Mama Bear alert! Don't say I didn't warn you!
School issues are the one place, as a mother, that I have trouble trusting my instincts. I have strong opinions about the way my kids should be treated and the way the ideal classroom should be run, but don't always feel confident when it comes down to confronting a teacher. I'm not going to lie, I'm scared! I guess it's that ingrained respect for authority left over from 12+ years of school.
I know in my heart that some things happening in my son's 3rd grade classroom aren't right, but feel like my role is that of teacher support since I am room parent this year. I'm supremely uncomfortable with bringing up my issues to this teacher who's response to other classroom parents has been a stiff "Well, that's the way I do it" I turn tail and run without ever voicing my concerns.
Look at this kid...he's dang cute and he's all mine and I'm responsible for sticking up for him. Why can't I do it?
Before I get 25 requests asking what in the world the teacher is doing, let me lay it out. She has told us that she likes to run her classroom on the principle of "peer pressure". She likes the kids to keep each other in line the way an Army Sargent does when he makes everyone do 50 push ups when one soldier's bed isn't made.
If someone is causing trouble, every child in that vicinity is punished and required to write a letter stating that they were disrespectful and wrong. Now, she says she knows who the trouble maker is but she punishes everyone because they didn't reign the bad child in using peer pressure.
She gives a pre-spelling test on Wednesdays. The children who pass the test not only don't have to take it again on Friday, they also get to make a big display of playing with shaving cream on their desks while the other children retake the test on Friday. The test on Friday isn't given by her, but rather another child in the class who passed the pre-test. This routine is extremely distracting for the kids taking the test and they feel "below" the child who is giving the test and embarrassed that they can't play with the other kids.
She has the class divided into, what my son calls, "good kids" and "bad kids". He explains that it's clear to everyone that the "good" kids are the ones in enrichment and the "bad" kids are the average students. He came home from school after scoring an A on a math test simply overjoyed yelling, "Mama! I'm finally a good kid!" (is that the saddest thing you've ever heard?)
At this year's parent/teacher conference, she mentioned to me that she was deeply concerned about my son's lack of self-esteem and insecure body language (I have NEVER seen that side of him and no teacher has ever mentioned that). My investigation into this has uncovered all of these goings on in the classroom. Well, no wonder he's feeling insecure in this environment! What's a mom to do?!?
You folks have been with me through thick and thin, and I'm at my wit's end here. I need some motherly advice, some teacherly advice, some friendly advice! It's not Feedback Friday yet, but I don't think I can wait. Am I blowing things out of proportion? Does this all seem normal to all of you? Should I just go on about my business and let this teacher alone?