Kid vs teacher, whose side to take

<p>conyat, thanks for the snopes link. I always check them before assuming anything like this is for real. I actually e-mailed them regarding the Help My Baby Live folder that was around here a couple of weeks ago. They didn't have anything on their site about it, but a couple of days later, they e-mailed me, saying they had researched it and found it false.</p>

<p>It's too bad that people find entertainment in riling people up. We all have stories of bad teachers, and I think some people get off on one-upping someone else's story, while the originator of the usually false story knows his prank has stirred up bad memories for people.</p>

<p>DMD, one of my math teachers (a really great teacher) would keep track: if the class caught three mistakes in a day, there would be no homework assignment that night. There were almost always small math errors (such as mis-writing a number, sign error, and other little things that are easy to mess up). We rarely got to three, but it was very exciting whenever we did. I definitely have the same experience as you do regarding "dumber" teachers being less likely to admit their mistakes or welcome corrections. This even spread to teachers' abilities to re-think their assignments or grading criteria when faced with reasoned--and reasonable--questions. Thankfully, the vast majority of my high school teachers encouraged students to point out errors and welcomed comments and discussion about their teaching materials or strategies.</p>

<p>Did anyone else notice the date on this letter? Written in 1994. I'm putting my money on "urban legend". </p>

<p>Detention seems like a small price to pay to learn some important life lessons. How to be respectful of authority (even when they are wrong). How to deal with defensive people who have their facts wrong (yelling "you're laying", probably not it). Discover that you can learn something from everyone, but not everything from one person. Learn how to research facts and appropriate way to present opposing views.</p>

<p>Hard to say without knowing the kid if the teacher over-reacted to someone questioning his authority or under-reacted to a disruptive kid who constantly disrupts the class.</p>

<p>Who keeps something like this for 13 years?</p>

<p>Although in college I had an accounting prof that had failed the cpa exam six times. He would answer any question in length, even wrong ones. He would spend 10 minutes going through something that was wrong to begin with to show it was wrong and the class would confuse it as fact after a couple minutes. I just did my homework in class along with a guy next to me. We were the only two A's in the class the rest of the class averaged a C. </p>

<p>So while it happens, I don't think it would happen quite this way.</p>

<p>teriwtt, thanks for the info about the help my baby live site. Snopes has a page on it now, if anyone else is interested. </p>

<p>Back on topic, I read somewhere that in surveys of teachers' job satisfaction, one of the things that stresses them the most is insecurity about content knowledge, and the less content knowledge. So I guess a lot of what we sometimes see is anxiety and fear of exposure.</p>

<p>I suspect that the chemistry teacher who teaches the wrong formula instead of the right one is afraid he can't understand the right formula well enough to grade papers or answer student questions about it. The obvious solution would be to go acquire more content knowledge, but not everybody is open to doing that, and even under NCLB public schools have very little practical authority to make them. A person who doesn't know much chemistry but is willing to teach it is better than an unfillable vacancy, so tweak the highly qualified part of the credentials down.</p>

<p>In my state, through 2006, you could get less than half the questions right on the Math content knowledge portion of the Praxis to get secondary mathematics added on to your certificate. Since it's multiple choice, chance alone would get you halfway there. (You can get this added by the test score alone if you already have a secondary certificate. There is no minimum # of hours of college math you have to have, and no requirement that you have taken any courses at all about teaching math).</p>

<p>I seem to have kept most of what my Ss produced in k-12, including a portfolio letter in which S apologized profusely for not having learned anything new in math during that unit, and the teacher's answer that he should help teach the class. Every time I look at it, I gnash my teeth at the idea of my S feeling he had to apologize for not being taught at his own level and the teacher assuming that she could turn him into an unpaid assistant.</p>

<p>But I've also used the materials to show new teachers the kind of assignments that were required by previous teachers. One teacher who was going to hold a workshop had phoned around to ask if parents kept the writings that had been done in a unit she'd taught. That, besides sheer sentimentality, inspired me to keep my kids' work. Recently, I shared it with a new parent from a different country to give her a sense of the school's curriculum.</p>

<p>I side with the kid- teacher needed the disciplinary action. Good learning tale, even if untrue. </p>

<p>When son took AP Economics he had a teacher with a creationism viewpoint who brought in some (minor) scientist who gave a talk with that viewpoint in mind- several students, including my son, ended up asking enough questions challenging his views that the short presentation took up the whole class period instead of the limited time the teacher intended. Son, who never talked to me or wanted my advice, came home that day wanting to have me do something since he thought a parent might carry more weight than a student with the administration- we discussed the situation, I told him it would be more meaningful if the students talked to administration - ie a vice principal - and that I would be happy to complain as well if needed. The students went to the vp with their complaints about taking their valuable classtime with irrelevant and slanted views (the details are lost in my memory- please don't comment on my story's facts); the teacher was appropriately warned about her actions, without my intervention. The teacher's procreationism agenda and lesson plan timing backfired due to the unexpected reaction of her students. I was so pleased with my son and the others for questioning the supposed authority and the administration's response. I also give credit to the teacher for not shutting down any debate in her classroom. The main issue was the relevance of the speaker to the course and the loss of time. Little things like this make me appreciate our local public school system.</p>

<p>It seems to me that if a teacher regards the classroom as a community of learners investigating things and doing projects, where s/he is the lead resource but not the only resource for information, there should be no problem if a student corrects the teacher's information. </p>

<p>The old idea of teaching, where the pupil was an empty vessel and the teacher poured information into that empty head, leads to a false belief that the teacher has "lost face" if s/he's ever wrong.</p>

<p>That said, I never enjoyed it when a 6 or 7 year old student of mine said, when things didn't go his way for whatEVER reason, "I could fire you." It told me a lot about the tenor of the home conversation and I became wary of those parents.</p>

That said, I never enjoyed it when a 6 or 7 year old student of mine said, when things didn't go his way for whatEVER reason, "I could fire you." It told me a lot about the tenor of the home conversation and I became wary of those parents.


<p>Wow! Indeed! As I've written before, it was when I complained to a GC that my S's teacher was proceeding far too slowly in an Honors English class (A Tale of Two Cities begun after Labor Day and still not finished after Xmas) that I was urged to put my complaints in writing. I doubt my S would have been told the same thing!</p>

<p>To put things in perspective, I did have one teacher in high school who wanted to be Hitler in skirts. She told us--9th graders-- that the moon was made of cheese and challenged us to disagree with her. She was not hinting that she wanted us to present scientific arguments why it wasn't so; she just wanted to push our buttons. Her version of My teacher right or wrong. We were too cowardly to raise our hands, knowing that our parents would back her and would not countenance breaches of discipline on our parts and bad marks for behavior in our school reports.</p>

<p>Marian, in response to your suggestion to "show the letter to the PTA president":</p>

<p>I am the Parent Assoc president at our hs. A parent organization is in no position to do anything about disciplining a teacher. The correct path is to go to that teacher's superior - either the dept head, an assist principal or the principal. Another route would be to start with Guidance and ask them where to go.</p>

<p>I have had several parents complain to me about teachers. I'm just a parent elected by other parents - I have no authority, nor any knowledge that would equip me to discipline teachers! If you have a problem with your school's professional staff, go through the school's official channels. As a last resort, if you get no satisfaction from the dept head or principal, go to the superintendent, then the school board.</p>

<p>Lafalum84, I know you have no authority. But because of your position, you know the system. If my kid were in your school, I would trust you to provide me with some suggestions as to how a situation such as this might best be handled. For example, you might know who the teacher's superior is -- something your average parent might not know. I also suspect that if there were many such complaints about this teacher, you would know it.</p>

<p>That's what I meant, although it certainly would have been better if I had said it in my first post.</p>

<p>"The obvious solution would be to go acquire more content knowledge, but not everybody is open to doing that, and even under NCLB public schools have very little practical authority to make them"</p>

<p>Con, </p>

<p>That might just be in your state. Most states require ongoing education (yes, during those free summers) to keep a teaching certificate. Pay raises are also a part of contin. ed. So if a teacher wanted to advance in payscale, they need additional credit hours. </p>

<p>I don't know your state's requirements, but you could find out by checking. By the way, our state's requirements were in place long before NCLB. I can tell you my spouse has taught for 30 years and has accumulated around 150 additional hours of college credit along the way to keep current and yes, advance in the pay scales. Depending on your state's requirements, most teachers never stop learning.</p>

<p>by the way, this is a hoax. </p>

<p>Why? because even the stupidiest, meanest teacher is smart enough not to write it down.</p>

<p>"I think the case for it being real is that we've all known teachers we think would do this."</p>

<p>True, but the teachers I know who would do this would never admit that they were wrong. They would omit the challenged piece of information from their version of the story rather than acknowledge that they got it wrong.</p>

by the way, this is a hoax.</p>

<p>Why? because even the stupidiest, meanest teacher is smart enough not to write it down.


<p>You'd be surprised. In 8th grade my english teacher tripped over a chair and fell down. Some girl just barely chuckled, and the teacher got up and roared "We're going to the principal's office to tell him you laughed at me after I tripped over a chair." After she realized how it sounded she recanted though.</p>

<p>It's a good topic starter for a profitable discussion on parenting, but if that note is real, I'll eat the original. I'm surprised that Barbara (aka "Snopes") was so kind.</p>

<p>"After she realized how it sounded she recanted though."</p>

<p>You just proved my point... didn't you? ;)</p>

<p>^^ well, no. In this story, the kid laughs once, the teacher reacts badly once and then lets drop. End of story for both.</p>

<p>In the OP's story, the student contradicts the teacher, the teacher repeats the inaccurate information, and both escalate, with the student eventually calling the teacher a liar and the teacher suspending the student. Story 1 is a simple issue of ridicule and discipline. Story 2 is about misinformation as well as ridicule, rudeness and discipline. The only way the teacher could have let drop would have been to check the information and to thank the student for pointing error instead of asserting authority. But the teacher has shifted the story from one of (mis)information on the teacher's part to one of defiance on the student's part. Basically, the letter is arguing is it does not matter that the teacher was an ignoramus, the student owed him total respect and deference.</p>


<p>The point is the OP's orginal story is NOT TRUE! We can make up any outragous situation and argue about it, but it's really not very productive. </p>

<p>Check out the links above that take you to the first place this letter appears (in 2006). Know anyone, at age 22, that has kept a letter written to their parents from a teacher? Kept it for 12 years? An unsigned letter that doesn't include a phone number or email to contact the teacher? I (because apparently I have no life) googled the teacher and there is no reference on the internet to this guy EXCEPT for references to this letter. Also check out the other posts from this student on the site that is was orginally posted. Not a forum for intellectual dialogue. </p>

<p>A major danger of the internet. Anyone can post anything, no matter how ridiculous, and suddenly it's truth. What a great way to ruin a teacher's reputation. Make up something up - post it on the internet under a screen name and watch future job offers disappear.</p>


<p>I have my doubts about the veracity of the OP story, but my point is that the scenario presented by Opie is quite different. And as I wrote in another post, I have experience with classroom Hitlers. One my 9th grade teachers challenged us to contradict her when she asserted that the moon was made of cheese (Roquefort to be exact, since this was a French school). Of course, she did not believe it. She was just testing the limits of our docility. And to our shame, very few of us dared say it wasn't true.</p>