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    #45150 - 04/20/09 06:46 PM Help: Verbal abuse by teacher?
    Oliver Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/20/09
    Posts: 3


    Hi -

    Background: My son is an exceptionally gifted 3rd grader who has consistently performed well at school and in the standardized testing.

    At a recent parent teacher conference with my son present, his 3rd teacher, without warning lashed out primarily for lack of social interest in connecting with his same age peers at school. I reproduce some of the gems:

    * "Do you think you can put out [SPAM] in the poster and get way with it?" This refers to a poster my son did on as part of an assignment. He was bored by the project and despite my warning did it in 15 minutes.
    * Threatening - "Next year when you go to Mrs. XYZ's class she will rip you apart"
    * Put down - "[You may be gifted but] You are certainly not at the top of my class".
    * "Lot of gifted people end up as losers, they have trouble with relationships, with maintaining jobs"
    * Taunting and humiliating tone - "I know this is personal, but how many birthdays have you being invited to lately?". Continuing further - "How many play dates have you been on ?"

    Her tone was extremely angry, taunting and humiliating. She latter said other strategies were not working so she had to get his attention! We were so shell shocked at her outburst that we silently endured it during the conference. Partly we were in denial that this could be happening from a teacher we had great respect for.

    I am wondering what can we do? Report this to the principal? I want to get an impartial opinion that I am not over-reacting and making a mountain out a of mole hill here.

    We did meet with her twice after that and showed her research that indicates gifted often prefer kids of their mental age rather than same age peers. She wasn't buying that. Since then she has stopped responding to us. I sent her two emails and a hand written note but she ain't talking/responding.

    Incidentally she is the only GATE (gifted program in CA) certified teacher at school!

    My son is very resilient he was down for a few days but has bounced back but everytime we refer to the incident tears just can not stop. It upsets him too much to even think or talk about it.

    What do you folks think we should do ?

    Thanks for reading

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    #45152 - 04/20/09 07:01 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    Katelyn'sM om Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/22/08
    Posts: 1085
    Loc: Austin, TX
    Wow ... I am not in your shoes but I wish you could have stood up during the meeting and said in a calm tone that abusive comments such as hers will not be tolerated and walked out to go find the principal immediately. But I am sure you were shell shocked to say the least.

    Given she is the only GATE certified teacher and on top of that she is not responding to your emails and note means you really need to voice your concern to people above her. There are channels and definitely go up the chain. Plain and simple: No teacher has the right to treat a child in that manner and if she did that with the parents in the room I could only imagine what she does in the classroom when it is just her and the kids.


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    #45154 - 04/20/09 07:20 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Katelyn'sM om]
    Oliver Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/20/09
    Posts: 3
    You are right Katelyn's Mom, we feel bad for not standing up at that moment. This was so unexpected plus a bit of cultural baggage - where I come from teachers are given utmost respect. So it took time to sink in what had transpired.

    We are also trying to get our son accelerated at this public school and this teacher's testimony I suppose would be important. I was initially hesitant to rock the boat too much but this i snot sitting well and we feel we need to make some noise.

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    #45156 - 04/20/09 07:24 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    elizabethmom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/13/09
    Posts: 146
    Loc: East Coast
    I am just sick over this story. My DD's teacher said to me privately that she "wasn't so perfect" in a mean, degrading tone, but your story is much worse. You must rock the boat and "make some noise" - please let us know what happens.

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    #45157 - 04/20/09 07:41 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: elizabethmom]
    Austin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/25/08
    Posts: 1840
    Loc: North Texas
    That's some pretty violent phraseology to use for a third grade teacher much less directed at an 8 year old. ( She sounds like a drill sergeant or Sonderkommando, and not a teacher.)

    No doubt she has said as much to other parents about their kids as well and may now realize she has stepped over the line. (Which she has. She might as well have slapped your DS. )

    I'd consider going over her head to the principal with your emails, but keep in neutral.

    If you do get a F2F with the principal and the teacher is present and starts to shade or mistate the truth, then I'd have another letter with the violent phrases she has used and give it to the principal, then read it aloud. Then conclude with the statement, "That I have lost confidence in Ms XX ability to treat my child or others with respect."








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    #45161 - 04/20/09 07:58 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Austin]
    minniemarx Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    Dear Oliver,

    If it were me and my kid, I'd get him out of there, immediately.

    But it's not me, and it's not my kid (nor do I know what you might want from the school in the long term), so I don't know if that helps any. I don't think you are making a mountain out of a molehill, however, not by a long shot.

    peace
    minnie

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    #45162 - 04/20/09 08:15 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: minniemarx]
    minniemarx Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/31/08
    Posts: 466
    Sorry, I'm going to get too blabby here, after making a concerted effort to keep it brief in the previous post--and, again, this is just me, and only you know your child, the teacher, the circumstances, and so on...

    But what really bothers me about this, in many ways, is the fact that if another child had spoken to a child this way, a school in all probability would have a mechanism for dealing with it; certainly this type of verbal abuse would be considered bullying in our school system here if one child said it to another. How is it different when the teacher is doing it, except that the child is even more powerless to stop the bullying behaviour from happening to him?

    What worries me about potentially letting it slide is that the lesson might be communicated to the child that he is in fact powerless in the face of such types of abuse, which is not a life lesson I think kids should be learning. (I don't mean to imply that you have been letting it slide; indeed, your repeated attempts to reason with the teacher are admirable.)

    I taught for many years myself, and cannot imagine ever, ever saying such things to a student. She shouldn't be in a classroom.


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    #45163 - 04/20/09 08:25 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: minniemarx]
    Oliver Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/20/09
    Posts: 3
    I appreciate all the responses, we are probably too circumspect. Minniemarx I really liked your point about a bully. I will use that! Time to make a bloody hell.

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    #45167 - 04/21/09 03:11 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    chris1234 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/27/08
    Posts: 1897
    I agree with one and all - those remarks are totally out of line! And especially with Minnie's comment about showing your child what is a good/correct reaction to this kind of thing, even if it took a while for you to sort your reaction.

    Unfortunately this might not be the only time he and you have to deal with such negative remarks intended clearly to "take him down a peg". Which is, of course, ridiculous.

    The lack of warning is especially bizarre! I guess these are her real feelings, but it certainly makes you wonder why she got in to gifted work at all...maybe this if the first time she's encountered a student really off the usual charts?

    Sorry to hear about the problems, but you are in the right, she is wrong and she's messing up your kid frown. I definitely think it's 'time to make a bloody hell'.


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    #45168 - 04/21/09 04:03 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: chris1234]
    Mamabear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/17/08
    Posts: 354
    First of all, I commend you DS on being resiliant!

    When my dd was bullied by a Teacher, she was devistated for a long time, even after we pulled her out and put her in a situation that was wonderful.

    It is time to take it higher, just be sure that you talk with your DS about what you plan to do and that he did NOTHING wrong. Be aware that as long as your DS is in that class, he will be subject to backlash from that teacher.

    It's a horrible situation! Best of luck in your battle!

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    #45171 - 04/21/09 05:38 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Mamabear]
    elizabeth4 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/31/09
    Posts: 47
    Can you print out this forum thread (including your post and all the responses) and give it to your principal?

    You are not overreacting. She is being abusive and a bully. She is also in a position of authority and your DS is therefore not "allowed" to respond in a way that would be appropriately defend himself. He's really stuck in a hard spot.

    I agree with Minnie. If it were my DS I would not think it out of line to pull him from her class. I realize not everyone is in a position/able to do this for a number of reasons but please know you are NOT overreacting.

    Good luck.

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    #45172 - 04/21/09 06:25 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: elizabeth4]
    st pauli girl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    Oliver - i am so sorry your son had to experience this. The following advice is just what I would do; you know your situation best. Knowing that this is how the teacher feels about your son, if I were you I would pull him from the class. He should not have to be in a place where someone like that is in the authority position.

    I would go straight to the principal with this. No teacher should be able to get away with such abusive behavior. I remember in my little catholic school years ago, my mother immediately pulled my brother from a classroom when she discovered that the teacher, who was a nun, felt spankings were appropriate for my brother and most of the other boys for minor infractions. My brother was simply switched to another teacher for the rest of the year. The emotional abuse your son has suffered seems much worse to me than the physical abuse my brother suffered.

    I reiterate what Mamabear said - tell your son that he did absolutely nothing wrong. Perhaps explain that people who haven't had experience with exceptionally gifted kids sometimes don't really believe what they do is possible, and sometimes react very inappropriately.

    Good luck to you. the good thing is that you were there when it happened; now you know. I imagine she has done this before and perhaps the parent was unaware and the student just had to live with it.

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    #45174 - 04/21/09 06:31 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    Dazed&Confuzed Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/05/08
    Posts: 1815
    Oliver,

    I am just so saddened by what happened to your DS. I think now that Teacher is not communicating with you, time to go over her head. I"d talk to the Principal who will likely want the teacher present. You might suggest talking to the PRincipal alone first then have the teacher come in....that way you can say what you want to say. Have the gems you posted here in writing and available. AND BE SURe to talk about this in terms of how your son felt....make this about him....My son felt...WHen I bring it up my son bursts into tears on 4 occasions and cried for 3hrs.

    There is a way to same something and there is a way to same something.....she chose the wrong way.

    Let's see....
    Jimmy, how much time did you spend on your poster? (TONE greatly matters) 15min? Why did you spend so little time on it? You weren't interested in the topic and would have rather written about WWII? I see. Next time, will you please tell me so we can perhaps come up with a different assignment?

    Here are the skills, knowledge base you will need for Mrs. XYX class. Which areas do you think you still need to work on? How can I help you to reach these goals? No ideas? how about we try ABC?

    OK, no way to make the "not at the top of my class" any better. mad



    Anyhow, it's easy to see what we would do but we are not in your shoes. Your son's mental health is of paramount importance. I agree w/ the other poster that stated what your son might learn from this...that he is powerless against teachers. I too have issues w/ coming up against teachers...I was brought up to respect them and hold them in highest regard. IMO this teacher deserves no such respect. If she will say that in front of you, I wonder what she is saying in front of the kid. And if this is a tactic she wanted to try, she should have discussed such a tactic with you first.

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    #45177 - 04/21/09 06:47 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    playandlearn Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/14/08
    Posts: 309
    We had this with DS's 2nd grade teacher last year. The teacher did it to DS in the classroom, and lashed out during parent-teacher conference when DS was not present. Mind you, DS is a very social and popular kid, has many, many friends, and the only trouble he had last year was that he was not the kind of kid the teacher expected from his cookie cutter. The teacher said to me several times through the school year that of course DS is smart "but many kids in my room are just as smart or even smarter, and none of THEM thinks my instruction is boring". The teacher had no clue that DS's math level was head and shoulders above what the other kids were capable of (this year's teacher totally understands this, though, and DS has been given some challenging work). DS is also a perfectionist and could have writer's block if he can't in his mind see his idea as being perfect. Once last year when DS had a writer's block and couldn't come up with something that he was happy with, the teacher said to DS that XXX (another kid in the same room) " is autistic and even HE came up with more sentences than you". DS cried on the spot. (And with the new teacher this year DS hasn't had writer's block again.)

    We didn't go to the principal because we were new at the school and didn't know whether the teacher's attitude was typical among teachers in that school. While trying to find it out, we also looked around for other schools. But later on we figured out, to our relief, that last year's teacher is not typical. If we knew this at the time, we would have gone to the principal. It is true that gifted kids (or any kid who is atypical) have special issues and sometimes it is quite important for teachers to point out their shortcomings. But this doesn't mean abuse!!! I'm still sorry that I didn't stand up to last year's teacher the way I should. So I hope you do something. Any possibility that the principal is more understanding? Another school? I hope your DS will recover and understand that this is part of the price we pay for being different, and he has lots of people rooting for him.

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    #45181 - 04/21/09 07:16 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    shaangi Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 33
    Olivier,
    Please dont take this lying down ! I went thro' the same hell last year with DD in 2nd grade then 7-the exact same cultural baggage that you are referring to. Among other things, DD was strictly told NOT to answer 'a single question' in class. It so killed the spirit of learning in her. She started counting down from day 90 for school to end and hated every day in school. I still carry the guilt but had too many things to battle (a problem pregnancy, a very very demanding job etc.) and so asked DD to treat this an experience on how teachers can be and how she should be mentally strong and not get affected by it (too much to ask of a 7 year old).
    The teacher subtly apologized to me when we ran into her a year later but that doesn't reverse what we went thro'.
    Please dont take this..I am wiser now. I don't have a specific action plan for you but I am sure your gut feeling and the forum will guide better!
    Good luck and pl keep us posted.

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    #45189 - 04/21/09 08:01 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: playandlearn]
    Katelyn'sM om Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/22/08
    Posts: 1085
    Loc: Austin, TX
    Originally Posted By: playandlearn
    Once last year when DS had a writer's block and couldn't come up with something that he was happy with, the teacher said to DS that XXX (another kid in the same room) " is autistic and even HE came up with more sentences than you". DS cried on the spot. (And with the new teacher this year DS hasn't had writer's block again.)


    What has happened to compassion? As I read through all these posts and the stories unfold I am shocked at how there is a lack of compassion among the teachers in these examples. I think this need to bully is a fear of these kids because they are smarter than the teachers. And, I'm sorry but to use the autistic child as the example shows no compassion for either child. It all just saddens me.

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    #45192 - 04/21/09 08:24 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Katelyn'sM om]
    playandlearn Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/14/08
    Posts: 309
    Originally Posted By: Katelyn'sM om
    Originally Posted By: playandlearn
    Once last year when DS had a writer's block and couldn't come up with something that he was happy with, the teacher said to DS that XXX (another kid in the same room) " is autistic and even HE came up with more sentences than you". DS cried on the spot. (And with the new teacher this year DS hasn't had writer's block again.)


    What has happened to compassion? As I read through all these posts and the stories unfold I am shocked at how there is a lack of compassion among the teachers in these examples. I think this need to bully is a fear of these kids because they are smarter than the teachers. And, I'm sorry but to use the autistic child as the example shows no compassion for either child. It all just saddens me.


    What shocked me was that the teacher told me about this with a broad smile. He really thought he "got" DS there. At that moment all I felt was being extremely tired, I had no idea how to react to someone who is so insensitive. I counted the days last year, hoping for summer. Too bad so many kids have to endure teachers' cruelty.

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    #45197 - 04/21/09 10:17 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Mamabear]
    inky Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/10/08
    Posts: 1299
    Oliver, glad to hear you're going to pursue this. If you don't get a satisfactory response from the principal, keep elevating it until you reach someone who "gets it." Hopefully you can undo some of the damage done to DS if he knows you are standing up for him and what's right. Please keep us updated with how things progress.

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    #45198 - 04/21/09 10:20 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Mamabear]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    I agree with the other's comments. Not only that, but I don't think you can rely on this teacher to help your child out in the long run:

    Quote:
    We are also trying to get our son accelerated at this public school and this teacher's testimony I suppose would be important.


    I'd also suggest investigating your options. Of course, all of this can be done in a nice way, but this one does seem to need to go up the chain of command.

    Good luck.

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    #45202 - 04/21/09 11:47 AM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: questions]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    I agree, I'm concerned that based on these comments, the teacher really isn't qualified to be teaching an exceptionally gifted child.....

    Please do remember that most of what is being assessed by elementary school teachers are skills, not necessarily cognitive aptitude. Teachers often confuse skill with aptitude.

    Good luck, Oliver.

    Neato


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    #45203 - 04/21/09 12:03 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: incogneato]
    kimck Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/20/07
    Posts: 1134
    I have no particular advice, but I just wanted to say again that I don't think you are over reacting by any stretch of the imagination! That is really horrible. I agree with Neato - this teacher doesn't sound qualified to work with GT kids. I'm surprised she was actually "trained". I can't imagine any good, responsible, and caring teacher taking this tone with any 3rd grader.

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    #45205 - 04/21/09 12:31 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: Oliver]
    oneisenough Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/08
    Posts: 110
    Loc: West Coast of Canada
    I don't have time to read all of the relies right now, but I read your post OP. I am in shock. I am so sorry for you and your son that you had to go through that. My heart would be broken to listen to someone speak to my child like that.

    I have no great words of advice, except I can say that being a teacher I can see absolutely NO reason to ever, ever speak to a child like that. The is spirit crushing and just plain mean. It is most definitely verbal abuse and again, I'm so sorry.

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    #45214 - 04/21/09 04:40 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: oneisenough]
    elizabeth4 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/31/09
    Posts: 47
    Oliver,

    Please let us know how things progress. Your post has stayed with me all day and I am worried for your son--



    This describes it so truly---
    Originally Posted By: oneisenough
    spirit crushing and just plain mean.


    Good luck. we are all rooting for you and your son.

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    #45216 - 04/21/09 05:36 PM Re: Help: Verbal abuse by teacher? [Re: elizabeth4]
    JustAMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/28/08
    Posts: 89
    I am in shock. How do you inspire learning when a child is faced with that kind of opinion. It sounds like the teacher has a personality conflict going on with your child.

    Quote:
    I know this is personal, but how many birthdays have you being invited to lately?". Continuing further - "How many play dates have you been on ?"
    shocked

    That is as inappropriate as a student telling a teacher "do you know how many students pretend to really like you?" Why such a focus on popularity instead of 'learning', acceptance, and a safe environment.

    I would bring it up so she doesn't do it to another student again. Hopefully your son has already forgotten the conversation and dismissed everything she said.

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