I need to know what happened (about) 8 years ago.
May 12, 2007 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Is it creepy to contact an old HS teacher about a parent conference that happened almost 8 years ago?

I've been going through some of my father's personal files as of late, trying to discover things they've hidden from me (such as my brother's stay in a mental institution, for one) and I found a printout of an old email (which can be seen here). I want to know what was said at this conference, in particular, the "serious issues". (I know for an absolute fact that this meeting did occur.) The teacher in question no longer teaches at the school I attended, but does still work in the MCPS system. I found his email address through their website. So the question(s) are:

1. Would it be exceedingly creepy for me to email him?
2. Would it be legally/ethically improper for him to tell me what went on in this meeting? (I was a minor at the time, but no longer am.)
3. Is this too much of a long shot for me to even bother with?

I really liked this teacher at the time, but it bugs me that there were some 'serious issues'. I would ask my dad about what happened but: a) he probably doesn't remember, b) he would know I've been digging through his files, and c) we don't really discuss 'serious issues' in our family.

Many thanks in advance.
posted by sperose to Grab Bag (47 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I would say that you should, um, sorta know what those serious issues are. I mean, they were with you, right? So that means that they reflected where you were emotionally, mentally, etc. at that time, at least as far as the teacher could perceive.

Does it matter, now, what your problems were then? Either you have gotten over those problems, or you are still unaware of them. Either way, talking to this teacher is not going to change things in the present. If you've gotten over those problems, then you are just dealing with the past, and if you haven't gotten over those problems, then the real step is not talking with the English teacher you had 8 years ago, but going to a therapist today and working through your issues.

If you're not going to a therapist right now, let me recommend that you go to one. It sounds like the issues you are/were dealing with, particularly your familial relationship, need a decent amount of work.

By the way: read through the letter again. You were incomplete in your censoring.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:37 PM on May 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

The whole things sounds a little bit creepy and obsessive to me. Why, eight years after the fact, do you care? And by "going through my father's personal files" and "finding" a printout of an old email, do you really mean you've been sneaking about, invading people's privacy, and are now expecting Metafilter to help you continue the trend?
posted by Jimbob at 4:38 PM on May 12, 2007

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Jesus...let it go already. Are you happy with the person you are today? Would knowing what a teacher you had 8 years ago thought about you then make a shit's bit of difference now? I'm guessing no. Exhale...and let it go.
posted by cosmicbandito at 4:39 PM on May 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

1. "Creepy" is pretty subjective, but I'd suggest that almost any action inspired by secretly rooting through a family member's belongings is somewhat creepy.

2. If you tell the teacher that you obtained the letter without your father's knowledge or permission and he proceeds to fill you in on what your father wrote and what they discussed, I think that would ethically improper.

3. Yes, let it go.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 4:39 PM on May 12, 2007

You forgot to redact one "Rosemary." :-)

It's creepy to go through your father's files, unless he's dead, and you're his executor. If I were this teacher, I wouldn't consider it weird to hear from you, but I would be very uncomfortable about discussing this with you, particularly if you disclosed how you came to know of the contents of my (meaning the teacher's) email. It wouldn't be ethical for the teacher to discuss this meeting with you. If you want to know about it, you need to ask your Dad, straight up.
posted by paulsc at 4:40 PM on May 12, 2007

Oh, and also if the guidance counselor was present (as suggested in the letter), then she or he is the person you should be talking to. They would probably be a better resource to discuss what your behavioral problems might have been back then.

I guess my other big question is: okay, so your dad had this meeting with your teacher -- and told you nothing about it? The whole point of the meeting would be to effect a change in the way that a student was encountering the class. The problem seems more profound than just knowing what you were doing wrong back in the day.

It sounds like the question that really needs to be asked is, "How can I confront my father about the fact that he does not tell me about things that directly affect me and my family? How can I get him to communicate this?"

Otherwise, this just seems like a sort of petty exercise. I mean, what's the point of finding this stuff out? Are you expecting some kind of revelation?
posted by Deathalicious at 4:41 PM on May 12, 2007

IMHO, it wouldn't be creepy at all to email a previous teacher, especially with such a pointed request.

I don't know about the legal/ethics of it, I would say it depends on what the serious issue was.

I would say, being 8 years ago, if you don't know what it is now, it probably doesn't matter much. You might be disappointed if/when you find out, because it wasn't that important.

If I were you, I would at least email him, say hi, and politely ask. If he is uncomfortable sharing, don't press the issue.
posted by kraigory at 4:42 PM on May 12, 2007

You may want to edit the printout image since it contains one unobscured instance of your first name, in the second paragraph, about two-thirds of the way down. The admins can then edit your question to point to a new version of the image.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 4:43 PM on May 12, 2007

The poster's name is prominently displayed on the website linked from her profile, so I'm not sure it's that big of a deal.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 4:45 PM on May 12, 2007

1. I don't think it's creepy to email him, necessarily, but it does seem suspicious. It's natural to be curious about this sort of thing, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to contact him about it.

2. It would probably be ethically unsound for him to tell you the details, especially considering how you came across the information. As others have said, it might be a good idea to just let it go.

3. Actually, I don't think it's a long shot at all. Teachers can have exceptional memories. I bet if you contact him, he'll remember. I'm just not sure that's a good idea.
posted by danb at 4:54 PM on May 12, 2007

This is a high school teacher and it's been nine years. Assuming s/he taught 5 classes a year x 30 students x 2 semesters x 9 years, she has handled 2700 students since you were there. If you weren't on a semester system, that's still about 1350 students, not including those from your year. Even if 1% of students were as memorable as you were, that's 13-27 student histories to keep in his/her mind. I doubt the teacher can remember very many accurate details. And they probably deleted their sent mail a long time ago.
posted by acoutu at 4:56 PM on May 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

If the request is polite and friendly, I really don't see the harm. If the teacher doesn't want to answer, he doesn't have to. I would certainly like to learn, if possible, about "serious issues" that I might have had that weren't discussed with me, even many years later.
posted by taz at 4:58 PM on May 12, 2007

If you do contact your teacher, understand that his (?) taking the time to give you this information would represent a huge favor. You might offer to take him out for lunch or tea or something, or at least acknowledge that you realize this would be exceptional on his part. Also make very clear that you are not interested in him romantically, just in case he wonders.

He'd probably be pleased to know that you're in graduate school. Be sure to thank him for whatever help he gave you.
posted by amtho at 4:59 PM on May 12, 2007

acoutu: I've had teachers that remembered test scores, phone numbers, parents' names, and personality quirks for students they taught over a decade ago. If people can remember innocuous details like that, it's definitely plausible that sperose's teacher remembers this situation.
posted by danb at 5:13 PM on May 12, 2007

I taught school for five years and I would be able to remember a good many of the students I had, especially ones where I would have to meet their parents.

You could try the Freedom of Information Act if the teacher wrote anything down (and that includes emails stored on school servers).

But, in the long run, it's a lot healthier to be honest with your parents, which means you should not be going through their stuff without their consent.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:43 PM on May 12, 2007

Let. It. Go.
posted by meerkatty at 5:46 PM on May 12, 2007

Maybe this shouldn't be bothering you, but for some reason it is. So maybe you should look for answers. But ask yourself these questions:

Why does this bother me?

How has not knowing the particulars of this conversation from 8 years ago hurt me?

Will knowing what was talked about help or hurt me?

What will happen to me if I never know what was said?

In short, think hard about this is really important.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 PM on May 12, 2007

Knowing as little as we do about this situation, I think it's perfectly reasonable to wonder about this, and that finding out the information that the poster seeks could even be helpful.
posted by amtho at 6:17 PM on May 12, 2007

The fact that you've been digging through your dad's files should really bother you, but it doesn't. You say you're looking for proof of them hiding something from you. Why? Do you not think they love you? Do you need a reason to hate them? It seems like that's what you might be searching for.

What you're doing is wrong. You have absolutely no right to search through someone else's private files, but particularly those of your mother and father. You're an adult, start acting like one and respect the privacy of your parents.
posted by allthewhile at 6:30 PM on May 12, 2007

What are you hoping to get out of this if you do contact the teacher? I agree with Deathalicious that you aren't likely to find out anything about yourself that you didn't already know. The other possibility is that she was off-target and I don't see any benefit to knowing that someone was needlessly worried about you 8 years ago.

I'm wondering if this is more about your father. What does it mean to you that he didn't say anything to you at the time? Do you think he was protecting you or ignoring your problems? Were there things going on at that time that you wish he had known and reacted to?

So, I guess I'm seconding Brandon Blatcher in suggest you ask yourself why does this matter so much eight years later?
posted by metahawk at 6:36 PM on May 12, 2007

I don't understand where all the harshness comes from. I'm reading it from a point that the poster came across something that indicated she has something that she needs to work on to better herself, and apparently she cannot see what that is otherwise she'd already know the "serious issues." It's actually important to see how other people perceive you and what you can do to come across as the best you that you can be.

Instead of contacting the teacher, I would try to figure it out on my own. In the email, the teacher addresses your ability and your work habits, so I think the "more serious issues" relate to home or social interactions in school. You mention your brother's stay at a mental hospital - did this happen around the same time as the conference? How did you act in this class? He mentions your overall behavior in his class, and suggests the guidance counselor be present. My hunch, based solely on the letter and wild speculation, is that you tended to let your emotions control your behavior to a degree where he suspected some sort of emotional imbalance or drugs. Or you were unpredictible in your reactions.

Give some objective thought to how a teacher would see how you interacted with other students in the classroom, and you probably won't need to email him at all. If you emailed him after all this time, he probably wouldn't be able to give any more detail than that, anyway.

Is this really about what the teacher said, or is this about knowing everything that's been hidden from you?
posted by Iamtherealme at 6:37 PM on May 12, 2007

Good grief this is weird. Whatever was said at the meeting, let me confirm for you that the serious issues still persist.

Of Mice and Men is great BTW.
posted by fire&wings at 6:38 PM on May 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Er. I'm surprised nobody's mentioned this, but from reading the text, it seems like the "serious issues" are just re: academic behavior / pliability etc. rather than outstanding issues that aren't mentioned in the note. Look at the sentence again.

So to answer your q#3, I don't think you'll uncover anything interesting by pursuing this. Relax, you're normal.
posted by Firas at 6:38 PM on May 12, 2007

So, if you liked this teacher and it sounds like he liked you, here's how I envision his thought process when he gets your email:

Oh, look, an email from sperose! I remember her, I wonder what she's been up to, it's been quite awhile and she had so much potential. Hmm let's see... "looking through my father's files"... "serious issues"... "what was discussed"... "hiding things from me"... Yikes. I'll just pretend the spamfilter ate that one.

Follow the majority opinion above and don't do this. It's quite creepy.
posted by SuperNova at 6:40 PM on May 12, 2007

1. Would it be exceedingly creepy for me to email him?

Yes, but not for the reason you think.

I have to agree with all the "let it go" above.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:45 PM on May 12, 2007

Er. I'm surprised nobody's mentioned this, but from reading the text, it seems like the "serious issues" are just re: academic behavior / pliability etc. rather than outstanding issues that aren't mentioned in the note. Look at the sentence again.

That is exactly how I read the "serious issue" bit.
posted by jmd82 at 6:45 PM on May 12, 2007

I'm a high school teacher myself, and I also don't see the harm in contacting the teacher in a polite and professional way. I've only been teaching for about five years, but I'm always happy to hear from students I've taught in the past. Sounds like you had a pretty good rapport with this teacher, and I'm sure he'd be delighted to hear how you're doing. We don't often ever know, I think, what becomes of our students. In fact, I write my email in my students' yearbooks so they can always reach me if they need or want to.

That being said, I wouldn't put too much weight on that email or the alleged "serious issues." Seems like the teacher was mainly concerned with the drop in your grade at the time from a B to a D and maybe wanted to give your folks a heads up and enlist their help in your renewed success. The teacher may or may not know or remember what that phrase, in particular, referred to, and, as others have mentioned, it's more important how you're doing now (my own high school records are spotty at best).

As for looking through your father's papers, well, yeah, that's probably not a great idea, but I understand. I had rather "secretive" parents myself. If you do contact the teacher, you don't have to mention how you found out about the parent/teacher conference eight years ago. You could be honest about it bothering you, though, and ask the questions you need to ask, for your own peace of mind. Trust me, it's not that weird; seems like this teacher will understand. Conferences like these aren't generally so secret, especially from the student in question; in fact, often such conferences are held with the student present.

In any case, whatever you decide, best of luck to you and with your future studies (amtho's comment mentioned you're in graduate school?).
posted by pips at 6:55 PM on May 12, 2007

Thirding Firas and jmd82. Seriously, what exactly is the mystery here? The teacher's note is pretty detailed in terms of what exactly he thinks the "serious issues" are (acting up, refusing to adhere to the curriculum, not turning in work on time). It doesn't exactly read like a coded message. I fail to see what further information you think might be gleamed by contacting the teacher after all this time. It's all right there in the letter.
posted by The Gooch at 6:58 PM on May 12, 2007

Wow, I just had a brainwave. If you must seek closure here, do it outside of the context of ever having stumbled across this email. Just drop him a note and say:

I'm [Name]; I'm not sure if you remember me but I was in your Xth grade English class in 1999. I hope you're doing well!

I'm in grad school now, reminiscing about my career and teachers I've enjoyed interacting with over the years, and thought I'd drop you a note.

Recalling scenes from that class, I've turned out to be the assertive girl I was already showing signs of back then, but channel that more effectively these days :)

Anyway, I thought I'd get in touch and check how things have been.

Best regards,
The only response I could expect from something like this is an ego-boosting one, but if the teacher in question didn't respond I'd be—er, 'vaguely crushed'?

So, here's my recommended decision making process:

a) Figure out what you want:
[1] I want to talk with the teacher
[2] I want to resolve issues with my dad

b) If it's [1] above:
[1] I will not bring the letter up. I will be fine with that. (Be entirely honest with yourself here.)
[2] My desire to speak with him is mostly because of the letter

If it's [1] above: Proceed accordingly
If it's [2] above, or [2] in part (a): Realize that you're holding on to this as a symbol of something else entirely. This letter itself does not matter.
posted by Firas at 7:02 PM on May 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

You really had guts, sperose. Taking a principled stand in that kind of situation requires massive strength of character. I'm proud of you.

That last paragraph was like a glass of water in the face, though, wasn't it? The tone changes completely, and your teacher doesn't so much as begin to bother to try to avoid scaring your folks.

I'll tell you frankly that your teacher's letter has inspired in me a strong dislike for him or her; the teacher is condescending toward your father, and pretends to have been completely in control of the situation with you, and not to have taken you too seriously, when the language and tone make it clear he or she was shocked and at a loss when you refused to have anything more to do with Steinbeck (wish I had seen that!). I interpret this letter and the meeting as an attempt to get back at you and your family for making the teacher feel like such a fool.

If your teacher knew your brother had been institutionalized and wrote an ominous letter like that to your dad even so, I despise that teacher utterly.

I wouldn't give someone like that a chance to take another shot, but I suppose the teacher probably wouldn't, he or she is probably still a little afraid of you.
posted by jamjam at 7:07 PM on May 12, 2007

I'm surprised nobody mentioned it (or I missed it), but why don't you just follow whatever procedure is in place to request your records. Just go to the school board's site or call them on Monday and find out what you need to do to get your records. I'd be willing to bet that whatever information you are looking for (summary of the parent/teacher conference, for instance) will be in there.

If you are still not satisfied with the information obtained from your records, then decide whether or not you want to contact the teacher. I wouldn't do it, but I can understand how desperate you are to find out what was said.
posted by necessitas at 7:25 PM on May 12, 2007

Let it go, man. You're past this, now.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:29 PM on May 12, 2007

I work in a high school, and this is my third year of employment. If one of my kids was generally a student who was happy to participate, but suddenly refused to discuss a book because of its sexual content, it would raise a red flag for me that there might be something bad going on in the home. I know that sounds paranoid, but I'd be inclined to check it out, just because you never know. Actually, any time a kid shows a big change in behavior I'm inclined to question it. It could be that your teacher felt the same way - that all of a sudden you were acting different, and she wanted to get to the bottom of it.

The last paragraph may be just trying to get your dad in there for a meeting, and not necessarily a reflection on you.

If you do feel that you have "issues" to be worked on, a therapist's opinion of your state of mind right now would probably be more helpful than insight from a teacher eight years ago.

Good luck!
posted by christinetheslp at 7:35 PM on May 12, 2007

You're obsessing over a parent-teacher conference that happened eight years ago which you found out about by snooping through your father's private files and are considering contacting a teacher who no longer works at the school? And this is after the problem is explicitly described in the email?

It's clear that you don't discuss serious issues in your family. If you pursue this path, you will not resolve any problems with your father, you will make an ex-teacher feel really awkward (if s/he remembers the situation at all), and the best case is you'll have figured out one person's recollection of a half-sentence oblique reference to a problem you had when you were not even an adult yet, nearly a decade ago.

The question you are trying to answer has nothing to do with this email, this conference, or even likely, this teacher. You need to understand why you're fixated on this minor detail at all.
posted by anildash at 9:06 PM on May 12, 2007

Well, I think who you most need to talk to is your father. I don't think it should be glossed over that you, as an adult, going through your father's personal files without his knowledge is a breach of trust, and is unethical.

I do think your choice to go the route of rifling the files is important. All together it reads to me like serious communication problems in the family, some significant issues with trust and authority. One real problem with snooping this info is you can't discuss it with your dad, who probably has best recollection of the specifics with this issue. I think you'd be better off to come clean, get the fact that you, you know, went through his stuff. It sounds to me like your family could use some stuff getting aired out, but hey, I know that is easier said than done. In conclusion, whatever you do, stop going through your dad's stuff.

I think getting a satisfactory response from the teacher is about the least likely outcome of contact, although you don't really have anything to lose on that angle. But there's so many ways the question could be dodged, or it could be sincerely forgotten, or it could have been sort of normalized and archetypified by time and memory and you'll get some bland "oh high potential but you seemed to be working on flunking yourself and you were confronting authority to the detriment of your education blah blah blah" sort of answer that won't really give you any satisfaction. I still think a bigger problem is that you are hung up enough about it to be wrestling with it. Dropping this line of inquiry might be more profitable in the end. It's probably not that important either way.
posted by nanojath at 9:41 PM on May 12, 2007

1. Would it be exceedingly creepy for me to email him?

Yes. You would come across as someone who hasn't grown up, who is still dealing with serious issues (it's not at all clear, from my reading of the note, what those issues are), and of whom the teacher should steer clear. Writing the teacher about this matter would smack of obsessiveness, and it would likely conjure up images, in the teacher's mind, of you as an emotional wreck pawing over yellowed scraps of paper in an attempt to re-visit past years in an effort to resolve problems that should have been long forgotten. It would --- fairly or not --- make you look pathetic.

2. Would it be legally/ethically improper for him to tell me what went on in this meeting? (I was a minor at the time, but no longer am.)

I can't imagine that it would be legally or ethically wrong for a teacher to tell a student, after she's become an adult, what happened during a conference ABOUT THAT STUDENT. Who would be protected by a legal or ethical stricture forbidding such disclosure?

3. Is this too much of a long shot for me to even bother with?

Unless you were a really troublesome student, I lean toward the "they've forgotten all about it" school of thought.
posted by jayder at 9:45 PM on May 12, 2007

You say your dad "he probably doesn't remember" ... then why would your teacher remember? Is your dad suffering from some sort of degenerative mental disease?
posted by jayder at 9:49 PM on May 12, 2007

People here are awfully judgemental about the snooping. Her parents hid her brother's stay in a mental institution from her! If that had happened to me I would have some serious trust issues and would want to know what else they were hiding, too.

That said, I wouldn't contact the teacher. To me, that note sounds like the only issue was a bad grade. "Serious" in the teacher's mind at the time, but in the grand scheme of things, not serious.
posted by selfmedicating at 9:50 PM on May 12, 2007

This is, with all due respect, an exceedingly juvenile question. Someone made some comment about you eight years ago and you're still fretting over it. Who cares? Nobody. And you shouldn't either.
posted by londongeezer at 9:54 PM on May 12, 2007

When I read about someone going through their parent's personal files, I assume the parent has died.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:20 PM on May 12, 2007

When I read about someone going through their parent's personal files, I assume the parent has died.

Even when the question makes it clear that he isn't?
posted by jdroth at 11:49 PM on May 12, 2007

I don't know whether others would interpret this behavior as "creepy." Based on the reactions I'm seeing here, I'd have to guess "yes."

However, there's another factor to consider. Namely, curiosity.

Clearly, something was going on at that time, something that involved your home life and/or your English class. Clearly, you don't know what it was. If you're curious about it, that in itself is a damn good reason to dig into it. I mean, if it really is unimportant as some have suggested, then why are you so interested in it? If you're simultaneously obsessing about seventy other things that have happened in the last decade, that would suggest a psychological problem, a tendency towards obsessive behavior. But if other areas of your life are obsession free and you're only interested in the stuff your parents concealed from you, that suggests these matters are very important to you. And I don't think anyone's in a position to tell you that your judgement in this matter is faulty. If you feel the subject is important, then it is by definition important. This is not one the sort of situation where an objective analysis is helpful.

And let's face it, we spend very little of our adult lives trying to find important things out. Holding down a job, raising children, hanging out with friends... these are all wonderful ways to spend your time, but if that's all we ever do, not much is going to change. No diseases are going to be cured, no reforms will be passed and no new technologies will be invented. True, this isn't you conducting experiments on cancer-ridden rats. You're not going to win a Nobel. But you might find out something about yourself or your family. That other guy over there, the one who's too busy helping his two year old learn to catch a rubber ball to be digging through eight year old paperwork and reconstructing ancient history, he's not going to find out this kind of stuff and consequently, his life won't change all that much. Chances are he's fine with that.

But what about you? are you fine with that? Your question title - "I need to know what happened"; not "want" or "would like" but "need" - suggests you're not.

So yeah, if you really want to know and you want the status quo to change, then you should do it. When people treat you like a nutjob, just shrug it off. They're simply not going to understand. If you can accept that, you should be fine.
posted by Clay201 at 1:06 AM on May 13, 2007

Unless you're completely oblivious to your own behavior then you should be able to look back retrospectively and figure out what it was that you did that would cause your teacher to have concerns about you.
When I was at school I was a teacher's nightmare, I was at times, rude, obnoxious and insolent, if I didnt want to do my homework, I just didnt do it and I could get away with it because I was on the 'special' list. (list of kids that were a bit mental or under extreme stress at home because of family illness - stuff like that) I even had a free pass to excuse myself from any lesson at any time (for 5 minutes - then they had to go looking for me) on recommendation of my psychiatrist.

At the time I didnt really understand what all the fuss was about, at the early onset of my illness my teacher had told the school nurse that 'I needed help' and that bugged me for years - still does a bit because I didnt think I'd changed or there was anything noticably different about me but in my maturity I can look back and see that my teachers probably had noticed significant and sudden behavioral changes that were a cause for concern.

I'm assuming your rather ignorant refusal to study the set text was not an issolated incidence - in that I'm assuming you werent a model pupil outside this 1 incidence and if this was a change in behavior for you then your teacher would have been naturally concerned. Also if this was english then did you possibly write some disturbing/concerning essays?
I know I did, my english teacher was the most scared of me, she got the first and strongest insights into my insanity.

I'm not saying you were mental but teachers do recognise behavioral changes. If you were a good student that suddently started acting out or writing creepy essays or any significant change in your behavior, its your teachers duty to try to do something about it.

If your dad didnt discuss it with you then maybe he just dismissed it as a phase or understood why your behavior had changed and didnt need to discuss it with you, for whatever reason.

Could your teacher have known about your brother? Perhaps she was concerned that whatever cause his stay in a mental institute was heriditary and was affecting you too?

Only you can answer these questions but I bet if you think really hard and take a good hard look at your past behavior, you can answer the question yourself without having to contact your teacher.
posted by missmagenta at 1:24 AM on May 13, 2007

Remember that "serious issues" in the context of a high school student's behaviour might be trivial in retrospect. If you do eventually find out what this was, I would predict that it will be something like "we're worried that she's hanging out with a bad crowd who are distracting her from her studies" or "we're concerned that she seems tired in class and she shouldn't be staying up so late watching TV" or something on that level. These are serious to a teacher worried about one of their best students suddenly tumbling a few grades; not serious in the course of a life.
posted by Jabberwocky at 2:38 AM on May 13, 2007

Your teacher seems to have singled out your reaction to 'sluts' in your reading of the book. Maybe he was trying to suss out whether ther was something bad going on at home without overtly accusing your dad? Or maybe he felt you were using your reaction to the book to express something that he, as a teacher, didn't have access to, but felt was important nontheless? I'm guessing that a lot of teachers find themselves trying to tease out solvable problems at the far borders of thier student's experience, with little help from the students and thier families. I don't see anything wrong with you contacting him, but I kind of doubt you'll get anything of substance in the long run.
posted by maryh at 3:35 AM on May 13, 2007

Yes, it would bother me
Yes, I would directly ask the teacher
No, I do not think it is creepy nor petty
No, I do not think most of the criticism of you above is warranted
posted by loiseau at 7:58 AM on May 13, 2007

This is part of the problem with e-mail. There that sentence is, "serious issues," dangling provocatively, sounding like a mystery. But people generally compose e-mails as workaday communication, a disposable message. She wasn't writing for post-analysis after eight years through the filter of your distrust of your parents.

Your teacher was likely trying to determine whether this incident was a red flag. A bright teenager who previously engaged in lively discussion has an unexpectedly angry reaction to a representation of female sexuality and feels so strongly that she refuses to do her assigned work? Well, while the teacher is talking about your grades with your father, that would be the time to find out what changed.
posted by desuetude at 6:45 AM on May 14, 2007

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