A crushed boy walked with his head bowed towards his house from his school. He didn’t want his parents to see the tears in his eyes. But they could see that the 7-year-old had been crying and pleaded with him to tell them what had happened.
The child reluctantly got a piece of paper out from his school bag. He handed it to his parents and it would hold all the answers they were looking for.
A Normal Child
Kamdyn Piland was always just a normal kid. He never strived to get amazing grades but he would stay out of trouble nonetheless. He wasn’t hyperactive and he didn’t spend all his time watching TV and playing video games.
His parents were caught off-guard when he came home devastated. They read the note he had given them and his father stirred with a frown. As he kept reading the test paper his face became more flush with anger.
A Normal School
Kamdyn was a student at Valley View Elementary School for a number of years. There had never been any issues with him at the school but everything changed when he walked into the school as a 2nd grader.
Now his parents were getting more and more complaints about their son’s behavior. Chris decided that he had heard enough and decided to look into his son’s complaints.
Finding Difficulty At School
There aren’t any elementary school children who like doing their homework especially when they could be seeing friends or playing games once the bell to indicate the end of the school day had rung. Kamdyn was no exception and his parents understood it was part of being a kid.
But Kamdyn started handing in his assignments late. This drastic change in behavior only started in the 2nd grade. His parents hated seeing their child struggle so suddenly with his academics. What changed Kamdyn’s attitude towards his school?
Too Hard On Him
Chris was sure that his child could take on the 2nd grade and all its challenges and the fact that he wasn’t made him start to worry. It wasn’t normal for Kamdyn’s performance to plummet so drastically in his academic life.
His teacher was Alyssa Rupp Bohenek and one day he arrived home with some “feedback” from her. That’s when Chris thought that she might have a part to play in Kamdyn’s newfound difficulties. The father’s intuition would prove useful.
Everyone’s had that teacher that seems impossible to impress. Some kids keep their heads down and somehow slip through, some stick out. Especially if they are kinder and indecisive. This is the teacher that Alyssa was.
At the school, Alyssa had already gained a reputation and seemingly picked on Kamdyn before anyone else. The boy’s joy started to wain as the constant criticism impacted his self-esteem. He didn’t ever let anyone know that it had such an impact.
His Bad Grades
All parents dream of their children doing well at school. But when they catch wind that their child is the opposite and only in the 2nd grade. It’s hard for them to swallow.
Parents can get involved to help their child, like after school tutoring and having a more watchful eye on their child when it’s homework time. But one thing stands out as outdated and it never works – tough love.
Something More Constructive
It’s not just children that hate pointless negative feedback. Everyone would prefer a more constructive approach to criticism so they understand how they can improve and not repeat the mistake.
Confidence and self-esteem are the most affected when someone is given criticism. Now imagine a teacher giving such negative feedback to a child who’s trying his best?
Being a teacher for young children versus older children have completely different approaches. You need to be more involved in the younger child’s education when you teach to help them understand the concepts.
Being a good mentor reflects on the children as well since you are a role model. Chris felt like Alyssa wasn’t practicing this way of teaching when she was in the classroom with his child. How could she think her comments were actually helping?
Making Things Worse
Chris can’t be blamed for his anger and frustration towards the teacher. The comments on his child’s paper were just discouraging. They didn’t only affect his confidence but they were also unprofessional. No parent wants to see their child hurt.
The comment on the maths test was: “Absolutely pathetic! He answered 13 in 3 minutes! Sad!” Now this made Chris angry. It was bullying and there was nothing constructive about these comments, not even in the slightest.
A Recurring Problem
The problem was that this comment was not the first that this teacher had left Kamdyn, and it was the straw that broke the camels back. For Chris, it was the last straw and he intended to do something about it.
He took insult from how the messages were right from the beginning of the year. It was time to confront this nasty teacher.
Taking To Facebook
It’s the go-to action that a lot of people take – posting a worry or thought on social media. A lot of the time is because we can get so close to the issues that we can’t see them clearly anymore. Chris wanted an opinion on this situation.
What he wasn’t expecting was to have such a large impact. Chris began by just stating the facts along with a picture of his son holding up the offending test paper. He was sure that everyone would agree with him.
His Viral Post
Chris was absolutely amazed at how the post took on a life of its own, racking up thousands of reactions, comments, and shares. It seemed that a lot of people felt really passionately about what happens in the classroom. How children and treated and what skills a teacher should have.
He felt significantly better that his gut instinct was right and he hadn’t been overreacting at all. Almost everyone disapproved of the harsh words that the teacher left on the piece of paper.
A Teacher’s Responsibility
Teaching is not known for being an easy job, it’s far more challenging than standing in front of a class and talking. Every child learns differently and it is the responsibility of the teacher to find out how each child learns so that they can succeed in school and later on in life too.
Leaving harsh comments seemed to Chris like this teacher wasn’t teaching his son how to learn, she was taking the easy way out and putting the blame of his son.
No One Likes Negativity
No one likes to work in a negative environment. Take yourself for instance, if your boss was constantly on your case no matter how hard you worked you would very soon lose your passion for your job and quit.
But Kamdyn still had so many fundamental things to learn, new abilities, skills, and tasks to take with him in the future. Quitting wasn’t an option. This teacher had to understand that learning is most effective when it is carried out in a creative yet inspiring way.
Launching A Petition
Chris was glad that he was getting so much validation from his little facebook post, but then things took a turn for the worst. He couldn’t believe it but all the strangers that had rallied behind him had started a kind of movement of their own.
Someone had even taken it so far that there was now a petition online calling for the sacking of Bohenek. It was great that people felt so strongly and Chris was sure this was something that he wanted to go ahead with.
Endangering Her Career
The situation became serious now. Ms. Bohenek could lose her job because of a mean comment. She needed to protect herself against the angry group of people on social media that kept on growing.
Chris was still so angry over the whole incident that he did want her to get fired. After all, getting a new teacher for his son seemed like a great idea.
Amazingly the petition was tallying up an unusually high number of signatures. Already over 10,000 people wanted the teacher sacked with very little information or her side of the story. But teachers at her school took a stand on Ms. Bohenek’s behalf saying she did not deserve to be fired at all.
Even though little Kamdyn went on to say, “She made me really sad and upset. I was really mad. And [it was] really mean to do.”
“You don’t write that on anybody’s paper, let alone a little 7-year-old, second grader’s paper. It said on the top of it that he answered only 13 of them in 3 minutes and that it was absolutely pathetic with a sad face”. “It broke my heart,” Chris said as he spoke to more and more papers and TV stations.
He was still absolutely furious about the whole ordeal. “I believe what you wrote on his paper was extremely unprofessional and just very rude and she messaged me back and said she was sorry I felt that way,” he explained.
Punished Not Fired
Everyone agreed that the teacher had indeed done something wrong, but should she be fired for it? It seemed a very harsh punishment for something that a firm talking to could change.
The school felt like she only had to be reprimanded for what she did. They thought that it was too much to fire her for this. Teachers, parents, and other adults are those who mold these little kids into what they’re going to be in the future. The school decided to look further into the matter and make sure justice is served. Chris posted an update and said, “Thanks to all the efforts and support of the dedicated people who signed and shared this petition, I’m happy to announce that the teacher in question is currently being investigated by the Valley View school board.”
According to a news outlet, school superintendent Rose Minniti has become aware of the remarks written on the assignment. After having a meeting with the Valley View School District and the teacher, an investigation had begun. As a response to the media, Minniti said, “As always with everything, we’re going to try to do what’s best for the students and what we need to do for the employee under investigation”.
Speaking to the same news outlet, she said, “It’s a personnel issue and the results of that are not going to be dictated by social media. It’s going to be dictated by the facts and evidence.”
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