What can be done to remove a "bad" teacher from the classroom?
Have written complaint re:teacher's behavior and followed up with the appropriate administrators. This began two years ago...she is still in the classroom. What more, if anything, can be done to remove her?
There is nothing worse than knowing a teacher is having a negative impact on students, especially when your child is one of them. That being said, it’s often very difficult to have a teacher removed unless they’ve done something prohibited by the school board or worse, something illegal. Unfortunately, as anyone in the workforce knows, there are many people out there who are bad at their jobs, yet still working. The regrettable fact about a bad teacher is that it impacts so many, and given that children are so impressionable, it can have long-term effects.
Not everyone realizes that there is a code of ethics to which teachers and administrators (since they typically come from a teaching background) must abide. To that end, while they may privately share your views and concerns, they have to be extremely careful to what extent they express themselves or they may be open to repercussions. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but if this teacher’s behavior is as poor as you say it is, there currently may be steps being taken to remove her. However, it can be a time consuming process which is no solace when you feel that immediate action needs to be taken.
You mentioned that you’ve written a complaint and followed up with administrators. Are the administrators strictly within the school or within the school board? You may want to send additional letters, including your original complaint letter(s) to the school board and corresponding superintendent. Oftentimes, something like this takes a higher authority. If need be, perhaps get your local political representative involved.
Are other parents feeling the same way? If so, definitely request their assistance in complaining, in both verbal and written form, to the proper administrators and to the school board. You’ll essentially be leading them so you’ll need to make sure to give parents all information necessary to make it easy for them. People often want to complain, but when the process becomes too time consuming they may lost steam and never get around to it. I’d suggest you provide a handout or email which lists anyone you suggest they contact and the corresponding contact information (phone, address, email). As well, all parents are free to express their own concerns, but in order to make a greater impact, those concerns must be their own, not those that you have expressed to them. The more voices heard, the more you’ll be taken seriously.
Document everything. You’ve probably been noting things as they’ve happened, but if not, I strongly suggest keeping a journal of dates/events. Write down what happened and do your best to note only the facts, not emotions or opinions. The reality is that you’ll be hearing it secondhand from your child and perhaps other children, but do your best to piece the events together. It may not be a bad idea, unless your relationship with this teacher is already contentious, to perhaps phone and hear her side of events. Note your conversation with her in your journal as well. If the incident is something you feel you need to bring to the administrator’s attention, again, note your conversation in the journal. We all forget things as time goes on and we can get mixed up. Writing things down immediately removes that risk and it allows you to be better prepared if you have to take this to higher authorities.
Do be careful what you say and write because it can come back to haunt you as well. You don’t want to accuse, simply state facts. You want to be perceived as someone who can still be objective and not someone who is letting emotions override logic. Remember to always present yourself professionally and objectively in order to be taken seriously. Perhaps have a friend play devil’s advocate so that you can see all sides clearly and be well prepared in your communications.
I would strongly suggest that you be extremely careful about what you express in front of your child. Yes, you feel this person shouldn’t be in the classroom, however, your child must still attend school every day and you want it to be a pleasant experience as much as possible. You don’t want your child attending and being disrespectful to this teacher. The last thing you want is for the teacher to have “ammunition” in terms of how she treats your child and why. As well, you would be surprised what goes around the playground via children and then back to parents. Be as positive as possible when discussing school with your child.
On the same note, you might also consider using this opportunity to teach your child about how to deal with unfair or difficult situations. We all want to shield and protect our children. After all, children should be allowed to be children and not have to deal with certain problems or issues until they’re older and more capable. However, life isn’t always like that and while I know you would rather that this teacher be immediately removed, it isn’t likely to happen. Therefore, make the best of this situation and perhaps teach your child some conflict resolution techniques. If it’s having an especially negative influence on your child, and you are feeling like you just don’t know how to help, perhaps consider getting a school counselor or even a child psychologist involved. They can be phenomenal resources and teach your child lifelong skills on how to handle difficult situations.
I am very sorry that you’re having to deal with something like this. I wish that the school system and teachers were perfect, but as humans, we’re fallible. Be patient and I think that your persistence will eventually pay off. Good luck.
I am currently going thru this SAME situation: tho I've actually got this particular teacher's 'transgressions' ON TAPE!! But it STILL doesn't seem to matter--AND the principal has totally shut down due to me going 'over his head' to the administrators, who STILL haven't responded to my e-mails! At least I had my kids transfered out of her class BUT I'm feeling like I've let the REST of those kids down and I WISH there was more I could do! But thanks for your comments on this site...at least it lets me know I'm not going through this ALONE.
I am currently undergoing this same problem, however, I have the misfortune of knowing the bad teacher for years before she was hired this academic year at a new school. Too long a story to discuss. I have submitted documentation to prove that she is not competent but there has been no response from the principal who supports the bad teacher even with a signed petition from students that they have not learned anything for months. I just filed a complaint with the school district and submitted all relevant documents and letters. Unfortunately, I fear that the teacher will continue to be on the payroll and the students will fall even more behind. Knowing the bad teacher so well, it is a matter of time before she has her uncontrollable meltdowns with her students. The next step will be going to the state teacher credentialing commission.