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September 13, 2007

Teachers in Trouble, Parents Ignored: Readers React

Jay Matthews:

Twenty-one years later, Suzanne Stradling still remembers her third-grade teacher. The woman passed out math worksheets that each student had to complete and bring to her for a personal assessment. Stradling spent the entire time writing her answers, erasing them and writing them again because she said she was so terrified by the teacher's yelling at students who did not seem to be working and deriding students when they presented answers. Stradling's most vivid memory is of a dyslexic classmate named Sean, who stood in the front of the class as the teacher "launched into a tirade about his laziness, stupidity, and probable future failure."

I received many Web site comments and e-mails like Stradling's in response to my series of columns on parents left out of decisions about teachers. Many readers shared unhappy memories of abusive teachers and told why they often did not mention what they saw and heard to their parents. "This teacher had a reputation as mean, and I knew that complaining that the teacher was mean would be a non-starter with my parents," Stradling said. "Of course, 'mean' is often school patois for strict teachers."

Posted by Jim Zellmer at September 13, 2007 12:00 AM
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