Here's a school conference that didn't go quite the way one would expect. One Albuquerque student and his mother are upset after a teacher flatly told him that class goes better when he's not there.
Rosemarie Baca and her son David went to Albuquerque's Truman Middle School on Monday morning expecting a regular parent-teacher conference. What they got, though, was a brutally honest assessment of the seventh grader's performance and behavior in the form of a letter from a teacher.
Instead of meeting with any particular teacher, the Bacas met with the school counselor, who started off the meeting in an unconventional fashion. The counselor read from a letter that one of David's teachers had prepared, and the contents weren't pretty.
"We find as a class," the letter read, "that when David is absent the class functions much more smoothly and everyone is happier."
It didn't stop there. The teacher's letter went on, adding that, "No one wants to be near him."
Rosemarie says she was shocked, not at the letter's contents but that the teacher chose to communicate with her in that fashion.
"I don't think anybody even read this letter before it was read out loud," she told KOAT. "I don't think this letter should have ever made it to that table."
School administrators, of course, denied any knowledge that the letter existed. The principal, through a spokesperson, said that he was not even aware that a meeting had been scheduled to talk about David.
Is this a case of a needlessly heartless teacher tearing down yet another student? Just another example of educator misbehavior in a broken school system?
Not quite. The tone of the letter is harsh, but reading past the "class is better without you" high points shows that the teacher has some reasons for being so blunt.
KOAT hasn't made the entirety of the letter available, but a look at stills from their report gives a fuller view of the teacher's complaint.
First, the letter is from David's teacher for Read 180, a remedial reading program. The letter notes that the seventh grader reads at a fourth grade level, but that he also daily expresses his belief that he shouldn't be in the class. That negativity, the teacher writes, "has affected the whole class in general." Just after that is when she says that the class "functions more smoothly" when David isn't there.
Further, the teacher says that David's academic work has been acceptable, noting that he has achieved a "B+" so far. That's about the last positive thing she has to say, though.
"What isn't working is his behavior," the letter reads. "He slaps, hits, and kicks other students..."
She goes on to cite "numerous discussions" with the student, telling him to "keep his hands... to himself," but lamenting that "it doesn't matter who he sits with."
Of course, there's still the question of whether or not the teacher's words needed to be read aloud with the student present, as opposed to the letter simply being given to the mother. Rosemarie says that she would have preferred the latter course of action.
"He would have never known all of this if she would have just came to me personally, one on one and talked to me about this," Baca said.
What do you think? Was Baca's instructor out of line? Should she have been more patient with the troublesome student? Or was this just the sort of tough dose of reality a disruptive student needs?
[Lead image via ExpertBeacon]