One of the blogs I follow is Frugal Mom Knows Best. This lady has a handle on the definition of frugal and with the economy in its current state, I love her tips for saving money.
Yesterday, she left me a comment that really concerned me and gave me the idea for this post. Evidently, her child's preschool teacher shared a comment about her child with none other than one of her husband's employees. It took her completely by surprise because she regularly asks the teacher for feedback and is always told "He's fine!"  Obviously, the employee felt uncomfortable about it and in turn shared it with Frugal Mom or her husband.

I have seen many teachers in past years get in trouble for this very thing because it is unethical and unprofessional. That teacher had no right to share something about a child with someone other than the child's parent. Teachers, be careful what you say. You never know who might be listening!

If there is one message I can share with other teachers, it is to treat all students and their parents with respect. Never make a sarcastic comment to or about a student. Whether you are eating lunch in the teacher's lounge or meeting colleagues after school at a restaurant, you really need to be careful what you say.

What if a parent asks you about another child? My response is always the same "You would not want me to discuss your child with another parent so I can't discuss this child with you." Then I redirect the conversation back to his or her own child.

The private school I work in is the first school in all my years where I don't have to listen to negative talk about children. In some of the public schools I worked in, there would inevitably be "the negative clique". They were the teachers who were always so negative "Can you believe how dumb Johnny is?" or complaining "Why did I have to end up with Billy's sister? She is even harder to handle than he is! I just can't stand her!" It always made me wonder if they were just there to draw a paycheck rather than to make a difference in a child's life. These are human beings with feelings we are dealing with and teaching should not be a repetitive drudgery.

I am fortunate to have colleagues who are cheerful and child-oriented in my current school. There are some in your school too, whether you work in a private or a public school. I recommend that you find them and get to know them. A positive attitude can be catching.

In summary, I would ask that you treat all students and parents with respect. In order to gain respect, I truly believe that you have to show respect. That includes what you say about a student and who you say it to.

48 comments

  1. Debbie(single;complicated) // March 20, 2010 at 10:43 PM  

    what an important post! As a preschool teacher I take this caution and thank you for it! I am very careful! BUT, it just takes one slip to really do some damage!!

  2. Frugal Vicki // March 20, 2010 at 10:57 PM  

    I appreciate this post, and I think it is so important (and well said). My friend did mention that I wasn't there so I don't know EXACTLY what was said, but, as you stated, it doesn't really even matter WHAT was said, something was said, and not to me. And I ask, I try so hard to know what is happening in his life. If I notice he is doing something new, like saying the three of us make a C, I ask the teacher is that is what they are learning. I ask how he is with the kids, I ask if he behaved. All I ever get is "he was fine". I wish wish wish we could put him in private school. Thank you so much for writing this!

  3. VKT // March 20, 2010 at 11:23 PM  

    Debbie,

    I have no doubt that you are positive with parents and students. I just don't see you as a negative person. We all get frustrated as teachers, but we don't voice it. We figure out how to change it.

  4. VKT // March 20, 2010 at 11:24 PM  

    Dear Vicki,

    There are positive teachers in the public schools. I strongly recommend that you share this with the director or school Principal. Blessings!

    I will go back and mention that you asked the teacher for feedback. I forgot to put it in.

  5. Debbie // March 20, 2010 at 11:29 PM  

    Excellent post! I can recall in S. Florida when my boy was in kindergarten, I was room Mom....well the assistant actually sat there and told me, what children where on ADD medicine. I was so upset when I came home as to the confidentiality she was exposing of other children. My hubby is a pharmacist, and I don't even know when one of my friends go in for cold medicine....they later tell me, oh I went to see Mike today did he tell you? "Nope"!~

  6. VKT // March 20, 2010 at 11:37 PM  

    Debbie,

    My point exactly! I hope you reported that assistant.

  7. Bernie // March 21, 2010 at 12:04 AM  

    This is a good lesson not only for teachers but for every profession, like my mom use to say "if you can't say something nice about someone say nothing at all"
    Good for you my friend...:-) Hugs

  8. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 12:18 AM  

    Hug to you as well sweet lady)))))))

  9. Sh@KiR@ CK // March 21, 2010 at 1:16 AM  

    Thank you for following me, I am following you back. hugs shakira

  10. fancygrlnancy // March 21, 2010 at 1:41 AM  

    I agree! professionalism and confidentiality is so important.
    Also parents need to be careful as teacher know SOOOO Much about their family. My head start kids say and do so much to copy thier parents.

  11. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 9:13 AM  

    Thanks Sh@KiR@ CK,

    Have a great day!

  12. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 9:13 AM  

    Good point Nancy! If they only knew!

  13. Missy // March 21, 2010 at 9:20 AM  

    Great, great, great post. It makes me so sad when I see the negative teachers. Both of my children's teachers right now are so positive and HONORABLE and it's so reassuring. Next year they will both have new teachers. One I already know leans toward the negative and I want a plan to deflect it as much as possible. Thank you for sharing - your blog should be required reading for teachers - or you should write a book. ;)

  14. Choices // March 21, 2010 at 10:12 AM  

    What a great post. There are positive teachers in both public and private. I do feel that in a private school or a charter school where the staff and students know the that there are certain expectations to follow there is a positive attitute all around. Sometimes you don't see that in the public schools.

  15. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 11:43 AM  

    Missy,

    I am so glad your children have had a positive school experience this year.

    Blessings

  16. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

    I agree Ann,

    I also think the administrator sets the tone. If morale is good, you are more likely to find positive attitudes among the staff.

  17. Theresa Milstein // March 21, 2010 at 12:53 PM  

    Good point! At my old school, we had to use initials on all e-mails and in conversation just to protect students' privacy, no matter how big or small. Teachers need to let off steam if a student or a class was difficult and by having an initials rule, it made us aware of what we were saying if anyone might overhear.

  18. mrs. c // March 21, 2010 at 2:41 PM  

    I have been a public school teacher for 27 years and I could not agree with you more! I do not go into the teacher's lounge because of one teacher that can never say anything nice, all the other teachers are great but they just sit there and listen....happy for me she is retiring this year. i love my job and work with low income families and feel like I really make a difference in their lives. They love to come to school where most of their parents did not, that is why so many of them dropped out. i have a huge parent involvement program and it helps to give parents a positive outlook on their child and school. Sorry I get on my soap box, I am so glad to find your blog!

  19. Xmas Dolly // March 21, 2010 at 2:58 PM  

    Just a quick hello to tell you thanks for stopping by. I'm working today on a big job, so my coffee break is over. Have a great day! Hope you took a gander at my give-aways. I'm sure you'll like them. I love this title of your post though. Isn't that the bloody truth!

  20. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 5:27 PM  

    Wow Theresa! I had never heard of that....good idea!

  21. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

    Mrs. C, You go girl! I am glad you found it too. Good for you for having a great parent involvement program. I agree with you. I think the more you involve parents and they can actually see what you are doing, the more it puts their mind at ease. The result is a positive outlook toward the school like you said. Thanks so much for your comments!

  22. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 5:32 PM  

    Dolly,

    I loveeeeee the music on your blog. I sat there last night and let the song play a few times until my daughter came in and said "What are you doing Mom?" lol

  23. mrs. c // March 21, 2010 at 7:50 PM  

    I am following you too! If you have a minute go back and look at my old posts and you wil see my pre-k's field trips, and family celebrations! You are probably like me...sitting with my hubby while he watches basketball with my lap top on my lap(duh!) and checcking my blogs! It's so much fun to meet awesome bloggers!

  24. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 8:02 PM  

    I will! I look forward to spending some time reading it.

  25. gayle // March 21, 2010 at 9:39 PM  

    Thank you for a great post!!

  26. VKT // March 21, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

    Thanks Gayle!

  27. Kelly L // March 21, 2010 at 11:33 PM  

    Great post! Last week a teacher told my daughter that she was not an "A" student even though she has always gotten all "A" - my daughter who works so very hard came to me in tears when I picked her up from school. I was very confused why the teacher would say this... I advised my daughter to ask her respectfully if there was something she had done to have gotten that comment - the teacher just made a careless comment because she was angry at my daughter for talking in class... the teacher should have talked to her about talking in class and not criticize her on a made up accusation.. crazy

  28. Bonnie // March 22, 2010 at 12:13 AM  

    Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog. I really appreciate your kind words! :)

    Very impressed with your blog. Your attitude about teaching is extremely commendable. When I have children I hope I'll be lucky enough to find a teacher like you.

    Best wishes,
    Bonnie

  29. mie // March 22, 2010 at 1:02 AM  

    I'm thankful I found you on the blogosphere as I am planning to teach too one day but to college students and your experiences will help me what not to do or what to do and the ways of teaching.

  30. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 7:55 AM  

    Kelly,

    I have never heard anything like that. The teacher needs to get control of her emotions.

  31. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 7:56 AM  

    Thanks Bonnie. I appreciate your kind words.

  32. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 7:56 AM  

    Thanks for stopping by Mie. I really appreciate it.

  33. Momma Such // March 22, 2010 at 8:04 AM  

    Frugal Mom is great, isn't she? :)
    I would not like to hear something about my child from one of my hubby's coworkers, especially if it is something that they should be telling me! Not cool!

  34. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

    I agree Mom. Perhaps the co-worker made her aware that the teacher was discussing the child with him or her. Personally, I would want to know so that I could put a stop to it. The teacher should not have done it plain and simple.

  35. Jen R // March 22, 2010 at 12:33 PM  

    Interesting post. My little guy will be starting school in September. I'm very new to the idea of being the parent of a student as opposed to being the student. I didn't even realise that sort of thing happened - although I guess it would.

  36. Stacey // March 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM  

    Don't forget to watch how you say something to a parent. Don't tell a parent "It's pretty much the Ethan show" or "By law, I can't legally kick him out of my class". He doesn't know how lucky he is that Ethan is not my first child! Child number 4 comes with grace and mercy for the teacher!!!

  37. Jo // March 22, 2010 at 1:23 PM  

    What a nincompoop and a totally inappropriate thing for this teacher to do.

    Great reminder that if a window of dialogue is opened by the parent (ex. 'How is he?") then by all means, arrange a meet and greet to discuss what is going on instead of letting it get to this point.

    I realize that teachers have a busy, crazy schedule (thus, parent volunteers come in handy -- as was such the case with me for many years) and cannot address every minute issue with every child, but obviously there was a larger issue going on here and it was handled badly.

    There are so many good and dedicated teachers who go out of their way for their students and parents.

    Hopefully a lesson was learned here by this particular one.

    Great post, as always, sweet lady.

    Peace and serenity,
    ~Jo
    'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy'

  38. Tracie // March 22, 2010 at 3:34 PM  

    I wish all teachers would remember this. I live in a small town and these issues come up very often.

  39. Angie S // March 22, 2010 at 3:36 PM  

    That breaks my heart!

    We are just now in preschool and will attend kindergarten next year. I would be so sad if someone talked about one of my babies in a rude way.

    I hope we get lucky with sweet and honest teachers. I'm already praying for my kids teachers.

  40. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

    Thanks for your comment Jen! I hope your child has a wonderful experience every year. These events don't occur often. I just posted this as a helpful reminder.

  41. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 3:41 PM  

    That certainly deserves consideration Stacey. Thats why I said in the post never make a sarcastic comment to or about a student.

  42. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 3:43 PM  

    That is so true Jo. There are lots of good dedicated teachers out there. Blessings.

  43. cherae // March 22, 2010 at 3:47 PM  

    This happened a lot in the preschool I subbed in. The other teachers were always making comments about the kids clothes and other things like that. made me really self consious about how I dressed my own kid. But then I said forget it, why should I stress about clothes on a little kid. It's ridiculous.

  44. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 6:23 PM  

    I agree Cherae!

  45. GutsyWriter // March 22, 2010 at 8:42 PM  

    As a parent I do not hear the teachers speaking to one another, so I can only comment from the parents side. I wish all teachers cared as much about their students as you seem to. My youngest son is in high school and is quite miserable, and not motivated. I am considering moving him to a private military academy as he expressed an interest in it, and the classrooms are so much smaller.

  46. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 10:36 PM  

    GutsyWriter,

    Smaller class size makes a world of difference. Are there any private high schools nearby? I have to tell you that the high school students in my school get a lot of extra attention and tutoring support. You might check into some.

  47. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 10:37 PM  

    Thanks for your comment Tracy!

  48. VKT // March 22, 2010 at 10:38 PM  

    Dear Angie,

    As fond as I am of you and your blog, I will be praying that your children get loving, caring teachers.

    Blessings!