Thursday, November 05, 2009


I made an appointment with the director of Gabe's preschool on Monday because I wanted to get her thoughts on the tangled mess of preschools for next year. Before we even got on the topic of preschools, she asked me how I thought Gabe was doing at school. Umm, fine? According to her, apparently not. Despite my asking every single day how his day has been when I pick him up, she went into a laundry list of complaints, including "wandering nonstop, beats to his own drummer, doesn't want to participate with set activities, doesn't sit still for circle time, doesn't want to do art projects, has trouble transitioning, etc".

I was... stunned. I couldn't even really respond, for a number of reasons, I guess. First, I don't do well with confrontation. Second, I was totally unprepared for this to turn into a parent-teacher conference. Third, this is ABSOLUTELY not the message I'd been receiving from his actual teachers. I left the meeting feeling totally upset and shocked and thrown off and not understanding what I was supposed to do about all of this information.

She didn't give me any tips of preschools, and now I had a whole list of "problems" I needed to address. She also went into a long discussion about how he wasn't getting enough discipline from me, and I needed to be stricter and more disciplined and the preschool I choose next year needs to be VERY disciplined to control him. Umm, okay.

I stressed nonstop about this for the whole morning until it was pick-up time at his TODDLER PROGRAM, need I remind you. As I was getting his stuff ready, I told the two teachers about my conference with the director and about how I was stressed and confused since this wasn't the message I'd been receiving from them. They looked at each other strangely, and then told me they had no idea what I was talking about. According to them, he is perfectly fine. Developmentally appropriate, doesn't wander, doesn't have trouble with transitions, has plenty of lovely skills and strengths (none of which were mentioned in my earlier conference), and yes, he doesn't want to sit for circle time, but he's two. He isn't the only one.

Sigh. I felt relieved, albeit confused, and decided to just forget about it. As long as the teachers were assuring me he was fine, I would push it out of my mind for the interim, at least until we move, and hope it all blows over.


Today, I came to drop him off and the director asked to speak to me and laid into me about how she was "sorry I was angry with her, but she has been a director for XX number of years and she isn't going to lie to me about my child and she has been receiving horrible reports from the teachers, and she thinks I need to know about the problems." Imagine yourself a huge mess, a startled and upset me, and you have yourself our morning scene. She insisted on showing me the notebook on Gabe, which I read through and by the way, said NONE of the things she kept going on about, and she says it is because the other teachers haven't "caught these behaviors".

I finally started crying in the hallway and asking what her point was. Was she saying he had a problem? Did he have ADHD? Did he need help? WHAT? She looked visibly stunned and softened a little and said no, not at all. He was perfectly normal. Definitely didn't have ADD or ADHD and he was a typical and normal 2 year old and she didn't mean for it to come out so harsh. She just thought I needed to know these things so I'd have something to work on. I continued crying while she apologized and said that from now on she was going to make the teachers write a daily progress report on Gabe (which I don't want) and we would have an accurate picture of what he was doing every day. And that was that.

I left crying, and dreaded pick-up and seeing the progress report all day and have been sad about this all day long. I don't know what to think- is there a problem or isn't there? If he is typically developing, then what is the big deal? If he isn't, then why isn't everyone on the same page? The director certainly isn't going to back down on her stance at this point. She is adamant that Gabe is doing all of those things she mentioned and his teachers just haven't noticed it.

I'm tempted to pull him out of the school and go to a school closer to our new house, but I don't want to go down that road, and I also don't think this warrants a change of school, sad though I may be. Ugh, what a mess. I'm just praying it doesn't affect him, and hopefully none of the teachers take their annoyance out on him.


ttulizzy said...

Okay, halfway through I thought the drama was that the director was talking to you about the wrong child. Then I was wrong.

That whole conversation just sounds fishy, especially since the teachers (who I would assume spend more time with and working with Gabe than the director) were confused after you talked with them.

Not having any kids or anything, I can't give any advice, but I can say good luck!

z. said...

What the heck? the director sounds c-r-a-z-y! So she saying that his teachers haven't caught his behaviors, but she has? So he's "typical and normal" but she wanted you to have something to work on? THat just makes no freakin' sense, especially since all this criticism is completely unwarranted. I'm angry and upset for you! This situation is ridiculous. I hope things get resolved.

Anonymous said...

What a jerk! I would go with the teachers on this one and the next time she tries to tell you her "concerns" just smile and nod and fantasize about kicking her in the shins.

Chatty Cricket said...





As I was reading this I thought the same thing as ttulizzy, that the director was going to come back to you and tell you that she was SO sorry but she had mixed Gabe up with a different Gabe in a different class, and THAT Gabe totally has two heads and a tail and they think they saw fangs, and this has absolutely NOTHING to do with YOUR Gabe and OMG can we refund your tuition for the rest of the year because of the HORROR I've caused!?

I totally don't understand this at all. I know Gabe in REAL LIFE and as I was sitting here I read Bill the list of "complaints" from the "Director" and he and I both kept saying, "That doesn't sound AT ALL like Gabe." Seriously, he's one of the sweetest, FOCUSED kids I have ever met. I wouldn't use any of her words to describe Gabe. Like, at all. Has she ever MET him?!

I am floored. The hairs went up on the back of my neck. And the fact that the other teachers simply don't agree? I think that if the director is going to insist that you go down this road, that you need to get the teachers, the director AND YOU all in the same room at the same time to make sure you're on the same page. I mean, what are you supposed to think when his TEACHERS who work with him EVERY DAY are not seeing any issues? But she is? When does she work with him? I am very angry. On your behalf. And Gabe's.

And, um, IT'S A TODDLER PROGRAM not a NASA training facility. He is two. Sometimes he doesn't want to sit in a circle. OMG, quick get the meds.

M said...

OMG.I have so many thoughts as a parent of a preschooler and as an educator.
First,I would call a meeting with the 2 teachers and the director and get everyone on the same page.
Second, I'm not sure if your preschool has this, but where Madelyn is I can watch her classroom on a big screen tv in the lobby. So, then you could witness these behaviors (or most likely, not witness anything questionable).
And thirdly, I would definitely want a written report, daily, for Gabe's sake. If these behaviors are what she says they are then you should expect them to be documented and you should be privvy to that documentation. If you get the daily report and there is no record of any of these "behaviors", that also warrants a conversation with the 2 teachers and the director.

I would also question the intentions of the director, her level of professionalism, and her interactions with children.
I'd also ask for her to document these behaviors when she sees them. Then you could see how often she is actually in the classroom.

Ok...just my 2 cents.

Beth said...

Eeek this whole thing makes my head hurt a little bit. Sounds terrible and JUST the thing you need right now. I think (when you have some spare time that is) that the teachers and director and you need to all get in the same room and see what they say in front of her. Sounds crazy and she sounds like a nasty piece of work. Poor you! Good luck x

Rev Dr Mom said...

I would really wonder at the discrepancy btwn the teachers and the director. How much time does the director spend with the kids? Does she observe each group every day?

I think getting the teachers and the director in the same room would be a good start to getting everyone on the same page.

And he's TWO....what does she expect anyway?

Maribeth said...

I was on the Board of Directors at a Church Based School. I worked closely with the director. If she had EVER acted int hat manner then she would have been terminated!
I think you need to talk with your husband and seriously consider taking Gabe to another school. I wouldn't even want to chance tainting his view of going to school at this early age. If he asks about switching schools, you can explain that you are moving and he is going to a new school closer to his home.

Stacy said...

OMG OMFG!!!!!! WTF Is right!
What the hell is this ladys problem?
Does she expect 2 year olds to be little fucking drones or what?
This is freaking crazy and nuts and yeah. She has some type of problem!

I can assure you as I do each an every time that you post about one of the wonderful things your children do, that he is NORMAL he is a perfectly happy normal 2 year old little boy!

I agree that if his teachers are doing well with him and he is happy and thriving to ignore the director and just keep him there as to not disrupt him. At the same time, switching say after Christmas to a new school would be good, you will be moved and settled and its a natural tansition time. I would want away from this lady.

Seriously I agree with the others that she is confused and is thinking of another child. But even still any 2 year old all of the things she said, are normal! perhaps she is talking about someone who is 5! LMAO

I would start visitng the classroom some. Help out or whatever. Hang out and watch through the window. Something
So that I would have the peace of mind of seeing for myself how he acts and how all the other kids act too!

it just hit me! you were supposed to meet with her to discuss OTHER schools? she is just being and idiot and is mad because you are leaving and taking it out on you like some type of freaking teenager! OMG just ignore her!

I have to say that I have ran into this crap alot in the 13 years I have had kids in school.

Lots of stress free vibes!

jwg said...

I've been an Early Childhood professional for over 30 years, and now teach courses for preschool and day care teachers. I know whereof I speak! Find another preschool. The Director's behavior is inexcuseable and shows a complete lack of understanding of normal toddler development. Her unprofessionable behavior towards you and the fact that she has put her staff in an untenable position tells me that there are probably other unacceptable things going on.
If,in fact, gabe was having problems you should have been unformed long before this so that you and the teachinmg staff could work together. You should not have been blindsided. In addition, the National Association for the Education of Young Children suggestd that toddlers should not be required to participate in large group activities, that they should be permitted to leave as they wish. As the adminstrator of the program and the person responsible for the curriculum, she should know this.
You are probably want Gabe closer when you move. For his sake, make the change now.

liz said...

Is there someone above the director you can complain to?