Any advice on changing daughter's teacher?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by jazzminjoy, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. jazzminjoy

    jazzminjoy Comrade

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    Aug 4, 2007

    I'm writing as a parent. School started Monday, July 30th. My youngest daughter began 8th grade. That night, I read the "Welcome" letter to parents from the history teacher. It was riddled with spelling, word usage, and grammatical errors, had the wrong year in the date, and did not include the teacher's name in the closing. I stopped counting just the spelling and grammatical errors once I reached 15. I was appalled and wrote a note back on the separate signature sheet that I would meet the teacher during Back to School night on Thursday. I gave a heads-up that I was considering transferring my daughter to another class.

    The Back to School night consists of parents having only 10 minutes per period. During this time, the parents sit at the student desks and the teacher gives a semi-formal presentation to the parents. This history teacher was not done with the group from the previous period. He was slowly going over self-explanatory rules which were displayed from his PowerPoint to a video screen, one rule at a time. Instead of letting the parents quickly read them, he talked about each one. He went about 5 minutes over time. That meant that our group only had 5 minutes. Of course he didn't finish on time. I left for the next class when the bell rang.

    Before and during the presentation, he was quite rude and arrogant. He said that he was the empiror of the class. There was no democracy here. He was not going to cover geography because that isn't on the STAR (state) testing, so even though geography is important to US History (at least he conceded that), he wasn't going to teach it. I felt very uncomfortable while there. My instincts told me this was not a good teacher for my daughter.

    Instead of going to the Physical Education period, I visited the other US History teacher. She also taught the class 4th period, the same as which my daughter has it. She was wonderful. Her first words were "I love history" and "I love teaching!" She would be covering geography as it relates to history. She was enthusiastic, cheerful, and very positive. She had many years teaching experience and had mentored my favorite teacher in the school.

    On Friday, I left a voice mail message with the principal telling him I wanted my daughter switched to the other teacher, but I did not explain why. I said the purpose was not to disparge a teacher, but to get the best education available for my daughter. The principal called back, but he did not leave a message. I was subbing that afternoon, so was not using my cell phone.

    My 12-year-old daughter is upset that I want to change teachers. She has adjusted to this teacher and has completed a lot of homework for his class. It might be easier if I had her support, but that will not deter me.

    What if the principal states that he will not transfer my daughter to the other teacher? What are my options? Do you have any advice, either as a teacher or a parent?

    Thank you.
     
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  3. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Aug 4, 2007

    There are crummy teachers and there are great teachers... and unfortunately your daughter has one of the former. She will survive. If there's nothing life-threatening going on, I wouldn't make a fuss. It will probably be harder for your daughter to switch classes than it will be to endure a crummy teacher for a year. It's only one class.
     
  4. LuvTchng

    LuvTchng Companion

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    Aug 4, 2007

    Trasnferring students to different classes can be a sticky ordeal. The principals I've worked with have only done this in cases where there were severe personality and/or other conflicts between the parent and teacher.
    Have you spoken to your daughter about why she is so reluctant to switch classes? Could it be that she likes the teacher she has and is learning a lot from him? How are her grades? I had a similar problem this past schoolyear. I was actually planning to transfer my son to another school to get him out of the teacher's class but he asked me to let him stick it out. I agreed and he did alright (though at times I wished I'd moved him as planned). I recommend arranging a one-on-one conference with him to tactfully voice some of your concerns.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Aug 4, 2007

    I know that my principal always refuses to change students to other teachers--period. If you are unable to get her changed, have you considered setting up a conference with her current teacher to discuss your concerns. Could you maybe go up to the school to "observe him in action"? Remember that your goal is the best education for your child--as long as the content is covered, the teacher doesn't have to have the best personality. We all have to learn to deal with people we don't mesh with.
     
  6. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Aug 4, 2007

    Take all your evidence to the principal (and you certainly have enough!) and do the switch ASAP. As an administrator, I couldn't think of an argument I would have against switching UNLESS the other class were overly crowded. If she is unreasonable and you decide to push it, you can go to the superintendent. I absolutely would make this change and not settle if I didn't have to. when all these problems are blatantly apparent when you are there and watching (as a parent) imagine what takes place behind your back..... uh oh.
     
  7. CarrieB

    CarrieB Companion

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    Aug 4, 2007

    Wow, I'm just trying to imagine trying to teach US History without geography. That is virtually impossible. The first thing I do is a geography lesson to refresh their memories from 7th grade and remind them where the colonies, England, West Indies, etc. are. How do you teach Lewis and Clark without discussing their route? Or the Civil War without knowing where the North, South, and Border states are. You just can't do it.
     
  8. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Aug 5, 2007

    The spelling and grammar alone are grounds for removing your child. I'd do it without a backward glance, and I think the principal should be told why, and shown the disgraceful letter.
     
  9. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I would love to see the note the teacher sent home with all the
    mistakes. I have often heard of examples of them but never actually seen one. Could you scan it and post it here. I am just interested in how a teacher could pass on to parents something so revealing.
     
  10. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    Aug 5, 2007

    First, talk with your daughter. look at her work and papers he has sent home. Discuss with her why you are concerned, let her respond and get her opinion. Ask her why she wants to stay in the class, is she learning or just does not want to be embarrassed? Your job is to insure that your children receive the best education possible. Sit in on a class-both the teacher you want and the one you want to leave, compare them. One of my son's teachers came across as fantastic during open house, but turned out to be the worst educator I have encountered. Bad enough that I pulled my son out of school to home school him. If you believe after visiting both rooms that your daughter will be better off moving her, then DO IT! Push until it happens and make sure they know why! And make copies of the letter and any notes for your file and theirs. Good Luck.
     
  11. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Aug 5, 2007

    I agree. I know I am terrible at writing. I always have at least two people edit my letters before sending it home. That said sometimes the best teachers stink at writing, but after your description of him on parents night it sounds like he is a you know what.
     
  12. collteach

    collteach Comrade

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    Aug 5, 2007

    My sister had an ENGLISH teacher in middle school who sent home a letter full of errors. My mom, who is goofy and a teacher, thought that it MUST be a test...so she had my sister go through and help her point out all of the errors. They circled them and made corrections and my sister took it back in to the teacher!!! :) :) Later that day, my mom got a phone call from the teacher. The woman was VERY rude and thought that my mom was being condescending by sending that letter back. My mom, who is the nicest person you will meet, tried to explain that since it was an 8th grade ENGLISH class, she truly thought that the letter was a joke or "test". Turns out, this woman was truly dreadful when it came to spelling/grammar/mechanics. My mom wanted my sister out of the class, but there were some novels and projects that they were going to work on that my sister was excited about, so they decided to stick it out. Thankfully, it turned out that this teacher was not a bad teacher at all. You could tell that every note home after that first one was carefully planned out and proofread! My mom monitored all of my sister's writing assignments to be sure that the teacher was teaching and evaluating what she should be. It all turned out fine....especially since the other English teacher ended up being a basket case that quit halfway through the year!
     
  13. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Aug 5, 2007

    Go to the principal or counselor and ask for a transfer to the other teacher's class if you truly feel that uncomfortable. I do agree that Geography is important to US history.
    On the other hand your daughter might learn more from this teacher than just history. It sounds as though his personality is set on learning more than the essentials to pass.
     
  14. teachmemath

    teachmemath Companion

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    Aug 5, 2007

    I agree that you should observe both teachers. You get a sense of what is going on daily in those classes. Also on the flip side maybe that teacher was rushing the letter out and he didn't have time to check for errors...he didn't even sign his name. Also were there spelling errors/grammar errors on the powerpoint presentation?? And you don't want a teacher where the kids will run all over him/her...at least you know his rules and that he is strict. They will actually learn something without the interruptions.
     
  15. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Aug 5, 2007

    You have quite a laundry list, if you can pull it off transfer your daughter.
    All of the things you listed in total are a good reason but by themselves I say no.
    In fact I like the "He said that he was the emperor of the class. There was no democracy here."
    I say my classroom is a benevolent dictatorship.

    As far as "He was not going to cover geography because that isn't on the STAR (state) testing, so even though geography is important to US History (at least he conceded that), he wasn't going to teach it." it is a sad commentary upon what NCLB has done to us. Think about it, if YOU are being evaluated in Math are you going to do Art on the day you are being evaluated? I mean we are not allowed to teach to the whole child anymore. He maybe teaching only a percentage of the subject matter but if his students score 100% on it it looks like, well, 100% but if he teaches all the subject matter and his students know 100% on geography and score 80% on the history (in class the students will carry a about 85%) On the test they will score about a 80% he does not look as good.


    Disclaimer: all percents are just pulled out of a hat
     
  16. cmgeorge626

    cmgeorge626 Companion

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    Aug 5, 2007

    I don't know how it is in CA, but in TX parents have a right to choose their child's teacher. This is a little known fact and most principals aren't big on advertising it. That said, if your daughter doesn't want to switch classes maybe it's not worth all the fuss. Sometimes kids get embarrassed when a parent gets involved like that. However, I applaude you for your interest in your child's education!
     

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