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# My son's teacher is an idiot! (long)

Posted by on Dec. 3, 2013 at 4:47 PM
• 32 Replies

And I don't usually talk like that about teachers, so you KNOW I'm mad.

He's in 4th grade and they are using the "new" math.  YES, I understand that it's important to be able to look at a problem in multiple ways.  YES, I understand that they are trying to meet the needs of various learning styles...BUT they take it too damn far.

So - they're doing division...which in 4th grade is pretty much review.  My son can divide with his hands tied behind his back and a blindfold on, OK?  He 'gets' it.  But he's not "allowed" to answer math problems using the traditional way - oooohhh nooo - this is the 21st century folks!  We MUST change the way we complete problems for the good of humanity - do you hear me?!  (ugh)

So - he had 2 pages of division problems which he completed in about 5 minutes the 'normal' way.  BUT, the directions were to estimate the partial quotients - write them out - then draw a rectangle - then visually represent your partial quotients in the rectangle - then add the partial quotients for the answer.  So, after doing a couple of these he got it - but it's a MUCH longer process for him.  His mind doesn't work with pictures - he's more analytical.  So, what should have taken a few minutes ended up taking all night.

Anyway - this has been happening all year.  Where he once LOVED math  - he now hates it and dreads that time of the day.

I talked with his teacher about it today - and since I'm trying to keep this short I'll try to just give the highlights.

- I explained that while I understood the importance of learning additional methods, once understanding was demonstrated, they should be able to use whichever method works best for them - they shouldn't be forced to do EVERYTHING with these new methods

- She said "well, we have to teach it this way so they'll know what to do on the common core or state tests"

- I said "your responsibility as a teacher is to teach my CHILD and to help bolster his weaknesses and build on his strengths - not to teach to a few test questions"

- She said if I ever wanted him to get a scholarship to college, I should just let it go (huh?  what??)

- I said I can fund college just fine thanks and that's not the point.  I then reiterated his newfound hatred of math because of all of this and the fact that he works really hard to keep an A average yet he's getting penalized for getting the RIGHT answer because he used the "wrong" method - and that's just not right

- She said he shouldn't be worried about his grade - after all even if he gets A's now he won't as he gets older.  YES.  SHE ACTUALLY SAID THAT.

- I told her I only ask for my kids to do their best - and so far their best is "A's" and they KNOW what they're capable of - why wouldn't they continually strive to keep A's?

- She said it's just not practical.

- I informed her that my high schooler in honors classes is still straight A's and I encourage my kids to be their very best - what kind of teacher tells them they're going to get bad grades anyway so don't bother trying?!?!

- THEN she said to "just wait until my kids get to college and get their first "C" and they won't know how to handle it because of my job as a parent.  (steam coming out of ears now)

She then said if I have a problem with it I can go over her head, but it won't do any good because nothing will change.

I thanked her for completely killing any love my child had for math and for trampling his spirit and hung up.

by on Dec. 3, 2013 at 4:47 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Group Admin on Dec. 3, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Wow.  That would have me PISSED.  Yes, these teachers are now trained to "teach to the test".  Which sucks.  It should be teach to the way the child learns.  My college instructors teach many ways to go about a problem.  As long as you can explain the logic behind your answer, you're good.

by Bronze Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 5:16 PM
I'd take her up on it and indeed go over her head. I doubt you're the only one with this experience. Your complaint can be documented and if enough people have similar problems, the district can't possibly argue that these are isolated problems. I'd be super pissed, too.
by Platinum Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 5:18 PM
2 moms liked this
It reminds me of the narrow minded waiting for superman documentary about our educational system. It was a bit jaded, but was eye opening about educational standards are hurt by catering to all children indiscriminately and bad teachers, good teachers, the whole lot of them treated the same........in other words, bad ones are never fired and good ones are not given incentives.
by Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 7:06 PM
1 mom liked this

I think that once you are done being pissed off, you need to realize that some of what she has told you is very valid. Not getting all A's isn't the same thing as getting bad grades. And she is right that there are alot of kids out there who are in for a very rude awakening when they get their first B or C if their parents take the stance that you have taken.Whether you like it or not, they need to be able to answer the questions on the core tests in the manner expected of them.

My son graduated high school last year.  In a class of 625 students, I believe 2 of them had straight A's.  Many more than that had straight A's in 4th grade and even through 10th grade.  There are kids that made themselves crazy trying to get all A's because that was expected of them.  For most it is unattainable and quite frankly it doesn't even matter.

by Group Admin on Dec. 3, 2013 at 8:07 PM
Thanks for your input though I think had you heard her tone you would better understand my anger.

I told her that I recognize the need to be exposed to the newer methods & to demonstrate understanding. However they 'claim' that the students are allowed to use the method that works best for them - but it's not true. My son gets all the right answers but if he doesn't draw the damn rectangle it's marked wrong. That's NOT OK.

As for state testing - I am in education & those tests are a joke. I'm perfectly fine either having him get those few questions wrong or opting out of the tests altogether.

And finally, I don't force my kids to get straight A's - but I'm very proud that they do. I do expect B's or higher because I know what they're capable of & I expect them to do their best. They get bummed when they get a B on an assignment - especially in this case when the answers were right. I encourage my kids to take pride in their accomplishments & strive to always do their best. But my kids know how to handle disappointment & even failure in other things...no worries about 'rude awakenings'.

Bottom line? I know I can't control the curriculum but I can do my best to affect change for the better. And NO teacher should have the attitude that the kids don't stand a chance at success - better for her to resign now in my opinion.

Quoting beachmom2one:

I think that once you are done being pissed off, you need to realize that some of what she has told you is very valid. Not getting all A's isn't the same thing as getting bad grades. And she is right that there are alot of kids out there who are in for a very rude awakening when they get their first B or C if their parents take the stance that you have taken.Whether you like it or not, they need to be able to answer the questions on the core tests in the manner expected of them.

My son graduated high school last year.  In a class of 625 students, I believe 2 of them had straight A's.  Many more than that had straight A's in 4th grade and even through 10th grade.  There are kids that made themselves crazy trying to get all A's because that was expected of them.  For most it is unattainable and quite frankly it doesn't even matter.

by Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks for sharing your experience with the group.  I am always sorry when anyone has bad experiences in an educational setting.

I am a little confused about your solution for this problem.. If the state tells the teacher to have the student work on problems a certain way and the teacher asks them to do what is asked, are you asking that your son not do what they are asking?

I remember the crazy things I was asked to do in elementarty school, middle school, college and graduate school. I remember thinking how can I not do these crazy things.  But what I quickly learned was I need to do what was asked of me to get thought it.

I would hope that if a teacher asked a kid to show their work or do problems a certain way that they would do it. If once he completes the long division section and he moves on to another type of math problems, If he still hates math then you could approach the teacher again with your concerns.

I certainly think making a statement about who could or could not get all A's is not needed.  I was never a kid that could get A's and yet I still felt I did my best.

I still think you calling the teacher an idiot is not appropriate. You might not like what she said, but that doesn't make her an idiot. Being a teacher is one of the hardest jobs in the world... There are not enough great teachers in this world.

Best of luck with your issue and hope you keep us posted once this all dies down and he moves onto other math problems.

by Platinum Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 9:16 PM
I completely agree with you. I had a similar problem with ds last year and addition. The teacher had him show her he knew both ways and allowed him to do what was easier for him. A teacher should teach not put students down. I'd be pissed if teacher said those things and I would definitely be going over her head.

The teach to test method pisses me off and isn't beneficial to kids.
by Gold Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 9:22 PM
So sorry for your kiddo. yeah and they will only use this method for a couple of yrs and then they go back to traditional math for middle school and high school. our second oldest was in the guinea pig cohort for the math method you describe and it was a nightmare for the whole famy. but he sure could "guesstimate" answers.
by Gold Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 9:24 PM
and lets see the teacher's sat and professional test results... sounds like she is a winner. yikes
by Silver Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 9:31 PM

O.o I was a mostly A student in elementary, high school, and college- BOTH times in college.  My parents, like you, expected me to do my best, and I did.  Sure, I had a few Bs and Cs over the years.  Didn't destroy me, that made me work HARDER to improve my best.  Smh what is the school system coming to?  I am beginning to dread my kids going into school, it was aggravating enough when I was having to put up with AR for the first time as an above twelfth grade reader in eighth grade.  And I sympathize with your son-I hated math until I got into an advanced class and my teacher pretty much told us to get the right answer, didn't matter what method we used to get there.  Now I kind of enjoy playing with numbers (on my terms lol)