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Poking idiots in the eye since 2002
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The recent misspelled name post reminded me of this gem. Lets go… 
30th-Jul-2008 05:47 pm
The recent misspelled name post reminded me of this gem.

Lets go back 20 some-odd years to kindergarden. We were learning how to write our names. My name is spelled Jaime, as opposed to Jamie. Not only did the teacher tell my I was spelling my name wrong, she called my parents and threatened to fail me because I refused to spell my name Jamie. When my parents told her my name is in fact spelled Jaime, she refused to listen. She even took the time to yell at my parents and tell them they were wrong for teaching me to read and write before kindergarden(both activities that I loved to do when I was that young). The teacher then told the principal that my parents were undermining her teachings and filed a complaint with the superintendent of the district. This resulted in a meeting between the super, my parents, and the teacher. All was resolved when my parents showed my birth certificate that in fact had my name spelled Jaime.

It boggles my mind that the teacher had to go that far just to be told by her bosses' boss I had in fact been spelling my own name right. Then to tell my parents it was wrong to teach me basic reading and writing? I mean come on. Seriously.
31st-Jul-2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
That's insane. I had a similar problem in 1st grade, although it didn't go nearly as far. My name is spelled Tracy. My first grade teacher kept spelling in Tracey, I think because the year before she'd had a student who spelled it that way. One day, she returned graded worksheets to us, and I noticed that she had corrected my name in red ink so that it now had an "e" in it. I had to go up to her and tell her that she incorrectly corrected my name. I mean, I know I was only 6, but I could spell my own name. It's only 5 letters.

And as for her getting mad about you learning to read/write before kindergarten - that is so irritating I'm nearly speechless. I don't recall if I could write when I entered kindergarten, but I could definitely read at least a little bit. You can bet that when I have kids I'm going to do my best to instill the same love of reading in them, and if one of their teachers ever takes issues with that, there will definitely be problems. I mean, so many people today are ignorant and/or don't learn much in school. Why would a teacher encourage that?
31st-Jul-2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
It seems like a lot of people have had experiences of kindergarten teachers being upset that they had been taught to read by their parents, but has anyone else had the experience of a kindergarten teacher not believing that you could read?

When I was little, my mother used to read to me a lot, and I would follow along in the book as she read. This is how I picked up reading; I would even correct her if she got something wrong. Most of my books came from the public library -- I had my own substantial collection of children's books, but I really loved reading, so we would make frequent trips to the library and come back with armloads of new books to read every few days.

When I got to kindergarten, it wasn't long before my teacher called my mother in to tell her that I was a "disciplinary problem." Apparently, when the rest of the class were all gathered obediently on the rug to learn what sound each of the letters of the alphabet made, I would wander off and play quietly by myself, thus "disrupting" the lesson. My mother rather sensibly pointed out that I wandered off to play because I was bored, since the teacher was trying to teach me what sounds the letters made when I could already read.

The teacher's response? "No, she can't." She claimed that I had merely memorized the books my mother read to me, and could repeat them back as if I were reading. So my mother told the teacher to give me a book that I had never seen before. She did, and I read it to her.

Fortunately, unlike some of the examples here, my kindergarten teacher was sensible and pleasant about being proven wrong. She started being a lot nicer to me, and I got special lessons to keep me engaged while the other kids did their on-level lessons. An assistant teacher was assigned to work with me while I wrote my own little story-books and such, and I got to be the narrator of the kindergarten's play (since I could read). The ironic bit, though, was that while all of this was going on, this teacher was studying for her doctorate in dealing with gifted children. Still, credit where credit is due: she improved significantly once she realized that she was wrong.
1st-Aug-2008 03:50 am (UTC)
My elementary librarian refused to believe, first, that I could read and later that I could read as well as I did.

My kindergarten teacher believed that I couldn't count past two. Why? Because I didn't need my fingers to count. When I did "use fingers" I counted in ASL. So I was confused by the teacher forcing me to count "one, two, W, four, five, something-not-a-real-number".
31st-Jul-2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
Since everyone else is sharing their horrible teacher stories, here is mine. Actually, I have two.

Before I begin, let me say that I really don't know when I learned to read. I played with alphabet games a lot when I was little and my mother read to me constantly. I guess I picked it up somewhere along the way, but I honestly don't remember learning or any point where I didn't know how, but I probably learned at some point during preschool or kindergarten.

So, I'm in preschool at age 4. We've just been given our first real assignment (rather than just playing games and such as we've done for a few weeks). We have to write our name at the top of our paper and then color in some things on the page. For the next few minutes, the teacher and aide had to show every other child in the room how to write their names. They were very patient with all of them. Until they came to me. I had written my name on the paper: BETHANY. All caps, because that's what the alphabet puzzle I loved looked like, and that's how I learned to spell. I got yelled at for having used all caps, even though I was the only person who didn't have to be guided through the spelling and taught how to make each letter.

Second story. In first grade, I had a wonderful teacher who realized how good I was at reading. The school had two or three different types of reading books and she collected editions of each type just for me and two other students to use. By the end of the year, we had read all the way up to the fourth grade books, but had skipped two of the first grade books along the way. Obviously it didn't matter, since we could read above this level.

However, this was not good enough for my second grade teacher. When she began assigning the class reading books, I recited to her which books I had read and which ones I had not. She then handed me one of the first grade books that I had skipped and insisted that I complete it before moving on to my grade level. I explained to her once again that I had read three grade levels above that and didn't need to read that one, but she wouldn't listen. When she wandered away to help another student, I simply pushed that book away and refused to do it. Within a few days I was switched to a much better teacher's class.

Not as bad as some people's stories, but still very frustrating.
31st-Jul-2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
I remember in kindergarten I was the only one in the class, including the teacher, who knew the proper color sequence in the rainbow. I was the only one in the class who's rainbow was right because I ignored her and painted it my way. admittedly it didn't match in the big rainbow that we had outside the door but it was still right XD
2nd-Aug-2008 02:00 am (UTC)
Ah, this happened to me in first grade. First we had to put what we thought the rainbow looked like on one page of our journals. Then on the next page the teacher walked us through what the colors really were. I was one of the few who had matching rainbows.
31st-Jul-2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
No severe horror stories here, but I do have a small math one.

I used to live in a really small town, and due to my mom getting a new job we picked up and moved to a rather large city. I entered seventh grade there, only to find out I had already learned the math they were teaching at that level the year prior. I politely informed my teacher that I had already learned all of this, and since there was a pre-algebra option I asked if I could be transfered into that class.

He insisted that I may have learned SOME of what he was teaching, but it was going to get much much harder (it didn't).

And then promptly at the beginning of eighth grade he tossed me into the algebra class which I had no real familiarity with at that point o.o;
1st-Aug-2008 09:24 am (UTC)
I had something like this happen, but in college. I went to the first day of pre-calc, realized that I already knew everything that was on the syllabus and ended up having to go to the head of the math department to get into calculus. He told me that just because I knew what we did on the first day didn't mean that I knew everything - high school and college pre-calc are very different.Um, right.

I somehow managed to get him to put me in calc though,so it worked out in the end.
1st-Aug-2008 12:07 am (UTC)
Two quick stories:

Apparently, one day in 2nd grade, I "tried to override my teacher's authority and take control of the class". What did I do? Well, the school I went to had two options for recess - the football field, or the parking lot (or as we called it, the "blacktop"). My teacher led us all outside and stopped at the point where stairs would lead you up to the blacktop, or down to the football field. I made the mistake of saying, "Let's go to the blacktop," and a few of my classmates began to wander off that way.

My teacher called my parents in to have a meeting with the principal and herself, while I was wasting away in detention. My assigment was something assinine like a 1 page report on an encyclopedia article, and I was done with the work before the meeting was even over.

Second story - fast forward to my senior year of college. I took 3 years of French in high school, and started at the 200 level in college. My senior year, I decided I wanted to some very easy classes, so I signed up for French 101. The university couldn't stop me from backtracking, it still counted as credits for graduation, though not for my language requirement, but it didn't matter since I had already fulfilled it.

The first day of class I pulled my prof aside, told him my background, and he said that he would give me other assignments instead of sending me to language lab. Woo hoo! I didn't have to sit with headphones and repeat simple phrases. Well, about two weeks into class, they took our prof away, and gave us a TA, who was also teaching a Spanish class. The first thing he does is walk into the class and write a Spanish phrase on the board. We're all completely discombobulated and remind him that he was supposed to be teaching us French. So, he erases the Spanish phrase, and replaces it with a French one. Well, he didn't spell it correctly, and I decided to correct him. I told him in flawless French that he needed another "L" in a word that was written on the board, and he proceeded to lambast me in front of the entire class (in French), then finally switched to English and told me that I was taking up a precious seat that could've been filled by someone who really needed to be in the class. To top it off - he made me go to language lab. Asshole... I still ended up with a 99 in that class.
1st-Aug-2008 01:29 am (UTC)
I'm a firm believer that there are certain classes worth taking multiple times. Theatre and language classes fall into that category. Even if you're a native speaker of a language, you can still get something useful out of taking lower level classes. If only to refresh your memory on certain words and clarify various grammar structures.
1st-Aug-2008 12:49 am (UTC)
Wow. That's just...I read your post out to my friend and she was as stunned as I was.
Makes me also wonder how red her face was at that meeting after the whole thing was resolved. And if she got a stern talking to from the principal.
1st-Aug-2008 01:57 am (UTC)

Those who can, do.

Those who can't, teach.
6th-Aug-2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
I hate that phrase.
1st-Aug-2008 04:48 am (UTC)
if that ever happens to any of my future kids, the teacher is meeting with the principal, the superintendent, me, my husband, my parents, and maybe my husband's parents. and probably some news crews.

i've thought of both montessori and homeschooling. granted, montessori isn't for everyone. i'm going to highly encourage comfort. i plan to get my kids into sports by taking them to matches/games (or, failing that, watching it on TV) and asking what they think of the sport. if Lydia would rather wing a rubber ball with a net on a stick than kick a large black and white ball on the ground, she'll be on a lacrosse team. if Julia wants to follow in her father's footsteps and also play on ice with a broom and teapot, then she'll join a tennis team and a curling team.

if Rhydwyn comes home crying that his teacher doesn't like his name and so calls him something else, we'll move to Wales. not really. we'll probably move him to another school if complaining to higher-ups doesn't help.
1st-Aug-2008 05:05 am (UTC)
My kindergarten teacher had two negative comment for my parents at conference time:

1.) "She can READ."
2.) I refused to engage in what the teacher called "kid writing." "Kid writing" involved drawing a picture in the top, unlined part of a piece of paper, and then "writing a story" about it in the lower, lined part. The "story" was meant to consist of random letters we'd learned to write in previous classes. The teacher would then ask us to "read the story to the class," which meant that we were to tell the story, since the "writing" we were supposed to have done was meant to consist of "sentences" like "ABCp eubpaAcBD."

But ohhhh no. I was a terrible little know-it-all and probably also an overstressed perfectionist in need of counseling, because I knew how to write many real words, would ask how to spell any real words I didn't already know how to write, and attempted, usually with success, to construct proper sentences. This is because, clearly, any 4-year-old who wants to spell things properly rather than be content with "PbeAC" for "mouse" is unimaginative and neurotic. Clearly.

And obviously, refusing to help me spell the words and mocking me in class would clear up the problem for sure. :D
1st-Aug-2008 06:01 am (UTC)
o.O; how is constructing random "sentences" with sporadic letter patterns helpful to the overall writing process? wow. That teacher's a winner right there.
1st-Aug-2008 08:03 am (UTC)
Wow, I've just read all of the comments and I'm pretty surprised everyone had such shitty teachers.
First grade the teacher had just stopped teaching sixth grade and this was her first and only year as a first grade teacher. She bought me a sketch pad, let me stay in at recess because I hated the playground and when the school was going to burn a bunch of old 6th grade and higher readers she told me and my mom so we could get some since I was reading at that level. This is also the teacher who recommended me for the gifted program.

Then my second grade teacher tried to get me pulled out of gifted because I never smiled, so I must be unhappy in the program. My mom had to come to the school and explain to her I loved gifted but was painfully shy and though I didn't smile I was indeed happy.
1st-Aug-2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
At least the second grade teacher honestly seems to have had your best interests at heart.
1st-Aug-2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
I snapped out on a teacher over my youngest son's name. We were having a debate over something idiotic, and she kept calling him "Brandon"- I HATE when people call him Brandon, can you not read? His name is Brendan. Duh. I also hate when it's written Brendon, it's not Bren-DON, it's Brendan.
3rd-Aug-2008 03:44 am (UTC)
My name is Brendan, and I get called Brandon all the time, even by my coworkers, who've been my colleagues for more than five years. It gets crazy when people who know my right name talk to people who don't:

Colleague #1: So, I was talking to Brendan -
Colleague #2: Who?
Colleague #1: Brendan, you know, evening guy?
Colleague #2: No, you mean Brandon

Head, meet desk.

Your son has my sympathies. It will be a lifelong experience for him.
1st-Aug-2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
Man. I've never had a teacher as bad as any you guys are describing. According to my mom, I could read a few whole words when I was two (like, if she put a box of Cheerios in front of me, I would point out all the places where it said 'oat,' since I'd heard oats mentioned in the commercial and recognized what the word looked like), and so could read serviceably by the time I was in kindergarten. I could write, too, but I had trouble shaping the letters properly, so I once handed my kindergarten teacher a picture of a piece of cake, which I'd labeled 'cake,' and apologized because the 'k' was misshapen and made the word look more like 'cafe.' She called my parents to tell them how impressed she was that I knew the word 'cafe,' which I was a bit confused by, but it was still a nice ego boost.

My fifth-grade teacher, on the other hand, refused to believe that I was as fast a reader as I said I was (which I was, I could read through your average 150-page YA book in an hour or so.) I'd pick out a book from the shelf to read during quiet reading time, and be done with it by the end of the period, and even if I offered to have a long discussion with her about it and tell her about all the salient plot points, she would still make me read the damn thing over again next reading period, when I really wanted to move on to another book. When I bitched about this, she decided to make me go through and painstakingly read each line with a piece of paper covering up the rest of the page instead. I'd humor her for a little bit and then blow through ten pages as soon as her back was turned.

What got me was that the school I went to was a crunchy-granola Quaker school where kids are supposed to be encouraged to read/learn at their own rate, and she was this celebrated published writer who should have understood that every kid reads in his/her own way. I dunno why she had such a bug up her ass about me.
2nd-Aug-2008 12:27 am (UTC)
Gods I've been there- the exact thing! My birth name is Kelsi. With an 'i' and not an 'ey' or 'ie'. Apparently this is difficult for teachers to understand... except this was sixth grade. And people wonder why I go by my middle name.
3rd-Aug-2008 04:48 am (UTC) - Late comment is late, but...
I appear to be the opposite of just about everyone. I genuinely did spell my name wrong in kindergarten/first grade...my name is Katherine. I spelled it "Kathrin" (which was how everyone pronounced it) until I learned about that pesky silent e. Any name over five letters is a cruel thing to give to a small child.

And the reading/writing thing...when I was in kindergarten, not only did the teachers use me shamelessly (I read to the rest of the class so they could take a bit of a break, helped some of the other kids, etc), I went to the fifth-grade classes to read to them.

Though to be fair, I went to the best elementary school in existence.
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