How to approach a public school substitute teacher that may have something against my niece? My niece needs to improve her grade, and I don't know the best way - long -
posted by needlegrrl to Education (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I want to set up a meeting with a substitute math teacher, and talk to her about what my niece can do to improve her grade. What is the best way to approach it? background below -
My niece came to stay with my mom last summer, and never left. Let's ignore that bit of family drama, and just say that it was very upsetting to her, and we're working on it in therapy. She was in 5th grade last year, and did not do as well as she could have, due to dealing with the drama. My mom did the best she could with dealing with the teachers, but it was difficult - my niece was the only white girl in the school, and met with a lot of teasing, etc from the other students.
Enter 6th Grade (clayton county schools, GA). She loves her school! Her classes are great! Except, wait - her math teacher is out on pregnancy leave, and there is a substitute. A substitute, who, according to my niece, yells so loudly at the kids that the other teachers come down the hall to see what is wrong. My niece has told the teacher to "get out of her face" (her mom was emotionally abusive, and she has anger issues). My mom has talked to my niece, and told her not to do that - we think her attitude in class has improved. She also spoke with the teacher, and explained my niece's background (and the reason for the anger issues, and that we were working on them in therapy), and that she would respond better if the teacher did not yell at her. She explained to the teacher that she had a 10th grade education, and the teacher laughed at her. The teacher suggested that it was a problem at home, and she should have the school send child services out to inspect the home, and my mom said that she would welcome any help/assistance that the school could give. The teacher said that ALL of my niece's teachers were having trouble with her, not just her. (My mom will be meeting with all other teachers next week to see - at least one teacher has said they have no problems). The teacher was yelling at kids during the phone call, and it cut off abruptly. My mom thought that everything was going better in the classroom after this call. (Yes, she was upset about what the teacher said, but does not want to cause trouble for my niece at school, and is trying to be nice about everything).
However, there was one piece of homework that was not turned in (my niece didn't know how to do it, and they had not given out books yet); my niece turned in her composition book (possibly without her name on it, she is not sure) and she has not gotten it back, the teacher says she does not have it, and the teacher has refused to accept homework from her several times. (Currently, she has a 0 for one of her grades, possibly the composition book. Since she only has 2 grades so far, her grade in math is a 13)
My mom has tried to get the teacher's email - since the teacher is a sub, there is not an official email. She has requested a meeting with all of my niece's teachers, which is monday afternoon, but I suggested that we meet with this teacher separately, as it may take some time, and I don't think the other teachers necessarily need to sit through it!
We are trying to get a meeting with just her, and I want to be there.
My goals are as follows -
1. Find out what the problem is with the homework, and why it is not being accepted. Find out if my niece can make it up/turn it in now.
2. Find out what was in the composition book, and if my niece can make it up.
3. See what we can do to help her do better in math - maybe the teacher could give us the assignments ahead of time, so we understood them and could better explain/help her with them? Is this unreasonable? (Even if we just knew what chapters they were going through, it would help)
4. Ask the teacher to notify us if she does not receive/accept homework or classwork from my niece. Is it ridiculous to ask her to sign for it?
My mom is afraid that since my niece is one of the few white students, the teacher may be picking on her. The teacher is only temporary, so we just need to deal with her until the other teacher comes back - but my niece can't fail this class, and I don't want her to get behind, and then do poorly in 6th grade math.
What's the best way to approach this teacher? My mom is pissed and angry, and isn't thinking straight. I think I need to go to the meeting, so that there is someone who is rational there.
Is there anything else I should be asking the teacher/dealing with?
We just want her to do well in school - she's reasonably intelligent, and there is no reason why she shouldn't be able to do the work with help.
Any other thoughts on what I can do to help (from a distance, as my ability to go to the school and meet with teachers is limited!) would be great.