Monday, October 31, 2005

Conference call

If you get a call from your child's teacher with some unsettling news, like classroom misbehavior or academic struggles, where do you imagine that teacher being as he or she has this conversation? Some private office, a conference room, a teacher lounge? I never think of my kids' teachers as speaking in a big group of people, with a voice loud enough to be heard, but I know of course that they usually are. At my kids' elementary school, I frequently heard teachers standing in the middle of the busy office arguing with some parent or other, and now, of course, I hear more than my fair share of confidences simply by virtue of standing near the phone when I volunteer at the library. That's the way it is, but it's not the way it should be, is it? Aren't there issues of privacy and confidentiality being violated? The other day, I was in the library when a teacher actually trooped a student to the phone, made him stand there as he called the parent, and then spoke loudly and theatrically about how bad the kid was doing. Bad enough I was an audience to this, but there was a group of students sitting at computers quite nearby who got an earful as well. I know the kid only slightly, and don't know how much he cares about being onstage or what the teacher has put up with to get him there, but still. I hate when teachers belittle a child in public, and even though that wasn't the intent of this call, given the setting it was certainly the effect. When you get a call from your child's teacher, do you assume it's private? And how bothered would you be if it's not?

1 comment:

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