Elizabeth’s 3rd grade teacher was a wonderfully kind woman. She really enjoyed teaching her students. My daughter had nothing but great things to say about her. Every afternoon Elizabeth would go for help with her math. She went to another classroom for a period of time & then when finished she would go to her social studies classroom which was next door to her regular classroom. Her regular teacher & the other 3rd grade teacher had classrooms next-door to each other so for social studies each afternoon they would swap classes. When I would arrive around 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon, I would stand outside the two classrooms & wait for her to be dismissed.
One particular day stands out in my mind that I will never forget. That afternoon as I was waiting, Elizabeth had come back from her math help class & was already in the social studies classroom with the other 3rd grade teacher. The other teacher asked Elizabeth a question & expected an answer from her. Elizabeth had just come back from her math help & didn’t know what they were talking about since she came in the middle of the lesson. She told the teacher that she didn’t know the answer. However, the teacher started berating her in front of the class. I saw my daughter for the first time cry in front of her class. It took a lot to make her to cry! Elizabeth was the type of child that could let many things roll off her back & she didn’t get too upset by things. When she cried it was serious & there was always a good reason for it. It took a lot for me to contain myself from going into that room & speaking to the teacher right then & there. I decided to wait & speak to her regular teacher as well as the other 3rd grade teacher about this incident since that evening was parent teacher conferences. It would be a good time to bring it up.
When the school bell rang for dismissal, I played it cool & we gathered up her things from her regular classroom. As Elizabeth & I walked home I asked her what had happened. She told me what had gone on & then I told her that I saw everything that occurred. I also told her that I would be speaking to her regular teacher about it as well as the other 3rd grade teacher. Elizabeth was relieved because she said that the other 3rd grade teacher had done this to other students as well as her own students. I actually had heard many things about that teacher from Elizabeth so I wasn’t surprised.
Later on after dinner we walked back to the school for the parent teacher conferences. Elizabeth went in with me to her regular classroom & sat next to me while I spoke to her 3rd grade teacher. I had a great time speaking with her! Her regular teacher was happy to see Elizabeth & she had nothing but great things to say about her. She listened patiently to my concerns about what I saw earlier that afternoon. Her teacher really didn’t defend her colleague & said that she understood my feelings. Elizabeth’s regular teacher agreed with me that it was unusual for Elizabeth to cry in class, so something must’ve really upset her. She encouraged me to voice my issues with the other teacher when it was my time to speak with her. She also told me that she would tutor Elizabeth as much as she could during class hours in math because she wasn’t allowed to do it after school. Her regular teacher told me that she could get into a lot of trouble for doing that & asked me to keep it between us & I said I would after thanking her for whatever help she could give Elizabeth. I really didn’t understand why she couldn’t help Elizabeth after school like other teachers have done in the past when I was in school.
When it was my time to speak to the other teacher, it didn’t go so well. Elizabeth came into the classroom again while I spoke to the other teacher. This teacher sat across from me & proceeded to tell me how Elizabeth didn’t know what was going on in her classroom for social studies. I was glad that she brought it up first. I asked the teacher if she forgot that Elizabeth went for math help during her social studies class. The teacher said that she didn’t forget. I asked her how she expected Elizabeth to understand what was going on in her social studies class when she is coming in the middle of it from her math help class? She said she should just know what’s going on & that she should be able to keep up with the other kids. I told her that’s impossible & that earlier today she made her cry in front of the class by singling her out. She asked how she singled her out. I said you asked her a question fully aware that she had just come back from her math help class into the middle of your social studies class & yet you still expected her to know what was going on. I then told the teacher that when Elizabeth couldn’t give the correct answer, you belittled her in front of the whole class & made her cry! The teacher’s response to me was that Elizabeth was too sensitive & that it wasn’t her problem if she cried! She said some kids are overly sensitive & some aren’t & that Elizabeth was one of those overly sensitive kids. The teacher said that she didn’t have time to babysit & deal with a student’s feelings in that way. That really angered me so I told her that maybe she should go & take a sensitivity course on how to relate to children. I also added that maybe she shouldn’t be teaching if she didn’t like children because it was pretty clear from what I’ve seen & heard that she doesn’t. She didn’t like that! Not. At. All. That pretty much ended the meeting.
After I left that classroom I spoke with Elizabeth’s regular teacher for a second time. Her regular teacher pretty much said that this is happened in the past & going forward I should keep an eye on the situation. I thanked her for her advice & for being such a great teacher to Elizabeth. Then she dropped a bombshell & said that she was retiring after this year! I said I was happy for her & I told her that I wished that Elizabeth had had her for a teacher from grades 2-6th! Her regular teacher really appreciated that & she told me again that Elizabeth was always a joy to have in her classroom & that she was a very good student. Now that made me happy to hear because I already knew that but it’s always nice to hear over & over! Needless to say Elizabeth never had any more issues with the other teacher for her social studies class. She got through her 3rd year of grade school & I was happy!