OK – so let’s be real….sometimes your child’s teacher does something that really makes your blood boil.  For example, one day I came home from a long day at school to find my third grader locked in the bathroom.  She couldn’t talk to me as she was sobbing so hard that it was hard to catch her breath.

“She did really bad on a math test and she’s afraid you’ll be mad,”  her older sis said as she was casually watching tv.

My heart broke a little bit as I didn’t think I was that kind of parent.  I took a very soft supportive tone as I asked her to come out to talk.

She opened the bathroom door and  handed me a math test and all I noticed was a GIANT

F ‘

I assured her that she wasn’t in trouble but asked her if her teacher had given her feedback so she could correct her errors and learn from her mistake.

“No.  She just gave me my test back,” she sobbed.

That was it.  I saw RED and guess what???  We lived across the street from the school and it was still early enough that her teacher might be there…so I hopped on my broomstick and off I went…..test in hand.  

You might say that what I had to say to her teacher was not very calm….but done with great respect mind you – after all I was a fellow teacher.  BUT as a fellow teacher my question for her was:  “How could you simply hand her a test with a big fat with no concern at all to find out what her thought process was as she completed these problems – and no help to teach her the correct way so she would understand this process??? NO feedback??? NO remediation??? Just a big fat F???”  She understood my point and so did her two colleagues whose classrooms were connected by a few floating walls.

Should I have waited to speak to her until I had calmed myself?   Yes I think so.  Should I have brought this up to her at all?  Absolutely.  

Doctors have an oath,  “first do no harm”  and I believe educators should follow this same oath.   A teacher’s job is to teach, evaluate progress, and remediate or reteach as needed while always keeping the child’s esteem intact.   I don’t feel there is EVER an instance where a child should get a paper with a BIG FAT “F”. EVER! Do children fail?? Well – not if we are teaching them well and teaching them at their zone of proximal development.   Are all children learning at the same level and rate?  No. This is a simple fact.  Each child has different strengths and weaknesses and should be taught accordingly.  School should never be a place where children feel like they fail.

So – when you start to see RED, take a deep breath, do some thoughtful reflection on what it is that is making you angry and take some time to figure out the best way to approach the situation.   But don’t ever be afraid to advocate on behalf of your child.  That is your job.  Just try to do it without flying in on your broomstick.   You’d think as a teacher I would have known better….but when it comes to our children….well….sometimes we don’t think straight.


  1. I LOVE this!!!!! What is the purpose of testing if not to understand what you did wrong , thereby learning!!! I totally understand your MAMA bear instincts here…I too have had to learn to calm before reacting-life long journey… On a personal note- Clif was put in the ” dumb classes”, because he couldn’t read- he had dyslexia, which I guess they didn’t know about back then- somehow, this ” dumb” kid taught himself to read, and now can’t get enough of reading… sad that they didn’t capitalize on the talents he had, not to mention voracious curiosity…


    • Thanks Sue. Clif must have been pretty resilient! Nick was told he was too loud when singing in choir in Catholic school – so he stopped singing. Thanks for reading my blog!


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