Should I take action or let it slide?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by jasperd, Sep 19, 2007.

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  1. jasperd

    jasperd New Member

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    Yesterday, I checked my son (who is in the 4th grade) out early to go to an amusement park for his brothers birthday. I NEVER do this. This is a once in a blue moon thing. Last year he missed 3 days for being sick, he loves school. He doesn't miss often. Well, he didn't finish his homework because we were out late (which never happens) and today she pointed to the class that while they were being good and staying in school, Jack was at an amusement park. Then, tonight was back to school night and she was explaining the policies regarding homework. She said "I understand if a child doesn't understand the homework but that doesn't mean excusing them early and taking them to Disneyland" in front of all of the parents including my ex-husband who is trying to get custody to avoid paying child support. He knew who she was directing that to. I think this was a bit much. I am considering talking to the principal. If this happened often I could understand but it doesn't. Did she go overboard or am I in the wrong?
     
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  3. jitterbug2

    jitterbug2 Rookie

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    No, I do not think that you are going overboard. It is your business why you check your child out early, not hers. She does not have the right to announce things in front of anyone else and I believe that she is overstepping her grounds. She could be dealing with privacy laws here. From a teacher's standpoint I believe that you are in the right. Her principal needs to be notified because these are not issues that she needs to be discussing with other parents.
     
  4. just-n-educator

    just-n-educator Companion

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    How RUDE??? I mean I want to know what in the world was she thinking, making a comment like that?!?! I really don't know what I would have done if I was in your position. But JB2 is right I would bring it up to the principal. I mean this is YOUR child and you can do whatever you like, without having to make excuses.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jeopardizing your custody and child support is no small matter. Neither is criticizing your parenting or singling out your child. Exactly why was it necessary to bring it up?

    The principal would be hearing from me.
     
  6. TeacherRW

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    I guess I have a different take on this...

    As a parent, I might be miffed about it. Yes, the child is mine. BUT, it is also my responsibility to make sure that my child is in school and not being truant. The part about the teacher pointing out that he was at the park... I would take with a grain of salt. Was it a direct slam at your son literally in front of the rest of the class or was it kind of joking on the side? I am going to go with the "I'll believe 50% of what they tell me about home if you believe only 50% of what they tell you about school" rule.

    As a teacher, I have said the same thing at my parent meeting (or at least a version of it). I am tired of parents taking students out of school and having them fall behind for other occasions other than being sick. I tire of the excuses... I have a job to do, standards to meet, and other students to teach. I do not make exceptions for missing homework. Her saying what she did may have been out of frustration.... perhaps not professional, but we are all human. As a teacher, I might have a lesser tolerance for students who are habitually giving excuses.

    Before going to the principal, you should address this with the teacher. Give her the opportunity to talk to you. I would be miffed if a parent of mine went over my head before trying to work it out with me.
     
  7. January_Violet

    January_Violet Comrade

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    Summer is the same time every year. It was inappropriate for you to check your son out for an activity that could have taken place over the summer as well as on the weekend. Though her delivery in making her point was a bit "raw", that's a personal style. You are allowig your personal issues drive the want to "get this teacher back" when in fact, you are the person that's wrong, in my opinion.


     
  8. January_Violet

    January_Violet Comrade

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    What type of message is that sending to the child...being checked out of school to go to an amusement park...it boarders on being educationally neglectful.

     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    She said it was for her other son's bday and also that she has never done this before and it was a one time thing. I agree that you should probably talk it over with the teacher first and explain that you didn't appreciate the "jab" at open house. If the teacher seems unconcerned with it, I would then take it to the principal. I know that parents check students out for different reasons, but as a teacher, it is not up to me to know exactly why or announce it to other parents.
     
  10. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    I almost don't disagree with you. Personally, I wouldn't take my kid out for an amusement park even on a "rare" basis (I do take my kid out of school during the last week, but that's because he goes to Japan and attends school there for another five weeks), though I think there's room for disagreement here.

    The point I think the teacher overstepped her bounds was in announcing it to every one else. Teachers would be annoyed if a parent went to the principal directly, but at least that's within the appropriate system. Her delivery might have been "raw" if it had only been to the one parent -- delivering it to all the parents and all the children isn't raw, it's an error in judgment.
     
  11. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I do not agree with the teacher bringing this up in front of the others. I think that was very unprofessional. We may not all agree with what was done, but I don't think any of us can say we never skipped school or got out of school for something other than a doc appt. I know when I taught if we had a long vacation coming up with a half day before the vacation many of the parents pull their kids to head out early on their plans.

    I don't think Jasperd is being truant...how early did you pull him?? We don't know all the circumstances either & I don't need to know. I know of a few kids that even have their parents call them in as sick on their bdays.

    I think you should discuss it with the teacher & maybe write a letter to the principal, so he/she is aware of what is going on. Make sure you document what was said & done as well.

    I hope you had a nice bday with your boys!!! Now tell them to study hard!!!
     
  12. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    The truth hurts, doesn't it.
     
  13. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Not really sure who this is directed to...
     
  14. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    It's directed to anyone who pulls their children out of school for amusement purposes, and is then insulted when basic rules are brought up in public that shed light on such misconduct.

    That same announcement would not bring up this strong reaction in those who did not flaut the rules.
     
  15. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Well, I'm bowing out respectfully...because I don't think we as teachers can sit & judge when I know of teachers & parents who follow rules except for a couple times a year!!! Thank you & I hope the mom always does what she thinks is BEST for her family!!!
     
  16. marjo

    marjo New Member

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    Yes I do think that the teacher acted with no sensitivity and whether she was right or wrong it doesn't give her the right to embarass you or your child.
     
  17. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    If this mother had not broken the rules and expected to get by with it, she would not have been embarrassed by the mentioning of a circumstance in which some people break the rules and think it's okay.

    No names were mentioned in this teacher's announcement. Only those who were guilty could possibly have been offended.

    And, it's a legitimate announcement.
     
  18. amelie77

    amelie77 Rookie

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    Well, I can agree with both sides here. I feel that a parent has the right to remove their child from school on an occasional basis, such as leaving early for a family day together on a birthday. With that said, I also feel that parents need to teach their children that we have responsibilities in life that we must take care of even when we are busy with other things. Homework should have been first priority, then the park. I tell my students everyday that it doesn't matter where you had to go last night or what you had to do, homework still is expected to be completed. Of course there are exceptions- illness, death, etc., but in this case a day at the park, while not necessarily wrong, does not override school work responsibility. I do feel that the comment from the teacher was rude and wrong of her, and I do think you should discuss this with her. Let her know where you are coming from, and tell her how it made you feel. Maybe admitting that yes, you should have made sure homework was complete, might be a good thing. I applaud you for making sure that your child attends school regularly, and also for the fact that you obviously love and care for your child and want to spend time with him.
     
  19. jasperd

    jasperd New Member

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    Mamacita...Have you ever taken a vacation day? My son has been in school for 5 years and has had 2 vacation days in that time.

    Thanks to everyone for their answers. I think I know what I need to do.

    I admire the great job you are all doing and thanks again for the advice.
     
  20. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    In the 26 years of my public school career, I never took a 'vacation' day during the school year.

    There are enough 'built-in' vacation days during the school year to suffice for anybody, and the kids' actual 'vacation' is in the summer.

    My kids are grown and on their own now, but neither of them would dream of playing hooky from their jobs to go to King's Island. They go on weekends or actual sanctioned holidays, when the workplace is closed, or during their contracted 'off-time.'

    My children were in school for 18 years (grad degrees, both) and did their gadding on their own time. As did my husband and I.

    Still do.

    My conscience would not let me rest, EVER, if I reneged on my contracted promise to BE THERE on certain days of the year.

    I did take a few (not many) sick days, but those were built into the contract. When I quit, I had 110 of them in the bank.

    You get paid for those, you know. MONEY! For keeping a promise!

    Not every family puts school and promises at the top of their priority list, I realize. But we did, and we still do.

    If you want to take your children out of school so they can romp and play at an amusement park during school hours, go ahead.

    If you expect your child to be able to make up any work missed because you made the choice to let him splash in a waterpark on a weekday, when you AND he knew it wasn't exactly the 'right' thing to be doing, for YOUR convenience and the cheap rates, guess again. In most schools, that ain't gonna happen, and good on them!

    I love kids, and I'm all for birthdays and the occasional spree, but it's better for the world in general to do that on your own time.
     
  21. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    If she had ONLY said it at the back to school night, I'd agree that "no names were mentioned" means she's free of confidentiality concerns. Unfortunately, she also said it to the class of students, which means you have to assume that it got back to all the parents as gossip.

    If the teacher has a problem with it, she should say so directly to the parent, not play this power game (since you're getting comfortable with speaking straightforwardly -- that's really what it is). It's a terrible way to try to resolve anything and smacks of the type of antics you'd expect of middle-school girls.

    I think your view on attendance is basically correct, Mamacita -- she should not have pulled her child from school for an amusement park trip. She didn't ask if that was the right thing to do, however, so her view would be you're offering an unsolicited and rather aggressively worded opinion on parenting. The actual question was on whether the teacher handled it correctly, and I think you're letting your view on the parental offense cloud your judgment on that.
     
  22. January_Violet

    January_Violet Comrade

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    If she didn't specifically say the person's name, then the woman shouldn't assume. Though it may have pertained to her but why bother when she didn't directly say your name.


     
  23. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Because she referred to the student in class, and you know every kid in that class told their parents. If she hadn't done that, it still wouldn't be "anonymous" (because things like that tend to get out) but the teacher herself wouldn't be responsible for the breach. As it is, she might as well have announced the name at the back to school night, because it goes directly back to her anyway.

    To be honest, it was foolish of the teacher to mention that at all to the students even if she thought embarrassing the parent was the best way to get them to comply. Now they're all going home and telling their parents, "Well, Johnny was allowed to cut school to go to the amusement park, so why shouldn't I?" It makes problems for other parents, and it makes problems for her if other parents do end up believing it's okay.
     
  24. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I can honestly state that neither I nor my daughter ever even once took days off of school unless we were ill or it was a scheduled non-school day. I think it was irresponsible to check the boy out to go to the amusement park. Period. My daughter never had a birthday party ON her birthday unless it came on a weekend. Otherwise, we would have a special dinner (all her requests) at home, and allow her to open one present on her mid-week birthdays. Her party was always scheduled for either the weekend before or the weekend after her actual birthday. Now that I am a "nana" and a student teacher of 3rd graders, I believe in this policy even more strongly. We have many days that my 3rd graders are not taught Social Studies, Science, or Health (or all three), because reading, language arts, and/or math issues took up all of the time, and those are the (rightfully so) priority classes. It is hard enough to get the students to DO and to TURN IN their homework as it is. To add "gadding" (love the word, mamacita!) to the list of parentally sanctioned alternatives to being at school is, I believe, irresponsible. The children's JOB is to be at school, on time and engaged, every day that is humanly possible during the school year. Do kids get sick? Absolutely, and I would much rather a sick child stay home an extra day or so to ensure that s/he is no longer contagious. Whenever I see a post like this, I think of the girls in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Africa who long for an education -- there are girls out there who walk for MILES to go to school -- and that is when and where there IS a school AND they can PAY for it! Unfortunately, the western culture plays lip service to the need for education, but the educational system is treated like a stepchild. To compound the problem we have parents (like some of kids in my class), who think that there is no problem with taking their child out of school for X number of days to go camping, shopping, see a movie, visit an amusement park, sleep in, etc. I'm sorry, I realize that you felt targeted by the teacher's remark, but I am like others in that I am not sure that she did anything wrong. As far as the gossip is concerned, most kids in elementary school (and elsewhere as well) generally answer the question "What did you do at school today?" with the standard answer of "Nothing." I know that the only reason some of my students now have parents who know SOMETHING of what is going on is because we have made it mandatory for them to sign daily conduct/homework sheets and weekly grade reports! Isn't the job of teachers hard enough?
     
  25. amelie77

    amelie77 Rookie

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    A teacher with tact would not make comments to her children or to other parents about the practices of certain parents. A teacher should of course stress the importance of homework above all else, but specifically calling a person out to both the child's class and their parents is not the best way to deal with the situation. If the teacher has such a strong opinion about this, similarly to some of the above posters, then the teacher should go talk to that specific parent, not make comments to everyone else. Be an adult and say what you feel to the parent's face instead of trying to humiliate the parent and student in front others.
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I can absolutely envision a teacher saying, "It must be nice to get out of grammar to ride roller coasters, huh John?" -wink, wink, in a completely playful manner. The parent meeting...probably not the nicest thing to do. Still, please, please, please talk to the teacher first because it is equally as rude in my opinion to not give her a chance to explain, apologize, etc. before going to the principal.
     
  27. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    This topic just came up in a recent Wall Street Journal article as well. You may find the replies very interesting. I know I did.
    pulling kids out
     
  28. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Parenting skills (or the lack thereof) are one of the biggest contributors to the attitude and work ethic of the children, in school or elsewhere.

    Calling attention to them is sometimes the only way some people realize they've been out of line. And no, I am not referring to the teacher involved in this particular instance.

    Parents who don't instill in their children the fact that homework is practice, and practice makes perfect, are telling their children that the subject is unimportant, the teacher's directive doesn't have to be obeyed (I'm using THAT WORD again!) and that school is stupid. I think a teacher should address such issues.

    Parents who don't require their children to get enough sleep and enough food and warm clothing and regular showers are teaching their children that it's okay to be drowsy and hungry and dirty all the time, and that children aren't important enough to bother with. I think a teacher needs to address such issues.

    Parents who remove their children from school to go to the park or Grandma's house or to leave early for Cancun or just watch tv and play, are demonstrating a lack of regard for promises and education and protocol, and a general lack of regard for what people SHOULD do with an emphasis on what they just WANT to do. Teachers have a right to address this and all other "parenting" issues that have an impact on the classroom.

    Practice makes perfect, so we must be careful what we practice.

    Good habits, bad habits, selfish habits, wonderful habits. . . . they all become 'habits' because we practice them.

    I showed this thread to my daughter and she was horrified, too. "Take your child out of school to go to the carnival? What kind of mother would do that?" Well, now she knows.
     
  29. jasperd

    jasperd New Member

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    Mamacita, I think it is clear that we disagree but I don't think that calls a for personal attack on my parenting skills. I would not attack your parenting skills regardless of what I think. You don't know me as I don't know you. I would not judge somebody based on one thread that I saw in an online forum.
     
  30. dumbdiety

    dumbdiety Comrade

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    Wow...getting hot in this thread...
    I can see both sides. Yes, I feel it is wrong to yank a child out for something like a theme park if you could've gone on a weekend instead. However, the OP questioned the teacher, NOT the OP parenting skills.
    So yes, I do feel that teacher could have handled it MUCH better. Referencing homework was fine, but adding the Disneyland comment was going to far IMO.
     
  31. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I do agree that the teacher didn't handle the situation in the most diplomatic way (and you may want to speak to her privately about your concerns), but the message to the parents as a group was an important one.

    Every year I have at least one student tell me that they are glad they don't live in my family. This comment always follows a discussion in which it is revealed that I do not let my children miss school to go to the amusement park (no matter how close it is to the end of the year), or let them miss school so that they can sleep in after a late night or a busy weekend. There are nights my 17 year old is up until 4:00am completing assignments and he knows that he has to be up at 7:00am to go to school--there isn't another option. I have never pulled my children out of school for a vacation--I couldn't ask for time off to travel just because it is cheaper at another time.

    As far as homework goes, I recognize that "life" happens sometimes and homework can't be finished. Fortunately, these emergencies are few and far between. Sports practices and games, regular visits to grandma or dad, and planned evening events are not excuses--they just require that the students (and families) be organized so that homework can be completed early or in transit.

    I know that this may sound harsh, but I spend so much time working with students who are struggling to keep up and improve at the best of times; it is so difficult to make up even the smallest amount of lost time.
     
  32. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    I must be missing something, but me are talking about one afternoon ane one homework.The homework should not be over looked,but your son should have a chance to make it up.Some parents would have kept their children home for the day and nothing would be said. I feel the teacher used poor judgment in making a public announcement. I would speak to the teacher before I went to the Principal.This is a situation would likely not be repeated and should not be blown way out of proportion.
     
  33. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Is it possible to discuss an issue such as this WITHOUT calling into account parenting issues? It seems as if those are the very core of this thread.

    Some families emphasize education and commitment, and some families disregard both if something fun comes up.
     
  34. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Also a teacher saying something like that in front of the class deflates the child's sense of joy over his birthday. That's not forgiveable especially when it wasn't his decision to go somewhere on that particular day. He was just reaping the benefits of it. I would say something to the teacher to make sure all stories are straight and go from there. I wouldn't let it slide personally.
     
  35. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    I definitely see both sides. I think perhaps the teacher was reacting to several pull outs (not just yours). That does not excuse her of directing a comment at a child (if he did). I had a parent when I taught 4th (who was also a teacher) who took her child shopping one day and kept her home. Yes, I did not agree, but her daughter was a super student! She never missed school and was a pleasure in class. She had become overwhelmed with tests and projects and was really beating herself up. Her mom decided to give her a break. ALthough I may have handled it differently as a parent I respect that she was doing what she thought would help her daughter. Haven't any of us just ever said - I can't deal with it today??? Anyway, I think we as teachers get frustrated too becuase it is more work for us when a students misses. It's a fact of life that kids will be absent. I think we might stay saner if we'd just let it be (unless it is excessive). :2cents:
    Anyway, I would send the teacher an email or note perhaps. By phone things could get heated IMO. If you don't feel resolved after that I would call for a conference. :)
     
  36. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    Anyone ever use a personal day? I know I take my son to a Christmas show every year and use a personal day for it. It is during the week (gasp!) and I don't want the daycare taking him without a parent. This child didn't even miss a full day. School is important, but so long as the child keeps up with his studies, I don't see the big deal. She didn't pull him for a week and it is not a regular thing. I always celebrate my child's birthday on whatever day it falls. That is important to my family. Family priorities are important too.
     
  37. turtlegirl

    turtlegirl Companion

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    ok... so the teacher should not have made a comment.... BUT did she use your name? Did other parents know that you had taken the child out of to go to the amusement park? Or are you feeling guilty and feel she was directing it to you....

    Also how early did you pick him up? And if you did pick him up he should have completed his homework anyway.....I am sure you wouldn't have heard any comment if he had at least completed the assignment. We are trying to teach our children responsibility and what you are teaching(even if it is one time) is.... it's ok to skip out on your responsibilities when its your brother's birthday and we have other things to do....
    Unfortunately the teacher may had gone about expressing herself in the wrong way BUT she definitely had a right to be disappointed.... How would you like if she didn't come in tomorrow prepared to teach your son because she had gone out tonight???
     
  38. cosmoteach

    cosmoteach Rookie

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    A teacher should know better...

    Are you a teacher? You should know better! Weekends, Summer, and vacations are used for this. I have children and I love to spend time with them- but I do it when it does not hurt their schoolwork. Yes, the teacher was a bit blunt, but come on. Surely, there had to be a better day to celebrate.
     
  39. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Umm, cosmoteach, I think that January_Violet's post was agreeing with your point of view. You might want to read it again.
     
  40. cosmoteach

    cosmoteach Rookie

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    Thanks pwhatley...I was actually displaying that post to show that there is an agreement on this issue. When I was responding, I was talking to the original post. Read outside of the box (that is what good teachers do) But, thanks for coming out.
     
  41. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 19, 2007

    I see it differently. Though I don't necessarily take my kids out of school, I don't see where a single day out of the year when many kids miss far more often for less offenses is really that big of a deal. In real life, you do get vacation time. In fact, teachers also take personal leave quite often. My deal was having the teacher say ANYTHING to the kid when he is the innocent is unprofessional. Sure we all react and it isn't the end of the world either, BUT as a parent I would have to tell them I felt it was inappropriate and appreciate the teacher for not putting my son in the middle of it like that. I would have had to talk about it. It doesn't matter what the teacher feels about the parent. The teacher is the PROFESSIONAL. Parents should be perfect but they are not being paid to take care of other people's children.

    Another example...Today a teacher was exasperated over the fact that some parents didn't pay for their child's fieldtrip shirt. Our school really is mostly free from food to afterschool programs. So the teacher reacted too quickly and told the student, "So you don't have your shirt? Well fine! I guess you aren't going on the fieldtrip then." Keep in mind the ENTIRE school was going on this fieldtrip so the teacher absolutely had no authority to begin with. Was the parent wrong? Different sides can be argued for that. Was the teacher wrong? Absolutely. The child is not in charge of paying for that Tshirt. We all react out of frustration and certainly the teacher was talked to about it. It wasn't blown out of proportion by having the teacher formally reprimanded, but we do need to remember we are the professionals. We have to be above things even when we don't agree with it. They are not our children. We are hired for a job. We have to deal with parent's apparent failure with doing thier job, but that doesn't hold us less accountable for our part. That's why I'm a little startled at how harshly you guys are treating the parent when the real issue is about a teacher's professionalism. I wouldn't fire her but she isn't less accountable just because she feels strongly against the idea of kids being pulled for a vacation day.

    I have never really been one to take my kid out for vacation. As far as I remember, I never have. When my husband gets back from Afghanistan, it's not going to matter to me what day that falls on. We are all taking a vacation day.
     
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