Parents want to keep a male teacher

The Parents and Friends of a School

[MenTeach: We've been asked to remove any identifying information from this article because the teacher - two and a half years later - is having a difficult time securing a job and our article comes up in the search. The hopeful part is that so many parents value and appreciate him. The important part is reading how a single administrator can welcome or reject having men teaching our children.]

I am a teacher that is in this story.

Parents were dismayed, outraged etc. that I was not retained as a 3rd grade teacher after the obligatory 2 years of temporary before tenure.

Despite what I feel was the most amazing, heartfelt parent-initiated rally of support for me receiving tenure, the district went along with the principal's choice to non "re-elect" me.  I have a huge amount of gratitude to these parents and their children, who not only wrote this amazing collection of letters, but went before the school board in my support.

One of the parents contacted me this spring to see if I'd be able to attend graduation of the now 5th graders (unable as I was sub-teaching).

Since that time I've pursued full-time K-5 positions and been able to sub at the district closer to my home.  Asst. Superintendant, Principals, teachers, parents and students have given me very positive feedback, but as yet no full-time position.  

I have a wife and 4 children and I need to be able to financially support them. While I'm atop the "Sublist" and 1st call, it's not financially  meeting the needs.  I really thought subbing would lead to the desired full-time position.  Not yet. With many teachers being laid off and the application pools getting larger and larger (500+ in one case) districts are mostly trying to eliminate people from the pool to get it to a manageable number and from there, select interview candidates.

Something like this series of letters, though it gives context to the "non-reelection" that's on my applications, may not be helping.  Many districts are so image/PR conscious that they might pass on someone who had a situation and/or a stir was caused.   2.5+ years later I think this article should be retired from the site.  A supportive parent, not I, posted it.  They've all moved on and their kids are in middle school and, off course, I've had to move on, but I'd like that moving on to involve a full-time K-5 position.  I think the site has important messages (not the easiest being a male teacher, yet important to have skilled male teachers in schools).  

Again, I think these parents saw values in me and my work that were worth standing up for, and I get a lot of support from current parents/teachers etc.  But for me and my family, I can't wait a lot longer on teaching positions.  

Every month without the full-time position/income is putting us further in the financial hole.

Mr. Teacher

I would appreciate any help we, the parents of a 3rd grade class could get from your organization. We currently only have 4 male teachers in our elementary school and our wonderful male teacher is on his 2nd year and he's contract is not been renewed for no reason, other than style of teaching.

The School district is non-renewing 4 teacher contracts this year, which 3 of them are male teachers.

We need good role models for our kids!

Pls. read some of the letter from parents and see in what way you can help us. It would be nice to get a letter from your organization telling the district the importance of male educators.

Feel free to call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Mr. Parent of a child in his classroom

To School Board of Education,
This letter is to show our support of Mr. Teacher, 3rd Grade Teacher at Elementary School.

It has come to our attention that he has been asked not to return to teach next year. Those of you that know Mr. Teacher will quickly attest to the fact that he does not "fit" the typical teacher stereotype nor is he always steadfastly grounded in conventional teaching methodologies and State imposed curricula. However, as we all well know, he has earned the respect of each student and each of his students has been highly motivated to perform at their very best, intellectually.

One need to look, rather hear, no further than the now celebrated school song, a song written and produced by Mr. Teacher . I'm sure each of you well recalls the chorus line from your child's a cappella solo..."Kind, Respectful and Responsible." And while the song's catchy beat seems at times repetitive, what great lessons for life are learned every time they sing that song. So does the song fit conventional teaching wisdom? Assuredly not, but it's hard to argue the song's positive impact and effectiveness, Mr. Teacher's teachings are like that; effective, unconventional, practical, entertaining, pragmatic and fun, time and time again.

The Federal initiative of No Child Left Behind has seemingly been interpreted to place test scores and cerebral student regurgitation above the learned ideals of; Individual scholastic achievement, Laudable personal growth, Compassion, A personal sense of worth, Music, Art, Resource conservation, Environmental stewardship and Personal responsibility; all ideal's that Mr. Teacher's pupils have successfully learned. It all began with "Kind, Respectful and Responsible" and those ideals continue to flourish and prosper, among each and every one of his students, today, as well as tomorrow. What a great legacy to pass on to future generations.

If you feel that the State exam test scores are only a partial measure of your child's or their teacher's scholastic merit and you also feel that the compassionate nurturing, intellectual mentoring and the scholastic, multi-media panacea that Mr. Teacher has taught has made a profound and positive educational impact on your child, you're cordially invited and enthusiastically encouraged to come and express your collective support and wholehearted endorsement for Mr. Teacher's continued retention as one of the best teachers at The Elementary School.
Thank you for taking the time to make a difference,

Sincerely,

Alumni and Friends of The Elementary School.

As a teacher and parent, I am writing you regarding the non-reelection of my son's third grade teacher at The Elementary School, Mr. Teacher.

Although I understand the union cannot grieve the decision to non-reelect, there are other contractual issues which were violated by Ms. Principal. To this point, the union has not really been an advocate for him.

First, she made frequent unscheduled visits to his classroom which, in some instances, lasted for more than an hour. The contract states that an administrator can make no more than twice the amount of these visits than formal evaluations or, in this case, four during the school year. The Principal was averaging two per week for a while.

Second, a teacher cannot receive a satisfactory evaluation and then an unsatisfactory evaluation, in any area, without an improvement plan. He was given a plan, but Ms. Principal also marked him unsatisfactory in some of the areas.

Finally, Mr. Teacher contacted the union representative regarding the option of resigning. He was promised he would be contacted further. He has not. It has been several weeks. At the very least, the union should be looking into any violations of the contract and work to get these negative evaluations eliminated, allow him to resign, and move on. However, that is not what we, as parents, want to happen. We want him back next year. To allow the principal and the district to hide behind the cloak of not discussing the reasons for this action needs to be changed. Teachers who have not earned tenure can, as Mr. Teacher's case illustrates, can be hung out to dry and have no rights. In no other profession does this happen. It is time to step up to the plate and stop this practice.

Teacher's situation touches a raw nerve with me. His situation is nearly a carbon copy of mine last year. As a teacher at A High School in a nearby town last year, it would not have mattered if I was teacher of the year. No matter what I did, as Mr. Teacher did this year, it would not have made any difference--working 50-60 hour weeks, coaching, teaching extra classes, etc. I had no recourse. Although I was able to prove the principal did not follow the contract, I still lost my job because principals have absolute and arbitrary powers regarding non-tenured teachers, with no accountability. It is not about the kids, but politics and ego. They are able to make such decisions which affect our livelihoods. Teacher, like me, has four children. Luckily, I was able to find a job this year. I hope he is able as well, but, ultimately, he should not lose this one.

A group of the parents from his class are meeting today. Jim is an excellent teacher. My son has shown remarkable progress this year. The bottom line is this, I, as other parents, will be willing to keep my child out of school until justice is served. This could be an appropriate test case for such administrative actions. If The Elementary School won't take action, we will.

Sincerely,

A Parent
Teacher, Local High School Parent of Child

Administrators of the The School District

I'm writing this letter in regards to Mr. Teacher, my child's 3rd grade teacher.

Mr. Teacher is more than just the ordinary teacher, he is an exceptional teacher!!!! That's why I feel it's worth my time and efforts to take any steps necessary to address my concern of the decision of the dismissal of Mr. Teacher. This situation has had ripple effect of disbelieve, concern, disappointment and anger among parents.

My daughter is a student in Mr. Teacher's 3rd grade class. This morning on the way to school, my daughter saw a little girl crying as she had to say goodbye to her mom and my daughter said to me I remember when I use to be like that. I use to miss you so much I didn't want to go to school, but I don't miss you that much anymore cause I love being in school with Mr. Teacher. He helps me not miss you that much. Mr. Teacher has made a difference in our children's lives. I've seen the kids ....they learn from him, they trust him, they confide in him, they laugh with him, they hug him. The children that know him love him. He is all a teacher should be, but he's more!!!!!

My daughter academically is doing exceptionally well and my husband and I are very proud of her and her achievements this year. She as well is very proud of herself as she will brag that she has learned her multiplication and division.

Trust me if I didn't feel this teacher was doing his job I wouldn't be wasting my time writing this letter. Education is my first priority when it comes to my child. I am very pleased with the ways of his teaching. My only wish would be that they had more teachers like him at The Elementary School. Mr. Teacher has given not just his time or his knowledge, but has given each child his or her own inspiration and eagerness, motivation, and willingness with the want to learn. It takes a true teacher with a gift to accomplish that.

With this letter I ask that you take the time to look at the spirit of our reasoning and reconsider the decision of the dismissal of Mr. Teacher for the children's sake of The Elementary School.

Sincerely,

Proud parent of a student in Mr. Teacher's 3rd grade class

Dear Superintendent,

Re: Mr. Teacher

We would like you to reconsider your decision and renew Teacher's contract to teach at The Elementary School.

Our son was fortunate to have Mr. Teacher as his first grade teacher for most of the 2005 - 2006 year. Our first parent teacher conference, we were very impressed with Mr. Teacher. We were overwhelmed with his commitment and passion for teaching, children and the community. I was also impressed with his evaluation of my son, even though he had only known my son for several weeks. We discussed our son's strengths and weaknesses and schoolwork strategy for the year. Every week my son would come home with happy stories about his class work and assignments and the new music he listened to in class with his classmates and Mr. Teacher. Mr. Teacher was very responsive when we had questions, whether they were asked after school or in an email. We were able to discuss with him his past teaching experiences and looked forward to the positive difference and accomplishments he could make at The Elementary School.

Our son was transferred to Mr. Teacher's class last year when his teacher left on medical leave. We questioned Ms. Principal's decision to combine the first and fourth graders and were told that it was the best solution for the school. I thought it made more sense to combine the class with an existing teacher and not a new teacher to the school. At the time, I thought the new teacher Mr. Teacher was given an impossible goal because he was new and starting after the school year had already begun.

I was disappointed when I heard from other parents that Ms. Principal had made the decision to not renew Mr. Teacher's contract to teach at The Elementary School. We had hoped that our son and our other children would have him as their teacher.

On a separate note, one very noticeable difference at The Elementary School is the lack of diversity within the teachers. Most of the teachers are women and Mr. Teacher is one of three male teachers at The Elementary School. The Elementary School needs more male teachers because our boys and girls deserve the opportunity to be taught by both. Male teachers bring a different perspective and personality to the classroom. Being different in Mr. Teacher's case is a positive thing and should be recognized and rewarded. If the school does not choose to keep Mr. Teacher then it is a bad reflection on the school and the school district.

Please reconsider your decision and keep Mr. Teacher because he is an excellent qualified teacher and human being. He is a role model to the students and a committed teacher. You may contact us if you would like to discuss this further.

Sincerely,

Mr. and Mrs. Parents

Superintendent,
My name is Another Parent and I am the parent of a 3rd grader and soon to be Kindergartner at The Elementary School. This afternoon we discovered that our kids teacher, Mr. Teacher was asked by Ms. Principal not to return next year. I cannot tell you how shocked and disappointed we all were to hear this. Here you have a teacher, new to our area, teaching a 1/4 combo class with no mentor and not much help last year. He was given three students this year, that are known in our school to be difficult. Why they chose to not disperse them throughout the three 3rd grade classes, we'll never know but, they have come a long way.

When I heard that he would be my daughters teacher this year I was thrilled! I had heard wonderful things about him from the parents and honestly couldn't wait. My daughters academic path has been wonderful so far and I was excited to see where he would take them. Mr. Teacher has a wonderful way of teaching. He engages the student, not as a student, but as a person, an individual. He really knows who they are and what they are capable of and lets them know they are strong enough to try harder and expand their thoughts and reasons.

He also uses music in the classroom. They have gem-bay drum and an electric keyboard and did I mention that he wrote the song that has become our school song!!! My daughter's report card has consistently improved and Mr. Teacher keeps me up to date on exactly what I need to do at home to make things better for her. Also, The Elementary School only has three male teachers. While it is important for young girls to have role models, it is much more important that the boys have them too. Mr. Teacher is an incredible asset to our school. Please ask Ms. Principal to reconsider. This is a terrible waste of talent.

He is such a wonderful educator.

Another Parent
Parent of a 3rd grade student in Mr. Teacher's class

Dear School District Administrators,
I am writing this email in response to the recent dismissal of one of our district's finest school teachers in the community, Mr. Teacher. My son is currently a student of Mr. Teacher's 3rd grade classroom at The Elementary School. I can't tell you how enthusiastic he has been this entire school year and it is completely attributed to Mr. Teacher's style of instruction.

He has managed to not only provide sound teaching to his students, but he has given them a sense of self that in many instances is much more valuable....My son has flourished and met individual academic goals that his father and I knew were available to him, however at times his confidence got in the way of his achieving. Devin is now performing at advanced levels in math, language arts, and science. He loves school and is very focused and engaged in his studies. Not to mention that he continues to state that he has fun in Mr Teacher's classroom.

Mr. Teacher is not your typical conventional teacher, no he actually laughs with his students and shows great respect for them as individuals. All this despite the fact that he has (to my understanding) 3 of the most developmentally and academically challenging 3rd graders all in his classroom without the help of an aide.

Let me also share with you Mr. Teacher's recent handling of a very difficult and hurtful situation that recently occurred involving my son. One of the aforementioned students called my son and another African American student a racial epithet; the "N" word. Mr. Teacher gave my son the opportunity to sit down with this child along with the other AA student to share how hurtful to was to be called this word. Mr. Teacher then walk my son out to the front of the school to make certain he was okay. He engaged a family friend who picked my son up that day, just to inform him of why Devin appeared upset and he then contacted my husband and myself about the incident. It didn't stop there however, he made certain that he followed up with the entire classroom with class discussion about the beauty of diversity and cultural differences including having a potluck based on various foods from different cultures. I am not certain if this would have h happened in another classroom.

As an African American mother I am having to always prepare my children unfortunately for having to face being called this ugly name in our society one day. I am grateful for teachers like Mr. Teacher who understands, embraces, and values cultural differences and diversity.

It is my husband's and my hope that you would not only support Mr. Teacher in continuing to remain a 3rd grade teacher at Elementary School, but would look to recruit others like him. You have a jewel of a teacher within this district, it would be ashamed if you overlooked what our students need more of.

Best Regards,

Parent of boy, 3rd grade student Mr. Teacher

To The School District,
I'm writing to express my shock and disappointment with the principal of The Elementary School in her decision not to bring back Mr. Teacher next year. Further, as I understand it, this apparent arbitrary, non-reelect decision also precludes him from teaching in any other school of the same district. Further, I've learned from another teacher that this situation is a personnel matter according to the school principal that cannot be discussed. I truly hope that the District seriously reconsiders this seemingly tenuous and poorly supported position.

I've been the room parent for the last four years at The Elementary School. I'm in the classroom everyday. I can testify to the wonderful job Mr. Teacher has done with all the kids. I've seen the progress in of all of them, emotionally, socially and academically.

When you walk into Mr. Teacher's classroom in the morning, the first thing Mr. Teacher does is give "high fives" to all the kids; that gets all the children in a great mood. The atmosphere in the classroom is relaxed and the children are happy and engaged.

Mr. Teacher treats all of us, parents and students, as individuals. He always has a smile and a kind word to say. For special occasions, he lets the kids plan their own get-together, where the kids make healthy food and snack suggestions for the adults to bring. We play music, sing and dance.

At the end of everyday, they spend the last 5 minutes, passing around a plastic ball. Whoever catches it talks about what was special about the day, what they've learned, what they are looking forward to, etc. At at the same time, Mr. Teacher randomly throws math questions at them. He sometimes uses the same techniques and style of teaching that Ms. Parenti (PE Teacher), Former Teacher of the Year, utilizes to motivate kids.

I've personally known most of the Mr. Teacher's students since kindergarten and I've seen them grow into fine young boys and girls. I have also seen the struggle of a few of the children since kindergarten and the school administration keeps passing them from grade to grade without addressing their learning problems.

Eight and nine year old children are going through a special growing period, where they have a better sense of responsibility and fairness. They want to be treated like individuals, they want to be heard and they want to speak their minds. I think that's why this combination of Mr. Teacher with 3rd and 4Th graders works so well. They respect him as their teacher, but at the same time they feel vulnerable with him to speak their minds without feeling judged by an adult.

Our son, has flourished with Mr. Teacher. He loves to learn, but he needs to be challenged more frequently. Mr. Teacher has helped him reach his potential. Mr. Teacher always adeptly adds new material for some of the more advanced learners to keep them engaged.

This year, my son has been more academically motivated than ever before. And while some of his motivation can be attributed to the normal maturation process, the overwhelming difference in my son's desire to learn, his hunger for knowledge, his new-found passion for science, his desire to write poetry and create children's learning games, I attribute SOLELY to Mr. Teacher.

Before this year, my son has always said that his favorite subject in school was recess. This school year has been very different. He loves to go to school. He comes home always telling me something new that he's learned, talking about Mr. Teacher or telling something funny about what he did or said. Mr. Teacher's students feel that they are a part of his extended family.

Former students from Mr. Other Teacher's 2005-2006 class always stop by his classroom after school to say hello and to show him their work. Rarely do I observe that with other teachers at The Elementary School.

Mr. Teacher has taught our children by example on how to be more kind and respectful toward all our of fellow citizens and our planet. He has a calm and nurturing way of being that has a wonderful way of helping some of the introverted children come out of their shells. Most importantly, he has helped our children appreciate their uniqueness by talking about heritage, culture, diversity, fairness, responsibility, accountability, respect and having them share their thoughts and experiences with the rest of their classmates.

One another point; The Elementary School's have a very diversified student body, but our school personnel don't reflect that very well. Only a scant few teachers speak another language and Mr. Teacher is only the 4th male teacher in our school. Our children need good male role models like him. He's one of those teachers that children will remember for the rest of their lives. What a legacy to have, what an absolute shame on all of us to lose.

We hope the District reconsiders this totally inappropriate decision and will restore its credibility with the students and parents of The Elementary School and wholeheartedly endorse and support Mr. Teacher's return for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Thank you,

Room Parent

I am writing this email concerning the dismissal or non-reelect issue for Mr. Teacher, 3rd Grader teacher at The Elementary School. I was shocked and disappointed when I heard the news that Ms. Principal doesn't't want him to come back next school year. First thing that came up to my mind is WHY? I don't know what to react or say, because I see and talk to Mr. Teacher every morning when I drop off my daughter to school.

From time to time I volunteer in the classroom and their school field trips. I don't see any problems of the way his teaching nor his approach to his students. I will describe Mr. Teacher as a cool teacher, down to earth human being, and a simple man. He loves music and photography. Mr. Teacher has special bonding with his students. For example, every morning when Mr. Teacher gets his students line up in the playground, you'll see all students smiling, excited and happy. If you observe in his classroom you find his students very motivated, energetic, and attentive. Everybody is willing to participate and help in all their activities in class. Students were having fun and learning at the same time. Mr. Teacher has earned the respect of each student and they're all motivated to do their best in everything they do.

I will definitely rate Mr. Teacher's way of teaching above and beyond expectation. He had proved that these past grading periods. My daughter continues to excel academically with no hesitation. Her academic and non-academic subjects are all good and beyond our expectation. My wife and I are very satisfied with my daughter's progress report. Mr. Teacher did an excellent job. He always keeps us updated about her progress in class. Being in Mr. Teacher's class there's no dull moments, because when my daughter comes home from school, she's always happy and all you hear that she had fun at school, learned new things, Mr. Teacher taught them the famous school song The D-Way Dragons. Mr. Teacher has ways to instill to the students the motto of our school which to be "KIND", "RESPECTFUL" and "RESPONSIBLE". Instead of just memorizing and reciting "The Elementary School" pledge. He composed that song, so it will be fun and exciting to each student, even us parent also know that song. My son who was a fifth grader last year at The Elementary School, his attribute to Mr. Teacher is a good and fun teacher.

In conclusion to all of these Ms. Principal should inform or notify the parents what really happens and why Mr. Teacher deserves to be non-elected. I would like to request the NVUSD superintendent, Mr. John Glaser and the NVUSD administrators to review this issue, because we don't want to loose a remarkable educator like Mr. Teacher. Your kind consideration to this matter is much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Parent of 3rd grade student Mr. Teacher

Superintendent
RE: Mr. Teacher Educator
The Elementary School

Dear Superintendent:
It has come to my attention that an exceptional educator at the The Elementary School is not advancing beyond his probationary period. As you well know being a Council Member I am continually exposed to constituents who express concerns on a variety of subjects. The schools are usually the priority of these discussions.

I have heard about Mr. Teacher all year and learned how his "style" of teaching make him both approachable and interesting. My child was a slow learner and placed in learning disabled classrooms simply because he didn't "conform" to the standard student/teacher way. He was neither handicapped nor slow but that he was simply uninspired. I have found that good teachers are leaving in droves and unfortunately we are left with some not so good teachers. A fact that is dismal but true.

So when a teacher inspires children to learn to the point that parents come to you as a Council Member as express positive comments that warrants notice. That is why I was shocked to learn that Mr. Teacher, a teacher that both inspires students to learn and parents to care is not being renewed. I would think that this was a clear mistake unless his record prevents his contract to be extended.

When asked about Mr. Teacher the children are excited, talkative, and inspired. These are the very traits that parents believe are missing from public school education. I believe when a teacher takes the time and is still awestruck with the profession that we as a community should support this. The children have become sterile to the teaching environment due to video games, excessive television and movies. It is important for a teacher to communicate to the student which in turn achieves a desire for the child to actually "like attending school."

Mr. Teacher is a jewel in the Elementary School crown and the community is very supportive of his employment with this school much to the humbleness of Mr. Teacher. I believe that if the children are thriving under his direction then that and only that should be a factor in his continued employment and not the fact that his "style" or "personality" is a bit quirky.

Sincerely,

Parent

I am writing this letter in reference to my son's third grade teacher at The Elementary School, Mr. Teacher.

Mr. Teacher has done an excellent job this year, meeting standards and promoting a positive learning environment. As a teacher myself, I am very pleased with the progress my child has made this year.

To allow him to be non-reelected in such an arbitrary fashion would be a travesty. Apparently, he was put in a no-win, untenable situation by the principal, Ms. Principal. There were goals to meet. When he met them, the bar was apparently set higher. She will no doubt spin his evaluations to make it appear she was right in her decision, but I, and other parents, know better.

Principals are afforded too much power, and Ms. Principal has abused it with her arrogance. As parents, we have a right to know her reasons for not rehiring him for next year, but, as she told me, "That is a personnel matter and not for discussion......That is really not how this works."

It is difficult enough to find good teachers and Mr. Teacher is better than just good. As a teacher for 15 years, I know exactly what he must be going through personally and professionally. I also am aware that this action can be rescinded if the school board sees fit. When it comes to a choice between an excellent teacher and this principal, it is the teacher who should stay. Our kids need someone with his talent, not a principal who has abused her power.

I fully understand the rules of the game. A principal does not need a reason to non-reelect a teacher who has been in a district less than two full school years and has not gained tenure. That is wrong on so many levels. In no other profession does this happen. Non-reelection means he will never be allowed to work in the district again. This apparently is just one of many complaints parents have had against Principal . It is her who should not be back next year.

Please do not allow Ms. Principal to get away with this action.

Sincerely,

Father of boy, Mr. Teacher's student