Thursday, October 22, 2009

Parent /Teacher/ Entire World Conferences. But It's Private, So It's OK.

Look, all I'm saying is that we need to think a little bit more about the way technology affects our lives. We all know that news travels faster than - you know - EVERYTHING, but I fear that we don't recognize that OUR news is the news that is traveling.

Yesterday I had an issue with a teacher at the high school who chastised my daughter in front of her friends, because she had the audacity to come in after school and turn in a paper that had been due 3 hours earlier.

You know, I get it. Work should be turned in on time. But when my normally thick skinned daughter came back to the car and burst into tears? Really? I had to do something.

I came home, left a voice-mail for the teacher, and had a return phone call within about 5 minutes, at which time he gave me his idea of what had happened, I told him how I felt about it, and though it was a somewhat difficult conversation, I think it was diplomatic - on both our parts- and after about 15 minutes I thought we had come to a consensus about what needed to happen in the future.

(and if you think the fact that I am talking about an English teacher means that I'm going back to fix that last run-on sentence, you don't know me at all)

It was a fine conversation. At the end of it he actually thanked me for calling, and I thanked him for the discussion.

How interesting then, that by the time I got off the phone and talked to my daughter about the phone conversation, (what, maybe 10 minutes?) By the time that happened, she flipped on her facebook page to find several messages about the incident, and events that were going on in the classroom DURING our phone call.

Apparently, he had listened to my voice-mail on speakerphone. With students still working in the room.  And then, he proceeded to call me back immediately. Not on speakerphone, but his entire side of the discussion took place in front of her peers.

*AGAIN*

They, in turn, then started posting facebook messages to ask her if she was ok? and was she really crying? and let her know that -- boy he seemed angry while he was talking, and apparently he wasn't as satisfied as I was about the way the conversation had ended.

Then other kids started chiming in about things that had happened during the day, and apparently Mr. English (not his real name- in case you were wondering about the odds of that happening!) had a pretty bad day yesterday all the way around.

It doesn't excuse any of the things that happened, but it does give me a reason to cut him some slack.  For now.  Depending on how today goes. 

My point, though, is ---
I kinda think that from here on out, I am going to assume that very little I say is private, or will be kept that way.  Between texting, twitter,  facebook, email, blogging, youtube, speaker phones, and whatever the newest, latest thing on the horizon is - I think you can pretty much guarantee that what you say is available to the world.  And will be around for a long long time.

Dangit.  Because this probably means I'm going to have to learn to think before I talk.

26 comments:

Lee said...

I taught middle school for 3 years. (English in fact) I remember one time I accidentally embarrassed a student who's mother was a teacher at another school. She emailed me a hate note about it. I had no idea. I emailed her back eating some serious crow. I publicly apologized to him without saying his name, but he knew it was for him. It was HORRIBLE and I was more embarrassed then he ever was. His mother emailed me a thank you because she knew no teacher that would do a public apology like I had. I really didn't know at the time I'd said anything wrong though.

No, this really didn't end up related as well as I had hoped, but it was fun right?

Lee said...

As I reread what I typed, you might want to ignore the fact that I actually taught grammar. Sure can't tell from those typos!

Dave said...

it is scary to consider how much of what we do is out there to be seen. no, not much is private anymore.

in fact, while typing this i went back and deleted a fb status. but it never will be deleted, will it?

it's like that story from primary, where the kid told a lie about another kid, and it spread all around the school, and the kid wanted to fix it, so the mom took a pillow and dumped all the feathers out, and then the kid whined on fb about how she didn't have a pillow anymore...

Yvonne said...

It's why I've decided I will not type "we are going here or there today"--but "we are back from here or there". Now I know I don't I have friends who I think would come vandalize my house but you know the old shampoo commercials--they tell two friends, and they tell two friends and so on and so forth.

Hope she's o.k. and it's all straightened out.

Kristina P. said...

I don't think it's very appropriate for him to have called you while the whole class was there, but it does sound like he was willing to listen to your side, and was amenable to the situation.

Loralee and the gang... said...

Does that teacher have no common sense OR any regard for your daughter's feelings? Twice? Seems like he didn't hear a word and didn't register that the kids in the classroom could HEAR!
Unbeleiveable.

How is your daughter doing today?
:~(

Becky said...

One more thing to add to my why-I-won't-get-a-Facebook-account list.

mormonhermitmom said...

Yikes. I liked it better when teachers had phones in an office with a lockable door.

goddessdivine said...

Ok; as a junior high teacher I have some thoughts on this (but then again, I'm never short of opinions!):

1. That teacher should NOT have listened to his voicemail on speakerphone with students in the room.

2. He should also NOT be calling you back with students in the room, knowing this was a 'touchy' situation.

Also? Was this during school hours? Who has time to make phone calls while class is in session?

Lara said...

Hmmm. I think the teacher needed to think about that before he listened to your voice mail with other students present AND called you. That's just all around strange.

Hope your daughter is feeling better about the whole thing.

Celeste said...

Wow- that's gotta be a whole new low to teacher-parent professionalism. Discussing a student in front of her peers to their mother. Seriously uncalled for.

Karen said...

I don't think I'd let this situation go. The teacher should be reprimanded. Hasn't he ever heard of confidentiality? (Did you notice how I wrote this whole comment without a grammar error? Although I possibly spelled confidentiality wrong)

Rebecca is Thrilled by the Thought said...

Thinking before speaking is not one of my strengths.

Khourt said...

I just dont really have any words for that.. That stinks.. I do hope you mention this whole thing to him again.. Maybe he just doesnt get it.. or mention it to his supervisors..

Emmy said...

I can't believe he was having that conversation with you while he has a classroom full of kids! Even if he had a bad day that is just bad bad practice.

Barbaloot said...

Wow-speakerphone? Really? That seems super unprofessional.

Sue said...

Well at least you heard all about it from her friends! It just makes the teacher look like a douf - not you or her.
We've had so many issues up there (since we've had kids there since 1989, it's bound to happen). Teachers having the kids lay on the floor and take a nap - high school, not kindergarden, teachers telling kids to sign each other's permission form to watch an 'R' movie and on and on.
Just FYI - it doesn't really get better, they just all finally graduate :D

aurora said...

Wow. They are always watching and listening. Kind of feeds my paranoia...

Kimberly said...

Oh wow...the bounds of what is considered appropriate and courteous have really shifted, haven't they?

rocslinger said...

Privacy really is a thing of the past, however confidentuality between a teacher and parents or students should be strictly adhered to.

How very unprofessional.

beckers said...

Wow. Maybe you should call him and leave him a msg about not listening to his msgs on speakerphone with all the kids present. And then you should tell some funny jokes so all of the kids who are listening in will think you are the funniest person ever. :)

Gramzer said...

OMGoodnes. There are those who never get it. If correct grammar is necessary to comment here please send me a "private" email now.

Heather said...

Wow! That's all I have to say...

Cherie said...

Wow! I would have been steaming mad! There is no excuse for this. You seem very calm about the way it ended - good for you but I still think the teacher is a dork.
I hope he treats your daughter nicely from now on - sometimes it can go both ways.

Nancy Face said...

Oh, man! That situation was so wrong! I'm so sorry your daughter was made to cry, and I'm sorry about the serious lack of privacy! :(

Once I visited a Seminary teacher, trying to change my daughter from his class to another Seminary class. He was polite, but so immovable he actually made ME...the mom...cry.

LisAway said...

You think you'll have to start thinking before you talk? Come one, Randi, don't be over-dramatic! :)

Crazy how word can spread so fast, and crazy weird that the teacher listened to the message and talked to you with other students present. Hmm. Hope all's cleared up now.