Not Happy with Preschool Teacher

Updated on May 04, 2012
J.C. asks from Columbus, OH
16 answers

So my son is a peer leader in an intergrated class; one half special needs, one half 'typical'. It's nearing the end of the school year and I'm finding myself more and more frustrated. I get the feeling that his teacher has just been clocking in, doing her job, and going home. I don't feel any caring from her, I don't feel any commitment.

My son's class has gone on NO field trips. None. And don't tell me it's budget, because the other classes in the same program have gone on several trips. The movie theater, the firehouse, the park (within walking distance!), the health department, the llama farm, etc.

She also is late opening the door to enter the room and early letting the kids out. The kids' art projects on the walls are uninspired and sparce. In fact, none of the projects are fun or innovative or clever. It's as if she's just phoning in the entire year.

I've tried to do what I can throughout the year. I've helped out the class when ever they ask. I've helped out with projects. We donated a huge puppet show and sent in crafts to make puppets, among other things. My son said they have yet to even play with the puppet show let alone make puppets. Every time they ask for supplies, we are right there, making sure they have what they need. I just feel so let down this year. And I feel that my son has totally lost a great learning experience. It makes me very sad.

So it's too late to make any changes now. But what, at this point, would you do if you were in my shoes? Chalk it up to 'some good teachers, some bad teachers'? Would you write the head of the school? Would you just let it lie there? My daughter had such a wonderful class for preschool. It really set her up to love school. My son, not so much and it kind of hurts.

Thanks for your replies,

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answers from Chicago on

If this has been an ongoing theme you should have been bringing it up all year, not just now. In addition being involved more is a good way to keep them on their toes. I randomly walk in my son's classroom (same set up) and ask what I can help with. I am a TOTS (simmilar to pta) mom and always on campus for one reason or another and when that stuff is done I pop into his class and help out. I am always welcome and the kids love it too.

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answers from Washington DC on

heh. this is bad?
hooo boy. you should have been stuck with miss hessenauer.
:) khairete
S. (homeschooler for good reasons)

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answers from Los Angeles on

It's a little late now for your son. You should have spoke up sooner. But, yes, our kids won't always get the best teachers. My kids have had some real doozies over the years. But, that's life. We don't all get the best bosses, etc.

At this point, just write a review to the director that will go in the teachers folder, and/or, schedule a meeting. Perhaps you have an opportunity to make next year better for other kids.

Also, keep in mind. You don't walk in her shoes. You don't know what she's going through. My dad died last October, and I feel like I'm just "phoning in" nearly every day. Some days it's all I can do to just get thru the day. Let alone do so cheerfully.

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answers from New York on

I would definitely schedule a meeting with the director of the program. It sounds as though your child's teacher is either doing the "bare minimum" or not meeting the same standard as the other teachers. I would not put it in writing until after the meeting. Find out what is going on first, then write a "follow up" letter to the director summarizing your discussion and thanking him/her for their time. Try to avoid making "judgments" when you meet, but definitely outline your observations:
- Lack of field trips
- Lack of communication between home and school
- Lack of creative opportunities for the children
- Lack of encouragment for imaginative play
- Teacher arrives late/ leaves early

** In the future, please bring this to the attention of the director as soon as you notice something is "off". At this point, there's nothing this person can do to improve your child's experience, but there may have been an opportunity to improve the situation several months ago! **

The director should speak with the teacher about the issue and if he/she is a quality program supervisor, that teacher will be on an "improvement plan" in the fall with very specific goals set for her.

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answers from Washington DC on

Have you mentioned the lack of field trips or lack of use of materials to the teacher? If so, what did she say?

I would talk to the director. I would say that while your daughter loved her preschool, you can't help but notice that your son's class is very different. You also can't help but notice his class is different from other classes in the same school. No field trips. Few art projects, etc. You may not have a turnaround, but if the year isn't OVER, then speak up. Will he be in any of their summer programs? This experience and the conversations with the teacher/director would highly color my desire to keep going with any of their programs or to recommend them to anyone else.

While there could be reasons at home to be late/not as involved, etc., she could also be just putting in the minimum, or not able to handle an integrated class. Either way, her boss should know.

If nothing changes, enrich your son's experiences with things at home and chalk it up to a bad teacher. And next time, speak up much earlier in the year.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You can certainly speak with the principal/administration.
But you can't make anyone love their job.
Could be she's burnt out or really doesn't care.
Doing the bare minimum requirement is still meeting the minimum requirement.
And I don't know why but some schools keep on teachers that should probably be let go or at least be put on administrative leave.
(I had an English teacher in high school who almost jumped out a 3rd story window during our class).
'Uninspired' might be 'not great' but 'all out crazy' is a whole other level of 'not great'.

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answers from Washington DC on

It's too bad that you didn't speak up much earlier in the school year -- or probably you did so, but perhaps in smaller ways rather than approaching the teacher for an overall conversation about the big picture, where the teaching seems to be the minimum.

On field trips: Start with a positive. "I just wanted to say that it was a good experience for Johnny to be a peer leader this year (IF that is true), but overall I was disappointed that this class didn't get to go on field trips like the other classes did; why was that the case?" (It isn't clear to me if the other classes you mention "in the same program" are also these integrated classes; if they are not, and are all "typical" kids but don't have special needs kids, is it possible that there was a decision made not to do field trips with the integrated class for reasons of safety or other reasons? I'm not defending that, just saying it's something that could be possible if this is the only integrated classroom. But you should let the preschool know that in future, parents of ALL kids in integrated classes should be told at the start of the year that there will be no field trips!)

On the late opening/early release: I would discuss that at the very next pickup if you have some weeks of preschool left. "Mrs. X, I and other parents have noticed that sometimes the kids have to wait past 9:00 to get iinto the room, and they are going out the door before 12, when parents aren't even in the hallway yet. Could you please be sure to hold the kids until parents are present? It's a safety concern for me" (or whatever applies to the pickup routine, I'm just giving an example).

On the teaching: I would address that with the director. But be careful: As another poster noted, there may be things going on with this teacher of which you are unaware. My daughter's first preschool teacher was kind of blah -- not very engaged. I found out that one of her parents was dying and was ill all through that school year. That knowledge made the parents step back and leave it alone; the kids did fine, she just was not very creative or warm. The kids did not know the difference and thought the year was fun. You could address it with the director along these lines: "I wanted to give you some feedback I'd like you to have about Johnny's year. I have wondered if maybe Mrs. X has some issues outside school because she has seemed rather distant and I find the things the kids are doing seem to be less creative than in other classes here. I hope everything's OK with her but wanted to let you know that we were very disappointed with the curriculum this year (and then add about the field trips)." Any good director will then ask you for details.

It's possible she is so worn out from meeting needs of both typical and special needs kids that she is doing the simplest things she can manage. This kind of mixed class may need someone with more experience than she has. Or she may lack formal training in working with a class like this one. If that is the case, I would urge the school strongly to get her some training, or find a teacher for this class who has training.

And in the end it is one year of preschool. If he feels he had fun, got along well with other kids and learned social skills, and he was in a generally attentive environment, he did OK, even if the time was not as creative as it could have been.

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answers from San Francisco on

Well I would certainly let the director know how disappointed you have been with this school year. Unlike public schoolteachers, most preschool teachers are not union members and therefore easier to reprimand and/or let go.
Maybe going on field trips was hard because of the special needs kids? Do they have aides for them?
I'm in NO way making excuses for this teacher, but I would imagine teaching a class where half the kids are special needs would be incredibly draining, especially when she's probably making only about eleven bucks an hour. Again no excuse, but she probably IS burnt out and should move on to something else. I'm sorry that your son's year was not what you had hoped for, hopefully kindergarten will be much better!

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answers from Kansas City on

I am sorry for you! My son is in preschool and has THE MOST AMAZING teacher on earth. My older son had her and she really set the foundation for education. I would absolutely write a letter. The school needs to know! There isn't anything they can do for your son, but you might be helping out next year's class!

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answers from Houston on

Looks like someone won't be getting a great appreciation gift, if any, at the end of the year.

My advice to you is to save your disappointment for any shortcomings in public school. Its the overachieving parents that have a hard time with inadequate teaching staff and boy, will you meet them when your child starts kindergarten. (I'm not slamming all public schools, just the one my son goes to).

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answers from Houston on

It sounds like she is either burnt out or not clear on what's expected of her. Keep in mind that not all teachers will do the same things, take the same approaches to learning and teaching, have the same passion for their work. I would schedule some time to talk with her and graciously tell her how a previous experience with someone else colored your expectations for your experience with her. Ask her what kind of activities you can expect--even at the end of the year here--and offer some suggestions or to help her out. See how she receives that. Is she a new teacher? Maybe she is feeling overwhelmed. If nobody else has mentioned this to her, then she might not see it as an issue.

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answers from Portland on

She sounds like a "short timer." That's when people give up because they know they won't be there for long. Will she even be back next year? I'd talk with her supervisor as suggested by Krista P. It's too late to make changes for this year but the director needs to know in case she is coming back next year.

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answers from Toledo on

I would definitely contact the school director! I own a small preschool and I would want to know this. I'll be honest, I would take it with a grain of salt because of course not everyone is going to like every teacher but I would thoroughly look into the teacher and the situation. The school could easily be getting a bad name and yet it could be the best program, if you had the other teacher.
Hopefully next school year is better!

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answers from Kansas City on

I had a similar experience with my boys. My older son had a teacher that as far as I was concerned could do no wrong. Same program a couple years later my younger son had a teacher that was so ill prepared it was just rediculous. This was through our neighborhood Elemtary School, so I contacted the principle several times, the teacher "moved on" at Christmas break Thank Goodness!!

I would contact her superiors just so no one else has this awful experience!!


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answers from Lansing on

My daughter is the same age as her cousin and in a wonderful preschool program!

My MIL watches both my daughter and her cousin. She is very familiar with what both are learning in school. She even is a special helper at my nephews school sometimes. She has stated over and over to me how much better my daughters school is. She said that my nephews teacher is hardly ever in the room and leaves the helper to do most of the work. (This is what she has witnessed) She said my daughter shows what she has been learning and my nephew is far behind.

I don't think at this point there is anything you can do....but I would definitely write a letter of your concern and experience to the head of the school. If anything maybe after some people come forward they will do something about the teacher and you can prevent more kids from this experience.

Sorry your son had a bad year.....but I'm sure if you get him with the right teacher next year he'll recover. (If your using the same school I would even ask for suggestions on a better teacher for next year!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I would definitely say something directly to the teacher regarding being late for opening doors and early letting them out. To me, this is unacceptable. Parents have places to be and are counting on school beginning and ending at the time agreed on! I would mention to her that you are frustrated that the times are not consistent. If things do not change, talk to her boss.
I think that it would be a great idea to talk to the head of the school or write to him/her about your impressions. This teacher is not going to make any changes unless she is aware of the problem and has some pressure from parents or her boss to step it up.

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