Saturday, November 26, 2011


There any number of reasons a teacher might need to vent in this day and age:  apathetic students, low prestige and pay, being overworked, too much red tape, etc.  This blog was created to chronicle the various ways that students, parents and school administrators have rendered many teachers helpless in the face of unfounded accusations.  I left my position as a junior high school teacher two years ago as I could no longer take it.

The administration uses the necessity of investigating each and every complaint as a wedge to drive the teacher out.  And why not?  The system is largely broken and operates as a baby sitting service where overworked administrators spend time putting out fires.  What employee wants to spend more time in this disagreeable situation?

I would like to think some changes in policy can be made where unsubstantiated, vindictive and vexatious complaints against teachers are minimized.  Under the present system, students and parents can accuse all they want with next to no consequences for false claims. Furthermore, the emphasis on grades has rendered the real reason for school, less important.  Many indulgent parents want to believe their child and also have an axe to grind when memories of their own dislike for school/ teachers comes up.  In my twenty years in education,  I see things getting worse all the time.  Memories of my last year are little more than a recurring string of visits to the principal's office following hearsay from some disgruntled pupil who didn't expect anything lower than a B- for showing up, and received a C instead.

One could argue that the sad state of our educational system is in part, due to the often hidden and nuanced dynamics where today's student often hopes to maximize their grade while keeping energy / time expenditures to a minimum.

So what is the usual root for complaints?   low grades or being disciplined: the student's failure to meet expectations.

Most complaints against me started with a pushback after the above mentioned occurred.  Sometimes the complaint/s came months after I had done something but now the student had a low grade.  Teachers realize that politics is a part of the game they must play but, unfortunately, politics supersede academics in many places.  The attempt to head off any sort of retaliation by students and parents pushes teachers to:

1. inflate grades   
2. overlook disruptive or unproductive behavior 
3. dumb down lessons (frustration creates disruption)
4. behave as if teaching is a popularity contest rather than teaching. 

Almost every teacher surmises that whether or not students are learning, keeping their job is a matter of keeping complaints to a minimum.  Many principals, who were never good students to begin with, make judgements about teachers based on complaints rather than assessing them on their ability to teach. What we have increasingly is an attempt to create the illusion of learning rather than the real thing so that when an administrator walks by the door, the kids are quietly engaged in some activity.  The tendency to spoon feed students the answers keeps kids on task but it also keeps them from pushing themselves and keeps their threshold for dealing with frustration low.

I would suggest that posters not use their real names or mention the names of students, but getting the school's name, or geographical  location might be helpful.  A teacher wishing to contribute should enter 1. the events prompting the accusation, 2. possible motives behind the allegations 3. steps the administration took to resolve the issue 4. lessons learned, questions, etc.  I will close this introduction by saying that I started my career with a masters degree, pride and idealism.  By the time it ended I felt like I was practically powerless in the face of such stacked odds.  I can't be only one to experience this.


  1. Here are 2 videos that ended my career. There is a third I will post if/ when I can find it.


    Check this link out....all too typical.

  3. I have taught at the college level only until the last few
    > months I have been subsitute teaching all ages including
    > many types of SPED classes (which I love especially). About
    > a month ago I taught 6th grade math for a half day - Friday
    > afternoon. The teacher pointed out 4-5 students before
    > class to warn me of (which I wish I would have paid more
    > attention to). Well, during one (very long) period about
    > half of the 'problem' children were misbehaving but there
    > were as many not on that list that were misbehaving as
    > well. I was told to write down their names if they
    > misbehaved and to warn them with using the list. So after
    > repeated disruptions I decided to warn them about using the
    > list. This did not deter them. Then I started writing names
    > down. Some calmed down but others took it almost as some
    > kind of challenge and began to misbehave even more. So I
    > told them (there were ten names on the list by the end of
    > the hour and 20 minute class) that I would start making
    > check marks next to names. Even though only four of the ten
    > got any checkmarks (I guess in retrospect that nobody
    > really knew if they're name was on the list or if it had
    > any check marks) they apparently banded together to get out
    > of the trouble they were going to be in. They decided to
    > tell the teacher and their parents that I (there have been
    > several versions) called the class stupid or called some of
    > the students stupid. They also said that I asked them "what
    > the hell they were doing". Without ever contacting me about
    > the situation I got a letter saying I was banned from the
    > school (this is not a good thing for your reputation of
    > course) for calling them stupid and using foul language. It
    > took me a week to get the principal on the phone to ask her
    > to look into it. Then when she "looked into it", she merely
    > said that four students who "weren't all friends" claimed
    > similar stories. This was somehow proof to them that I had
    > said those things. I called the administrator of the
    > district and he offered no help whatsover. I feel like I
    > have been violated and slandered. I don't know if there is
    > anything we can do to prevent this kind of thing from
    > happening except to record audio and visual for all
    > classes. This seems like it would have broad support,
    > including the teachers/parents/principals who side with
    > students because if they believe these things are happening
    > they should want to catch it on tape.

  4. Thanks PP:
    Sounds all too familiar. I am sorry to see you go through this. Seems surreal huh? Yes, I am afraid it's time to bring the cameras into the classroom. Re/ video. I brought one years ago to tape a student who was brazenly dishonest and trying to ruin my reputation. I was told I could not film students with the expressed idea of catching them misbehaving. So...all of us work at the whim and the discretion of children; many of whom have no regard for honesty or anyone in authority. If you are supposed to be the authority but the student's word carries more weight than yours, something is really wrong. Please let us know if anything else comes from this.