The teacher abused my child

A distressed parent wrote to The Gleaner‘s – Ask the Doc feature, complaining that she went to pick up her four-year-old son at school only to hear his teacher abusing him because he was unable to differentiate between the letter ‘s’ and the numeral ’2′.
“When I got to the door I heard the teacher snapping at him telling him, ‘tun the thing the right way bwoy, everything you write, you write back way, you must have cock eye’,” the mother complained.
She was devastated.

“I am very worried and nervous,” she said “… I felt so ashamed to know that a teacher could be cursing a four-year-old child like that. I realised he had a problem in writing letters like ‘s’ and the number ’2′ but based on what his teacher was saying – he was writing everything backwards.”
The mother said that her eight-year-old daughter does very well at school.
“I am desperately in need of your help as I really want him to do well so that teachers don’t have to cuss him at school, which I know for certain will damage his sense of esteem and he will hate school.”
Child psychologist Dr Orlean Brown Earle tells her how to handle this situation on Page D1 of today’s Gleaner.
What would you do if you were this parent? Should this teacher be fired? Is the mother too sensitive? Give us your views.

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44 Responses to “The teacher abused my child”

  1. Sophia says:

    This teacher has no business teaching toddlers, I myself have 4 years old twins and I have noticed that they will write things backward but it takes time and patience to continue to show them the correct way and they do improve.

    It is obvious that teacher don’t have a clue and also is very abusive and is contributing to the child continuing to write backward. She should be fired with immediate effect, she is very abusive and should be ashamed of herself.

  2. Kay says:

    TAKE YOUR CHILD OUT OF THAT SCHOOL. And then, get some professional help for him – it sounds like he’s got a condition called dyslexia.

  3. Dawn says:

    Check your child for dyslexia or a learning disability.

  4. Jakan says:

    That is not dyslexia thing it is dyslexic. He is only four and at four it is normal for the child to see things like that. It is not abnormal because only some (or even a few) children show this sign.

    It is the teacher who needs professional help and I believe this is not a teacher but rather someone working as a “teacher”. Trained teachers know this is normal at this age. It is even more normal in the case of boys than girls.

    It is the teacher who needs professional help. The little boy needs none at this time. Getting him “professional” help when he does not need it may cause more harm than good. He may start to see himself as having a problem when that is not so.

    Mom should calmly speak to the teacher and let her know that she does not appreciate her child being mistreated in this manner. Mom does not need to be rude and if she needs help doing this then that is the professional help she should seek-help to tell the “teacher” how unprofessional and incompetent he/she is.

    Hope everything works out.

  5. yaadman says:

    Perhaps your child is dyslexic. However, no matter the problem, that teacher has demonstrated that he/she should lose the privilege of instructing ANY one much less toddlers.
    This “teacher” MUST be FIRED !!!!!!!

  6. Eric says:

    This incident shows the importance of teachers having:

    1 – The right temperament. Not everyone is gifted to be a teacher.
    2 – The proper training. This teacher is unable to recognize that the child may have a common learning difficulty called dyslexia.

    I agree with Kay that you should get special help for him – and fast. I disagree that you necessarily have to take him from that school. If there is another teacher there with the right skills and attitude, transfer your child to that class while getting additional special help for your child if necessary. It’s the teacher that is wrong – why should your child run away?

    Additionally, report this to the principal. If the principal is any good, he/she will instruct the teacher how to properly deal with students, get help for her in dealing with learning difficulties, or even discipline her if necessary.

  7. B. Lindsay says:

    This teacher must come out of the system and should not be allowed to destroy the young minds, the child is only 4yrs old.

    We must get real in this country to move ahead, this same kind of attitude caused the lovely country to be in the state it is in.

  8. Rose Smith says:

    The child is only four, The teacher has to be sensitive and responsible. This goes back to the matter of training in the field of Early Childhood Education, most persons are not trained to do this, it is just something to do.

  9. Viviene says:

    There is nothing wrong with the child. Most kids write certain letters and numbers backways at this age. I remember lots of kids had that issue with the number 3 and I also remember helping my cousins and even my nephew to try and remember to write it correctly. It takes patience. This teacher obviously knows nothing about teaching kids. I am not a teacher but yet I, like many others know that this thing is not unusual. Some teachers do not belong in classrooms they can do a lot of damage to a child’s self esteem. If I were that parent I would let her have it (verbally that is) then take my child elsewhere.

  10. Jakan says:

    By way of information. Dyslexia is seeing things the other way around WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY ACQUIRED THE SKILL of seeing things “normally ( eg. left to right progression). It is unreasonable to expect four year olds and more so 4-year-old male learners to already acquire the skill of left to right progression (usually they used this term for reading only but it is also for how we see things generally). This is not dyslexia at all. Ask any grade 1 or other early childhood teacher and they will tell you this is a normal occurence. Many adults to this day make “8″ backwards – it comes out by a fluke but they follow the opposite formation pattern.

    My smartest child used to make letters and numbers backwards, on their sides, on their behinds and upside down; the teacher used to give a big check mark. She would laugh at me and and say, “he will soon turn them around”.

    I too have taught children with dyslexia and chidren with dyslexic tendencies. Truth be told a 4 year old should not even be writing anything. They should be noticing by hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling and learning to socialise ( for school vs playfield and home.

    Our children are being robbed of their childhood.

  11. know b4 says:

    I have 3 children & I home schooled them before they start school. My girl who is now ten used to write 2′s & S’s backwards when she was 4. Now she is a straight “A” student. last year she got only 1 “B”. My youngest brother did not learn to write properly until he was in grade 4 & now has completed his masters degree. Nothing is wrong with the child. The teacher is not properly trained

  12. tammy says:

    The mother having acknowledged that the child has a learning difficulty should seek help for her child instead of whinig and complaining. now you see where her priority lies. As a teacher sometimes you get frustrated of certain situations such as this one. i would pardon the teacher on this one. those who are quick to say that the teacher should be fired, i would encourage you to spend the time teaching at your child’s [if you have any] school this teacher’s day and then you would sing a different ‘sankey.’ it is obvious this parent does not spend time to havea one on one with her son’s teacher. she has cheap priorities just as some parents that i have to deal with.

  13. June says:

    NOTHING is wrong with the child. He is 4 years old and should not be worrying his head about no blooming 2 and s!!!!!!!!! at this stage he should be colouring, looking at pictures and singing.I am a trained teacher with 35 yrs experience and has never heard this in all my life.The poor child is being bullied.

  14. jacqui says:

    Your child seems perfectly fine to me. my daughter turned six last month, and she still has problems with lower case ‘d’ and ‘b’. That teacher obviously is not trained to handle these cases i.e. teaching pre-school. If I were you I would speak to an authority figure at the school or simply remove my child.

  15. Sasha says:

    The child is only four. He should not be pressured into writing letters and numbers and differentiating the two at this age. Many children once they get to high school are tired of school because they are being expected to perform at too early an age. At age four children should just be learning to button their clothes or tie their laces.
    As for the teacher, she is not a good caregiver and no parent should leave their children in their care. She should have been motivating the child and exercising patient. The child, as many children do, will hate learning and school and may not able to write clearly at all in the future because of this negative experience.

  16. Khadija says:

    What is wrong with all these wannabe psyschologists diagnosing the child. The child is four years old and at this age would have difficulties identifying things that look alike. I blame the teacher and an education system, where our children are trained and not educated to use their mental ability to think but forced to learn to read and write at four years of age.

    Take your child out of that school before his self confidence is totally demolished.

  17. Sherline says:

    At four years I think this child is doing well. I sense no dyslexia. My daughter is 3+ and sometimes when I tell her to write the letter M i get W and that makes me real proud of her and her teacher. The child will improve soon.

  18. Terrie says:

    As a Literacy specialist let me advise this parent that your child is not dyslexic as others are suggesting. It is normal for children to write like this in their early years. In addition the fine motor skills are not yet fully developed so these mistakes will occur. Speak to your child’s teacher and let her know that children at this age should not even be forced to write but should be using crayons, play dough, sand etc. To develop their motor skills. Learning should be fun at this age and not made into a means of punishment. Express your feelings about the abuse in a calm way and if you are not satisfied speak with the principal. If you still are not satisfied take it to your regional Ministry office.

  19. Kay Taylor says:

    The teacher should get out of that profession. She has no love and needs help!!!!!!!! This how they damage our children.

  20. Uriel Williams says:

    My God, if the mother of this child is indeed speaking the truth, then this so called ‘teacher’ should be fired with immediate effect. This could not be a teacher, but a monster who if allowed to continue to teach infants, will only destroy them in the long run. These children will eventually end up having low self-esteem and no confidence in their abilities over time. The mother of the child should have scolded the teacher right then and there and reported the matter to the principal of the school, so that the issue could be properly addressed. I would advise her to speak to the principal forthwith with a view of having this matter resolved. I would not be too quick in moving my child. If the matter is not appropriately addressed, then by all means I would transfer the child.
    I am in total disagreement with those who are of the opinion that this child is dyslexic or has a learning ability. Why are some of us so quick to judge? Allow time to tell, as it is quite normal for children at this age and sometimes beyond to make the mistakes of writing letters and or numbers backwards. My own son did so until he was about five or six. I did nothing but allow him to develop at his own pace and he was able to graduate from high school, qualified enough to walk straight into university and is doing exceptionally well into his second year.
    Mother, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be too hasty in concluding that your child needs help, try to be patient and if over time there’s no improvement, then you know it’s time for that option. Finally, at this time I think that it’s the ‘teacher’ that needs help and not the child.

  21. Prudence says:

    Oh yes, we do have some terrible teachers in the classroom who demotivate and abuse the children. Early childhood education is the most critical stage in a child’s life. Much care needs to be taken in selecting teachers in this area. There should be a criminal record check on every individual who enters the early childhood education and and also for those adults who care for children in government run institutions. This is what happens in big countries.

  22. Juliet says:

    This incident is very unfortunate, yet it happens in our school system on a daily basis.

    There are persons who are allowed to teach while studying for their teacher’s certification and others who are really not qualified to teach, hence the lack of knowledge and appropriate response. This child is not suffering for anything – his condition is normal.

    My daughter was 5 when she was still writing things backward but with gentle coaxing and encouragement together with writing assignments, she eventually wrote correctly. I did not seek any professional help, just encouragement and it worked.

    Our school system expects too much from these babes – at 4 years old they should not be given even pencils – just jumbo crayons to form letters and numerals. No wonder they are tired by the time they reach GSAT.

    The matter should be reported to the principal. The teacher should be reprimanded by her surperiors with a view of him/her correcting her technique (if you can call it that). Firing him/her should be a last resort and only if he/she is not willing to change. Additionally, firing him/her is really not solving the problem but giving that teacher the opportunity to practice this behaviour at another school.

    Also, mom and child – dare I say the entire class – should receive an apology from the teacher. This should not be seen as a sign of weakness but of regaining respect.

  23. Dutty G says:

    This is a very interesting issue and it is more prevalent than we would like to believe. The colourful language allegedly uttered by the accused teacher, is echoed in many of our schools, both private and public, on a daily basis. Therefore, the teacher in question represents many who consider their duties in the classroom as just another job.
    This child doesn’t have a learning problem. The teacher has demonstrated that deficiencies in tolerance and patience can prevent even the greatest educators, from yielding very high returns. Bottom line, this teacher should be called out and reported to her administrator. If not, she will continue to carry on with her tirade and in the end; many will be deprived of the proper nurturing, which is expected from teachers of kindergarteners. One love.

  24. Nadine says:

    I have three children and they all had that problem at that age, between 4 and 5 years old. After a while, they knew the difference. At the age of 5, one of my sons kept writing 3 the other way around, d for b and b for d, among other things. I never thought he was dyslexic. At that age, it could be normal. However,that teacher should not be in a classroom teaching people’s children. I wonder which teachers’ college she got her training from, then again, maybe she does not even have the formal training.

  25. Tummings says:

    As a trained Early Childhood teacher I am ashamed and shocked of what this teacher had done to this child. I must say she is not trained in dealing with children. Please forgive her.

  26. Jed says:

    You guys know how it is in Jamaican schools, teacher gets loud and beats when one is not doing the right thing. Whether it is academical or disciplinary matters, some even get angry at students for no reason. I agree that some students have dyslexia and some have learning disabilities, but there are strategies put in place to combat these problems. Imagine how stressful is it for a teacher nowadays with everyone pointing fingers on them for a child non-performance? Not to mention the pay by performance that they are going to implement, and I know they are going to measure the students’ performance as a factor. All you progressive Jamaicans, do you remember all the beatings and cursing we got from teachers, haven’t it shaped us into who we are today? Please don’t turn our classrooms like the American one.

  27. JADE says:

    I have a four year old son, he writes his 2′s and S’s as well as his b’s and d’s backwards and he’s OK. There is nohing wrong with your son. What you need to do is to speak with the teacher about the manner in which she talks to you son. When my son started school I met and spoke with his class teacher – because my child does not respond to shouting/cursing and I would suggest you do the same.

  28. JADE says:

    To JED
    This is a four year old we’re talking about.

  29. GraceB says:

    As a pediatrician, I can tell you that what the child is doing is normal at his age.
    To Jed: are you suggesting that the abuse in our schools have contributed to the declining morals of the Jamaican society at large? Interesting….

  30. nikki says:

    Bloody hell, the child is under five! What is the issue? I could not distinguish between G and Q until I was almost 6 years old. I now have a PhD Be firm with the teacher. Call her on it, inform the principal, inform the school board. Her behavior is unacceptable. Do not hold your child responsible for this, as he will internalize it. He is a child who is being abused by a poor excuse for a teacher, who missed missed her calling to herd cattle

  31. NadineN says:

    It really pains me to hear stories like this one. A 4-year-old is just a baby, and no teacher, or other person having to do with children, should be allowed to get away with speaking that way to an innocent child who, I’m guessing, was trying his best. Too many of this type of “teacher” are in our schools wreaking havoc on our children’s self-esteem. It has to stop!!! Were I this parent, I’d voice my strongest objection to that manner of speaking to my child with the “teacher” in question, speak with the principal of the school as well, then I’d confirm the matter and our talks in a letter to both the principal and the “teacher,” and copy the letter to the relevant Education Officer in the Ministry of Education.

  32. Sometimes we are very protective over our children. What may look like abuse may not be that at all. Your best bet is to talk to the teacher and share your concerns. If it continues then you may have a problem.
    Another way is to observe your child. Does he seem upset? What is his body language?
    The situation may be upsetting to you but it may not be to your son.
    WE have to be very careful to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Or in this case the teacher.

  33. val says:

    Your child seems normal to me. The teacher is the one that needs help. I am sure that she knows nothing about child development. The child is only four and is going through stages and will successufully acquire depending on the positive feedback, and help the child gets. Some of these teachers themselves struggle through tertiary instutions and have no right to pass judgment. It is also a shame that most of the teachers who teach toddlers have no formal training. These children are in their formative years and need teachers who are trained.

  34. Hope says:

    Nothing is wrong with the child, he is going through a phase, no one was born with the ability to recognise letters or numbers. He is still going through emergent literacy. With the help of a good teacher he will be able to write properly.
    As for that teacher I would not want her around my child as she is a disgrace to the teaching profession.

  35. patricia says:

    I am realy ashamed of that teacher,a four year old,she should be out of the classroom,

  36. Marie says:

    I am at a loss. This child is only four years old. He is still developing. This teacher needs to be fired immediately. And to address the question that Grace B is asking Jed…The answer is yes. I went to school in jamaica and some of these teachers are cruel, some have no compassion.

    No questions asked this teacher should be sent back to the bush she came from and have dinner with the hogs she grew up with.

  37. TraciaJ says:

    No teacher, especially a early childhood teacher, should seek to demean a child in that manner. The child is only 4 years old, give him time to learn and develop. While I acknowledge that dealing with so many students on a daily basis who cannot write or behave properly can be stressfull, I think the teacher should have been equipped with at least the basic training to handle such situations. Teachers must remember that all students do not learn at the same pace. Sometimes they just have to be patient and try different approaches for each child.

  38. Marie says:

    Talk to the teacher in a very professional manner, you might find out that she has problems of her own and could use some help and you the parent might help her to realize that.

    I agree with the comments that indicate this is normal behaviour at age 4 and not a problem. I was the one teaching my children numbers and letters at age 4. At school they were learning how to play with other children, how to share toys and books with other children and how to colour, not even what the colours are. I am sure we all can read the following sentence and makes sense of it… “fuor yaer odl is vrey yuong to be wrrorynig abuot nmubres and wrods”… it doesn’t matter how he writes his 2 or S or 3 he is fine. He will get it in time.

  39. Nicki says:

    Before I join in diagnosis his condition to be that of dyslexia, let me provide a definition of that word. The World Federation of Neurology defined dyslexia as follows:

    Specific developmental dyslexia is a disorder manifested by difficulty learning to read despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and adequate sociocultural opportunity. It is dependent upon fundamental cognitive disabilities that are frequently of constitutional origin. May I ask then,does this child portrays a difficulty in reading? Based on studies I have done each child developed at varied level,I would conclude that this is quite normal and that’s a mistake make by many children at this age. My niece is the same age of that child and she exhibited similar difficulty in writing “S &5″ but with patience and encouragement she does it so well now.
    As a counsellor in training I would recommend that:
    *the teacher be psychologically evaluated
    *that teacher need to be re-trained with particular training on the affective domain(feeling/emotion).The problem is that these teacher are taught in the cognitive & psycho motor domain so all they are concern with is that the child is learning .
    * I would not be quick for her termination,because if and when she gets another job she will take her unprofessional behavior with her and that is why i recommend evaluation for her to see why she is behaving the way she does.

    to the mother:
    i would suggest that you pay closer attention to your son, you mentioned that he has difficulty with some letters, then the teacher is saying he writes every thing back way.As parents we should so attentive.

  40. tammy says:

    i totally agree with you jed. furthermore you have thousands of parents who deny anything being wrong with their children at age 4 but send them to school of hope at age 18.

  41. tammy says:

    all those critics need to go and teach. it is easy to cast judgement but can you teach?

  42. Kids says:

    The people have a right to criticize that teacher. That was pretty. If it was my child she would hear from me in no uncertain terms. That was pretty she should not be teaching people kids.

  43. MORGAN says:

    All you guys are saying is beyond the point, what give that teacher the right to talk to that child the way she did. Dont you all understand that that mother is hurting because the teacher was very mean to the kid. TAMMY you can say all you want .What kind of a teacher are you yourself???.

  44. Den says:

    As a trained teacher I must say that the first thing the parent need to do is to find out if this so called teacher is trained to teach as often times pre-trained teachers are labelled as teachers and that should not be. Oftentimes basic schools only have one trained teacher, as this is what the government can afford to pay for. However if this teacher is trained then she should be removed from the classroom because I can’t imagine a teacher talking to a child like that.

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kimesha Posted by: kimesha November 23, 2009 at 9:29 am