Three months into the school year, some challenges started to unravel. My kinderbaby (he will always be my baby) left school with a grumpy face a few weeks ago. My son shouted, “she makes me mad and she is a bully.” I thought to myself, darn! A classmate is picking on my son. I wanted him to tell me all about it then and there but I also wanted him to calm down a bit so he could give me details. As we drove home, I asked him who he was referring to? He shouted again, “That teacher in room one. She is old, mean and blows her whistle to separate me and my friends every time she is in charge in the cafeteria and at the playground.” I asked if his friends and him were out of control in the playground or playing rough? He said, “No.” He made a claim, that this teacher from another classroom finds her way to him and his buddies during recess and lunch and separates his group of friends for no apparent reason. He also expressed she always had a mean face on!
I asked my son if he had talked to anyone about what this teacher was doing, and he said no because was not sure how to do that. I explained it was important he learned to ask why things are taking place, I suggested he talk to his teacher about it and to let me know how that went. He said he would but he wanted me to help him as well.
I assured him, I would help him find out why this was happening and help him solve this problem.
This incident reminded me of my childhood experiences with mean lunch ladies in the cafeteria. I remember their long faces, the constant whistles blowing, and rudeness. I don’t remember reporting this to anyone, and I just went on thinking lunch ladies were just mean. Obviously, now as an adult and mom, I know this is not ok and should not be happening and much less coming from an actual teacher.
The following morning as we walked to the gate, my son asked me if I was going to go report the “bully teacher” to the office so that the problem could stop and he could play with his friends at lunch. I told him I would go ask about the situation right then and there. I also reminded him to talk to his teacher about the problem, so we could work as a team on this.
I went into the office and asked about complaint procedures, and expressed the difficulty that my son was having. The office staff gave me instructions to set up time to meet with his teacher, and in addition, they suggested that I talk to principal as well. The principal was available to speak to me then and there.
I was quite happy that the principal made himself available, we talked for few minutes and he took notes of my son’s complaint. I also told him, I didn’t want my son to have this “bully” perception of any teacher.
I understand being firm and having rules is necessary, but being mean for no apparent reason is not ok.
The principal heard me out and said he knew who the teacher was based upon my description. He affirmed that the teacher did have a direct demeanor. The principal apologized for her and assured me that he would have a conversation and address the issue with her. I wondered and questioned, if he knew that this particular teacher had a rough edge demeanor, why not address the issue before students complained? The principal said that had talked to her in the past, but gathering details on this particular incident will help him address the situation and hopefully put an end to it.
The principal also asked me to talk to my son’s his direct teacher so she could be in the loop of things and most importantly, so my son feels comfortable reporting any incidents during the day rather than going home upset. I liked this part of his response.
I made an appointment to speak to my son’s teacher, and it went well. First she was concerned because no one had made her aware that her students were misbehaving on the playground. She said this was an indication of two things, poor communication or there was no misbehaving and there was no reason why the boys were being separated. She assured me she would work closely with the principal to find out why it was happening and would make sure it stops immediately. I told her if problem continued, I would be back and would want to speak to the teacher myself, and my son’s teacher agreed.
Listening to how each day at school goes with your child will give you insight on the challenges that you can help resolve immediately. Our children need to feel supported!
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