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WHat would you do?


Senior Member
My principals called me in for a meeting the other day. They said that it has been brought to their attention, that some of my parents are not happy. Evidently these "parents" contacted the central office and filed a "complaint". When I asked the principals what concerns were made, they couldn't tell me. I told them that I was totally clueless as to who would be saying this, and I needed some feedback, so I can better myself professionally. I have yet to hear from any of my parents, with concerns.

Another issue is that at the last faculty meeting, we disused ways to better our school. Everyone mentioned the fact that their rooms do not get cleaned. Well, we were asked to email the administrators to let them know which rooms these are. I followed directions and emailed them to let them know my floors had not been done all week. In this meeting, this was brought up again, with them saying, "they only make $4.25 an hour", and "well this is their second job" and "perhaps if you leave them a little treat or a gift card, they will do better in your room, this is what I did when I was a teacher"... Yes, spoken by the administrator..

I was just bombarded by incidents that I had no idea were even "issues". Is is that bad to ask questions, how to better yourself? Worst yet, am I too assume I should start looking for another job??

Left the meeting totally shocked, and have no answers to anything. This is only my second year there, and I feel like they are starting a "paper trail".


it is your principal's JOB to support you

Does ANYONE have a principal that is doing HIS/HER JOB!!!???? If someone went to the superintendent about you that was the first step out of whack. They must have felt that they couldn't go to the principal. The superintendent should find out why that is so!!! Second, the principal should be providing you with a mentor if you are a new teacher!!! What state do you teach in? Someone needs to observe you so they can give you feedback about any issues. Do you have a union? See if you can get an experienced teacher to be your mentor. Our state requires mentors for three years, even experienced teachers must have one. As for the custodial issues, it is NOT your job to supply money or gifts to get your room cleaned. Are you at a private school? If you can't resolve this issue I would purchase my own broom/vacuum and spend the last 15 minutes of the day having the kids clean the room. Get them those swiffers for dusting, and I would clearly let my parents know that that is what you are doing so that you can avoid kids having any asthma/allergic reactions to all the dust and dirt in your room. Really push that asthma/allergy connection. And seriously, look into the mentor thing.


Your principal sounds NUTS! I feel soooo sorry for you.

Find out from colleagues if others have been in this situation---Your principal sounds like a bully. Perhaps others in your school have been bullied.

Keep track of any positive notes, etc--DOCUMENT everything in case you need to prove your competence.

Try to check in with your union about your rights, what can be done----It is not very fair of your principal to say there are concerns without telling you what they are---perhaps there is something in your contract that can help.

Just do the best you can to get through the year and quietly look for work elsewhere. You dont deserve this unfair treatment. You should get out of that school as soon as you can.

c green


I love the 'there have been some problems. We can't tell you who has them, or what they are, but we want you to fix them anyway' speech.

It's so Alice in Wonderland. "They told me you had been to her, and mentioned me to him. They gave me a good character, but said I could not swim..." Or something like that, I can't remember the real poem.

Sounds like you did the right thing--told them that there is no way for you to respond to criticism, if no one will explain what they're critical of. Can you request to see the complaint? Will the union help out?

As for the janitors--first, the federal minimum wage is currently $5.15 an hour, so the district may have a problem there. Second, while bringing cookies for the custodian is a nice thing to do, you need to get your room cleaned whether you bring chocolate chips or not. Good grief.


twilight zone

This sounds like a teaching job in the twilight zone. You did wrong but we can't tell you what you did wrong, but be sure to correct it and don't do wrong again. Huh?

If you have a union contact them immediately with this 'someone said you did something wrong but we can't tell you who said it or what was said. please do not do it again'.

Sometimes I wonder if these administrators listen to what they say.
It's so absurd.

If you have a file at the Central Office can you check it to see if there is any 'parent filed complaint' in it?


Senior Member
i have another meeting

I am a member of the union, and if I don't get answers tomorrow, I am going to contact them. I emailed them and asked if we could all meet again. I am going to ask them what their intentions were, and if I should be worried. I don't know what is going on this year.

I am new at the school, so I don't know if anyone else has had any problems like this. I told my husband today, if this is what teaching is about (keeping parents happy), it makes me question my sincerity to my job.

I love my job, but I am totally not liking how this is being handled. No support at all, I will let you guys know tomorrow. Thanks for listening and taking the time to comment back. I appreciate it!!


know what you mean

My second year teaching the principal did an observation on me. In the eval she wrote that my comments to A and T were inappropriate. So I went to the princ. and asked what did I say? She had no idea. I, too, asked how can I change this if I don't know what I did wrong? She said she couldn't remember. I thought if it was bad enough to go on an eval in my perm record, then she shouldn't have problems remembering it. I then went to A and T, 4th graders that I had a great repore with and asked them about it. Again, they had no idea what I was talking about. Thank goodness, it never happened again.


A possible theory

Many years ago, something similar happened to me. I was a third year teacher, and we were having an end-of-year luncheon at a fellow teacher's house. Out of the blue, the principal said to me (in front of other teachers), "Mr. R, you're going to have to start doing things better.
Several of your students have complained about you." I asked who these students were, and I even mentioned a few names, but she refused to say. "Exactly what were these complaints?" I asked, but again, she refused to say. In the three years I had been at that school, I thought things had gone well. Nobody had ever given me any complaints about my teaching.

I continued to work at that school for a few more years before I was transferred. I could go on and on about my relationship with this principal, but I'll just say that it was a tense few years. As you can guess, she was not one of those administrators who strongly backed her teachers.

I was friendly with the other teachers, and little by little I managed to figure out why this principal had picked on me. She was a single woman, and socialized outside of school with some of the families of the students.
There was one family in particular that she spent a lot of time with, and I was told that she usually had Thanksgiving dinner with them (she may have also had other holiday dinners with them). This family had two boys--they weren't bad kids, but they were very lazy. I was always polite to these boys, but I'd let them (and their parents) know that they were capable of doing much better. I think I know what happened--at one of these dinners or other social occasions, there was talk about the school. The discussion may have turned to some of the teachers (the staff was small), and they probably complained about me. That is probably the reason why this principal wouldn't tell me who made these complaints or what the complaints were. Very unprofessional, but this kind of garbage goes on all the time.

Obviously, your principal is not acting in a professional manner. She knows that there is only very weak evidence against you. She knows that if either you or the union see this evidence, it will be completely without substance. At the end of this school year, I think I'd start looking for another school. This principal is a loser.

In the meantime, look at your class roster very carefully. I'm guessing that there might be one or two students who are a bit challenging. You have probably let these kids know (and their parents too?) that they can do better with their academic work and their behavior. These parents "know" that their kids are angels, and that they can do no wrong. They might be friendly with the principal outside of school, and they are making these vague complaints. It's possible that the principal is scared of her own shadow, and doesn't want any problems with any parents. Thus, instead of standing up to the parents (and putting her own job on the line), she is coming after you. Sadly, this stuff goes on all the time.

>I told my husband today, if this is what teaching is about (keeping parents happy), it makes me question my sincerity to my job.
For better or worse, this is what teaching is about.

Good luck!