "Teacher Bashes".

That being said, my son's teacher this year is already driving me nuts!! We have always been lucky to have super teachers who clearly communicate everything and who return notes, call, and emails in a timely manner. His teacher this year has been so NOT easy to communicate with. She sends home worksheets in the daily folder with no instructions. My son missed a couple days of school out sick and I sent 2 emails and called asking to come pick up the work he would miss so it would be done when he came back and I have yet to hear anything from her. Yesterday 3 random sheets came home in his folder and I thought it was his missed I had him do it last night and sent it back in today. This afternoon an email goes out explaining that 2 of those were actually practice sheets that are to stay home...after he spent 20 minutes last night working on them!!

The first Monday a book comes home that he's supposed to read a story from (it has about 300 stories in it) NO INSTRUCTIONS!!! Every story has review questions at the end so I send her an email asking for clarification. NOTHING. So I had him answer the questions and send them in. 2 days later I get an email that she just read mine and no they weren't supposed to answer the questions. Friday folders are supposed to come home with the weekly work with any class news, last Friday...EMPTY! But on Monday, all the previous week's work comes home.

Honestly, I don't think she's a bad teacher. My son loves her class. I just don't know if she's not back in the groove of things yet or what? I know that his school is short a ParaPro for his grade, maybe that's it?

I'm just not sure how to approach her on this. I seriously can't go through the year like this and I would like to ask her to please send home notes or instructions with any paperwork that she sends but how do I do it without offending her? The last thing I want is to p*ss her off especially right at the beginning of the year. She has a class website but it is very randomly updated and every time she posts something it's never under the same heading and you have to hunt for it. Who has time for that?

GRRR....sorry for the rant. Any suggestions would really help. I really hope this gets better :(

I'm updating this here to clarify a few points that everyone is asking. My son is in the 1st grade and will be 7 next month. I have not only tried email with her, I've sent in notes and left phone messages. I'm not trying to meddle in her class, I'm trying to understand her homework structure that that I can insure my son is doing the work he is supposed to be doing when he's supposed to be doing it. I would much prefer to not to have to pester her with questions since I'm well aware that she has many more important things to do.

Mostly, I think it's the inconsistency that is aggravating. Sometimes there will be a note in the folder with instructions, sometimes it's on the website, and sometimes there's nothing. Sometimes she emails that she has updated the website, sometimes not. Sometimes the information is listed under Weekly News, Homework, or Quick Peeks. So I'm just never sure where to find the information I need.

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So What Happened?

Sorry Sorry. My son is in the 1st grade about to be 7 so yeah, at that age I feel like detailed instructions still need to come home. I check his folder as soon has he gets off the bus and if there's something I'm not expecting I ask him. Sometimes he knows and sometimes he doesn't.

Also, I would like to make it clear that I am not trying to go on and on about how his teacher is not doing her job. Nowhere did I say that. My frustration is that I don't feel she is communicating instructions for homework sheets that come home so I'm not sure that I'm having him do them correctly.

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

Personally I love e-mail, I think its the easiest, quickest way to communicate, especially if you have a question that should have a simple answer... however I know many people that just don't keep up with e-mail and aren't that into it. It sounds like this teacher is one of those people so I would give up on using that tool with her, maybe a written note in his folder would be better? Or just talk to her in person and ask her what is the easiest way for us to communicate? I know teachers have a hard job but I think kids that age need written instruction for homework, especially if they expect the parents to help them. It sounds like this teacher is not very prepared for whatever reason. I don't see anything wrong with bringing these issues to her attention in a non-confrontational manner.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Have you had a back to school night yet? If it is this week or early next week, this will be a good time to ask while ALL of the parents there.

It will do two things, let the teacher know that she needs to explain the best way to communicate with her and the other parents that feel the same way you do (which will probably be most) will know you are in the same boat as them and if it does not get better, they will seek you out to also work on this communication problem.

Sorry this is so frustrating. Communication from the classroom to the home is so impiortant. This teacher needs to get into the grove..

You could also offer to help her in any way with handouts, copies, etc.. Even suggest their be parent helpers for her class. Maybe place a sign up sheet for parents that also are willing to assist.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

The funny thing is that most people who don't have kids in the 1st grade think, how could you not know what to do, it's 1st grade work. But I'd get mystery workshhets too and have no idea what to do and my son couldn't remember. But that was pretty infrequent, his teacher answered notes same day and usually sent instructions. This is a toughy because yea you don't want to ruffle her feathers and you are not being critical but want to make your life a little easier. Who has time to do extra work if it's not required? I'd send her a funny note like "I went to college yet I can't decipher my son's 1st grade work. Can you kindly send instructions for the homework daily so I don't feel so dumb?" A sense a humor goes a long way.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

What grade is your son in? I ask this because I was an elementary school teacher and depending on the grade, it was the students responsibility to write the homework and instructions in their agenda or daily folder. However, if your son is in K or 1st grade, then obviously, they can't be expected to do all that. You have every right to be frustrated though, especially since she is not communicating with you or returning calls. What I would do, is go up to school and be ready to talk with her as soon as the last student leaves. I would talk with her first and if things are not cleared up then I would talk with the principal next. I never had para's or aids in my classrooms, but I made sure I called parents back immediately after school and always checked my email. Definitely go up to school and talk with her face to face if she won't call you back. Maybe you could send in a note with your son requesting time to talk face to face if you don't feel comfortable just showing up. Of course, if she doesn't respond then I WOULD just show up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would just be (mostly) honest with her and get her on the phone and say:almost making light of it: "My son is having so much fun wiht you so far. But i have to say I am having trouble with the transition. I am really confused about the work you are sending home and could use more specific guidance so my son does the right work." And then be specific!! I would also add something like "I don't want to be bugging you every week, so maybe you could add some notes at the beginning to get us started?"

I would chalk up the lack of responsivenes to it being the start of the year and maybe 20 other parents are emialing her. I am not saying it isn't unprofessional, but I would try to give her a break. However, I wouldnt' let it toatally slide either. There is a while rest of the year to get angry and escalate it. For now give her the benefit of the doubt and maybe some gentle guidance.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tallahassee on

I feel your frustration. I would make an appointment with her for right after school asap and let her know that you need her to send written instructions with homework assignments. Talk to some other parents in your son's class...I'm sure they share your frustrations.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You have to find her best communications method. Some people are email people. Some are phone people. And some are letter/memo people. Writing and email is nice, because you have a written record of what is going on. It's going to take some work, but ask for a person to person teacher conference every week until you are both clear on what she needs from you and what you need from her. My son has had some wonderful teachers, but we had one which was impossible. I liked a lot of my own teachers when going through school, but I had one who almost jumped out a 3rd floor window during our class. I figured if my son goes through 12 years of school plus collage and only has one teacher who was not so great, then we're doing better than most. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter had one elementary teacher who did not EVER respond to or use email to communicate with parents that I am aware of. If I went in to talk to her about my email, she would say, she did not know I had emailed her. I never had a problem with the 6 other teachers my kids have had, the principal, and additional staff always responding to my emails, so I really don't think it was a technical issue. I think she was old school, and just hated the technology, and also, was known to prefer avoiding any "problems" The kids in her class were issued planners, but she didn't make them use them, so my daughter saw no reason to write down her homework assignments. What I did whenever I had a question was go to her directly, in person before school, at recess, after school, etc. Fortunately, my schedule allowed me to do this. You didn't say what grade this is. Maybe she is giving the kids verbal instructions, expecting the kids to take more responsibility for getting the info themselves, and your son is missing some of it. Since she doesn't use email effectively, don't be shy about showing up in person to ask questions, then she will have to work with you right then and there. Ask how you and she can help your son remember exactly what his homework instructions are each evening because there has been some confusion. Also, if my kids are in any doubt about what work is due, I make them do it to be on the safe side. If they are frustrated with having done more than is necessary, that is a good incentive for them to pay closer attention next time, because if they don't know, they know Mom will make them do it to be on the safe side. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Thats to bad. I remember my youngest sons papers coming home and I was ok so what is he suppose to do with it. I found another mom to communicate with so we could figure stuff out together. Maybe you can do this also. Good luck!

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answers from Erie on

I soooo feel your frustration, I am helping as an assistant in a kindergartend classroom. It isnt' a regular public school and the administration is soooo disorganized like this. As a parent, i thank the lord everyday my kids don't have to go there.
Kindergarteners getting on a bus, school has no procedure of putting name tags on the kids, or any means of identifing what bus other than a note from the office 10 minutes before dismissal. These kids don't know were they are going, I sure as heck don't and it isn't exactly calm at the end of the day so that i can kick back and read the bus list over at my leisure.

Apples to Oranges i guess, but this teacher would make me crazy too. Will you have a chance for a Parent Teacher Confrence with in the first few months??? This doesn't help a lot but what is the worst that would happend if you didn't know for sure what to do, You either do too much and he practices for next year or you do to little and it sounds like this lady wouldn't know if you did or not. But i would hate for my son to feel bad about it. so ... request a conference?
oh what do the other parents say???
Principal as a last resort.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

My Daughter, had a similar Teacher, last year.
Yah, its irritating.
Some Teachers, just are not communicative or they are not so detail oriented or organized.

Instead of E-mails... put a note IN your child's folder, the folder that he takes back to school with his Homework. And say, that it would be helpful if she sent INSTRUCTIONS with the kids daily folder/homework... because otherwise, a parent will not know what to do with it or get it incorrect.
Just tell her, you are trying your best... but that since there are no instructions with the child's folder/homework... you don't know what is going on etc. Make it like 'you' are trying to learn about it & her routine... not that 'she' is wrong.

ALSO, depending on what Grade/age your child is... some Teachers, by a certain grade level, they EXPECT the student... to know the instructions & follow it. And they do verbally tell the kids the instructions IN class... and if a kid does not listen well, then well, they will not be on the ball. Then they come home, their parent will ask about homework, and the kid will NOT know what is going on.
That is how my daughter's Teacher was last year.
I told her whenever I was 'confused" about anything my daughter brought home... and she would reply "I explained all the instructions to the children in school, before the end of the day... they should know...." Then my response was "Well, my daughter is a good listener (which the Teacher agrees), but that they are only 6 years old... and kids that age do not always remember every detail of multiple instructions etc...."
So, I would just, whenever something was confusing, I'd put a note in my daughter's folder... or e-mail her, or I would call her.

AND yes, if your child is older, and by 2nd grade a Teacher does expect... that the child KNOWS the daily routine of things.

That is how the Teacher was.
Not all Teachers are real communicative nor organized.
Thankfully, my Daughter's Teacher this year, is much more, communicative and organized.

all the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I homeschool now but when my children were in school, I had a notebook in their bags that their teachers and I wrote back and forth on. If I wrote something to the teacher, then I had my kids give her the notebook when they got in the class. I only had them in school once so this seemed to work with the teachers they had at the time. This would be frustrating and I'd be upset too! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Well you didn't mention how old your son was but if he's 2nd grade or older, he should know what is in his folder and what he's supposed to do with it as far as HW is concerned. Does he have an assignment notebook/sheet of any kind?? If not, I would maybe start with that. If they don't supply them at school, make one or buy one and have him write the assignments in there. i would honestly be surprised if they don't require something like that, but ya never know. I know you're frustrated, and I might be too, but I have to say that you go on and on about how the teacher isn't doing her job, but is your son doing his? I do agree that she should have gotten you his missed work and indicated what was make-up and current work, but teachers don't always have time to read emails and respond to them every day. Plus, she can't accomodate the needs and wants of every student's parents either. I'm really not trying to come down hard on you, you're just trying to help your child and that is awesome, especially since there's parents who wouldn't be concerned. I think maybe one day you have a free moment, leave work a little early or on your lunch break and make an appointment with her and just find out exactly what the protocols for nightly homework are. I'm sure you have back to school night or parent conferences soon and that is an excellent place to have these discussions. I would also consider waiting another week or two before approaching her as it is a new school year and everyone is trying to get back in the swing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Make sure you ask her "what is the best way to communicate, phone calls, notes in folder, emails or other ?" Get her answer in writing and save it! I also like the idea of asking other parents. Hope it gets better

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

1st graders definitely need homework instructions to be sent home with them so that mom and dad can help them with their homework. And it would really bug me that the teacher wasn't returning my e-mails or somehow trying to address the concerns that I had brought up in my e-mail. The first thing that I would do is find some time after school or before school, when there are no distractions and all is quiet, see if you can schedule an appointment to meet with her tell her your concerns. Start off with some compliments and then kindly but directly, tell her how she can help you help your son this year (i.e., respond to e-mails, send home homework instructions each day, send home makeup homework when you ask for it). I'm thinking that she maybe highly distracted teacher who forgets to follow up on things, not very well organized, or maybe she's lazy. If you don't receive a positive response from her or she continues doing what she is doing, then I would talk to the principal or the assistant vice principal. Chances are you are not the only parent with these very same complaints.

Hope you are able to resolve this as peacefully and quickly as possible.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I believe you are going to have to talk to her because email isn't working and it is hard to not answer when someone is either sitting in front of you or on the other line of the phone. I don't know how old your son is so that does make a difference. As for her website, it she is using there should be some rhyme or reason to how/when it is updated. When my son was in 7th grade he had a teacher that stressed the website for getting assignments so I used that as a back up to double check my son (he would say his work was done and I could say what about x, y & z). Started running into her not updating or not giving the assignments as listed. She changed the rules half way through the year (parents had to sign off at the start of the year but there was no notification on the change). I had to go to the principal before there was a war. BTW...I always back the teacher but this lady had no business teaching!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

That was like my maiden voyage into school with my son's K class. nice teacher, just not on the ball. It was REALLy bad at the beginning of the year which totally freaked me out. First kid--first public school year--Grrrrrrrr
And at 5, I really couldn't get anything out of my kid, either. We were both clueless almost the whole year! This teacher had a long rep for this kind of thing--big surprise --she just retired!
Yeah--the website thing is great IF the teachers post to them and keep them updated! lol Otherwise--not much help.
Maybe you could approach it from a tech standpoint of speaking to who maintains the website to see if they could organize by teacher/classroom?

Does he have a friend in class that you guys could call to see if they're in the same boat or is your son just not getting/remembering the info? (Not sure what grade he's in...)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

You really just need to ask her for a class syllabus, and instructions for each homework assignment. I don't know how old your child is, but maybe she is telling what the assignment is and he hasn't written them down and isn't communicating that with you?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Hi there,
First of all, I don't think you have to apologize too much about something really important, and something you have the right to have a prompt answer or feedback. I have been there. I also was an elementary teacher myself (not in the US) before having kids. There are good and no so good teachers, period. Do not apologize, it is your right. There is not consistency and organization in the way things are being held either by the teacher herself (or the school). So, if your attempts to have a good communication with the teacher fail, you should talk to the principal and find a solution and a plan to work with. Write down everything that need to be addressed and discuss it with the principal, and the teacher, take notes and keep those notes with your child's records for future meetings or questions. Be active in your kid's class. Do whatever you can to help, participate and be in contact with the teacher either in the class itself or from your house. It is frustrating when you feel confused and not having a feedback to help your own kid. Good luck and don't give up. Talk to the teacher, then to the principal and then if nothing works, ask for moving your child to another class. You and your child have the right to have a response and guidance. Every problem should be addressed promptly and in a nice manner. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

like ANY profession and this does include teachers, NOT everyone is cut out to be doing what they are doing.... sorry, yes... this includes everyone. I mean think about it, ever had a co-worker who isn't up to snuff but somehow has a job. that said... same applies here.. However, since the teacher is probably going no where, your first attempt might be to ask to speak to her and let her know that you are having a tough time following her "teaching format"
I definitely agree with you, at seven, kids still need PROPER instructions sent home with their homework. Our son's teacher has all the kids bring "homework" notebooks to school and EVERY day they all sit down together and fill it in..... to me, this is part of a teacher's job... "instructing" therefore, this includes helping the kids write down instructions so that in the end, the kids can properly do their homework.. what's the point if they can't?? or the parents can't figure it out from the work itself. Often, there are "Special" instructions with each assignment and therefore, instructions need to be included.
If your talking to the teacher doesn't work, well ... perhaps the principal.. I mean, in the end.. shouldn't the school be made aware that a teacher for whom "your tax dollars" are paying their salary be made to be accountable..
no......... this is not teacher bashing thing.. as there are "some" really super ones out there (my son's teacher being one of them) However,I look at this as an employee situation ..if an employee is NOT being effective or could use some improvement....... hey... then someone needs to speak up...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

They can't all be gems...that being said, let me play devils advocate, just a little!

What grade is your son in? If he is K,1, or 2, then you probably need to be so invloved, but if not, then you don't, unless your son has an IEP or 504 plan that calls for you to check his home matierials, or needs one for organization and it just has not happened yet, then you should not be needing to verify the details so much. Writing down the homework assignment and completing homework independently is an age appropriate skill that he should be able to accomplish by himeself. Frankly, I would stay out of it, and if your son misses something, then the issue is going to be clear to everyone.

Our job as parents is to provide a quite place and time for our kids to do homework and to help them when they have questions. The child should be doing the homework, and should be learning how to gather the information and materials they need to do what is expected of them. If he does not know how to gather that information from the teacher the way she teaches, then his work should reflect that so that the teacher can sort it out. That is her job. He won't be perfect every single day at bring home this information, but even when he fails, he learns how to improve. They expect that some learning experiences will result in less than perfect output, but more than withwhile lessons about personal responsiblity and organization. If your son has an issue with independent work and organization, then you need to know how severe it is, and so does his teacher. You do him no favors by playing middle man on getting the homework assingments straight for him.

The teacher does not sound to be concerned about it. Your son must not be too concerned, because children who are experiencing grief from a teacher due to not completing homework do ususally no love that teacher. You are upset about it. You are not going through school for a year, your son is. You should not be hunting on the website for his assignments, he should. Let him handle it, and provide him a quiet spot and time to do his homework with your support and affection, and not much else. If he comes home no knowing what to do, do not bail him out. If he goes to school without anything, and something was assinged, he will know where the problem is, and he should be the one to learn what the concequences are, it won't mean anything to him unless you let him handle it himself.

If you are thinking that he can't do that, then that is a much different story. Only by backing off will you get down to the nitty gritty of the ancilary skills your son needs to learn independently, and he may need some help or assistance to do that, but probably not from you. From the "been there, done that" category here, let him have a few bad days and find out how deep it goes. Then hold the school accountable for teaching your son every thing he needs to learn to be successful. You are not at the school with him, so you really have no idea what is happening, and you might be very, very surprized at how things are at school. Our children are often very different at school than we realize.

If it is just this teacher, then she will never know if you keep meddeling in it either. Who knows, you may have a whole brigaged of parents who feel like you do, who are not bailing out their kids and finding things for them to do, and she is holding up your son as an example of the children who get how she teaches...

One thing is for sure, uless this is high school, there is not a permanant record, and a few bad days is not going to cascade into the begining of the end. He has a much bigger lesson to learn here than anything that is on a single work sheet!




answers from Augusta on

in first grade it was my daughters job to write down what the homework was so it's possible that he just didn't write it down

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