Merry Meet Family, Friends and Fellow Ridgewoodians!
Tonight, I received a very disturbing phone call from my daughter, Kyla. She had been chatting via web cam with friend in order to get some help doing math homework. During the conversation, the friend's mother, who is a Teacher's Aide at our local grammar school, came into the room and asked who her daughter was talking to. Her daughter responded that she was talking to Kyla, who needed help with her Math homework. The Teacher's Aide responded, "She's too lazy to do homework. She hasn't done homework since the 4th Grade".
Oh really? Is this really the kind of person that we want "aiding' our children in the Ridgewood School Systems? Are these people actually qualified to work with children or do they just know the right people? Aren't they supposed to be trained to encourage our children to do their best?
Kyla was been receiving in support in Math since she was in 4th grade. This was an extremely hurtful comment to make to a child who was asking for help. It is especially inappropriate, as well as insensitive, coming from someone who is employed as an assistant to our Ridgewood teachers.
Now, I'm sure this "Aide" will "deny, deny, deny", but this was a comment made via web cam conversation. Kyla both heard and saw who was making the comment. That said, it wouldn't be the first time this person lied to protect their own ass by claiming that the child had "mistaken" what was said.
When Kyla was in 4th grade, she had a teacher that was new to the Ridgewood School system. On the first day of school, we asked Kyla how she liked her new 4th grade teacher. She said she liked her, but that many of the children were crying. Crying? Why would children be crying on the first day of school? This wasn't Kindergarten! These children were 8 or 9 years old! Kyla told us that many of the children didn't understand the math and that the teacher was becoming impatient with them. My husband, who has been a teacher for 25 years, and I found this somewhat disconcerting, but decided to take a "wait and see" approach given that it was the first day of school. We felt that a period of adjustment for both teacher and students would be appropriate. In the months to follow however, there were an increasing number of similar incidents in which this teacher's behavior was upsetting Kyla. We hadn't had any incidents with any of Kyla's teachers before or since. They all described her as a "pleasure to have in class". We thought it was best to address this issue as it was beginning to significantly impact Kyla's learning experience. We expected that, following our initial meeting, there would be no further incidents. Instead, we ended up meeting on two more occasions as a result of this teacher's behavior.
The "finale" came when Kyla was asked to make a correction on some work she had handed in. Kyla made the corrections, but when she handed them to the teacher, the teacher turned to her "Aide", and in the front of the entire class commented. "Look, Mrs. C, second and third graders know how to punctuate, but this 4th Grader doesn't". Kyla came out of school crying. She was upset and embarrassed. My husband and I called the Principal and made another appointment to meet with the teacher and her Aide. Prior to our meeting however, I spoke to several of Kyla's classmates, just to make sure that there wasn't a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what was said. All the students confirmed Kyla's version of the events and told us how "sorry they felt for Kyla" and how badly they would feel if they had been on the receiving end of this kind of treatment.
Upon meeting with the teacher and her Aide, Mrs. C, we were told by both, "that's not exactly what was said". I made it clear that several children corroborated Kyla's story. My husband asked, "Well, if that wasn't "exactly" what was said, what was?". Neither the teacher, nor her Aide, could recall. How convenient!
I really think that with the taxes we are paying to live in Ridgewood we deserve better than someone who demeans our children. I certainly hope this isn't what Ridgewood considers the "Gold Standard" in Ridgewood Public School Education.
In any case, not only have I emailed this "Teacher's Aide", thanking her to keep her derogatory and libelous commentary about my child to herself, but I copied the same to the Principal of Travell School as well as the Superintendent. I feel it is imperative that they be aware of the integrity and character of the people we have "aiding" Ridgewood's teachers.