Inside Our Battle for Good Teaching: Braeden’s Words

If I could’ve recored yesterday’s “Braeden rant”, I would’ve. I sat with a child on the verge of breaking because of the educational malpractice that he is experiencing. Amidst tears, he expressed his thoughts on the reprehensible actions of his teacher. Below is the rundown

  • After mistakenly writing down (small – large) vs (large – small), Braeden was ridiculed in front of the entire class for making the same mistake over and over. Her words were, “You keep doing this!! You also do this on your math test!!” He was then told that he would receive “extra problems” to take home for homework to do until he stops doing it. To be clear, these things were yelled at him alone in class.
  • After missing (7×3) and (9×3), on a math facts test, he was reprimanded for “not studying” his math facts everyday like she prescribed. See image above.
  • He and his classmates were told that if they do not score 80 or above on their weekly reader based accelerated reader test, they would be grounded from using the class computers for a week. (To be fair, this means that kids won’t be able to play online games as that is all that they do)

Here is what Braeden (8 years old) had to say about the yelling over his mistake…

“My mistakes are not anyone else’s business. Couldn’t she have waited? Couldn’t she have just given me my paper and let me yell at myself? Couldn’t she have talked to me in private? I just wanted her to shut up!”

His response to his math facts mistakes…

“People make mistakes. She makes plenty of them. We all do. That’s why erasers were invented, for our mistakes. She just gave us these math facts and said memorize them. I can’t just memorize this stuff! I need to know how to do it.”

In response to his teacher who often addresses her class with, “I am the awesomest teacher, right?”…

“I don’t say anything when she says that. I listen to my teachers. I do whatever she says for me to do. She is not a good teacher but she is better than last year.”

My heart broke last night when Braeden proclaimed,

¬†“I’m dumb because I can’t do my math without mistakes”

We spent last night laughing, talking and working on area models of multiplication. We even made a “math rap” song to help him remember because whether we like it or not, there will be a retest tomorrow for his math facts and he’s afraid of being embarrassed for making mistakes. These are the moments when I put all of my personal feelings aside. We are in survival mode.

I don’t believe that Braeden’s teacher is being vitriolic in her actions. However, as an educator we have to be mindful of how our actions and words affect our students. If he didn’t have a support system at home, I believe that he would be broken but we refuse to give in to that. Dear teacher, you don’t win this battle.

We have a parent/teacher conference scheduled for Thursday. Between now and then, I have to get my emotions in check because my problems with this teacher must be isolated to our child. In other words, I can’t speak to what she does for her entire classes. I can only speak for Braeden and his needs.

Sadly, she doesn’t know him at all.

Ultimately, that alone is her critical mistake.



Comments 3

    1. Post

      You have me Kim. Together we’ll get through this and turn 3rd grade around for Braeden.

  1. Thank you for sharing . It breaks my heart for him. The sad thing is that many kids deal with this and they have no one to stand up for them. He is very fortunate to have you in his life.

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