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How do I react to this teacher?

wisdomkimluckywisdomkimlucky Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited April 22 in Parents Forum
My son is having issues with his "world language teacher" and struggling with the subject as well.

When his grade in the subject began to drop, I contacted the teacher to get her suggestions. Rather offering any gestures of help, she blamed my son's habit in her class, such as sitting in the back engaging in chatting with friends. At that time, I took her word for it and scolded my son.

Months later I contacted her again when I found my son got a C in Spanish due to missing "assignment”. Below is the email exchange.

___________________________
MODERATOR'S NOTE: Contents of email cannot be quoted, per the Terms of Service. I have deleted the email exchange.
_______________________

First, I was irritated by her seemingly "condescending tone" in her email response. "You should know that your child did this and did that!" I first double-checked my previous email(above) to see if there's any possibility to trigger her overly defensive reaction like that.

Also, I checked with my son if he ever did Science assignments during her language class. My son said he never did. Did he ever get caught while doing science work in her class? If it is was just her impression, I think she should've either checked with my son first or worded it differently such as "It SEEMS your son was working on math in my class". I'm a teacher myself and I know how risky it is to communicate negative assumptions about a student with his/her parents when there's no clear evidence.

The teacher has very bad reviews on "RateMyTeacher" and those reviews match exactly my son says of the teacher. My son began to take this language class(basic level) with 0% prior knowledge of the language and has no family members who speak it at home. Understandably, it takes fundamental effort and support with the very basics of the language for him to reach the level to understand the teacher’s instructional presentation in the language.He may get easily confused and distracted when there are not enough opportunities to ask questions for clarification in class. My son says the teacher often dismisses questions from students in class saying they have to ask her after class. Has she been very supportive of answering myriad questions after class?

Is she well aware that in her language class there are some students like my son who needs help with the basics of the language and has she offered appropriate help for them? If not, it only feeds to the tendency of getting distracted in class as the student can't understand it and thus can’t spark his interest in the language subject.

I'm not defending my son's behavior of sitting back and engaging in chatting though.. I'm just stressing the need for help to have him learn and get interested in the language subject. At this time, he completely lost his interest in it and does not feel at all that the teacher is supportive. Actually, he is extremely stressed out by the teacher.

I requested a meeting with the teacher at this point where both my son and I were invited. However, I'm not feeling positive about the meeting any way. Do I have to raise this issue to the administrators?


Post edited by MaineLonghorn on
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Replies to: How do I react to this teacher?

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 62,678 Senior Member
    Has your son sought help in the class during after school hours?

    I believer likely there is the teachers version...and the students version...and the truth is somewhere in the middle.

  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,453 Senior Member
    I've gotten the impression that during the past few decades, schools have been teaching languages in ways that work well for some students but not others. Often, grammar is not formally taught, and students are expected to pick it up informally as they become more experienced with the language. Also, there seems to be a preference for hiring teachers who are native speakers of the language, but these teachers often have such strong accents that some students cannot understand them when they speak English.

    If your child doesn't respond well to the way the language is being taught, tutoring may be the only solution. I wish it wasn't such an expensive solution.
  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN Registered User Posts: 2,358 Senior Member
    I would encourage the teacher to assign seats, and ask that your son not be assigned to the back. He might do better in the front. I also think that the true description of your son's behavior is somewhere in between the teacher's view and the student's. As in, he is in the back talking with other students but may or may not be working on science.
    About the missing homework -- if she really has the first one, it may still show up. My kids' missing homework usually showed up in the possession of my kids, often after the end of the grading period.
  • wisdomkimluckywisdomkimlucky Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks for sharing your insight. The missing homework is not a typical "homework". Actually it's a classwork that was completed during class.
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,722 Senior Member
    I actually found the teachers tone to be fine... but I do understand that communicating by email could be tricky and sometimes open to different interpretations.

    I would ask your son to please sit in the front of the room and I would encourage him to attend every extra help session. I also agree that if the teacher has the HW, it will show up. @techmom99 offers some good ideas.

  • YnotgoYnotgo Registered User Posts: 3,383 Senior Member
    If the teacher doesn't have the classwork and he was in class, then there are two possible reasons you might want to check into: 1) He is forgetting to put his name on the paper he hands in during class, or 2) He is forgetting to turn the paper in at the end of class.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 62,678 Senior Member
    It is about 8 weeks before the school,year ends. How long has this been going on. Has your son sought help from the teacher after school.

    It is very possible,that he is doing the work,.. but not turning it in.

    But really...what has been happening since fall when this course began??
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 371 Member
    the best case scenario is that your son is a high school freshman, so has 3 more years to get his act together, but possibly less time if he is older. In any event, you and he know that in no more than 3 years, he will have to pay attention (or not), attend class (or not) and make sure his homework is turned in appropriately, or suffer the consequences, without either a parent or teacher nagging him to do so. It would seem now is the best time for him to acquire that skill with the minimum consequences. If he needs help in the subject, he needs to ask the teacher for it or go to office hours, or find another way to learn with a tutor or on line or whatever, unless he wants to drop the subject (which he should have done earlier if it was possible). His transcript will not contain a notation that he had a conflict with his teacher, just the end result. He needs to be responsible for saving it.
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,277 Senior Member
    Any possibility the homework was submitted, but ended up getting lost due to technical glitches or the teacher's own lack of technical proficiency?

    Just wondering as a technical glitch from the scantron reader was found to be a factor in why it graded a substantial portion of my first exam to the point the total grade came out to a D- when it should have been an A-.

    Ended up causing a teacher who was predisposed in the past to being unkind for past escapades/poor academic performance in other classes* to reassess her impressions and to issue an apology out of the blue and a special handwritten note on my report card as the first marking period grades were already set in stone at that point.

    * She also happened to be my homeroom teacher.
  • wisdomkimluckywisdomkimlucky Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    What if the "missing" of homework/classwork was caused by the teacher's mistake by any chance? Still it's the student's responsibility to suffer consequences?
  • MaryGJMaryGJ Registered User Posts: 736 Member
    I don't find the teacher's tone offputting at all. To me, it seems like she's trying to communicate an ongoing problem to a tone deaf parent. (no offense, just being honest about my impression)

    Something to consider....what if your kid is lying to you and is lazy about his Spanish, catches up on his science in her class, and talks to other kids when he should be paying attention? I understand you don't think that this is what's going on....but what if it is?

    I'm not saying it's true. But there's a 50% chance, you know?

    What motivation does the teacher have to lie? Very little.
    What motivation does your kid have? Getting you off his back about the low grade. Covering up misbehavior.

    Not saying it's not possible the teacher screwed up and lost his paper...of course that's possible.

    But seriously, what's more likely?

    Also not saying there aren't lousy teachers out there....there are. But this teachers pays attention...she knows who your son is, knows where he sits and what he's doing in class, and pays attention enough to notice him working on another subject in her class...that she can name. This isn't an asleep at the wheel teacher....this is a tough teacher.

    Tough teachers OFTEN have harsh reviews. Particularly ones who will not cave to parents and inflate grades artificially when they think the grades they have given are fair.

  • MaryGJMaryGJ Registered User Posts: 736 Member
    edited April 21
    Honest opinion: If you go into a meeting with administration saying the problem is the teacher's fault and that she needs to help and engage your son more.....while he's chatting in the back of the room after you've asked him not to? The administrator is going to side with the teacher who can document a lot of his bad choices.

    Maybe Spanish is hard for him? Lot of kids struggle with foreign language. Maybe have a tutor come to your home.

    Instructing foreign language...in that language from the first day...is pretty much standard these days. It's extremely effective, but it requires students to pay close attention.

    "I'm not defending my son's behavior of sitting back and engaging in chatting though." Yeah, you kinda...are.
  • MaryGJMaryGJ Registered User Posts: 736 Member
    edited April 21
    I think a student has a right to question a teacher's teaching method when he/she is giving a consistent, focused, disciplined effort, and is still not having good outcomes.

    But not one minute before.

    This boy has issues on his end that he needs to correct before he even thinks about trying to correct a teacher.
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