Needing advice on a problem with a teacher

HelenMcK - posted on 09/05/2012 ( 30 moms have responded )

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My daughter started 4th grade this year. All the previous years she has loved school. She is severely dyslexic. Took me 2 years of fighting with the school before she was tested and she fell further and further behind. After getting her on a program to help her she is practically a straight A student. She works very hard and it takes her a while to do her work. We spend almost 3 hours a night doing homework.

In fourth they start changing teachers for different subjects rather than having just the one. I've never had to deal with a teacher like her math/social studies teacher. It started last week on Friday I was waiting outside the classroom door for almost 10 minutes after the final bell for my daughter. Her teacher, Mrs. T steps out and tells me it will be a little bit and slips back in before I can ask why. My daughter comes out another 10 minutes later very upset but says she has to put her books in her home room and follow her. By that time my daughter is in tears. I asked her why she had to stay after class and she replied "Because I'm too slow. I'm stupid." I asked who said you are too slow and stupid? She replied "Mrs. T said I'm too slow cos it takes me a long time to do my work. I said I'm stupid cos I'm slow." I told her well let's go talk to her but the teacher was gone home already it being Friday. Instead I went to speak with her intervention (I think that's what she is called, she helps students like my daughter in their classroom as they are no longer allowed to be separated from the other students). On the way I asked my daughter what they did for fun Friday. Which is one of 2 events on Fridays she loves. She said Mrs. T didn't allow her to go cos she was too slow. I said oh and said well how was the Pep Rally, I bet it was fun. She said Mrs. T didn't let me go to it either cos I am too slow. So we find the intervention teacher and I ask her why my daughter was being punished for being slow when in the ARD meetings it was stated by the diagnotician assigned to her that she would allowed extra time and shorter assignments. The intervention teacher said she wasn't supposed be and asked what happened. I had my daughter tell her. The teacher said no no no that's not supposed to happen and stated it wouldn't happen again and she would take care of it Tuesday morning.

Tuesday went well but today my daughter is in tears when I pick her up. I asked what was wrong. She said I was sent to the principal office cos I cant keep up Mrs. T told me I was lazy and she wasn't dealing with someone like me and said go to the office and the principal told me I had to be faster and that on the 14th I have to take a test in the office by the principal cos she wants to see what I know. I tried talking with Mrs. T today but she rather hatefully told me she didn't have time to talk to me and shoo'd me out of the room and closed the door. I have to wait til morning to talk to principal but I'm getting really angry with this whole thing. All my daughters other teachers are telling me how hard she works and even though she gets frustrated she asks for help and puts in more effort to her work than the majority of the class and tell me what a delight she is to have.

I'm at a loss on how to handle "Mrs. T". It has taken a long time to build my daughter's self esteem up from the struggles of 1st and 2nd grade before she started the programs for dyslexia and her other learning disabilities. This is the 2nd week of the school year and this teacher has managed to make my daughter thinking she's slow, lazy and worst of all, stupid. I'm just not willing to have my daughter coming home crying once or more a week and feeling that she is worthless because of her learning issues or thinking that she should be punished for them. I can't have her moved to another teacher cos there is night other. There are 4 teachers and they teach both 4th and 5th alternately. It's a very small school. There are no other schools in town, moving isn't an option, and I work Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm. I would love to homeschool both my children, but it would mean not working and that's not an option either. I would greatly appreciate any input.

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Michelle - posted on 09/05/2012

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First step is talking to the principal and I would be going in there guns blazing, if your child has a special program set up for her the teacher has to make allowances for her disability. If the principal does not fix this problem then go over the principal to the superintendant of schools no child should be made to feel this way.

User - posted on 09/08/2012

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Hi Helen! I am a teacher of special needs students and the way that teacher is treating your child is atrocious!! I am embarrassed that she is part of our profession! She is obviously not a mom and if she is I feel for her own kids. Many "general education" teachers do not have a clue about special needs children or how to accommodate them. Unfortunately, many districts, mine included, do not offer many classes or trainings to help general ed and special ed teachers collaborate on lesson planning and assisting children with learning disabilities. This is sad and I am not excusing the teacher. Even though I teach learning disabled currently, I have primarily taught the general ed population without much assistance on how to differentiate and accommodate--I needed to find that out on my own!! It is up to each of us teachers to seek out training opportunities to help us do our job of helping EVERY child succeed in being the best they can be and reaching their top potential. I am so glad your daughter has an advocate in you. Now you need to go to the principal and insist on a meeting with ALL parties involved--general ed teachers, (and demand to know how that teacher is using her IEP to accommodate your daughter -which is a LAW) special education teachers, intervention specialists and any other parties involved in teaching your daughter. If they do not appear to show the empathy and sense of urgency needed to "catch" your daughter before her self esteem is destroyed--then RUN to your district office and file a complaint and DEMAND a hearing. Your daughter is entitled and by law they must give her the accommodations without the humiliations this teacher is heaping on her. Please give your daughter extra hugs and explain to her that this abuse is the teacher's own way of dealing with her own inabilities and lack of understanding of your daughter's needs. You can compare this to the bully who bullies or the kid who misbehaves when they really are reacting to a fear inside of themselves. I would say this teacher is definitely being a bully and abusing her power and authority as a teacher. This IS the teacher and NOT YOUR DAUGHTER!! Your daughter should be commended for not giving up and continuing to do her best...in spite of the meanness of an incompetent and mean-spirited adult!!! She is special because God made her that way---and God has wonderful plans for her!!!! Good luck to you and your daughter!!!

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A meeting with you, the principal and Mrs T. You lay it all on the table and be totally up front with everything you know about the situation. Let it be known that you are not happy and that you feel the teacher is failing your daughter. Make sure they know that all of your daughter's other teachers have no problem with your daughter and the program that has been put in place for her. Don't back down and don't let Mrs T intimidate you. They are their to help and to teach, not to belittle or destroy confidence. Good luck.

Erna - posted on 09/06/2012

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I am a teacher myself and own a pre-school and my daughter is in Grade 3 now....i understand that teachers take their own personal problems and baggage out on children...because it is easy to do....the fact that this woman started crying when you treated her the same way she treats your child, means she is inherently a bully, and the staff at her school are probably, including the headmistress/master a little nervous of her themselves. The most important thing to teach your child, as she will have problems with abusive adults during her youth, is to disregard disrespectful people and not allow them to get to her, she needs to learn to protect her own integrity and believe in herself, no matter what anyone else says or does to her, you cannot change people that have no respect for themselves, and this woman clearly has no self confidence or else she would not need to bully a little girl, teach your daughter that the teacher/s have the issues, not her, she is doing the best she can, and that is good enough for you, and you love her as her perfect self...she must observe these kinds of adults with no emotion and see them for what they are...the person that actually needs the help...not her.

Barbara - posted on 09/06/2012

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I forgot to mention about the IEP. I also worked in the offices of several medical entities. One was Grafton School for Autism. YES, absolutely she should have an IEP (Individual Education plan) in place and it is federally required to be followed. And as a matter of afterthought, her situation could also fall under the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, so this could get real nasty for that school district. Good luck and keep us posted. Your daughter could very well end up a poster child for this. All my best to you both.

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Sarah - posted on 02/25/2013

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I'm really sorry that a teacher is treating your child like that. I agree with other posters who tell you to document everything and to use the official channels for complaints. I would like to know how the other parents view this teacher and the amount of homework they appear to be getting. If you can ask them and maybe get them to corroborate some of your and your daughters story, that may help.

I am writing from Britain and so I don't really know how your school system works so if this second piece of advice had a bad effect on your daughter's record feel free to ignore it, but how would you feel about just not doing the extra work. Do what you feel is enough for your daughter to pass the course and no more. And cross off the days until this person is not in your daughter's life anymore. Your daughter sounds like a resiliant kind of person that she is trying so hard and I wish the two of you all the best.

Rachel - posted on 12/24/2012

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Please ignore the people who advise you to go in "guns blazing". Anger is rarely a good place to be when starting a discussion, even if you are "advocating" for your child. Get the teacher's side of the story, even if you don't want to - you'll appear more credible and less like an angry, reactive person incapable of rational conversation (as I suspect describes many of the posters here).

I'm really sorry to hear this happened to your daughter.

Anjeli - posted on 10/05/2012

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Hi Helen,



First let me say how appalled I am. As a teacher your daughters teacher makes me very angry!!They are not allowed to make her rush through her assignments and by law they have to give her extra time and modify her work. If you have her IEP and it states all of this then they are breaking the law. If the principal is not cooperating then take it higher, you have the law on your side. I know how your daughter feels. I am blessed with my sons school and teacher, he has Autism,it is mild but he still needs extra help in certain subjects and they do everything they can in order to make sure he is successful. I wish you all the luck I the world.

Anjeli

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/04/2012

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No, Helen, you keep after the superintendent of schools. If the principal is siding with the teacher, and you have solid proof of her behaviour, along with the IEP that isn't being followed, you have a case against the teacher and the district. Park yourself in the district office, and politely refuse to move until you've been seen by the superintendent themselves, not a lackey, not an assistant.



Have your IEP in hand, have your diagnostician records in hand, any voice recordings you have of the teacher's interaction with your daughter, and anything else that you've documented. This is a classic case of a teacher abusing her authority, and when caught, she punishes the child by heaping more homework on her.



Once you get that meeting with the district superintendent, I'd also suggest that you volunteer in the classroom at least twice a week to monitor the situation. Is there any other 4th grade classroom she could be in? Or are you rural enough that it's "one size fits all"? (By that I mean is there only 1 4th grade, or are the classes in any way combined, 3rd & 4th, etc?)

HelenMcK - posted on 10/01/2012

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I wanted to thank everyone again for their replies. I've been trying to keep up with it but between work and homework things have gotten insanely crazy. Things have gotten a bit out of hand as most nights Mrs. T has taken to overloading with homework, anywhere from 247 to 260 (tonight) problems in addition to 2 pages of Social Studies a book report project, and her normal writing, reading and flashcards. Most nights she's staying up til 10 or 11 and what isn't finished we rush through in the morning before school. I've kept copies of all the sudden extra work, I've complained to her inclusion teacher (who seems nervous at the mention of Mrs. T's name), gone to superintendent, school board. I'm waiting for another call back from diagnostician. I'm pretty well at the point of I no longer have a clue what to do. Maybe homeschool? But honestly I am not sure that is something I could successfully accomplish or be able to do working anywhere from 9 to 12 hours a day.

Several people mentioned IEP, I thought my daughter had one, what she has is called an IAP, I don't know if they are the same thing.

I just really don't know where to go with all this now. She can't keep staying up til 10 or 11 at night. Most days I'm having to take her to the hospital with me so she can sit in my office or the lounge depending if I'm working in my office or on the floor so she can start homework immediately after school, even supper has been taken over by homework, we read while I cook and do flash cards while we eat (Mrs. T requires a signed note if 20 minute practice each night. And they have a 3 minute test every other days they must complete 50 multiplication facts in ( I thought it was 5 mins/50. ) any unsolved problems must be taken home and written 10 times each.

My daughter seems to get no down time from school work to play and I've really had enough but have no clue where to go from here.



Someone mentioned placing her in public school ... this is a public school. We live in an extremely rural area, this is the only available school in my town and honestly moving isn't a viable option for us at the moment.

Latosha - posted on 09/30/2012

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I am a mother with a child in dc public schools I have a son in forth grade his teacher say mean. Things to him also saying he isn't ready for. Forth. Grade. He had to go to.summer schoo I asked how he pass if he didn't know the work. Very frustrated with. Her he has learning. Problems also. Trying to get him tested because he need it she say he can't do the work he's given.he said she yells at him and mean things to him any advice would be gladly apprieciated.thank you

Hope - posted on 09/26/2012

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First of all let me say I'm very sorry to hear this is happening. A teacher should be the child's advocate and when you hear that she/he is making your child cry, I can understand the anger and frustration. I myself had an IEP going through school and had a major issue with my 4th grade teacher- I remember it so vividly. She was not only awful to me, but the rest of the class as well. She would be so mean to anybody who second guessed her, even the parents. The parents at my school were VERY involved and eventually found out she got the job basically because she was best friends with the principal. This might be the case for you as well, because ordinarily teachers like that don't get a job too easily. Long story short, everybody in that class (including parents) all signed a petition to get her fired, along with a letter written by a few parents and turned it straight over to the superintendent since the principal wouldn't do anything about it. My best advice to you is to bypass the principal because as you've stated, this is a small school and probably close-knit employee wise. I'm not saying you should go get a petition, but simply request a time to meet with the superintendent about something you are deeply concerned with with your child. DON'T be too specific as to not create any alarm, and so that the teacher can't prepare the superintendent for what's coming. Take your daughter with you and have her tell the superintendent what the teacher has been saying. That way it's undeniable. I wish you the best of luck in this situation, and stay strong for your daughter!!



Edit: It might help to have some of her previous teachers write an affidavit (a signed letter) stating how hard your daughter works and that she's never been an issue before.....that might help your case even more. Good luck!

Apryllnorris - posted on 09/11/2012

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My brother's third grade teacher said that he needed to be on riddelin, My mom was really upset because he got top marks in all of his tests. My brother was just bored with the class, the teacher took it upon herself and called his doctor to make sure they refilled the meds. My mom was furious! She took it to the principal and the school board. Turns out, the teacher had done this with another student before, she was fired

Elizabeth - posted on 09/11/2012

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Of course, if you have the ability you could always pull her from the school and out her in a public eschool. I did this when my son continuously encountered problems with bullying and the teachers just made excuses for the other kids. I recommend Connections Academy, I listed a link below...

http://940731.r.msn.com/?ld=6vOeLiVAg_0L...



Good luck, in whatever you decide, our children are precious and should be treated so.

Melissa - posted on 09/09/2012

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That is definitely crazy and I know, as a mom myself, Id go in probably all sorts of mad; however, you may want to address this in a calm fusion and if all else fails, go to the school board.

Ashley - posted on 09/08/2012

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Definitely set up a meeting with the principal one on one, but also request a meeting with the principal, Mrs. T as well as the other teacher that assists. Get everyone on the same page. It is definately unnaceptable for a teacher to act this way. Maybe the person who assists in class can sit in on a few with Mrs. T and help her learn how to help your daughter rather than belittle her. I had a similar situation but I was fortunate enough that our school had the option to move my daughter to another teachers classroom and the problem was solved. I really hope the school will help your child. If the people in the school won't I would move up the chain of command in the school board until something is done about it. With them having the programs in place for the children there is no reason Mrs. T shouldn't be able to accomodate and help her.

Bekah - posted on 09/06/2012

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If there is an IEP in place it must be followed by law ... That is one of the differences between a 504 and an IEP. My son had an IEP in place and there were a number of times I had to arrange a meeting with his case worker and particular teachers. Good luck mama!!! Go in and give em heck. No teacher should ever punish any child because they are slow rather they have a disability or not but especially if they have a disability. Make sure you bring a copy of the IEP with you to every interaction and show her where it is outlined she gets extra time for assignments. Record every conversation and keep a journal. If you have to go to the school board because the teacher isn't helping then absolutely go. Just make sure that her case worker or intervention worker knows what is going on and what you plan to do as well.

And Amen what Erna said!!

Good Luck ... I feel your pain.

Leslie - posted on 09/06/2012

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Not every state will give an IEP for dyslexia! I teach in KY and have a child with dyslexia and he can only have a 504. I too have had issues with the 504 not being followed. It is frustrating. Don't tolerate it! I see teachers disrespect children all the time because they don't have a clue how these children think or feel.

Susan - posted on 09/06/2012

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Take the voice recording to the superintendent and tell him/her that the IEP is not being followed. You should have received a copy of a booklet telling you what your rights are as a parent. If you haven't, go in and request it. Schools that aren't following IEPs can be reported to the state, and the state will come in and investigate.



BTW, good for you for standing up to that woman. I still get upset when I see my daughter's kindergarten teacher. We've been fighting for four years to get autism removed from our daughter's school files - it's there because this *teacher* - not a doctor - called her autistic. I remember speaking to her one day and telling her J was embarrassed and her feelings hurt about something the teacher had done the day before. Her response was to tell me that was impossible because my daughter doesn't have feelings. WTF? was my reaction. I will not tolerate our younger child being assigned to her class in a few years time, and hopefully with the new principal, that won't be a problem.

Nicola - posted on 09/06/2012

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Ohh hunni, what you have described gets my blood boiling!

I'm a parent myself and have a daughter with learning delays and a 4 year old who attends a special needs intervention kindergarten. 



The care my 4 year old receives, has not only encouraged him to assert confidence, it's also taught him how to reach milestones....All through patience and supportive interactions. 

The beautiful ladies who offer this program to my son, would be horrified to hear what your daughter is going through!



The principle of the school that your daughter attends should not allow any teacher to make degrading comments to any child. 

What your daughter has said, aswel as the treatment that she she has received from authority figures seems like a bullying technique.

such as :-



"Mrs. T said I'm too slow cos it takes me a long time to do my work"



And 



"Mrs. T told me I was lazy and she wasn't dealing with someone like me and said go to the office and the principal told me I had to be faster"



And then, for them to punish your daughter for having a learning disability is outrageous!  It's like kicking a physically disabled child out of his wheelchair and demanding that he run. It's not acceptable. 



I've seem my daughter cry herself to sleep on occasions because she feels that she isn't smart enough, but for any person, especially a teacher and a principle to squash a Childs self esteem is certainly not something a teacher is taught in university.



Research shows that little girls specifically, thrive in school only once they feel a platform of self esteem and confidence.



It's hard to know what to do, but something needs to be done. The school appears to be advocating for Mrs T, but this backwards type of teaching can't continue. 

You may need to :-



1. research and make a formal complaint (staying rational) to the board of education (State) 



2. Make an appointment with a local health service for support for you and child. (it's important your child knows that your supporting her and teaching her coping skills to help the situation)



3. Request funding for the school for a special needs teacher. (this teacher may likely pull Mrs T up on her ridiculous behavior). 



And 4. Keep showering your beautiful little girl with love and guidance to help empower her. And try not to use labeling words around her... Like if your on the phone or speaking with a person in a meeting, ask your little one to sit with someone away from the conversation because she doesn't need to hear adult conversations.



I wish you all the best xx

HelenMcK - posted on 09/06/2012

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I'm severely dyslexic myself ... runs in the family. My son is as well. I have had numerous talks with them about dyslexia and people with dyslexia and the fact that I graduated school top of the class with honors and a 4.0 GPA. She herself is a straight A student and made the honor roll each 6 weeks last year. I'm also a lefty lol .. had a teacher in first grade do same to me. Mom stopped that quick once I actually told her about it half way through the school year. on the bright side from the torture of being forced to write right handed for a long time I can write just as well right handed as left handed. My son seems to have picked it up as well as he often switches hands while doing his work without a second thought. Thanks for sharing!

HelenMcK - posted on 09/06/2012

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Thank you everyone for the suggestions. She does have an IEP in place, though I did not know it was required by law to be followed, that is an extremely useful piece of information, thanks to all who suggested it! Principal was useless and sided with teacher. I lost it with Mrs. T today and left her crying at her desk. I was standing at the door waiting for my daughter to be dismissed from her homeroom. She brought out a paper which was the supposed paper she was to have done. Only it was done all except one last word. I asked my daughter when she did that she said she did it in class last week when it was assigned. She said Mrs. T said she had to finish that I had to sign it but she would still her a bad grade for it (at a loss as to what to do on that) I asked her to go ask Mrs. T when that paper was due that I was gonna stand in hall and listen. I hit the voice record on my phone. All of a sudden the teacher is screaming it wasn't until I heard my daughter's name that I realized she was screaming at my daughter. I walked in the room and Mrs. T tried talking sweet. I tore in to her. Told her she better not ever speak to my child like that again. She tried to tell me I took what she was telling my daughter out of context that she wasn't being mean. At any rate when it was over she was crying and I told her next time she gets the urge to scream at my daughter call me and I'll gladly come up and have another talk because I'm through trying be polite and civil with someone who has no business being a teacher.

Dove - posted on 09/06/2012

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I agree with those who are asking about the IEP. If she doesn't have one... she needs one. You've tried talking to the teacher, so the next step IS to the principal.... Then higher up if need be. Have her intervention teacher attend any and all meeting if possible as well.

Barbara - posted on 09/06/2012

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You HAVE to go to the School Board! My mother did the same thing when I was in 3rd grade. Here's why. I'm left-handed. My teacher - (who happened to be Mrs. Byrd, Former President Carter's Aunt - I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, DeKalb County) was our 3rd grade teacher. She didn't like the fact that I'd get excited if I knew the answer and she had tried repeatedly to change me from left-handed writing to a rightie! Oh yeah! Well, Mom started wondering why I was turning the paper a different way to write. I told her Mrs. Byrd said I needed to write like a right-handed person. She hit the roof. Mom's also left-handed! Well, our 4th grade teacher Mrs. Martha Smith, happened to be the school's penmanship teacher for the children's handwriting so Mom went to her house for a conference on strategy and they went before the school board and Mrs. Byrd almost lost her Teaching certificate and job! GO MOM and Mrs. Smith!



You MUST get an advocate for your child. I know it's gonna seem like an uphill fight but somebody needs to get on that child's side and make those "retard" teachers back off of her, a lot of gifted people happen to be Dyslexic. I am mildly Dyslexic myself but when I was in Elem. school back in the 60's, it wasn't known very much about it back then up til the 70's and 80's. I certainly wish you all the best and will be praying this turns around for your dagughter. Barbara P.S. Give your daughter my best and tell her I'm on her side, I've been there with a similar story.

Angie - posted on 09/06/2012

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I would go to the district and let them know what is going on, if this program was step up for your daughter, they need to follow it!!!! EVERYONE, I'm so sorry your daughter feels like that, just make sure she knows that you love her and you are there to help her with her needs and just try her best. GOOD LUCK

Jen - posted on 09/06/2012

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I'm so sorry your daughter is going through this. It may differ in different parts of the world, but where I live if a child has diagnosed developmental disabilities, they usually have an IEP, which spells out what they need to succeed at school. The IEP is legally binding, and teachers are REQUIRED to comply with it. This teacher is a useless jerk. There's not much you can do about that, unfortunately. I would keep the appointment to speak to the principal before going over his/her head. Start by telling him you'd be glad to hear the teacher's explanation, but she's refused to talk to you. But if the principal is not helpful, definitely go to the superintendent. If none of that works, your district should have a CSE (Committee on Special Education) that can help you advocate for your daughter. I definitely would not put up with this.

Susan - posted on 09/06/2012

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Does your daughter have an IEP? If not, one needs to be put in place. Teachers *have* to follow the IEP, and if they don't, go over their heads to the principal. If you don't get satisfaction, move up to the superintendent.



When my daughter was in kindergarten, she had a 504 plan implemented. We had to speak to the principal several times about the teacher because she wasn't following it. An IEP was implemented starting in first grade, and it has always been followed, no problems. I was speaking to another mom over the summer, and am hoping to run in to her on back to school night to find out how her daughter is doing. Her daughter has eye problems and the 504 plan wasn't being followed by the teacher last year. I am going to suggest she request an IEP if they are still having problems.

Kim - posted on 09/06/2012

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Post a reply!go to the district the hell with the principal nothing will be done I understand Ur frustration been there done that let the district handle this teacher she's rude and obnoxious and bullying Ur child she deserves to lose her job!

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