The Yeller.

by Risa Green

 

A friend of mine confided in me recently that her son’s teacher is a yeller. However, she didn’t find this out from her son. Instead, another mom in the class called her to ask if her son had ever mentioned that the teacher yelled, because this other mom’s kid complained about it a lot. So my friend probed a little bit with her son – do you like your teacher? Do the other kids like her? Does she ever get upset with you guys? – and her son disclosed that yes, sometimes his teacher did lose her temper, but only when the kids in class weren’t listening.

 

It turns out that the other mom, the one who called my friend, had asked around to some other moms too, and they all confirmed that their kids were saying the same thing. And this other mom was really upset about it. She felt that something should be done, that she should have a talk with the teacher, or maybe the principal should, because she didn’t like that her son was being yelled at, and she felt that it was affecting his otherwise positive attitude towards school. But my friend had a different take. Her feeling was that this is life. That sometimes, you’re going to have to deal with teachers or bosses or classmates or co-workers who you don’t like, and you have to learn to just suck it up and get through it, because mommy isn’t always going to be able to jump in and fix it for you. She wasn’t interested in talking to the teacher or complaining to the administration. She felt that it was a life lesson, and a great opportunity to talk to her kids about how there are all sorts of personalities you encounter, and you’re not always going to like them.

 

My kids don’t go to the same school as hers, so I don’t know the teacher or the exact circumstances. But the conversation gave me pause. I see both sides, and it made me wonder, if my kids had a teacher who yelled a lot, which camp would I be in? And, to take it one step further, is it even fair of us as parents to expect teachers not to yell? I yell at my kids all the time, and they’re my kids, who I love and adore and would give my life for. But they also drive me crazy when they don’t listen to me, and while I generally try to stay calm, sometimes raising my voice is the only way to get their attention. And yes, I marvel at how just by sing-songing the words “Bump-ba-da-dump-bump,” my daughter’s teacher can get twenty-three eight year-olds engrossed in various conversations to stop what they’re doing and collectively sing back, “bump bump,” as if they’re all sleeper spies who’ve been hypnotized by the CIA, but come on. I don’t know a mother out there who’s spent half an hour volunteering in a classroom and hasn’t left wondering how the hell those poor teachers do what they do all day without losing it.

pt33333
01.24.11

Whether or not I would intervene depends. I would not rush into the principal's office based solely on my child coming home and saying the teacher yelled. I'd want more info. Is the yelling the norm or infrequent and a way to occasionally restore order when chaos breaks out in the classroom? Are certain kids targeted, especially if they are unfairly targeted? Is it just a raised voice telling them to stop or are they also saying mean or inappropriate things?

I don't want to automatically jump in for everything. And if my child has done something wrong, they need to deal with the consequences. I will not be there to fix all their mistakes for the rest of their lives.

mfelter
01.13.11

I hate teachers that are yellers. Usually they are in middle school - not elementary. It's understandable to yell at middle schoolers - that age is infuriating. 3rd &4th grade is too young for a yeller - that teacher has a problem and should be moved up to teach the age when the kids don't care what they say anyway - pre-teen and teenager. When my son had yellers in middle/high school, I've told him to suck it up. You'll get good teachers and bad ones - nice ones and meanies. College graduation is a long way off and the more adaptable you are to teaching styles the better off you'll be. I would move my elementary schooler away from a yeller if they were sensitive over it - maybe some kids aren't affected by it emotionally but I doubt they learn much other than to keep quiet and stay under the radar.

lryanis
01.13.11

We had a yeller. Actually both my boys had the same yeller. This yeller had a history. It was in her file and at one point she had been removed from the classroom. When my boys had her, they were in 3rd and 4th grades. Based on my experiences, I firmly believe, too young to stand up to their teacher about how she conducted herself in class. So my first son, not knowing any better, we didn’t say anything. Then she taught English the following year so my youngest son only had her an hour a day. He complained, but we didn’t say anything again because it was only an hour a day. Then the next year, we got a letter in the mail that she would be job sharing a 4th grade class and she was going to be my younger son’s teacher. We marched right into the principal’s office and expressed our concern. And we weren’t the only ones. The principal assured us that things would be better this year. That she had gone through anger management and they would be watching her closely. I do believe it was better. I think she yelled less often. But it was still a bad year for my son. Although she did not yell at my son directly, it didn't matter, just hearing the yelling, made for a negative class atmosphere. Whenever we asked our youngest son questions about school, the response I got was, I don't want to get yelled at. She led that class by fear. And when you are in 3rd and 4th grades, I think it’s unacceptable. I am still glad we said something. Do I think it made a huge impact, no. But I think the school needs to be aware of it. And if I was that teacher, I would want to know.

lryanis
01.13.11

We had a yeller. Actually both my boys had the same yeller. This yeller had a history. It was in her file and at one point she had been removed from the classroom. When my boys had her, they were in 3rd and 4th grades. Based on my experiences, I firmly believe, too young to stand up to their teacher about how she conducted herself in class. So my first son, not knowing any better, we didn’t say anything. Then she taught English the following year so my youngest son only had her an hour a day. He complained, but we didn’t say anything again because it was only an hour a day. Then the next year, we got a letter in the mail that she would be job sharing a 4th grade class and she was going to be my younger son’s teacher. We marched right into the principal’s office and expressed our concern. And we weren’t the only ones. The principal assured us that things would be better this year. That she had gone through anger management and they would be watching her closely. I do believe it was better. I think she yelled less often. But it was still a bad year for my son. Although she did not yell at my son directly, it didn't matter, just hearing the yelling, made for a negative class atmosphere. Whenever we asked our youngest son questions about school, the response I got was, I don't want to get yelled at. She led that class by fear. And when you are in 3rd and 4th grades, I think it’s unacceptable. I am still glad we said something. Do I think it made a huge impact, no. But I think the school needs to be aware of it. And if I was that teacher, I would want to know.