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J.Elaine
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I Shouldn't Be Here!
Old 10-19-2006, 06:32 PM
  #1

Okay, I admit it. I shouldn't be here. I have one hundred and one things to do right now, but I am sitting here blogging instead. I guess I just need to a place to sort out some thoughts.

Yesterday, my principal came in just minutes before my students were due to arrive to tell me that a parent of one of my students had called and was coming in to talk to him about me. The parent said I'd said something in front of the whole class to embarrass the child and they had decided they wanted her moved to another classroom. Now I've searched all my memory banks and can honestly say I can't imagine what in the world I could have done to this child to cause this sort of reaction. I was devestated. He might as well have called a sub and sent me home. He told me the child was to go to another class for the day, but she came into our room anyway. She seemed fine. I didn't know what I was supposed to do because he said she was NOT to come into the room with me.

Well, today, she came and was happy just as can be. She was all smiles and hugs. I couldn't quite figure out what was going on or what was going to happen. I care very much about this child and would want her to be all right no matter what. I was beginning to think everything had worked itself out. Then, my principal came by this afternoon to say he and I needed to get together to go over the things the parent written down about me. I guess they brought it in and gave it to him this morning. He said we'd look at the "letter" together TOMORROW!!!! Well, I don't do these kinds of things TOMORROW!!!! I need to do these kinds of things RIGHT NOW!!!! Men don't necessarily understand that concept, but I went through an extremely stressfull day yesterday, survived today even though I didn't have a clue what I was supposed to do with/about the child, and now I've got another day to look forward to and dread.

Here's the real deal. Teachers work harder than anyone on the outside can ever imagine or appreciate. I work hard. I try to meet the needs of all my students. Actually, I love my students and give myself to them unconditionally. I study/work/over-prepare to make sure kids have fun at school while they are learning. I just wonder what more can be required. What did I do to cause a parent to write a whole "letter" filled with complaints about me? I am troubled beyond belief, yet I have to prepare myself to go into the classroom tomorrow ready to take on any challenges that may come to me.

Tonight, I need to let it go and allow myself to get a good night's sleep. I know from past experience, that's the absolute best way to prepare for a difficult day -- sleep, sleep, sleep. And then that brings me back to the one hundred and one things I still have on my To Do List, and none of those things have anything to do with sleep!!!!!

Later . . .
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judy
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I am so sorry
Old 10-20-2006, 04:35 PM
  #2

J.Elaine, I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. I think things like that happen to us all. I went through a similiar experience last year with a parent. According to the parent I was not doing my job and it was up to her to tell me how to do it and the letter that was sent was very disturbing. I do not know you, but just by reading your blogs and your comments you sound like a very dedicated and compassionate teacher so I guess I am saying that we all just have to deal with a certain per centage of our school population that can be difficult. Chances are what was said by both child and parent was blown entirely out of proportion and when you meet with your principal and go over the letter you will be able to explain the truth in the matter. I can not believe that the letter was not shown to you immediately since it concerned you. I will keep you in my thoughts and please let me know the outcome. Things do have a habit of working out. That parent I mentioned adores me this year and tells everyone I am the greatest....ha.....she is also certifiable...
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The LETTER
Old 10-20-2006, 05:03 PM
  #3

Judy,
Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I agree with you. I can't believe my principal didn't show me the letter immediately either. I was supposed to meet with him today during my plan time so we could go over the letter together. Well, it seems he had a REAL meeting at Central Office, so I there I was waiting even longer. When I finally saw him at noon, I came right out and asked him if I could just have a copy of the letter to read for myself. He said he'd give me one, but at the end of the day, I still had not seen the letter. I looked for him, but he was nowhere to be found. I was getting a little frantic about the whole thing because I knew if I didn't get it today, I'd be waiting all weekend long without knowing anything. I went on back to my room, and a little later, he came on the intercom with a message. Knowing he was probably getting ready to leave for the day, I buzzed the office to ask him to leave a copy of the letter in my mailbox. He agreed to do it, and finally, at about 4:30, I was able to read the accusations made against me. I was really upset when I read what the lady said the little girl said that I said. Does that make any sense at all?

The whole thing in a nutshell is that the girl said I told her she couldn't take home any of her work anymore because I thought her parents were doing the work for her. That is so far from the truth. I constantly remind her to take work home because she is usually running a little behind when it's time to turn things in.

We have parent/teacher conferences next week, and I believe the whole thing can be cleared up by talking face-to-face. (I hope, anyway.) Here is a strange thing about it, though. My principal made it very clear to me that they wanted the child removed from my class. However, in the letter, it didn't sound like that's what they wanted. It's really not like him to blow things out of proportion, so I'm not sure what really happened or was said. The even stranger thing is that the little girl has been happy, cooperative, etc. for the last 2 days!!!!! Incredible!!!!

Well, we shall see when conference time rolls around. I usually have really good rapport with parents. I always think it's because of my age. I figure they think I've been teaching for mega-centuries when the real truth is, this is my 13th year to teach!!!!!!

Thanks again for your kind thoughts and well-wishes. I have spent the entire afternoon/evening sitting out by the lake meditating and pulling myself together. Here's the prognosis. I am going to be all right!!!!!

Later . . .
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Old 10-21-2006, 09:45 PM
  #4

You know I have had parents do the same thing and nothing was said the way the child went home and told their parents. Students sometimes have the best intentions when the tell their parents about their day at school but forget details or just plain lie for fun. Just keep your head up and continue to the best for your students and good luck
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judy
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just continue to be upbeat
Old 10-22-2006, 03:39 PM
  #5

It seems like you have gotten your head together. I know how devastating it can be when you are accused of things that are not as they really are. Can you meet with the parents a little ahead of the conferences, just to clear it all up? Unfortunately, some of our parents do over help in the homework department. This year I have one parent who insists in doing all her child's homework and does not even disguise the handwriting. She also insists that this child does all his own work. I have had many conversations with her on this. J needs to do his own work, he is struggling as it is and needs the practice. I hope that everything works out for you. Some parents lash out and then its over in another three to four seconds....ha. I am a little confused on how your principal handled it all though. Have a wonderful week ahead!
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just checking in
Old 10-24-2006, 03:52 AM
  #6

J. Elaine,
I am just checking in to see how things are going. I know how upset you have been. Keep meditating by that lake! Sounds just what you need to revitalize your soul! I am sure the entire matter can be cleared up!
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:23 PM
  #7

Hey, Judy!

I am doing just fine; thanks for asking. We have not yet resolved the situation, but I feel confident that we can fix the problem. We have parent conferences Wednesday and Thursday. After teaching all day on Wed., conferences start at 4:00 and end at 8:00, and on Thurs., we have early dismissal and conferences go from 2:00-8:00!!!! Sometimes I think they are trying to kill us off!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To make matters even worse, we start the day on Thurs. with a team handball game at 8:00 am, so that means 12 hours NON-STOP!!!!!!

The conference with the "Letter" people will not be until Thursday, so I guess I'll know how it all comes down after that meeting. I just don't know how we will get everything said/covered in the 15 minutes that we are allowed for each conference. Here's the next problem -- The parent will think I'm disrespecting her because I can't give her my undivided attention for an unlimited amount of time!!!!!!!!!!! Just kidding (sort of)!

I am determined to keep a positive attitude. The fact of the matter is this. We are professionals, and we are the ones who must meet all the challenges that come our way with a smile. I'm just thankful I can come here and let it all out when I need to. Thanks so much for thinking of me. It's funny how much it helps to know someone out there is in my corner rooting for me!

Later . . .
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I will think of you tomorrow
Old 10-25-2006, 07:50 AM
  #8

Hopefully, everything will be sorted out tomorrow. I will be thinking of you. Don't ya love it........it just seems like everything always gets planned on to of something else....so there is no retreave. We have our conferences in Dec. And we have half day dismissals three days...so our conferences go from 12:30 to 9:00 and then the other two days we get comp time and are allowed home at 12:30. One day I will actually do that...ha.
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Old 10-25-2006, 03:52 PM
  #9

Good luck with your conferences! I will be thinking of you and counting the hours until they are over. I know that I always heave a big sigh of relief after the last one. It's just that there are twenty-some before that one

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J.Elaine
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Hey, Judy and Sandy!
Old 10-26-2006, 11:21 PM
  #10

Hey, Judy and Sandy!
Thanks for the positive thoughts. I survived all the conferences!

As luck would have it, my last one was the one I'd been dreading. My principal was supposed to meet with us, but the people were late. He waited with me for 15 minutes, and then he had to leave for another conference. They came about 10 minutes later and the little girl's sped teacher showed up just seconds after they walked in. So . . . I was not alone. It went okay, but before it was completely over the lady started talking to the sped teacher about how happy the student was the day she did not have to come into class with me and how much she (the little girl) hoped she'd be allowed to just go to the sped room.

Oh, my gosh! It was soooooo difficult to sit there and keep my mouth shut. In the first place, the little girl came to my room for class the day she was supposed to stay in the sped room. That was the day the little girl (according to the mom) had come home so happy because she had the whole day away from me!!!!!!! I couldn't believe how rude the mom was!!!! After the family left, the sped teacher tried to talk me through the situation. She was very sweet, and she tried her best to encourage me. The good thing was that I was finished conferencing for the evening, so at least I didn't have another set of parents waiting to come in.

The biggest problem I'm having with the whole thing is the fact that I've not had the opportunity to clear the air with her about the accusations in the letter. I asked my principal if he thought I should bring up the letter so we could talk about it and maybe work through everything, and he said to just keep the topic on normal conferencing issues -- grades, looking at test scores, etc. In the meantime, I haven't been able to achieve closure.

Oh, well. Life is just tough sometimes. Conferences aside and over onto a personal level, this is always going to be a very difficult day for me. It is the anniversary of the death of my son. I know the feelings I've had to surpress this whole week have been sitting there just beneath the surface brewing and brewing. That plus the difficulty of the last session has pretty much wiped me out. Since I don't have to teach tomorrow, I am just staying up and keeping busy into the wee hours of the night/morning. When I know I am tired enough to go right to sleep, I will go to bed, but until then . . .

Thanks again, ladies, for thinking of me.
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Old 10-27-2006, 01:43 PM
  #11

I'm so sorry to hear about your son. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you on this difficult day.

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Old 10-27-2006, 06:58 PM
  #12

Take care of you today, you are in my thoughts
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J.Elaine
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Today
Old 10-28-2006, 06:21 PM
  #13

I spent Friday at my daughters and spent the night and most of today there. Thank you for your thoughts. How kind of you both to take time to post.
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JKB
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Hi J. Elaine!
Old 10-29-2006, 02:24 AM
  #14

I'm playing "catch-up" with PT....I'm so sorry to hear that you have had to go through all this with a parent! It is MORE than obvious that you put your whole heart and soul into teaching! It is just a shame that some parents just can't recognize this.

Furthermore, I can't believe you had to WAIT before you were even given a copy of letter! In a situation like this......not knowing what it said is WORSE than knowing.......because if you knew right away, you would have been able to discern it and not have it weighing so heavily in your thoughts!

To make it all more complicated, it seems like your principal has allowed too much time to pass before trying to resolve the issues mentioned in the letter with the mother. (Maybe he thinks that since the mother hasn't been more aggressive since she wrote the letter, then perhaps he thinks she was just venting.) I don't know if I could have sat during the conference and NOT discussed it! I would have been so tempted to identify and discuss her misconceptions! I give you a LOT of credit for being able to keep your composure and avoid more conflict.

At any rate, I would think that if the mother really, honestly, and truly didn't want her child in your classroom, she would have forced the issue-either before or during conferences, with either you directly or through additional contact with your principal. Since she hasn't pursued it any further, you might have to just let it go.....even if the air has not been cleared. Just rest assured.....you know the truth, whether the mother ever realizes it or not.

Also, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through all the emotions you have with the loss of your son. A mother never forgets when certain dates roll around......no matter how many years roll by......it is always difficult.

I'm glad to hear that you were able to spend Friday night and most of Saturday with your daughter.

Thinking of you.......JKB



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J.Elaine
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Jkb
Old 10-29-2006, 03:49 PM
  #15

JKB!

I think you are right. I think I am just going to have to let the whole thing go and chalk it up as . . . what? I'm not so sure. I will have to say that I'm not really happy with the way my principal handled the whole thing, but I'll have to let that go, too.

And . . . I know you know very well about a mother's loss. Thank you for you words of encouragement. You are in my thoughts and prayers as well. Stay strong!

Later . . .
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I am sorry
Old 10-30-2006, 09:05 AM
  #16

I am so sorry not to have written you during those horrid couple of days. We had computer trouble at home and school was just too busy. I am so sorry about the loss of your son. It makes going through your school crisis all the more difficult. Personally, I feel that your principal might be more supportive. Take heart that you are an excellent teacher and this too will pass.
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J.Elaine
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Judy
Old 10-30-2006, 04:31 PM
  #17

You know what? I agree about my principal. I am his number 1 cheerleader in most situations, so I don't know why he dropped the ball with this parent and me. Oh well, you are right about "this too will pass." I've live a L-O-N-G time!!!, and I know hurts come and go. Things that seem insurmountable at the time become little speed bumps in retrospect. I like the speed bump analogy. Speed bumps cause you to slow down a bit, but they don't prevent you from going forward. With encouragement from people like you, how can I fail to overcome!!!!! We shall overcome!!!! Good grief, I am getting myself all worked up!!!!! I'd better calm down and get to work. Thanks for posting, Judy.

Later . . .
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good attitude
Old 10-31-2006, 08:41 AM
  #18

You sound like you have a wonderful attitude about life in general and that will take you through a lot. It is Halloween in the Kindergarten, so you can only imagine what is going on in school today. I never thought I would go about my day looking like a bottle of ketchup....ha....my costume....my para is a bottle of mustard. I will talk to you soon. Hopefully, tomorrow the specialist will be coming to look at my home computer and we will get that up and running.talk to you soon and keep a warm heart....
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