Don't I have a right to be disappointed?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by holliday, May 24, 2010.

  1. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    May 24, 2010

    So I got an angry email from a parent today because on our online gradebook, my student teacher wrote the following as a comment on a missing project:
    We had five weeks to complete this project. We had class time and you had time at home to finish this project. I was very disappointed to see that you did not bring a single thing with you to class for this project- not even your notes!

    This is for a HUGE project (7th grade) that the kids had 5 weeks to work on WITH a partner of their choice.

    The parent felt that the word "disappointed" was way too harsh and would basically traumitize his child. Am I really out of line here? Even though I didn't write it (my student teacher did), I feel it's okay for a child to hear that word from an adult who sees him not doing what he is capable of doing.

    -footnote - this is a child who does the bare minimum (if that) and now I feel like it's probably because his parents are too afraid of damaging his self esteem to ever say a negative word to him as he fails class after class. Hmm...:confused:
     
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  3. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    I have no problem with the word disappointment.
     
  4. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Is there a different way that the parents would like teachers/adults to express disappointment?

    Is the parent truly upset about the word "disappoint" or are they upset about something else? Something sounds fishy here.
     
  5. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Some parents, I just don't get. Nitpicking the specific words your ST used in the comment should be the last of the parent's concerns.

    And no, I don't see anything wrong with the phrase "very disappointed." If anything, I'd drop the exclamation point and reference to notes (though the student should hear it, in a comment it's just too specific). Again, though, the parents should really be focusing on their kid more than a brief note on a page.
     
  6. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    The dad explained to me that psychologists advise against that word. It "destroys the bridge" of communication between parent and child and then the kid can't ever recover from knowing that mom or dad (and I guess teacher) were disappointed in them.

    Apparently this guy teaches college (although I'm unclear about exactly what position he has - he's not a professor) and his boss doesn't want them to use that word with the adult students, either.

    --I just find this hard to believe. Are there really all these professional conversations going on about this word? Do we really believe kids are so fragile we can't ever express it when they've let themselves down? I have to admit to feeling really annoyed by this attitude.
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My students respond much better to "disappointment" than to "anger". It's not so bad to make someone angry; it hurts when you disappoint someone you care about.
     
  8. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    You can find a psychologist who will say almost anything you want, and I doubt very much that any consensus has been reached about this one word. This sounds very much like a fringe idea based on the vague ideas in some Ph.D.'s head, rather than on anything like evidence.

    For what it's worth, though, the idea that you should be going with what's effective isn't a bad one. Your original post said "Aren't I allowed to be disappointed" -- and of course you are, but whether you communicate disappointment or something else should be based more on whether it will work. But then, you could turn this right around on the parent and ask them what methods they've used that have worked, and in what contexts those techniques have worked. If they really believe in saying nothing negative, let them come out and say that. Preferably in front of some administrators.
     
  9. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Disappointed is an appropriate word in this case, I don't see what the problem is here - they did not meet expectations that were clearly stated.
     
  10. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    May 24, 2010

    I think disappointed is the exactly correct word.
     
  11. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I would love to know what word the parent thinks is appropriate in this case....and I would also love to know what actions he's going to take to ensure that his child lives up to the basic standards in class. I get the feeling that the parent is annoyed that the kid didn't do the project and is taking it out on you.
     
  12. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    I think it sounds just fine.
     
  13. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Since your ST did not say YOU are a disappointment, but rather that he/she found it disappointing that the time was ill used and the result was not a desired outcome, I think you are well within the bounds of acceptability.

    I'M DISAPPOINTED that these particular parents have created the need for this conversation. Perhaps their child's communication gap could be solved by hearing instruction from the teacher and fulfilling it!
     
  14. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I purposefully use the word 'disappointed' when I want to really make an impact on a student in a situation. It's a word that cuts to the core of me when others use it, so I assume the same with my students. Sometimes you need to stop a kid in their tracks and get them thinking about their actions.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Even if you wrote this and not the student teacher, it should not be a problem. No feedback, you lose. Sincere feedback, you lose.

    I say look forward to summer! :)
     
  16. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    There's no pleasing some people so don't try. We get challenges like this all the time and it always blows over. I agree with JustMe...look toward summer! Yay!
     
  17. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Isn't disappointed the word you're "supposed" to use for Love and Logic? I use it...
     
  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Same here. I don't see anything wrong with it.
     
  19. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I used that word in regards to one of my students this year. He's a great kid, involved in everything, tries really hard, but I caught him cheating on a test.

    I told him to come and see me at lunch and when he did, the first words out of my mouth were to express my disappointment in his actions. He started to cry. I felt bad, but it was the truth. I taught him a few years ago, at a different grade level and never in a million years would I have assumed him to cheat.

    I called and talked to mom and she thought it was more than appropriate.

    One of my biggest pet peeves (although I don't think that's the right word...) is when I see parents try to over shelter and buffer their kids from consequences.
     
  20. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Pfffffttt.... oh man! What is this kid going to do when he gets (if he ever does) a job and the boss is disappointed that he didn't meet a deadline, or do a job correctly? Call his mommy and daddy to talk to the boss for him and tell the boss never to use the word disappointed? Oh brother!
     
  21. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Exactly! Sometimes the truth hurts, but it still needs to be heard. The sooner kids learn that, the better prepared they will be for life in the real world.
     
  22. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm a huge Love and Logic proponent (just loaned the book to my principal) and agree that this is the appropriate term. The STUDENT is not the disappointment but the ACTION is. It is worded properly and everything.
     
  23. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I think its because of this lame "research" that says we can't use works like "upset" or "disappointed" that we have lazy students. When a teacher told me they were disappointed in my work, I would make sure I improved on future assignments--- same when I got that feedback from my parents.

    We're babying the students and they perform horribly in school--- which sadly will translate into them doing poorly in the work force. My god--- America needs to grow a set.
     
  24. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    This kills me! I am amazed that the word disappointed is the cause of concern ..NOT the fact that the student is FAILING! I think many people try to deflect the true issue so it is on you and not the student! :(
     
  25. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Its sad that the parents don't care enough about the lack of work.
     
  26. MrsKP

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    To me, disappointed is a good word for "lazy" students to hear. It means "I thought you could, and I expected you to do better, but you didn't."

    Being "angry" or "upset" doesn't say anything positive about the student. If you're disappointed, it means you believe in the student and have high expectations of what they can accomplish.
     
  27. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    BioAngel- Haha, I completely agree :)
     
  28. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.
     
  29. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Well said.
     
  30. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I think I want to make this into a poster....
     
  31. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I think so too.
     
  32. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Disappointed is fine. If they only knew what we really wanted to say sometimes...
     
  33. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    Thanks, all. I didn't realize all this conversation was happening...I wasn't getting my email notifications.

    Anyway, I just wanted to confirm I wasn't totally crazy in thinking that "disappointed" wasn't a dirty word. I truly feel sorry for this boy because his parents have worked so hard to make sure he never has to feel any personal responsibility. I have used this word in similar situations with other students, and refuse to take it out of my toolbox. I loved the comment about how what it really communicates is that the adult believes in the student. That was exactly the intention in this case.

    Oh, well. At least the dad let it go. And now I AM ON SUMMER BREAK!! :haha: Wooooooooooooooooh!
     
  34. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    :unsure: I save using the word "disappointment" for major situations. I did use it once this year for a situation that involved out-of-line close to bullying type behavior from a boy, and he cried when I said that I was disappointed in his behavior. What I said was highly effective to him, and I never saw him do it again.

    But, in this case, I also would have supported my ST and asked the parents what words they would have used to express personal concern about not having worked to potential. It does seem like an over-reaction on their part, and a focus on the wrong thing. They are the ones who should have said to their son that they were disappointed in what he chose to do.

    It's kind of like the word "lazy". Even if the kid is "lazy", it's one of those words that cause a problem when parents hear it. Parents tend to focus in on the word instead of the message.
     
  35. nothermanda

    nothermanda Companion

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    This is a long shot, but some parents are irritated by anything that sounds like a teacher is taking something personally. "I am disappointed" is better than "I am angry," but it still focuses on the teacher's feelings rather than the student's problem.

    Of course, in your situation, it's probably just misplaced perspectives, but I thought I'd throw in my :2cents:!
     
  36. hp123

    hp123 Comrade

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    responsiblity

    As someone who is getting certified in Middle School Social studies, I think teaching students to be responsible is important. It is appropriate to be dissapointed when they don't meet expectations. At this age, you are working hard to teacher them to be a good citizen, and make good choices.

    I feel that far too many parents want to "baby" their children and never give them the opportunity to make mistakes. These are important lessons to learn.

    I think all the psychology has caused parents to lose their common sense skills when it comes to raising children!
     
  37. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Some teachers wouldn't be disappointed because they wouldn't care. I'll take a teacher's disappointment...
     
  38. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    We ... as a society ... seem to get weaker with each passing day... What will become of this kid when he's out in the real world?..:eek:
     
  39. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    A couple of days ago I explained this to a student had turned in 400 points worth of work in 24 hours and still failed my class. The quality of the assignments was high but it was only work he had given me all semester. I explained that I was not disappointed in him, but in his choices that led to this point.
     
  40. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Maybe you can tell the parent you are disappointed with his response?

    JK

    :whistle:
     
  41. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Okay, I hear such things often. Hate the sin, not the sinner. You're not bad, but that decision was. But for some reason (sleepy?), I'm having a hard time understanding what the true difference is in being disappointed in him and being disappointed in his choices. I think being disappointed in someone doesn't mean you still don't love and value them, and I think it's perfectly okay to be outright disappointed in a person. Again, I wasn't able to order pizza like I planned, I really need a heavy dose of chocolate, I'm sleepy, and I have to get up especially early in the morning...so I apologize if I come across as super argumentative! :)
     

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