View Full Version : Am I right to be upset with this teacher, and to want to discuss the situation?

11-06-16, 09:16 AM
This may be long, and I apologize.

I have three kids, all with adhd. My youngest Ella, is 13. Out of all the kids, she has been the most on the inattentive side of things. NEVER a behavior problem-ever. Never been in trouble at school, got detention,punished or had any issues whatsoever. My kid isnt perfect, I know that. She truly marches to her own beat. While other girls are dressing up as princesses, she wears black, likes feminist music, has blue choppy hair and has strong independent thinking. She identifies as a lesbian. A mother couldnt be prouder. An aside- it was 'pink out day' for breast cancer at school. As I rolled up to the school to let her out, I see kids-girls and boys getting out in pink head to toe. I let her out and it was like delivering a vampire. Black head to toe and a beanie. I asked her why she didnt want to wear pink- she said "mom, wearing pink wont prove I support breast cancer awareness anymore than not wearing pink would prove I dont support it. I prefer to take action- not wear colors.". I truly had nothing to say and loved her for it! She is surrounded by cheerleaders and worked at a haunted house doing fx makeup. Ill share a pic later, its fantastic.

Anyway. She does not like her social studies teacher. She told me that she has a hard time because her teacher doesnt give clear guidelines-she says. I have always tried to err on the side of the teachers in that I understand that kids can exaggerate but I have had to go to bat for all of my kids over the years and have no issue doing that either.

There was this project that they had gotten a packet for last Friday. The teacher said they didnt have to do it-but to look it over. Monday on Halloween was a half day and they did not work on it in class. Tuesday or wednsday the teacher starts chastising the kids that they should have been working on it and it was due Friday. Ella has very high expectations of herself- hard on herself. She doesnt necessarily have the grades to back it up due to the adhd
but she would never willingly not do something out of defiance.

Anyway she came home and shared this but not until Thursday. She was really upset because she felt that overwhelming pressure and fear of failure. She buckled down though and got it done. I had to run to my Mom's house at 10pm to print stuff because of course we needed ink and I hadnt bought any.

When she turned it in Friday the teacher was doing the teacher lecture thing and Ella-true to her internal dialogue rolled her eyes. Straight up rolled her eyes- and the teacher stopped class to tell her that she saw it, it was disrespectful and she would get a zero for the day for class participation!
Are you kidding me????

Give her a talking to-fine. Extra homework if you really want to lay it down-ok. But a zero? As if she didnt pay any attention in class? I asked her if she continued to participate and she said she did, just in case.
If a teacher had done that to me, with my rebellious nature I would have done absolutely nothing just for spite.

I have an issue with the humiliation part of the talking to. She said she was so embarrassed and said she tried not to cry-but thats her, and she knows she has to wear big girl pants in life.

I asked her if she did roll her eyes- she said absolutely she did, and she told me that the"hipocracy of the teacher's speech" got to her. I said if she had pulled her out to the hall what she would have done. She said she would have owned it and apologized.

She has no issue with whether or not she did it. She would have no issue admitting it and owning up to it. The fact that her grade was hit hurts her and makes her feel so ashamed.

I asked her if she had behavior problem kids in class and she said yes, certain kids are always getting something said to them or getting in trouble-so making an example out of her is unnecessary when it comes to driving home a point.

I am planning on addressing this. I have a guidance counselor friend in the school who has always been objective with me and has no issue leveling with me that I may consult because she is not someone who will be afraid to be honest.

I dont believe in trying to email back and forth- I always call.
Do I consult the guidance counselor friend first? Do I deal directly with the teacher or try to find a school person thats a little more impartial?
Am I overreacting?

This is not about her grades- she is average at best. Very intelligent but not so good with the adhd execution. Its about principle with me.
I am so sorry this is long but I wanted to share as much backround about Ella so you would see this isnt your typical smart-as* situation.

I am very proud of the independent girl I am raising. I would have rolled my eyes too. Just saying.

Little Missy
11-06-16, 09:24 AM
Go directly to the teacher and ask if this is the battle she really wants to choose in a careful measured tone eye to eye uncomfortably close to her. You can either choose thin-lipped face or scary smile with it.

11-06-16, 09:53 AM
I would want to address it, too. And I love your daughter's spirit, and especially her response to the whole pink washing scene. Go Ella!!!

I think I'd consult with my guidance counselor friend first to get a better idea of which direction to take it, especially if you're met with much resistance, which seems quite likely, from someone who is immersed in the school environment day in and day out, just to feel a bit more confident and empowered in my approaching the teacher.

11-06-16, 10:42 AM
If a teacher did that too me oh I would pull the pliers and duct tape out of my bck pack and oh my the pranks would be coming.

Little Missy
11-06-16, 10:52 AM
I say bypass the counselor. By going directly to the teacher, Teachy will know either she can rectify the situation somewhat quietly or Teachy will know you are heading up the hierarchy.

Don't EVEN get me started on teachers.

11-06-16, 04:05 PM
The penalty she received was to severe, maybe this is the new norm.

11-06-16, 04:32 PM
I had a teacher once tell me off fosmiling the a rind. She demand that kids or anyone for that matter not show any emotions in their face m that's just too much to expect..eye rolling is not disruptive.

11-06-16, 04:35 PM
Sarah, I would be ******. I'd probably talk to the teacher first. Then if the response wasn't satisfactory I'd talk to your councellor friend about how to proceed.

Being called out in front of her class and then messing with her grade.. Over the top. It's unfortunate that the teaching profession often attracts people who are may not be good with or even like children. Not saying that's the case here but it does contribute to the achool environment.

11-06-16, 07:13 PM
I'd talk to teh teacher first sounds like teacher was taking frustration out on your daughter.

11-07-16, 01:00 PM
I can empathize with your daughter - last minute packets and confusing instructions are so overwhelming and frustrating. Like your kid, I have high expectations for myself, so I get the need to do things correctly and the embarrassment that ensues when being publicly called out for something.

Before I actually answer your question, though, I need clarification on something: which is upsetting you that you want to talk to your teacher about, the packet or the eye-rolling incident?

11-07-16, 01:11 PM
Go to the teacher directly, and no need to be aggressive, but do be assertive.

And the fact your daughter owns her own **** is beyond admirable to me. Maybe even more so for her age.

Thinks for herself, sees beyond the veneer...


The first paragraph made me laugh and then cry a bit...soft-hearted idealist that I am.

But this in particular...this is just gold:

I let her out and it was like delivering a vampire.

Best Wishes,

11-07-16, 03:33 PM
The teacher was being very sensitive. Addressing the eye rolling at all to me seems silly at best. Its involuntary and not disruptive... until the teacher points it out.

Wow.. thats tough..I have no idea what to do.

Could ella talk to the teacher? (Or is 13 too young for that?)
Will it really affect her grade? What if you just let it go?

I would go to the guidance counselor with the idea that the teacher is simply asking the impossible in terms of impulse control and that you feel its best for that to come from a professional rather than a parent.

11-07-16, 04:24 PM
Bottom line, in my sons school, eye rolling is a behavior problem and has NOTHING to do with grades. Detention, Saturday school, or even ISS can result from a behavior problem but they can't give a zero for class participation.

Now, did the teacher actually take the grade away? If no, let it go, if yes send her an email asking for an explanation of the WHY...if it's all about the eye rolling then forward the email to the guidance counselor friend and ask if this is school policy, if not, go to war.

Nothing you can do about if the teacher was or was not clear about when the assignment was due.

11-07-16, 05:06 PM
I was very quiet and well behaved but if eye rolling had been considered a behavior problem i'd have been expelled.

Sarah I dont even recognize or understand the US school system anymore and I have no advice unfortunately, but i'm sure you'll find the right approach. And your daughter is simply awesome.

11-07-16, 05:11 PM
Its involuntary...

Not likely.


11-07-16, 06:31 PM
The teacher definitely overreacted to the eye rolling. As a teacher I can remember times when certain student behaviors triggered all my insecurities. Eye-rolling might have done that.

But ... the teacher's response is immature ... the teacher could have approached your daughter after class and confronted her then or, if she was really smooth and advanced, the teacher could have simply asked your daughter why she seemed so upset. Really the teacher could easily have used your daughter's eye rolling as a cue that something might be off in the class.

Whenever I sense that a conflict with a student has gotten intense or toxic, these days I invite the student to lunch and invariably I find out that I over-reacted and I learn key information about the student--almost always this information helps me really respect the student a lot more.

This teacher may have trouble communicating with students. She didn't make clear that she wanted students to work on an assignment on their own for a few days. Sounds like the teacher is strugglling to find her own structure, etc. And she's probably feeling insecure about that.

Before even confronting the teacher, I would ask this: does your daughter know what "participation for the day" counts for? I can't imagine that one day of bad participation ruins a grade for the term or even affects the overall term grade. Zero for the day sounds completely phony to me.

Youg daughter can ask about the effect of this one day on her overall grade, and she can and should make the point that she generally behaves well in the class. The benefit of your daughter doing this is that the teacher will feel acknowledged and she'll back off from her tough routine.

Or you can ask the teacher about the impact of one bad day on your daughter's overal grade. The benefit of this approach is that you are confronting the teacher without directly confronting! Just bring up concern shows that you care and that the daughter cares. And such a show of concern usually gets most teachers to back off. Heck the teacher will be impressed that you got upset by this one day's worth of a grade. She'll be thinking, wow, this is a really good parent who is monitoring things.

But frankly: I can't really imagine that this teacher really writes down DAILY participation as opposed to participation in general. I think she was talking out of frustration.

Good luck.


11-07-16, 08:17 PM
i thought I answered this a couple of days ago. sorry I guess it didn't do thru.I know it"s maddeningly frustrating to speak to some teachers but I would speak to her first. I detest the use of public humilliation and it would be unacceptable anywhere else so it is equally umacceptable to do to a student.

If you get no satisfactory answer then I'd go to your friend the guidance councellor and ask for advice.

It is terrible to have to deal with this but worse for your daughter to be subject to it.

11-07-16, 10:06 PM
Not likely.,Ian

You're right. I didnt mean literally involuntary.
i meant "perfunctory"

11-16-16, 10:24 AM
new developments..will update soon.

11-24-16, 04:40 AM
Ok, here is the update. I reached out to the guidance counselor but didnt hear back from her before the teacher called me. I had emailed the teacher, Mrs P and said I wanted to talk to her about something that happened on Friday with Ella.
She called me back and I started off by being direct: Ella told me she rolled her eyes and got a zero for the day..
Well she immediately went on the defensive and told me that all the students know the class rules and that if they break them one of the consequences is a zero for the day. I told her that I didnt see how the "punishment fit the crime"and that I was concerned that her grade would suffer because she had a bad day. I told Mrs P that Ella admitted to it, and that we told her how disrespectful it was and we were not trying to make excuses for her.
She said she had to address it because she couldnt let it go because that would be a bad classroom example.
So I said" wow, you mean the whole class saw her roll her eyes?" and she said no, not the whole class but that that wasnt the point. I started the whole thing off by telling her that the reason Ella did that was because she was unclear about the project instructions and Mrs P told me that Ella knows she can ask for clarification and help anytime she wants- and should have done so.

I started to feel myself get so angry that I had to shut it down. I cant get crazy and expect this teacher to remain objective. All I could really do is inform her that we would have to agree to disagree. It awkwardly wrapped up and the call ended. She didnt seem concerned that Ella was so upset and she actually said SHE felt hurt because Ella is not that kind of kid.
I pray that I didnt make things more difficult for her.
The new semester just started and I need to find out if she has social studies year round or just last semester. In the meantime I am going to call the counselor and get this noted in case there was further trouble.

I am disappointed for backing down-its not my style but I dont want to put a target on Ella's back.

11-25-16, 02:15 PM
So I said" wow, you mean the whole class saw her roll her eyes?"

LOL! She obviously wasn't willing to back down but I bet that at least made her think!!

I started the whole thing off by telling her that the reason Ella did that was because she was unclear about the project instructions and Mrs P told me that Ella knows she can ask for clarification and help anytime she wants- and should have done so.

Teachers who are disorganized themselves and unclear with instructions are terrible for kids with ADHD. DS got a zero on an assignment that clearly said on the paper that it was due on X date. Emailed teacher, said she changed it and told the kids in class. :rolleyes:

I am disappointed for backing down-its not my style but I dont want to put a target on Ella's back.

Sometimes it's for the best. :( Sounds like the teacher felt a little bad, even if she was digging in her heels. Maybe next time, she will think about your conversation before addressing Ella in such a knee-jerk fashion.

I had an accommodation added to my son's 504 stating that he should not be called out in front of the class due to anxiety, but should be quietly redirected or spoken to in private. Things like that have still happened occasionally but I think it helps to have it there to fall back on when there is a dispute. Course, I wouldn't necessarily bring it up if I felt he deserved what he got, but I have brought it up when I felt a teacher called DS out inappropriately.

Good idea to document with guidance.

11-25-16, 08:32 PM
Am I overreacting?

Probably yes, but this seems to be true for everybody in that story except for your daughter.

I have strange phantasies when I hear that your kids get a daily"evaluation" of their perfomance -sounds like total-quality-management-from-the dark-side-of-planet-no-common-sense.

I have already been working at different schools as a social worker and I know that a teacher who punished a student for "eye-rolling" would be considered nuts here.

When I think about that teacher, I imagine a very, very insecure but highly obsessive person...may be her perfomance was rated too often?

But...thatīs life,and that seem to be the rules that apply in your area and like everywhere people are crazy. But -as Darwin told us - the better we know the rules and know how to deal with them, the less likley we are to be hurt.

Since I dont know those rules as good as you, i might look at the situation from an inappropriate perspective, but Iīd like to share it view you.

1. Your daughter will always have to deal with strange people, because the world is full of them, better she learns to do so now.
As i said before -I consider what happened probalby more insane than you do - but it is the world your daughter has to live in.

And the learning is:
letting the wrong person know that you donīt appreciate that person leads to a "bad-daily-performance"-grade. If you like to be graded a good daily-performer, be nice to that person. thats life. (and being basically right is not the same as being happy)
(in that case your daughter did a good job in making her teacher feel bad, and:(!) 13-old students can be-and regularly are- maddening in every day live, dont forget that, but its ok, just by the way they have to be that way )

2. I wouldnt fight teachers too much, for different reasons,among them that it wonīt lead to less conflicts and that I think kids find better ways to care for themselves if they get the change to.
But I dont know how much such effort is considered "the norm" where You live - and that is more important here.

3. (Excuse me please !!!) what comes to my mind when I imagine your 13-year old "lesbian vampire" getting out of your car on everybody-wears-pink-day and knowing that "you couldnīt be prouder":

it s... when you try to rebel and nobody notices it. :lol:


11-25-16, 08:39 PM
I am disappointed for backing down-its not my style but I dont want to put a target on Ella's back.

Wrong interpretation?

You should never be dissappointed for calming your temper and acting wisely. - Very well done!

11-28-16, 04:19 PM
Wrong interpretation?

You should never be dissappointed for calming your temper and acting wisely. - Very well done!

I agree 100%

You stated the facts, she stated hers, you disagreed about how that should have played out. The conversation was suppose to end there. If I have learned one thing in my life it is "Don't engage the crazy"....if someone is acting irrational you are unlikely to convince them of your logic. Don't engage, walking away is the best course of action.