My youngest son Josh is 11 years old. I know I'm biased, but he is one of the sweetest boys you'll ever meet. Smart, funny, caring and kind. He's always gotten all "4's" in elementary (they score 1-4 instead of grades, a 4 is the equivalent of an "A" and means that they are "above grade level." This is his first year in Middle School (5th grade).
He had made some comments about not liking one of his teachers (who teaches two of his classes) but I just kind of blew the comments off... The first week of school he said that they were talking about friendships in class, and one of the students asked the teacher, "Am I your friend?" And she said, "No, we are not friends. Teachers should not be friends with students." Josh thought it was mean, and I had to explain that she is just protecting relationships because someone could say something and get her in trouble.
He's also mentioned feeling "singled out" by her. She'll ask for homework from the class in general, then say, "Joshhhhh....." and he's already turned it in. She told him that he didn't turn in an assignment and made a big deal about it in front of everyone, but later found it (she had misplaced it).
So those things seemed pretty "minor" so I didn't pay much attention to them. However, the other night Josh came home really upset. He said that right before they took their MEAP test in class (a test and shows where the students are on the state level, how they compare) the teacher told the class, "I had a dream about Josh last night that he was killing everyone. I was like, 'Oh, there goes another student.'" WHAT THE HECK??? Josh said everyone laughed, he was embarrassed, and then had a hard time concentrating on his test. He had a hard time falling asleep, and when he did finally fall asleep I heard him talking in his sleep (couldn't understand what he was saying though). He has never talked in his sleep that I know of, so I'm thinking it was a stress-response... He didn't want to go to school the next day and was asking to switch classes.
I emailed a couple of friends who are teachers to ask their opinion of what to do... One of them was Josh's 3rd grade teacher, and he absolutely adores her (he had even offered her $100 if she would keep following him through school as his teacher, lol. He even wanted her for college!) Anyways, both teachers said that what she said was so inappropriate. His favorite teacher said that she was going to wait to email me back until the morning, but it had her so upset she couldn't sleep. She recommended calling the teacher the next day (I was debating on whether to wait till conferences on Monday and talk to her then, but this teacher had a good point that it was still 5 days away at that point and would just increase my anxiety about the whole thing). She said to insist that I meet with the teacher that day, and then after meeting with her, if I had any inclination that it just didn't seem right to go to the principle.
I called the teacher and left a message that morning, then emailed a few hours later when I didn't hear back. When she called back we agreed on a time to meet. I was so nervous going in. I hate any type of confrontation and was worried that I'd start crying or something right in front of her because I was so upset about it (that she had made Josh so upset). She had me sit down, then went to get the grade book (she must have thought I was there to discuss his grades or something.)
I told her that I had a concern about something Josh had said she said the day before and that I just wanted to clarify and see what she thought... I said, "Josh said that right before the MEAP test yesterday you had a dream that he was killing everyone and then said, 'Oh, there goes another student.'" She said, "Oh, hahaha, yeah, that..." I was hoping that maybe he got the story confused or something, but nope... She then told me, "I didn't think it bothered him, he kind of laughed afterwards. I said that sometimes people will try to laugh something off when they are nervous or upset, but that he was very embarrassed and had a hard time concentrating on the test. She said "Oh, sorry" and just shrugged her shoulders! I told her that I felt that it was very inappropriate of her to say anything like that, especially with school shooting being on the news and the fear that kids may have of that. Her answer? "Well, one of the other kids was saying they had a weird dream the night before, so I said, 'Oh, I had a dream that Josh was killing everyone.'" She never really seemed remorseful or anything. I didn't get upset, cry, or call names. Just told her what Josh had said, how he felt, that he wanted to switch classes, and that I felt she owed him an apology. She brought him in and told him she was sorry, she wasn't thinking, she didn't mean to embarrass him, blah blah blah. Then she told him, "It wasn't a gory dream. I don't think you would harm anyone." I wanted to say, "It doesn't matter what you think! You harmed my son!" but told her thank you and walked Josh into the hall (he was headed to another class). He said he still wanted to switch classes, and that it would be awkward.
I went to sign out of the office, and asked to speak to the principle. I thought that if he does need to switch classes, I need to give them a heads up as to why, and also that this lady could use some education herself on appropriate things to say. Well, he wasn't in the office but he called me later. I told him the story and he said "Really? She's one of our better teachers, I wouldn't picture her saying that." (Are they required to say that about all of their teachers?) He said he as sorry that happened, and that Josh was welcome to come talk to him if he wanted, and that he would talk to the teacher and let me know what happens from there.... I told him that I didn't want to get her "in trouble" but that it wasn't appropriate and that this really should be used as a learning opportunity.
Josh said that the rest of that day had been uncomfortable, but that the next day was better. He said something about "After my teacher got a stern talking to..." LOL. I explained how we all say things that we wish we could take back later, and how it's important to try to remember to think before we speak. We tried to use it as a learning opportunity and to heal the hurt that he had felt. We meet for conferences with her on Monday... Waiting to see how awkward THAT meeting is... Yikes....