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4 Bumps

Poor grades, teacher attacks, and self esteem

My family was suddenly and abruptly forced to relocated from North Dakota to Las Vegas for my husband's job. We left a town of 1,000 for a city of 2,000,000. My son is in third grade and left a school with 2 classes for each grade to a huge school that has 7 classes for each grade.

I am less than pleased by the teacher my son has ended up with.

"Mr. B." is probably about 30 years old and really no nonsense. I have heard other parents rave about him, but I think he is mean spirited and less than comforting. On my son's third day of school he forced my son to call home in the middle of the school day and explain that he was engaging in horseplay in the bathroom. He shouldn't have been horsing around, but that punishment seems extreme to me. When I questioned the teacher about it he said that he maintains a very strict environment and shows little tolerance for even minor transgressions and that he felt that his approach headed off behavior problems. I think he rules with fear!

At the end of my son's first week he sent home a test with a large "F" circled at the top. A note was attached saying that my son failed to follow directions, receiving an F on the assignment. The teacher said the assignment could be redone for a higher grade as homework. (This is on top of the 60-90 minutes of homework a night this teacher already assigns). My son was in tears because all he saw was a giant, red F on his paper.

The following week was not much better. The teacher informed us that our son is "significiantly" below grade level and needs immeadiate intervention. We never heard this in North Dakota and there standards are higher than Nevada! (Las Vegas has the worst school district in the nation.) To top this off the teacher sent home a progress report with Ds in reading, math, and writing. My son cried when he saw this and told us he must be "stupid."

My husband spent a couple hours in the classroom and said the teacher was strict, but kind and he is telling me to drop the issue and work with the teacher. My mommy senses won't let me.

I talked to the prinicpal about all this and her response was that "Mr. B." is acting appropriately and that if my child is below grade level, he will receive Ds and Fs. She also refused my request for a new teacher and said that she felt that honestly I am a big part of the problem because I "won't let him be responsible for himself." I told her that there is a huge difference between making my child responsible and ruining his self esteem. I am worried about his self esteem and how this will color his opinion of school in the future.


Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 1:27 AM on Oct. 2, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (27)
  • Wow -- I don't know what to say! I'd be as upset as you are if my child was in this situation. I am so sorry! Schools around me don't even use an A, B, C, D, F system of grading for children that young. Teacher sounds like a total jerk! :( BUmmer that your husband is not on board with you too! Can you maybe spend some time observing in the classroom. And since the principal doesn't seem very empathetic, it will probably be best to try to work with the teacher directly. Can you set up a meeting with him and go over your concerns? Sorry I don't have anything more helpful..... Good luck!!

    Answer by happymama110 at 1:37 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

  • Personally, I homeschool so I haven't had to deal with teacher except when I was in school. I really don't think the teacher was too harsh on your child. Making him call home doesn't seem really extreme. He did say that he would allow your son to redo the test so I don't see that as being bad either. Teachers do have to deal with a lot of children and being strict isn't a bad thing, its how they control the class. If your husband says everything is fine then I would trust him. If your child is having problems keeping up its probably just the change in schools. You could get some extra worksheets in the subjects he is having problems in to help him catch up. I think its important to make sure you child understands he is not stupid and that everyone gets bad grades once in a while.

    Answer by Frogbaby83 at 1:37 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

  • I am going to be the bearer of bad news, mommy.

    I think the principal hit it square on the head when she said you are the problem. It seems to me that you will not let your child be responsible. Maybe that is why he isn't at or above grade level. If he is below grade level, the teacher is legally required to document that. Report cards are legal records of your child's attendance. If the requirement in that school district is to give below grade level kids a D or an F, than that is what the teacher is LEGALLY required to do. Self esteem doesn't trump the law.

    Kids are being raised to feel more and more entitled and parents will give their kid anything and everything BUT a healthy sense of responsibility.

    Answer by mommyjenny2009 at 1:40 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

  • Honestly, I kind of side with your DH and the principal. Your ds is in a completely different environment, and it will take time for him to adjust. I believe that if you can encourage him to try and do his best, he will be successful. But if you place the blame for all of his school problems on his teacher, he will learn that a teacher who commands respect is not to be respected, and that he can slack off and you will be OK with that. Give the teacher a chance, and let your son learn from his mistakes.

    Answer by 29again at 1:40 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

  • I'm going to be honest...the calling home for bad behavior isn't uncommon. A LOT of the teachers here do it. They also have them call when they forget homework assignments at home so the parents are aware of the issue. The kids don't like it and that's why it's effective!! To many parents don't care about what their child does at home and that is a way to force parents to be involved.

    I would see about having a third party testing your son to see if he is truly behind or not. Maybe the school district could direct you to someone within the school district or state who could test your son that would be unbiased towards your son or the teacher.

    Did you son follow the directs on the paper? I think I would just make sure your son understands to ask if he doesn't understand how to do the assignment. He can't recieve an A for not doing it correctly. At least the teacher is letting him redo it.

    Good Luck!

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:40 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

  • what their child does in school**** not home.


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:42 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

  • Here is a small story that I think fits well here:

    My friend's daughter is in grad school for journalism and she teaches one section of freshman composition as part of her graduate studies. She recently received a paper from a freshman in college that was so grammatically atrocious that she was unable to read it. She gave the paper an F and stapled instructions on how to access the tutoring services that the college offers to the paper.

    The next day during office hours this college freshman AND HER FATHER show up at her office door. The father does all the talking and essentially says that since he is paying for school he demanded better. At some point we seriously need to realize our children must be responsible. Mommy, I feel this may be you in ten years if you don't cut the cord soon. Don't do this to your darling!

    Answer by mommyjenny2009 at 1:44 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

  • that is so heartbreaking. would homeschooling be an option for this year? I homeschool my kids and we love it. In some states there is K12(public school but done at home, they provide the materials).

    it really doesn't make sense, coming from ND schools he should be ahead, not behind.


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:51 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

  • Well, I think I would feel the same way you do. But here's some good news. This could be a really great learning opportunity for your son. Life is hard, and whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. SO maybe you, your son and his teacher can have a meeting. Use this to inspire your son to do better in school. I think he needs to learn that an "F" is not the end of the world, but if he doesn't want one, he'll have to work really hard, and make sure to follow instructions to the letter. Make sure your son doesn't hear you say anything bad about his teacher. Show the teacher respect so your son will learn to respect him too. If your son hates his teacher, his year is really going to suck. Sorry you're going through all this. It must be very hard on you. Hope it gets better! (HUGS)

    Answer by JackieGirl007 at 1:52 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

  • @Happymama110

    A teacher that commands respect and has high standards for his students is a jerk? I think we need more no nonsense teachers like this.

    Answer by mommyjenny2009 at 1:53 AM on Oct. 2, 2011

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