Daily Archives: October 8, 2008

Feedback Requested

I received an email from my son’s Mulitmedia teacher. I find it disturbing for several reasons, and wonder if some of you would tell me what you think. First, here’s the email:

Hello Ms. [Rambleson],
I had a situation/ conversation with [John] today because he called two students names. [John] informed me that the first student– he was not talking to but the second student claimed that [John] called him stupid. I told [John] to go stand outside, this is where we talk to students about things we do not wish to share with the class in the portables because the AC is very loud– the good and the bad. He asked me why several times before doing so. This is a great question and I was more than happy to answer that for him but not in front of the class– which I told him once we were outside. I didn’t think our conversation was appropriate for the whole class because when I speak with [John] and another student, [John] tends to argue instead of talking about it so it turns into a mess instead of a productive situation.

For the remainder of class, I asked [John] if he would sit at a different table (without any students at it) so he could finish his work.

I spoke to the entire class on Friday about STEM core values (Respecting each other and “name calling”) and our expectations for our students in this program.

[John] told me that he is going to request to take Art instead. To do this he needs to go to the counselor, however, we expect STEM core values to be upheld in all of our classes.

I wanted to speak with you about this and hopefully together we can come up with a solution that will be easy to implement within a 45 minute period. I would like [John] to be part of the solution, as well, but I do not think we were ready for that today (due to time constraints).

Thank you for your time,
[Name withheld]

To begin with, I find this barely coherent. I’ve read it several times, and I’m still not sure what she’s asking me to do. It’s unsettling to see this quality of writing and communication from one of my son’s teachers, especially one whose whole job is based around communications.

The most I can gather is that John called another kid stupid and she dealt with it. So why is she writing to me about it? If a middle school teacher is so fragile that she needs to call in the troops over a little bickering between preteen students, I contend that she needs to seek employment elsewhere.

As to John being argumentative, I concede that he can be that way. I also know that it is quite normal for boys his age. That’s not to say that it’s OK, or that there shouldn’t be consequences, and I do not condone his arguing with teachers. I only say this to point out, once again, that this particular teacher seems ill-equipped to work with children my son’s age. Furthermore, while I admit to his being argumentative at times, I hardly call it making “a mess” of things.

John asked me last night if I think he’s a “screw up”. It broke my heart. I certainly hope he’s not getting that kind of message from his teachers.

After reading through the email several times, I can’t help wondering if the “mess” might be partly a result of this particular teacher’s inability to communicate effectively and take charge.

Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not the kind of parent who thinks her kid can do no wrong. I’m big on taking responsibility and making John do the same. But I know my son and I’m familiar enough with this teacher to suspect that perhaps not all the responsibility for the “mess” belongs to John.

I welcome honest feedback on this. I want help, not coddling.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On