Frustrated with daughter's teacher: vent

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bandnerdtx, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Sep 24, 2008

    My daughter attends a private college prep secondary school. Because of Hurricane Ike, all of our local schools (public and private) have been out for the last 8 days.

    Today, when my daughter went to her U.S. history class, the teacher (a first year) decided to show them the movie ELF! Hello?! After 8 days of no school, they come back to a blow off day with a children's holiday movie?!

    I've sent her an email asking her if she could please let me know the educational reason behind her decision. I mean, I can *sort of* understand showing a movie (not really... no one on my campus had an easy day), but SURELY, there's a more appropriate movie for US History than ELF! :dunno:

    My real dilemma is trying to decide whether or not to go ahead and complain to the principal. I think I want to give her a chance to respond, but at the same time, I don't want to let the problem go unnoticed by her administration. She's a first year teacher, and she's already shown that she's having problems with managing her time and keeping up with her grades. Part of me thinks the admin is just as much to blame. *Someone* needs to be assisting her, checking her lesson plans, giving her some guidance, etc.

    Ugh. Really, I'm just venting to my AtoZ peeps... :thanks:
     
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  3. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    I think it's really noble that you went to the teacher first! There is nothing worse than a parent going over a teachers head without first consulting the teacher. I would give her a day to respond to your email and then go to the principal. ELF certainly doesn't seem like US History to me, but they have been crazier things-- :)
     
  4. michelleann27

    michelleann27 Cohort

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    Wow I would also do the same contact the teacher then if nothing is done go to the P. I would that is insane.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    With all due respect, I'm not sure this is one that an administator should have to explain. I'm not sure an adminstrator should have to anticipate a teacher not knowing that ELF is an inappropriate choice as an educational film (especially after losing EIGHT DAYS of school.)

    I would give her until tomorrow to respond, then call the principal on Friday.
     
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    :lol: *sigh* Isn't that the truth? I just want them to get this girl some help before she does some permanent damage to her career.
     
  7. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Totally agree- Definitely not something admin would anticipate. UGH!!
     
  8. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Glad to know that you are getting back to school. My classes have been praying every period (Catholic School) for all of ya'll affected by Ike. They were so scared after Gustav for wherever it hit. We were out for 10 days between Ike and Gustav and I know that in my school we were told the day before we returned that it better be back to academic work as normal. It was ok for us to review but no fluff (my principal's words) so the admin might appreciate knowing about this. I know I would be furious if this happened to my daughter.
     
  9. blessedteacher

    blessedteacher Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2008

    I believe that you made a valid point by pointing out that she is a first year teacher. She may not know how to deal with the situation that she is in with losing that much time and the stress that comes with it.Maybe she didnt want to get right back into the swing of things. She probably thought it would be easier to just let them watch a movie for some type of enjoyment as a way of trying to get their minds at ease before she pushes them forward into their lessons. Although this may not have been the best idea, I dont believe notifying the principal is the best response. With that being said, I dont know about any other issues that you have seen with her.
     
  10. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    That's very sweet of you and your students. I'll be sure to pass on the message to my kiddos. :hugs:
     
  11. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Blessed, the *teacher* in me totally agrees. I tried to approach it the way *I* would want to be approached if a parent was upset with me.

    I think I'll wait until Friday and see what she says, then I'll decide if I need to go to the principal.
     
  12. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    She may also be drowning and need some time to get stuff in order to be more productive. No excuse but still...
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I would do exactly what you are doing: email the teacher, get a response and then if the response isn't to your liking go to her admin about it. I know as a first year teacher, it took some time to get used to the grading, teaching, and other responsibilities, but even a first year teacher should know that after missing 8 days, ELF is not the best "educational" movie to watch.
     
  14. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Several things:

    First, where I live, if a parent contacts the principal, the admin asks the parent if they have spoken to the teacher. I already had an issue with this this year because of miscommunication. The parent phone my P. and he told her to call me. (The worst part is she works in my division so she should know better) So the best thing you could do is contact the teacher first.

    Second, I haven't marked anything this year. At all. We've been in school since August 25th. I had a friend die two weeks into school and an immediate family member passed away a week and a half later. I've missed 5 days of school for bereavement leave. I was also observed and evaluated two days after a funeral.

    You have no idea what is going on outside the school for this young woman. For all you know, she's dealing with something similar. Having attended two funerals in less then a month, been evaluated and am teaching 8 new classes, marking is not my main priority right now. I also was unable to move until two weeks until the year because of difficulty with my landlord.

    Don't judge too harshly. You have no idea what is going on.
     
  15. Mrs.ABC123

    Mrs.ABC123 Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2008

    hey there!

    I totally understand how you feel. I wonder if the new teacher just did not have any time to gather materials and plan with the unexpected break from school....perhaps she was just showing the movie their first day back because she did not have time to plan (understandable if there was a hurricane and she could not get into the school)....you have done your piece in contacting the teacher. I would give it a little bit of time to let her and the kids get back into the swing of things and then judge the situation from there.
     
  16. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    Sep 24, 2008

    Canadian Gal is right, don't judge others until you know all the facts.
    Please let us know how she replies to your email.
     
  17. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Sep 25, 2008

    I got a response from the teacher, and basically she said that she was following administrative orders and didn't want to overwork the students on their first day back. Hmmm....
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 25, 2008

    Still....ELF???

    Gone with the Wind I can see, but ELF???
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 25, 2008

    Gone with the Wind, yes; or 1776 (which yields surprising insight on the writing of the Declaration and the issues of independence and even slavery); any of several movie versions of Johnny Tremaine; any amount of PBS kid video, including the series Liberty's Kids; Buster Keaton's classic Civil War silent The General; pretty much anything from PBS's American Experience series; the Schoolhouse Rock America Rock video, which gives a hefty dose of civics along with some durable and delightful jazz...

    A little heavier would be chunks of Ken Burns's heartbreaking Civil War, or one of his documentaries, perhaps on jazz or baseball; Tora! Tora! Tora!, which tells World War II from both US and Japanese perspectives...
     
  20. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 25, 2008

    bandnerd-Are you going to the admin to make sure that that was their orders?
     
  21. Learner4Life

    Learner4Life Cohort

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    Sep 25, 2008

    Then you now have every right to complain to the admin.!!!!
     
  22. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Sep 25, 2008

    well, light and useless are two totally different things.
     
  23. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    band,

    I would email the principal post haste and say that you contacted the teacher and her response was that HE (or she) had told the teacher to show a movie, and you, as a parent, are trying to understand how the movie Elf relates to US History.

    See what type of response you get from the principal.

    I would be livid if my child's educational time had been wasted like that. I understand movies that are relevant to a topic. I understand movies that are shown as a reward for good behavior. I don't understand movies that have nothing to do with the topic and which are not being shown as a part of a behavior program.
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    (looking potentially sheepish, and trying to figure out whether it fits)

    Was that a response to my post, Ms. mm, ma'am?
     
  25. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    nope...it was in repsonse to the comment that the teacer was following the admin's instructions to keep the first day back "light". Light work would have been a review, a movie such as the ones you suggested, or even National Treasure (either one). Heck, some of the charlie brown movies would have been a better choice. Useless is a movie such as ELF.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Whew!
     
  27. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    MM, I couldn't agree with you more. I'm sure that by "light" the principal meant "don't pile them up with work from the 8 missed days" not "let them have free time and watch a meaningless movie." None of her other teachers behaved this way, so I don't think it was a lack of communication on the principal's part, imho.

    The class meets every other day, and today the teacher sent a message via several other students to my daughter telling her that she "was looking" for her. DD wasn't able to find her, so I don't know what the teacher was/is going to say to her. I'm going to wait until they talk tomorrow before I decide how to proceed.
     
  28. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Keep us posted. I would be pretty upset -- with the teacher and with admin (for not keeping a better eye on the first-year teacher).

    My students won't be in class until Monday -- which means they will have been out of school since the afternoon of the 11th. That's eleven days they have missed. I may not go so hard on them that first day, either, but you can bet they won't be seeing ANY movie in my classroom!
     
  29. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I feel bad for the teacher she obviously doesn't know what the heck she is suppose to be doing. I wonder if she has a mentor.
     
  30. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jamie, I agree, which is why I am probably going to go to the admin. Like I said in an earlier post, it's obvious that she's clueless as to what is expected and professional. Where's her department chair, if no one else?
     
  31. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    The admin must take a lot of the blame. I know I was watched like a hawk last year because it was my "first" year (nevermind 5 years at the college). A new teacher needs appropriate supervision, especially in a situation such as this one.
     
  32. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    As a new teacher I wholeheartedly agree.

    I have a team leader, two mentors and a principal all holding my hand, and I am quite grateful for it.

    I am old enough to have a modicum of common sense, but it never hurts to have more experienced folks watching my back -- and those of my students :)
     
  33. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The teacher sent a message via several other students??? This better be something very innocuous.
     
  34. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    So why was she looking for her?
     
  35. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I was just going to add that even something as almost-purely-entertaining as National Treasure would be a world better than Elf.

    To add to it all, I hate watching seasonal movies out of season. :)
     
  36. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Umm I have kids look for other kids for me all the time. If I don't have time to run around the school looking for a kid and its not something hugely important that I need to bother the secretary to call a student to my room. It could have been something totally simple, like the fact that she has an assignment for her or something of that nature.

    I see nothing wrong with asking a student to tell another student I need to speak with them.
     
  37. swtteacher

    swtteacher Rookie

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    I'm rather surprised that so many people are saying that the admin is to blame. Do other schools keep tabs on first year teachers in such a way that they would know that she is showing a movie?? I am shocked.
    In my school, first year teachers are given support, certainly, but not observed multiple times a day!! I don't see how else admin would be aware that she was showing a movie unless someone was constantly running by her class. That said, I do agree that Elf was not an appropiate choice--although I really don't think a call to the principal is in order
     
  38. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sure: that's innocuous. And if that's all that was going on, no sweat. It's just a potentially ominous coincidence, is all. (And, for entirely unrelated reasons, I'm somewhat more than usually cynical-and-paranoid today.)
     
  39. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    The first day back after an absence of 8 days-- the administration must have been BUSY. Imagine just trying to get the attendance together-- trying to determine which kids and teachers had relocated, how to work around damaged classrooms, how to get lunch together in the event that the cafeteria was damaged.

    I cannot see how the administration should have been expected to check on this young woman's lesson plan for that first day. I would imagine that every single adolescent in the class knew it was out of line. An adult professional, no matter how new, most certainly should have known the same.

    I'm all for mentoring new teachers, but I think it's reasonable to expect that professionals, charged with teaching our kids and keeping them safe, show at least a modicum of common sense. This young woman seems to have slipped up in that area.
     
  40. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    My daughter has her class today, so I'll let you know how things unfold.

    I hope that the "Ms. X wants to see you" messages that my daughter got yesterday were indeed innocent. Truthfully, I'm pretty confident that they were, but I still want to wait and find out for sure before I decide if I need to pursue this further. I'm not on a witch hunt for this lady. I don't think anything I've said or done indicates that.

    As for the role of the administrator: I don't think that the admin is responsible for watching a new teacher like a hawk and observing her daily, but in most buildings I've worked in, teachers (especially first years) ARE required to turn in weekly lesson plans. As a matter of fact, this school requires that teachers post the lesson plans online every week for the parents to see. All of my daughter's teachers had lessons posted except this one. That's the kind of thing that someone (a mentor, department chair or admin) should be checking.
     
  41. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    I'm going to stand up for this young woman again. We don't know what happened to HER during the hurricane. For all we know, her home was damaged, her possesions destroyed and her family may have relocated. Perhaps the only DVD she could get her hands on was Elf.

    I know that after 6 snow days last year, I was busier the first day the kids were back then the kids were. We had three emergency meetings that day, we had to reschedule activities including basketball games and wrestling tournaments which had been postponned to the weather, and all my kids did was a simple reading assignment.

    However, if her copies of the texts had been damaged or destroyed and she hadn't been allowed into the school until the day the students returned, there is no way that she can prep this.

    Turn in weekly lesson plans? I'm in my fourth new division in as many years. I turn in year plans. I will be surpervised four times this year by the superintendent, and my principal pops into my room every now and then, especially when I am doing an interesting activity like a simulation game. I can't believe teachers have to post weekly lesson plans online. A weekly summary makes sense, but everything? WOW.
     

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