Bad Teachers mold our students futures too.
Where do we start with a bad teacher: when do we as a parent step into the middle of the situation and deal with it?
I am not only referring to teachers that are poor instructors; I am referring to the ones that harass students within the boundaries of their official title as ‘educator’.
I will be the first to admit that I could be a handful when I was a student many, many years ago; however there is a point where I knew the teacher was there for my well being and was not going to tolerate anymore discussions. I feel that today’s students are micro-managed to the extent that any discussion is not welcome if it does not fit the curriculum. There needs to be a point that the teacher places a line that allows the students to have some free expression. We are a country that has been built on freedoms and now we are taking more and more of that away from each generation. Just as a bad boss is to blame for good employees leaving, bad teachers leave negative effects on students for years to come. I have plenty of friends that are tough but great teachers, I have a brother who is a principal, a brother in-law who is a vice principal and a sister that teaches sign language and they all agree.
Year after year, those bad teachers remain in the classroom. Teachers, students, administrators, parents, and union officials moan the same complaints. The bad teacher is still there and nothing changes. Here lies the rub, bad teachers know the system and are quite adept at manipulating the system, probably more so than the good teachers. After all, those bad teachers must be doing something with their time and if it is looking for students to punish or looking for failure, than they are certainly not looking at how to improve.
The other teachers on campus ignore the bad teachers or, worse yet, turn a smiling face to them just to “be nice.” Those bad teachers, more often than not, feel no pressure from their colleagues to improve. Peer review is not within the job description of teachers and union contracts often state that such review is not allowed.
Students have little recourse other than to complain. They visit counselors, other teachers, and ultimately their parents to tell of the teaching atrocities.
The tenure system puts in place a complex process for removing teachers from the classroom, but one missed step and the process starts all over again. Administrators don’t want to begin the giant load of paperwork that’s required to document offenses and build a case for the bad teacher’s dismissal. It’s much easier to trade bad teachers out to other campuses
Parents, no doubt struck by the complaints of their children, regularly feel they have no power to remedy the situation. Those that do take it upon themselves to deal with that bad teacher typically transfer their children out of the bad teacher’s class instead of taking with the teacher, administration or district to task for allowing such miserable instruction, after all they have more than enough work load of their own.
These teachers that are demeaning to their students; rude, roll their eyes when asked questions, reply with childish answers and issue infraction slips like they are water must truly hate teaching or hate themselves. Students, by the day feel so degraded, they start to feel the effects emotionally, physically as well as mentally. This in turn limits their ability to be creative and have an optimistic future. To vent many will turn to social media and start a fire storm of frustration with other students that will snowball on good teachers that may have had a bad day.
Unions regularly fight for bad teachers because the power of unions is based upon equal treatment for all. Unions encourage mediocrity by fighting to keep bad teachers in the classroom just as often as good ones; being in a union means that everyone is treated the same, regardless of effort and regardless of quality.
How should teachers that don’t instruct, but dictate be dealt with?
I have instilled the idea in my own child, to be respectful of his teachers, instructors, elders and coaches whether he agrees with their method of teaching or not. As a writer I have learned that not everyone sees the world as I do (even if I feel they should) and there is plenty to learn from everyone. The one thing that I will not stand for is disrespect from teachers towards students that they are supposed to be educating. There is no excuse for any teacher to disrespect any of their students even if they felt they were out of line. I understand that they feel that their job is selfless; however I would hope that someday they can look back at their student successes and know that they were a part of that amazing young life.
Listen to your children and talk with friends that may have had similar issues with that teacher, then address the issue with the administration first. If you don’t feel that the issue was dealt with fairly than move on to parent representatives, board of education representatives.
Always follow up with a paper trail- i.e. dates, times, person spoke with and most importantly make sure that your child knows what your actions are.
Parenting Today March 2013 submission