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Problem with 3rd grade teacher

My son is not having a good year this year. He has had problems with focus since 1st grade, but is not disruptive or disrespectful. I talked to his teacher about this at the beginning of the year to let her know we're aware, we're working on the issue, please let us know what we can do, etc. Initially it seemed like she would work w/ us, but things have deteriorated. He has gotten sadder, more anxious. He came home crying last week because she snapped @ him "You clearly have NO focus!" She regains his attention by snapping her fingers @ him & yelling his name. He is feeling humiliated and the worst part is, he thinks it is his fault! She told the class Monday "If your parents complain that I'm mean, it is the way you all behave, not me." He told me that he & some other kids are responsible. He does well academically (A's & B's, reads @ 8th grade level) but his spirit is being broken.


Asked by sweetpotato418 at 6:41 AM on Nov. 18, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 19 (7,958 Credits)
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Answers (17)
  • I would NOT put up with my child being humiliated at school by a TEACHER...and educated professional. She is there to inspire as well as educate and it is clear from your description that she has forgotten that part of her job. I would definitely take it up with the school principal and if that didn't work I would go to the Superintendent of Schools.
    If she keeps on with this old school method of teaching she could become liable for him not wanting to go to school due to fear of her and her pathetic methods of teaching.  Teachers are supposed to be well remembered by their students and looked fondly back on...not looked back on with fear and dread.
    I hope things improve with your son...he sounds like he's wonderful, most like is highly intelligent and finds her class boring and his mind just wonders off.


    Answer by Missikat75 at 6:48 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • I would have him moved to another class...if they won't....I'd pull him out and put him in a private school or homeschool him.....whatever you can do....

    Answer by Anna92464 at 6:54 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • Thank you Missikat! We actually have a parent/teacher conference coming up & I'm dreading it. I spoke to the principal after the "It's not me, it's you" thing because I had no idea how to even BEGIN that conversation. It just seems like the most basic tenet of teaching - or of being a human being - that you don't humiliate people.

    I really appreciate the quick feed back - this is keeping me up at night, needless to say. The thing that really kills me is that he still likes her and I think is perplexed by the way she is treating him. Objectively, he is a nice kid and while some of his behavior can be trying at times, he really is doing his best. He's so hard on himself - he doesn't need her being even harder.

    Comment by sweetpotato418 (original poster) at 6:54 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • I think Missikat75 answered that very well, I just went through some problems with my 10 yr. olds teacher. She proceeded to embarrass my son and even screamed at him in front of his class, that did it for me! By the time I was done with her she was all apologetic and hasn't said another bad thing to him but, since you've already informed her in the beginning, it's time to go to the principal!

    Answer by anichols1 at 6:57 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • Thanks to all of you - this feedback is really helping me. I should say, I substitute teach & am very involved with the school and I know most of the teachers and am completely shocked by this. I can't imagine a conversation about this turning out well, so I have a feeling I'm going to have to push to have him moved to another class. I mean, if you have to tell a teacher, "Shaming my child is not an effective way of motivating him" - that's pretty basic stuff right?
    I can't believe we're in this situation. We are big fans of teachers - lots in our family - and very supportive of the school. Not that that should get us special treatment, but we're involved parents who work with the teachers to educate our son. I just can't imagine a positive outcome with this teacher or any way that I would feel like he could go back into her class without fear of retaliation.

    Comment by sweetpotato418 (original poster) at 7:10 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • I agree with the other moms. Praise your child and remind him how proud you are of him. I would also discuss how teachers have different personalities. Some are pleasant some are not. I would do this so he knows it is not him, but her, that is making this a difficult situation

    Answer by elizabr at 8:09 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • Wow, there is no excuse for a teacher treating a child that way! Either she has to stop doing that immediately or be fired. I am sure if she is doing that to your child, she has done it to another or will in the future, and that can not be tolerated. I would go directly to her, bc she needs to be directly addressed even though I am sure that would be awkward. And then, I would go to a higher-up person so they can officially deal with her.

    Answer by meg4763 at 9:53 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • I would find another teacher. Is there another 3rd grade teacher at his school that he could switch classes?

    Answer by Shanna84 at 11:18 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • What does the principal have to say? There is no defending a teacher like that, at all, dosnt matter what your son does, she should never treat anyone like that. If the principal does nothing keep going above and beyond. I might even get statements from other parents/students so they know its not just you complaining. Good luck!!

    Answer by minimo77 at 12:57 PM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • I have to tell you, third grade was my WORST ever, due to a terrible teacher. My mom was a third grade teacher for 33 years and says third grade is when the babying stops and the real work begins; teachers are expecting a lot more from them at this point. I woud definitely see if your son could be transferred...he should not have to endure this. Believe me, even all these years later I remember my horrible year in third grade.


    Answer by 1smartcookie at 1:37 PM on Nov. 18, 2010