Monday, September 24, 2012

So, You Want Me to Undermine My Colleagues, or What?

We had our first parent-teacher conference this past week. Overall, a great experience. I love the chance to talk one-on-one with students' parents. They see what I'm all about, and I get new insight to the kids I teach.

The last encounter of the night was a little strange, though. It wasn't a parent of one of my students. It was the parent of another teacher's student, in the grade below the one I teach.

She was concerned about the teacher her child has (but I didn't entirely get why). She was concerned about the new standards. (She's not the only one, but guess what—I kinda like them.) She said she'd talked to the principal before school started, and then again that night. He'd pointed me out to her (I'm not sure why).

Bottom line, I have no idea what this mother wanted from me. Just hoping that I'll have the same class assignment next year and will get her child? Just wanting to vent and have someone tell her they understand?

Did she want me to say, "You heard right. I'm awesome. Sorry my colleague sucks."

On what planet would I ever do that?

On what planet would it ever be acceptable for anyone to do this?

That's my gut reaction. On the other hand, I understand how frustrated parents can be when a teacher isn't working for their student. There often isn't much they can do about it, and I really know the kind of impact a bad (or good) math teacher in particular can have on a kid.

On the other other hand (the third one, right?), I've already been dealing with teacher reputations a ton this year. I'm the "new" teacher, so kids who didn't want the other option (whether by past experience or by reputation) transferred to me just for that. The "other option" is not a bad teacher, nor a bad person. We plan our units together. As far as I know, we don't teach that differently.

Try telling that to the people who figured even an unknown quantity had to be better.

Then again, I agree that sometimes certain personalities don't gel in a great way, so one teacher might be more effective with certain types of kids than another.

But the end effect is that my classes are all bigger than the others in the grade.


Is there a solution to any of this? Probably not, other than to do what I plan on doing ... continuing to do the best job I can in my classroom, and maintain my professionalism at all times.

I'm not going to cut down good, hard-working teachers. I hope no one else would do so to me, either.

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