Stupid teachers, know any?

How do you handle it when your kids insist a teacher is stupid?

This semester, both of my high schoolers have the same teacher and they both spend at least an hour after school telling me about her stupidity. Ugh, I hate stupidity!

Apparentely, the teacher comes unprepared to teach material, doesn’t know the answers to the kids’ questions and tells her AP students she’s going to call their mommies if they talk in class. I’m feeling a little frustrated because I usually like to defend teachers. (I have a few in the family) However, I’m starting to feel this woman is hopeless.

In high school, having a stupid teacher is dangerous. Grades are so important that a teacher who doesn’t get the material across well to her students can cause them to do poorly in the class, which would bring down their GPAs. On the first big test, 90 percent of the students failed. To me, that’s a sign of a very bad teacher.

Meanwhile, my kids’ friends who have a different teacher for the same subject are scoring much higher on the tests. Even worse, today my kids announced to me that their teacher doesn’t believe in reviewing for the mid-term.

As parent, I feel like I have three options. One, do nothing. Two, reach out to the teacher and let her know I’m concerned. Three, go above the teacher and reach out to administration.

Until now, I’ve taken the first option. I’ve been telling my kids to speak up in class, ask more questions, take better notes and try to get the class notes from the other teacher’s students. Not all teachers are great teachers, just like not all bosses are great bosses and I think kids have to learn that lesson.


But I’m concerned. I think I’m going to send an e-mail and urge the teacher to do a review. I have heard teachers say that the best first step is to talk to the teacher directly.  I also have seen advice suggesting if you go in to a teacher with a problem try to mutually find a solution.

Parents, in your experience, does a teacher consider making changes if parents complain? What approach have you taken to address a someone’s poor teaching ability?

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1 Comment

  1. Pamela October 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Last year sophomore son, who had never in his life complained about a teacher, complained vehemently about his Chem teacher being “crazy”. My initial response was to point out the fact that she also teaches at a local university so she can’t be too crazy. When I had a parent/teacher conference with my middle school son’s teacher and he call the Chem teacher “crazy” I thought, “okay, so she’s eccentric and difficult to listen to”. I am a firm believer in 1) putting everything through the “filter” as teens tend to be a little bit emotional and ego-centric and 2) it’s good life practice to learn how to get along with others. I let my son vent about her and even joked about her a little bit. I did, however make it clear to him that I expect him to respect her regardless of how he views her and to know that she will not be the last “crazy” teacher, professor, boss, or co-worker he encounters in his life. I also encouraged him, without success, to go to her with a question or concern about his Chem so that she knows he cares about her course. Teachers are amazing! If they have a student approach them and show the slightest interest or concern about their understanding of the content, they change their attitude about the student and will go above and beyond the call of an educator to try to help that child. I agree with my son that she was a bit eccentric but she still had good things for him to learn. She even told me at conferences that she saw him as a real Physics student. He is taking Physics this year and is loving every minute of it. I think she had him pegged! She couldn’t have been too crazy after all.


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