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intrusive teacher



I teach music class in a teacher's classroom due to the shortage of space in our school. The children in the class had earned a "games" class. I generally post a sticker on a chart, and once they get 8 stickers (eight classes, if they're good), I promise to let them have some fun with games.

Last Monday I was playing games with the students in their classroom, and the kids were excited. That didn't bother me at all, but the classroom teacher who was sitting in there kept butting in and saying stuff like: "You're too wild." "You're going to pull a stick if you don't stop doing that." "You are all going to put your heads down and stop playing games if you don't calm down." I tried not to say anything to the teacher--that she spoiled our fun, that she had no right whatsoever to intrude, and that while I'm with the kids she is not in charge. I don't know how to handle this. Should I just let it go, or should I tell her this so that she doesn't do this in the future? Oh, and by the way, she had them write me apology letters, of all things. I took them, but then I threw them into the trash when nobody was looking. She had absolutely no right, in my opinion, to get involved the way she did, and I certainly didn't want her to have the kids apologize to me for wanting to just have a little fun. I am a certified teacher, the same as she is, and I have been teaching for quite a few years.


It seems to me that what she did was highly unprofessional and rude. I doubt that she would ever want someone butting into her class, and she needs to think of it from that perspective. I would talk to her and tell her how you feel and ask her not to step into your classroom unless you ask if of her.


Yeah, that was pretty rude.

You'd better talk to her about it. She needs to be reined in. She'll never stop if you don't stop her now.


Why does she stay in the room?

I am surprised she even stays in the room when you are there to do your lessons. I'm assuming it's her planning time and she would want the chance to go somewhere else and take a break or grade papers in quiet. Rarely do our special area teachers have to use our classroom but when they do I leave. Even if I have to go back early or forgot something and a student asked me a question like "can I use the restroom" I always say nicely "right now, Mrs. so and so is teaching her lesson and you will need to ask her" I would speak to her nicely but honestly about the situation. Explain that while you are teaching you would like to have control of the classroom management aspects because you want the students to understand you are their teacher just like she is. Tell her that during your lesson if you feel the kids are getting too wild you will handle it. You could also say something like teaching music is a lot different that teaching reading and math and that you do not expect the children to stay as quiet as they do for other academic lessons. Music is expression and to express oneself (even if it's game day) students will need to be a bit louder than maybe she's use to. Encourage her if you can to use this time to take a break away from the room. Try to not to be on the defensive with her but try to encourage her to see your view. Good luck


Junior Member
It's YOUR class, but.....

First of all, I feel for you in having to teach in the classroom. Been there - done that! Since you are actually the "teacher," not an associate or student teacher, it was your call on class control, not hers. I can't recall ever having that problem, even though some of the teachers did stay in their rooms while I taught.

While she probably has a great need to keep a tight grip on the class, it is possible that there is a "history" here, and she may have had criticism of her classroom control from an administrator or neighboring teacher. I know it's hard to accept, but this is still her class even when someone else is in charge, and it's hard for her to see them act in ways she finds inappropriate. (Often it goes the other way, and classroom teachers want *no* responsibility for their students when they are under the supervision of specials!)

I assume you will need to continue to teach in this same situation and work with this teacher, so try to find a diplomatic way to discuss the issue with her before it arises again. There must be a solution that will work for you both.

apple annie

Senior Member
flip side

At my school we have a music situation exactly like the one you describe. My kids stay in class for music and the teacher comes to them. I would LOVE to leave during music, but it's the only specials time we have all week, and I have to use that time to get together my students weekly signed papers, and prepare things in my room. I figure I can grade papers and write lesson plans at home on the couch, so I do at school what can only be done at school.

During music I often find myself saying things to my students when I see them doing things I KNOW that they KNOW they shouldn't be doing. I am reluctant to step on the music teacher's toes, but sometimes I just feel like my kids have to be reprimanded for yelling out or getting out seats, etc. I do have a very rowdy bunch who will get out of control in no time. I know if I wasn't there, that the teacher would somehow survive wihtout my stepping in, but I just don't feel I can let my kids go nuts knowing I'm sitting right there. I have even put one or two in the back of the room in a time out during music. I guess it's the same way I would be if they were my very own children. I am responsible for them, no matter who is in charge of the class. Just imagine if you saw your own children acting up in a classroom type situation, doing things you have drilled into their brains NOT to do. I know music is not the same as math class, and I dont expect them to sit in silence. I try to refrain as much a spossible, because she even told me once (in a very nice way) that she felt like I should not withhold music as a punishment. She didn't want any of my students to miss out. I appreciate that and I understand that music is where some of the worst behaved students find a place to shine, so I really TRY to butt out, but sometimes.....:eek:


Senior Member
Flip Side

At my school we haveto stay with our students during music to control the discipline. We have certified teachers but they do not have classroom mangement skills. I talk to my class before we go and normally we do not have any problems. The music teacher told me she wish all the teachers would help her out but they just ignore the bad behavior. So I think it depends on the school. If you are in charge then talk to the teacher but be careful becuase she has them all the time. I think she meant well and was not trying to insult you specially since she sent you letters.
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Senior Member
controlling the discipline

I think it's one thing to talk with your class BEFORE class begins, but then it's another to interrupt a certified teacher and strip her of her authority in front of the kids. Classroom teachers need to bite their tongues and not say anything while others are teaching in their classrooms.

The special area teachers need to let the classroom teachers know when they're in there that they will take care of the discipline--the phone calls and notes home to parents. I generally try to take care of this during the first couple of weeks of school, but classroom teachers do forget. If I have a problem with a kid, I write in the kid's agenda, which the parents are supposed to see each day. I had sent a kid to the restroom one day during class, then I found him promptly marching back to the classroom, ordered by his teacher to return. That seemed a little extreme to me. My feeling is that if I want to send a kid to the restroom, it's okay, so long as I don't send the entire class, and I shouldn't have to have the classroom teacher's permission to grant permission to students in my class.

The problem is, classroom teachers, that if we're in your room and you take charge while we're there, then we have NO charge while you're gone, because the kids recognize that the power has left the room.


Senior Member
I almost hate to mention this, but

I wonder if she resents the fact that every 8 days they get a game day? How often do the kids get music? Maybe she is thinking they get recess and play time on a daily basis and that when they have time for music instruction, that is what they should be getting? Just a thought.


Junior Member
ITA Kirsten

I know that I hate indoor recess and the game day thing seems to resemble that. When my students are in specials that is my plan time. It would be difficult to plan in an unstructured setting like that. I realize that this is your class and you need something for management but I do know that my rowdy bunch does not handle indoor recess well.


Senior Member

Why didn't you step in and calm the children down. If it was your class then you should have done something instead of getting offended. I still think this teacher thought she was helping you and not offending you. Just a thought.


different strokes

from the sound of it the "op" didn't feel the kids were out of hand. Why would she step in if they were doing alright? I've had my sister, a teacher, visit my school and she was shocked when the kids were told they were too loud at lunch. She said at her school that wouldn't be considered too loud.

I'd talk to the teacher about how you felt you were in control and her comments confused the students as to who was responsible for them during music class. BTW, we weren't allowed to be in the room when another teacher came in to teach, music, art, guidance...


Full Member
We have had special areas in our classroom in past years. I usually try to leave, but there are times when I need my computer or am unable to leave. In those cases, I try not to even pay attention to the kids. If they try to talk to me I say "I'm not here." (I explain to them beforehand that the other teacher is in charge and pretend like I am not here.) I would not ever step in and reprimand the kids while another teacher is in charge. I don't think she had the right to interfere. If she couldn't handle the kids behavior, then she should've left. If I were you I would mention the apology notes and that you thought they were unneccesary.


From a different view - maybe

I don't have music class in my homeroom. But thinking about it in a different way - a different light - Much of the materials, equipment, some of the furniture, and other items/objects in my classroom belong to me personally. They do NOT belong to the school.

If it was in my classroom, I would hope these "games" would not involve any of my property from being damaged in any way - If I felt the kids were getting "wild" and damage could/would result - I would have a hard time not keeping my mouth shut after giving my students the "evil" eye toward their rough housing. I would remove the object if possible without saying anything.

The school never reinburse damages. In the same situation I might have protected my stuff by speaking to a child privately - I would have NEVER made them write apology letters to you. But I would have -after music class- have a discussion with my class about the objects in our classroom and expected behavior around those objects regardless of who is in charge and the activities involved. I'm all for a good time, but I would make sure it wouldn't be at my cost.

I'm not saying that your "games" and her opinion of "wildiness" was the correct description - for you have a different opinion of it - They were just having fun and she spoiled a good time by undermining you in front of you. Not good!

This is just an opinion from someone who has spent a lot of personal money on materials, furniture, equipment, toys, etc. in the classroom. I would speak to her and find out why she felt she needed to "butt" in and let her know that while you are in her classroom, you will be in charge and you will be respectful towards the room arrangement and materials - if she can be respectful towards your authority over the activities you've planned and prepared for- and if she can be respectful towards your authority over the discipline of the kids' behaviors while you're conducting music class in her classroom environment.