About to make a serious allegation...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Teaching Grace, Feb 11, 2010.

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  1. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    I'm scared to do it. But I feel that I have to. Today I witnessed a fellow teacher telling a student that she was tired of looking at his sorry face. Honest to goodness. The more I think about it, the sicker I feel about it. This teacher has a lot of rough students this year and has become completely frustrated with the class. I just feel like I have an ethical and legal responsibility to report this teacher. I'm just scared at the same time that I'm wrong. Do you think I am? Or am I just having a natural feeling for "snitching"?
     
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  3. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    If it's an isolated comment I probably would not say anything or maybe speak one on one to the teacher. (Not saying that is right as we should never speak that way to anyone).

    But if you have ever heard this teacher treat kids this way before, I would have NO problem reporting that.

    I can't imagine why anyone would think saying that to a child would have a good outcome. Poor kid. If you can't depend on your teacher to treat you with dignity, who??????????????

    Don't get me wrong, I get onto my students when they act crazy, but I always try to say it while keeping their dignity intact.
     
  4. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    I've never heard her say anything else directly to them but I know she has been becoming increasingly frustrated with several of her kids and she has allowed it to show. She often tells us other teachers how her several students are worthless that day... This was the first mean-worded comment but not mean-sounding comment. Meaning her tone is often very degrading to these several students.
     
  5. Bumble

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    I wouldn't report her because it may make your work conditions uncomfortable. I would speak to her personally. I would say,"I heard you say this to Johnny. I would be careful because we are being watched. I wouldn't want you to get in trouble."
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I absolutely would not report this based on what very little I know.

    How old was the student? And yes, I feel that can make a difference. It doesn't make it right, but...well, I'll explain if I have to, but I'm pretty lazy at the moment.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Feb 11, 2010

    Just going by the info you have stated, rather than criticizing her for the manner she is dealing with the frustrations (which is inappropriate) I may approach the teacher and ask her if there is any way you can help her. Perhaps she just needs to be shown that someone else cares about her situation.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I don't think I would report her for this one incident. I'm sure she's beyond frustrated with this class if it is that bad. I would simply say that you overheard her saying that to the student and offer any help you can give her.
     
  9. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    I wouldn't report the teacher either. I have made statements that I now regret; they may not have been as serious as this one, but it seems that she is just getting very frustrated and is taking it out on the students. Perhaps you could assist her in allowing her to vent, talking to the students, etc.
     
  10. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I would not report it... not that I condone it.

    I had a master-teacher, very experienced, still passionate about her work, and a very sane and civil person (i.e. not some wacko). She was pretty good. BUT

    ...occasionally she would straight Yell and practically berate student(s) in a way that I thougtht was borderline troublesome (though now, can't remember what specifically she said. I was just like, WOW. Stunned.)

    But looking back, I didn't see it adversely affect the student in question, and it did impact the class' behavior (her class was the most respectful of the grade). Frankly, some kids may need that level of _____. Again, not saying I condone it, but short of calling a kid a racial slur or a curse word, I would brush it off.
     
  11. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Of course you should report this. This is abuse. This teacher needs help in how to relate to students in a professional, respectful, appropriate way at minimum, better would be if she could be uplifting, inspiring, express expectations, build a sense of common purpose...

    My TX teacher certification states I have an obligation to be vigilant for forms of child abuse and am required to report it or lose my license.

    I certainly wouldn't go to the principal with some sense of vindictiveness or alarm, but perhaps you can share this with the school counselor as a point of collegial concern. Let administration decide about 'isolated incident' and 'frustrated teacher.'

    Shame on those of you who would ignore this. Correcting kids is fine. Demeaning them and their appearance is wrong. What if you were the parent of that child?
     
  12. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    What else can you tell us about this incident? Did you only overhear this one comment, or is there a backstory? What led to you overhearing this comment? Are you certain this teacher is not the type to do this before or since? I think these are important questions to consider before you get yourself involved.

    OK, so to me, the phrase "tired of looking at your sorry face" seems southern to me. Is it? Like a phrase a southerner might say out of frustration? Just curious.

    Wrice, I really don't think it is fair to judge others based on their reactions, any more than it is fair to judge this teacher based on one comment. We know so little about this situation, can we really make a judgment call?
     
  13. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Definitely, I agree. We teachers shouldn't make a judgment call on fellow teachers. Administration should. They should be made aware of this incident and given the opportunity to do something constructive with this teacher. What would be better, to hear of this concern proactively and with the ability to quietly take this teacher aside and empower her to work more professionally with her kids, or to hear about this from the parent of the child?!?

    This may well be an isolated incident attributable to a teacher's bad day. Fine. Let the principal sweep this under the rug. We teachers should not make it a habit to idly stand by while kids are being abused, and we certainly shouldn't encourage other professional educators on a public forum to turn a deaf ear to abusive language.
     
  14. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I would talk directly with the teacher to make her aware of how it sounds and that she could be disciplined for it. As frustrated, or mad as she might get at her difficult students, she is going too far and should be reminded of this. If the situation doesn't improve, I would then speak to someone else. There is protocal. I think to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt and allow her to realize what she is doing and to correct it is the more professional manner to deal with this situation.

    I don't think that running to the administration every time there is a mistake is the wisest thing to do. You don't want to be percieved as an alarmist or a snitch. That could cause you problems that you don't want or need.
     
  15. futureteach21

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    I agree with Wrice. In any context, saying a comment like that is inappropriate. I can't imagine being told that by a teacher, the damage that would have done. If a teacher had ever said something like that to me, I think it would have really impacted my school success. Absolutely report this teacher, then you have done your job. Let admin determine what happens next.
     
  16. each1teach1

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    I disagree. I think that jumping straight to administration is taking it to the extreme. I think you should talk to the teacher first (maybe bring in a department head- in my department, our dept. head is very involved and helpful). She may have been having a really bad day, especially if as you say, you've never heard her say anything like that to a student before even though you know she's been increasingly frustrated. However, if you ever hear it again, then you should go to the administration.
     
  17. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    this would be enough for me to talk - she is telling you she thinks kids are worthless - enough said she doesn't need to be there. Think about those 20+ kids and all the kids in the past that she may have treated this way, and the other kids in the future if it isn't stopped.
     
  18. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    absolutely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
     
  19. Bumble

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    I thought teachers were suppose to work together as a team. Running to the admins to report the teacher is not helping the situation. Maybe she needs supports? Help her, don't reprimand her. If I ran to an admin about something like this I would not feel comfortable around this teacher and possibly others.
     
  20. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I hate to be the one going against the group, but speaking from the experience of dealing with something extremely similar, I would say speak to someone. A co-worker just returned from a year sabbatical where she was taking care of her husband who was injured, and then ended up being injured herself. I saw her do something that blew me away. I completely respect her as a teacher, and admire her as a friend. I was in shock for a day or two, then tried to talk to her (she blew it off as nothing). I went to a sped teacher who works with us both and expressed my concerns. She had concerns of her own and suggested that I really needed to talk to our principal. I did talk to her. Not in an effort to get the teacher in trouble, not to raise a stink, but because I am truly concerned that is a red flag that something is going on with the teacher that we need to be worried about. I know that there are "bad" teachers out there, but it sounds like the teacher you are dealing with is in a similar situation, stress, rough class that she has lost control over, and her self-control isn't as strong as it should be. It sounds like she needs help. For her sake, as well as her kids, I would suggest a quiet conversation with your principal (or vice, or counselor, someone in administration that you trust). It's a very hard place to be, and I wish you the best of luck.
     
  21. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Good job you don't hear me talking to my kids! Anyone hearing just a partial conversation I have with some of mine would have me fired straight away! However if you listened to the whole exchange then the context of what was being said would be clearer.
     
  22. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    True, but teachers are supposed to work for the good of their students at all times. That trumps teacher to teacher loyalty. Maybe the help she needs could come from admin, and it wouldn't be at the cost of student morale.
     
  23. mrduck12

    mrduck12 Companion

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    Feb 12, 2010

    Unless you know the exact context of what you overheard was used, my advice is to keep quiet and move on. Teachers like to interject too many of their own values into things that really don't involve them.

    Let's face it, nobody likes a tattle tale and schools generally have a few too many of them on staff.
     
  24. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Agreed!
     
  25. Allysundrop

    Allysundrop Rookie

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    Regardless of what you decide about telling the admin, you need to support this teacher. Do you have any teachers at your school that function as the "Mama Bear" or "Papa Bear"? Someone needs to listen to this teacher and help her out.

    I work at an extremely difficult school (and it's my first year), and I couldn't have made it this long without the help of my other teachers. I have never said anything like that to a student, but I have become INCREDIBLY frustrated with them. Today we had a fight in the cafeteria when I was on lunch duty and some of my kids were part of the mob that rushed out. They even trampled an administrator. I told them I was extremely disappointed in them and that I thought they were acting like idiots. I was careful to explain that they weren't idiots though, just acting like them....
     
  26. Toak

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    In itself, I wouldn't find that reportable. But context does come into play, and we don't know enough to comment on the rest.Would it make any difference to you if right before that the student had said, "I'm not going to look at your sorry face any more." - I know of a situation like that, where a teacher just repeated a student's words back to him, saying "I'm not going to --- either and that's why you are getting detention" and suddenly there was a call by parents for the teacher to be removed from the classroom

    So if that's all I heard, I would document, the time and date and keep it for future reference
     
  27. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I will just reiterate I am glad for the teacher that she didn't say that to my child. I think addressing this through admin is preferable to a parent like me :whistle: finding out from the child.
     
  28. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    You are (inadvertantly) creating an adversarial atmosphere, among your fellow faculty. If people see you as a "rat", or just the fact that there are "rats" or "sticks in the mud" in the midst, it will surely affect the way people interact with one another (especially around you). What you will get is a culture of whispering behind backs and such...

    I like the idea of bringing in a lead-teacher type and reasoning it out in a less formal way (I can imagine that you may be uncomfortable taking the issue up one-on-one with the teacher). Particularly if you are not party to the situation--i.e. you overheard it, but weren't "present" during the alleged bu+t-chewing. But to take it straight to admin, I'm sorry: that is a pretty good prescription for creating an uncomfortable work environment IMO.
     
  29. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    No, no difference. We aren't the kids here. Again, something should be done. she is saying kids are worthless and then is saying something so negative to a child....... If you stand by and do nothing you perpetuating child abuse. That is not acceptable.

    Yes she may be stressed, but nothing will be better by speaking to a kid that way. in fact, it will be worse. I know I would not care to behave better if my principal talked to me like that. And kids don't have as much control over feelings as adults do. I think some of you need to put yourselves in the kids' place. A teacher telling you, "I don't want to see your sorry face" what ?????????????? What makes that ok????????????? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I'm not saying she should be fired, but something should be addressed. Because I know if I were the parent and found this out - I would be out for blood. So she should be grateful that hasn't happened. And she does need to be watched more carefully.
     
  30. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    This is a classic example of what I mean... "perpetuating child abuse"? Seriously? ...because I wouldn't report it?

    This kind of leap in judgement is precisely where issues arise.

    Would it be OK for someone to say that you are perpetuate mass murder, because you choose to drive your car?
     
  31. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    your arguement makes no sense.
    Looking at a child and saying I don't want to see your sorry face ---- the damage that could cause to a kid.............. emotional scars are often worse than physical scars. I'm scared b/c you don't get that.
     
  32. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    My argument makes perfect sense; and the fact that you don't realize it is probably more scary (re: my car analogy). Again, you are overly projecting things on people based on something that transpired (in this case, my posts. In the other case, the teacher's words.)

    Because I choose *not to* report the incident, I'm endorsing child abuse? And because I don't report it--I'm ignorant to the potential of emotional scars? Those are two quite large leaps in judgement. Hence my analogy of car-driving to going-to-war-for-oil.

    Obviously there are many caring, thoughtful people who drive cars for various reasons. Doesn't mean they condone or even *are thoughtless* to the consequences of their choice to drive. There are sides to every story. That is why I would prefer to handle it w/o riling everybody up.

    BTW, I'm not trying to get into a pee-ing contest with you. Hopefully we can both see each P.o.V... at least a little bit.
     
  33. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    Okay. Thank you everyone for all of your feedback. I wanted to answer some of your questions and then tell you what my decision was today.
    - The child is 8.
    - This is not an isolated incident. This teacher can be heard in my room (through two levels of sound proof wall) yelling at the students in her room.
    - She actually had pulled me into her room and I had heard the entire conversation. It was her berating the student for not getting any work completed that morning. Then she made the "sorry face" comment.
    - This is not a southern comment.
    - This particular teacher has been known to tell me and other teachers in passing down the hallway (in front of students) that "so and so" is just worthless today and doing absolutely no work.
    -She has a class of 20 kids with 1 of them being extremely challenging and rubbing off on 4 others. They have been extremely trying to her and don't respond to any type of punishment.

    My thoughts have been: If this was my child, I would want someone to stand up for him. If this was my child, I'd want something done or said to the teacher. (This teacher is older than me, has taught for a year or two longer than I and is extremely opinionated about being right. I did not feel comfortable talking to her.)

    Now, this morning I spoke with the counselor and the reaction wasn't exactly what I was looking for. She was concerned with finding consequences that work for the students (which I do believe is important). But I know that it wasn't addressing the teacher's speaking down to the student.

    So, I then went and spoke with my Principal. She listened, agreed with me that it was a concern, clarified the details, took the student's name from me, and thanked me for "doing the right thing telling her even though it was the hard thing to do." She "wouldn't want someone to say that to her child either." About mid-morning I heard them call for the student to come to the office. The teacher's question (in front of all the kids in the class) "Is he in trouble?".....the poor kid doesn't have a really good home life. Isn't it our job as educators to provide a safe and secure environment for them at school so that they want to come to school and learn?
     
  34. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    Thanks for the update, T-n-2! It sounds like your colleague is having a hard time handling her difficult class. As trying as that is (btdt), a teacher is a "professional" and needs to act like one.
     
  35. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    I'm amazed at the posts that are so concerned about a comfortable workplace and a good relationship among teachers while completely ignoring the comfortable environment and safe feelings of the students and a respectful relationship between adult and child. A 'rat' or a 'stick in the mud'?!?! Are you kidding?!? We're obliged to look out for the welfare of the kids. Some posts make it seem as if the bully is the victim here!

    You did the right thing, teaching-n-2. You can rest easy with a clear conscience.
     
  36. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    yes you did the right thing. how dare she speak to an 8 year old like that. Like many of us, I have had trying kiddos. But I do my best to keep in mind they are KIDS. If I want them to behave better I certainly don't berate them. Anyone who thinks that is acceptable should not be allowed to work with kids.

    We see video all the time where people "mind their own business" while people are being beaten and even killed. Speaking to an already troubled 8 year old child like this will only compound his problems - not make them better. This teacher should be forced to take professional development to help in this area (love n logic) is great. But no one should allow this to continue. Now that you have informed admin, they are now responsible for taking care of everything. You know you did what you thought to be right and you can now rest easier.
     
  37. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Again, I hate to get into back-n-forth, but... who said "completely ignore" the situation? I think the ones who said they wouldn't report asked for clarification, or said they'd talk to the teacher, or that they should support the teacher. "Completely ignore?" :confused:

    And who said you ARE a rat or stick in the mud? I just referred to a perception that MAY come as a result. 100% of the replies said it was inappropriate on the part of the teacher (and especially within the context given--thanks to teaching-n-2 for clarifying a bit more ;))

    And please point out where the bully was made out to be a victim in some way?
     
  38. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I commend you for what you did. I know it wasn't easy, but did what was right for the child and for the teacher.

     
  39. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Perpetuate: to cause to last indefinitely
    sanction: to give official acceptance of something as satisfactory

    The two words are not interchangeable.
     
  40. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    ok this is just getting outright stupid. T-n-2, as a fellow teacher, I commend you standing up for what is right. I know it must have been a very hard step to take and certainly not one ANY of us envy.
     
  41. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Feb 12, 2010

    This thread has taken two very different directions. Since the original poster has resolved their situation I am going to close the thread.
     
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