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Summer school teacher tells students 'incompetence' is why they're there.

Summer school teacher tells students 'incompetence' is why they're there.


'AITA for telling a class that their previous teacher's incompetence was why they were in summer school?'


I [50s M] am the head of the mathematics department at a private high school. Last year in May we had job openings for a teaching position. We had several promising applicants, but we decided to hire a woman fresh out of graduate school [mid-20s F]. I was excited to have her work for us because she had infectious enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, starting from the earliest assembly last September, my patience for her began to wane. She is the most two-faced individual I've ever seen. During meetings and private conversations she's fine. But if you put a 16-year-old student in hearing distance, she immediately becomes intolerable.

I do a lot of disciplinary committee work at my school. During our first assembly when I instructed the students on manners involving their phones and classroom etiquette, I saw some in her general area snickering. I later learned from a colleague that she was sarcastically saying 'OK?' after every sentence I uttered.

Later, when I supervised one of her lessons, it seemed fine. She was obviously new to teaching, but it was passable instruction. On my way out, I overheard her saying 'OK he's gone everyone, do whatever you want,' met with laughter from the students.

Earlier this year, I realized that while I had finished our department textbook for 11th graders and was moving into exam preparation, she had only done half. I happen to share a student with her who is one of my advanced courses, and when I asked him what they did in her class, he awkwardly answered a lot of chatting and free time. I warned her about class time management.

At the end of May we had our year-end tests. Since my school has an accelerated curriculum, we do not actually make these tests; they are written by a college prep school with the SATs and IELTS exams in mind. Any students who fail to achieve a certain score on these tests must go to summer school.

My students did fine. 91% pass rate, which is about normal. Her students did terribly. 54% pass rate. This is the lowest I have ever seen in my 20-year tenure at this school. She offered to teach summer courses to them but I informed her she would be doing no such thing. Instead I divided the work up among other teachers.

Last week I had a student complaining about summer courses and asking me why we couldn't amend the rules. I told him that once his grades were satisfactory he would be fine. I then tacked on, 'And I apologize for your previous teacher's conduct and incompetence. I'm sure you've noticed many of the other students here were in her class.'

The next morning I got a call from her. Apparently my comment had spread like wildfire and gotten back to her. She was furious and called me unprofessional. I responded that she has caused a lot of trouble for our department and the students aren't happy with her, which she denied.

Now I wonder if my comments went too far against her, despite her poor teaching.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


I would be more concerned with why an adult teacher is in contact with teenage students.

Edit: Especially given that she seemed to be portraying herself in a 'friendly' and not 'authority figure' way during class hours.


This is a good point but might not be as alarming as one thinks (a student contacting a teacher vice versa). There's a lot of educational apps/platforms such as Blackboard, Class Dojo, Canvas, etc., aimed at providing virtual education forums that are used for a myriad of reasons (homework assignments are the most obvious case use).

All of these services offer some type of functionality to communicate with your teacher if you have questions and the like. Also schools usually publish teacher's contact details (email) to help facilitate teacher-parent communication.

The fact OP' comment got back to the new teacher in 2023 is not surprising at all and OP should have been aware this was very possible.


ESH - everyone at this school failed the kids. I can’t believe that there’s no other ways to find out if kids are that far behind until the end of the year. So there’s problems that you know are happening. Was there no spring tests or evaluations? No grades or tests given?

So she messed up, you ignored it, and those students are stuck in summer school.

Your complete lack of professionalism pointing it out to the students sucks too. I would be livid if I was one of the students' parents.

The OP responded here:


Tests that she made. Evaluations that she had. According to her numbers, the students were doing fine. As it turns out she was just throwing good grades at them.


Honestly, ESH. Teacher shouldn’t be so immature but you also seem equally as insufferable to work with. It sounds like you’re in a mild position of influence. Instead of bad-mouthing the teacher behind her back TO A STUDENT, consider guiding her instead.

So, do you think this OP did anything wrong or was he just being honestly with his students and disappointed with their teacher?

Sources: Reddit
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