I'm a teacher who found your site through educational blog rings about a year ago. I read because I appreciate hearing the perspectives of a Board member, and, more importantly, those of a parent with a special needs child. At times, however, it also demonstrates a pattern of dealing with educational conflict that I find can often cause more harm than good.
This post certainly describes a teacher who made a bone-headed decision that put Neo in an uncomfortable and unfair position. I don't defend the teacher's actions one bit.
But I do wish you would reconsider your approach to situations such as this one. Certainly call the teacher. Certainly express your disapproval and concern. But please also ask her for any further information that you may not have (I'm not sure what it might be in this case, honestly, but should always be asked as a sign of good faith), and give her a chance to work through the matter with you personally before you call a VP. Not because I don't want her to "get in trouble," but because she is an adult, and she deserves for you to express your displeasure to her personally. It's a far more effective and professional first step to take. If it's not solved at that level, then I'd be the first one to call a VP at that point. But everyone makes a bone-headed mistake. Give this person time to make it right with you and Neo herself. That's what I would want for my own friends and family when they make mistakes, and I have no doubt you would want the same for yours.
Best of luck resolving this situation. I hope it is addressed successfully for all parties involved.
To which I replied:
Thanks, but I have to call the VP to find out who the sub WAS on that day.
And the VP is the only person at that school who is actively looking out for my kid, Board member status be damned. He was the one who set up the SST meeting for her at the start of the year, he's the one who checks up on her at lunch to make sure she's OK. I'm calling the VP.
In most situations, I'd email the teacher first, ask for her phone number, and talk to her. But, I'm sorry if you don't want to hear this, this situation pissed me off, and I am going straight to the VP with it. The teacher will simply have to deal with hurt feelings and be a professional in his/her job.
I'm pretty much done with teachers and staff refusing to accept criticism by saying, "But I have feelings too and you should have helped me lick my wounds." The VP is her supervisor, and that's who I would report a rude store clerk to, the manager. I wouldn't try to chase the clerk down and get her to express her side of the story.
Man. I wish teaching wasn't all about the emotions of the adults. Because the kids have emotions too, and the adults who complain about hurt feelings are at the very bottom of my list of worries.
And if you really think that EVERY conversation I have with EVERY teacher on EVERY topic is spelled out here, you are very mistaken. I send flowers to teachers, I give them hugs, and say great things about them in front of other parents. I nudge them towards getting better training, and I let them know what the larger public thinks of their efforts, good and bad. But I don't chronicle that here. Sorry if you thought I did.
Sometimes someone does something so boneheaded that they truly deserve to get their feelings hurt.
Signed, an angry parent and a frustrated to hell and back Board Member.
OK, here's the thing that sent me over the edge, just so you all don't think that I'm some sort of raving lunatic. Perhaps it will better explain why parents get so easily frustrated with teachers, since I'm going to assume that very few of you out there are Board Members who get complaints from parents about teachers, and who have had to navigate this particular quagmire.
My child's teacher is a professional.
My child's teacher sees my child for more hours of the day than I do.
My child's teacher is an employee of a professional organization.
As a parent who is concerned for her child's well being, I expect the teacher to act with the utmost professionalism at all times. Most of what Anonymous said about solving it at the one to one level makes some sense, but on the other hand, Anonymous said, "Give this person time to make it right with you and Neo herself. That's what I would want for my own friends and family when they make mistakes, and I have no doubt you would want the same for yours."
This is the attitude, this one right there in that sick purple color that drives me right over the edge. This teacher is not my friend, nor is she my family. Because you hang out with my kid does not make us friends, and I'm not taking her out to coffee to patch something up.
How exactly is the teacher going to work out a solution with ME? I'm not the one she pulled to the front of the class. Do I want her to come back into class, put more attention on my child, and explain that it was a mistake? No. Do I want her to apologize to my kid? Maybe, but Neo never wants to look in her face again. I want her to recognize from someone in authority that if she ever does that again, she could seriously jeopardize the integrity and reputation of the District, if not her own teaching abilities. It's racist. It's stupid. And I shouldn't have to explain this to her.
Maybe she could have told me over coffee that she was planning to use my daughter as a class example, and then I could have told her that it was a stupid idea, not to mention some sort of racial profiling. But she doesn't treat me as a friend, letting me poke around in her lesson plan, and I would be shocked if she did so. She has a job to do. In her job, she has a boss. Her boss evaluates her, keeps her on target, and corrects her when she's drifting off course. As I said in the comment, if I ran into a store clerk who said something odd, I wouldn't follow the store clerk and get her side. If a more professional person made an error, perhaps a lawyer or a nurse, I wouldn't necessarily take it up with them either, if they worked for a large company. I'd report what I experienced to that person's supervisor.
A doctor or a lawyer who is self-employed, well, that's an entirely different story. That's more like a marriage.
Teachers are perhaps the most emotional people I have ever encountered in a place of business. Sometimes it's great. Sometimes it is all so very inappropriate. As a rule, teachers do not like to think of themselves as employees in a large corporation. Teachers, as a rule, do not like that they get evaluated. They do not believe that principals, former teachers, should have the ability or the right to tell them that what they are doing in class is on-task or appropriate.
The back side of that is that it is very, very, very hard to dig a bad teacher out of the system. Not an abusive one, or an aggressive one, just a bleh, lazy one. The evaluations generally are not particularly honest or in-depth, because an honest evaluation is usually met with great lumpy tears and exclamations that feelings were hurt.
I am coming to the end of my term as a District leader. Soon I will just be an obnoxious parent. If you want to know why parents get their backs up, it is because of experiences like mine, where I have bent over backwards to make myself available to my children's teachers, asking them to call if they have any questions, setting up informal and formal meetings, and the teachers don't really WANT to be all that communicative. Then I'm supposed to give them the benefit of the doubt and not report a problem, a problem which could be repeated on other children can cause everybody a lot of angst, because I'm supposed to project onto the teacher how I would want my family to be treated.
My family understands that mistakes are made and that they answer to their employers. A good working relationship with their employers is a primary concern, not hurt feelings because someone caught you out making a mistake.
Damn, that touched a nerve.