A Lesson in Disappointment

Disappointing teachers


It’s time for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop again.  This week I chose prompt #2.) But teachers know everything!! Write about a time a teacher disappointed you.  The problem is, I have had many instances where teachers have disappointed me.  From when I was in school all the way through my kids graduating high school.  I think I’ll stick to my kid’s teachers for now. 

I used to volunteer at my kids school when they were in elementary school.  A lot of times I did the work I had to do in the teacher’s lounge because it had a big table I could spread out on.  There was an outer room where the table was that I’d sit at and on each side at the end of the room were the bathrooms.  Men’s on the right and women’s on the left.  Each had three stalls and the shared sink.  

From where I sat you could hear practically everything that went on in the bathrooms from the toilet flushing (and bodily functions if they were loud enough), to the stall doors opening, to the water in the sink running.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’d hear the toilet flush, the stall door open and the teacher walking directly out the door without washing their hands.  And these were elementary school teachers.  These were the people who are shaping and teaching our little children.  Aren’t they supposed to be teaching them health and hygiene?  Aren’t they supposed to teach our children to wash their hands after using the bathroom?  Aren’t they supposed to lead by example? 

And then there was the elementary school teacher who when I complimented her on her new car made a very derogatory racial remark about why she bought a new  car every year.  I was floored.  I think I must have sat there with my mouth hung open for 5 minutes after she said it because I was so shocked.  I lost a lot of respect for that teacher for making that remark.  She’s supposed to be teaching our children tolerance and acceptance.  How can you teach that if you’re a prejudiced and biased person?  

And then there was the teacher who in my opinion, incorrectly graded my daughter’s spelling homework and refused to change it even when I pointed out her error in grading.  They were supposed to put all ten of their words, correctly spelled in alphabetical order.  What I think happened was she (#1) forgot one word and rather than have to start over, she stuck the word at the bottom of the list.  It was supposed to be like number 5 out of the list and she stuck it at the bottom of the list.  Since it was supposed to be number 5 the teacher counted number 5 and every one after that wrong.  

I challenged that she should have only counted that one word wrong because it was added at the end of the list making it out of place, even though it was correctly spelled.  Her stand was that since it was out of place it therefore made the rest of the list incorrect.  I counterchallenged that technically the rest of the words were in alphabetical order, it was just that the last one should have been placed further up therefore it was the only one wrong, the rest were in the correct order and since the incorrect one was at the end of the list it was the only one wrong.  We argued back and forth for several minutes and she refused to change the grade and therefore my daughter got a failing grade even though all words were correctly spelled and alphabetically arranged except for the one word.  I was not a happy camper. 

I think my biggest disappointment came with a teacher that #2 had when we lived in Memphis for about 6 months. My middle daughter, up until that time, had the most beautiful hand writing I had ever seen for a second grader.  The teacher she had for the first half of the year in Virginia even commented all the time about what beautiful handwriting she had.  She was neat and meticulous, BUT, she was a very SLOW writer because she always wanted her writing to be just right.  

Unfortunately, the teacher that she had once we moved to Tennessee wasn’t much for teaching lessons, she preferred to assign lessons.  Every morning when they got to school she would have their lessons for the day written on the board.  The children had to copy all their lessons for the day onto their notebooks and then do the assignment.  These are second graders we are talking about.  Well, since #2 was such a slow writer she could never finish the lessons before the end of the day and would end up having to bring her work home every day to finish it because it took her so long to write the assignments down.  

Mind you, we had moved there in the middle of the school year and the other kids were used to this by midyear and she wasn’t since we transferred in the middle of the year.  After a couple of weeks she decided that as punishment for the crime of trying to be neat and ending up taking too much time, she would not allow #2 to participate in recess.  Now I don’t know about you, but it would make more sense to me, that if she didn’t have enough time to write down her assignments and you were punishing her by taking away her recess then you’d leave her in the room and let her finish or at least get further along in her assignments during the recess that was being taken away. Right?  Oh… NO….She decided that it would be a better punishment to make her stand on the sidewalk… stock still… with only a light winter jacket on… in the freezing cold.  

See, #2 has always been a very active and athletic child and she loved to run and play during recess so she would only wear a light jacket so she wouldn’t get bogged down by it during recess and she would get very hot running around in a heavy coat.  Plus I always took them to school and picked them up so they only had to walk from the front door of the school to the car and from the car into the house so she never wore a heavy winter coat unless she knew she was going to be outside and not running for an extended period of time.  This day, she had no warning.  She had no idea that she’d not only miss recess but have to stand on the sidewalk in the cold.  The teacher saw that #2 only had on a light winter jacket and made her stand there on the sidewalk, shivering, in the freezing cold for 30 minutes during recess.  

I was LIVID.  And to top it off, #2 ended up getting very sick and missing almost an entire week of school which put her even further behind in her work.  Now tell me, please, does that make one bit of sense to you? She did end up learning to write a lot faster by the end of that school year but it ruined her hand writing and after that, it was very sloppy.  Needless to say that experience did not make me any happier with a move that I never wanted to begin with.  I was very happy to move back to Georgia at the end of that school year. 

Wanna dish the dirt on your kid’s teacher?  Head on over to Mama Kat’s from Mama’s Losin It and hook up your tale.


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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20 Responses to A Lesson in Disappointment

  1. Alaina says:

    The way you said they would assign lessons actually sounds familiar to me. I grew up in Huntsville, AL, and when I was in 1st grade, that’s how my afternoon session at school would be like. Very little teaching, a whole bunch of seat work. Doesn’t seem too effective, if you ask me…and having your daughter stand outside like that? That’s absolutely ridiculous. I wouldn’t blame you for being livid for that at all. That’s just crazy…

  2. suzicate says:

    What a horrible person to do that to Sabu! You think she’d have been happy that she was concerned with her penmanship and her eagerness to learn. I am thankful for the really good teachers who are positive influences on our children.

  3. NikNik says:

    This is too funny! I was just telling Hubs about this the other day! Stupid Mrs O. for not changing my grade! I still get mad over it 20 years later!

  4. Ron says:

    OMG, I don’t blame you at all for being livid about this, because I would be too.

    How rude!

    I agree with Suzi…you think she’d have been happy that she was concerned with her penmanship and her eagerness to learn.

    I went 8 years to catholic school, therefore was taught with severe discipline. I could tell you stories that would make your hair stand on end. I got terrible grades while in catholic school because of the manner in which they taught – with fear. The minute my parents transfered me over to public school, my grades improved dramatically.


    Great post, dear friend!

    Have a wonderful day…X

  5. I would have been pissed off too. Teachers should be making exceptions when they’re due. There’s no black and white in education.

    • pegbur7 says:

      I know there are some really great teachers out there but there are some people who just shouldn’t teach. I’m one of them. I KNOW I’d be a lousy teacher so I wouldn’t do it.

  6. Fred Miller says:

    When I was a teacher, I just used a external male catheter and stuck the bag down my cowboy boot. No time for bathroom.

  7. Jimmy says:

    I agree if she was going to be punished by losing recess then she should have been able to use that time working on her lessons rather than wasting time standing in the cold.

    Sounds like the teacher needs to be taught a lesson.

  8. Carol says:

    There are those who make very good teachers, and then there are those who just should not be. Sad for the kids when they get one who shouldn’t be. Multiple times.

    • pegbur7 says:

      I understand how difficult teaching is, but if you’re not cut out for it, do something else. Don’t take it out on the kids. I subbed one time and found out I was NOT cut out to teach so I never did it again. I wouldn’t subject the kids to it.

  9. I’m with Carol. It’s sort of like parents – not everyone should be a parent. And not everyone should be a teacher.

    I do wonder if we, as parents, remember this sort of thing even more than our kids. (And for good reason!)

  10. Sarah says:

    Unfortunately, teachers are not always the greatest role models. And some of them would be better as ditchdiggers. I am sorry you had those experiences.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

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