Not A Very Happy Sunflower

| USA | Learning | May 24, 2017

(I am in first grade, and most of my memories of my teacher are horrible. It’s very early in the school year. When the teacher asks us to write something down. She comes over to my desk and begins screaming at me.)


Me: “I’m sorry. I’m just used to it!”


(She scares me by yelling and I start to cry quietly. Most of the children are scared into silence by her. A different time she has assigned us to draw flowers showing the seeds in the flowers. I am sitting in a desk in the back of the class with a parent volunteer with me. I decide I wanted to be unique and don’t want to draw an easy sunflower, so I start to draw a rose, deciding to make one of the petals transparent so you can see the seeds inside. The teacher again comes up to my desk yelling.)

Teacher: “What is this?!”

Me: “It’s a rose.”


(The parent volunteer looks pretty shocked at her being so hard on me.)

Volunteer: “I think you should just draw a sunflower.”

Me: *nods glumly, close to tears*

(Other memories include her proudly declaring she had never been married but had three children to a bunch of six-year-olds. And calling the boy who accidentally stapled his hand “a stupid attention seeker.”)

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  • CeejayB

    I’ve had my own bad experiences with teachers (one of my intermediate/middle school teachers called me stupid…in my hearing and to another student) but this is so…I have no words. Kids at that age usually tell their parents everything so why wasn’t the teacher complained about…also, why didn’t the volunteer do anything?

    • Lou Miller

      Many probably did but it can be hard as hell getting rid of a teacher that has tenure and a teacher’s union that fights tooth and nail to keep teachers employed when there’s no criminal charges pending.

      School districts, in the US have limited budgets and can’t afford to lose the money they have paying the court costs fighting to get rid of a bad teacher.

      • Difdi

        That’s when you arrange for a camera to record the abuse, and then send it as an anonymous tip to police and the local TV news station, about how there is rampant child abuse going on in the school, that the school administration is fully aware of, but is ignoring.

        Whistleblowers — not just for the federal government.

    • TheBigBadWolf

      Probably because she’s a volunteer. There’s a good chance she’s a volunteer for a degree or something similar and that the school would side with the person they are paying than someone they are not.

      Or the volunteer could have gone higher up and been ignored without OP knowing.

    • Cassandra Smith

      Because if the abuse is prolonged enough, and parents busy/absentee enough, then kids won’t say anything for fear of getting in even more trouble. My third through fifth grade teachers dragged me through the mud daily and ignored, insulted, and used me as the class humiliation every time I turned around. I finally all but turned mute except in my art class, and the kicker? All but two of the other teachers just shrugged it off as ‘well, she’s a problem child’.

  • Shayna Lee Ward

    My high school counselor told me as a pregnant senior to have an abortion because I bought a cell phone (I lived on my own and alone) and a new pair of shoes because mine were falling apart. She also told two girls a grade or two below me to get themselves pregnant because they had said they wanted to gain some weight. I wish I was kidding.

    • Dawn

      wtf, I’m not going to ask how, but WHY do these people even become educators? They clearly don’t care about the kids in their care.

      • Lou Miller

        The power trip.

    • Kathy Plester

      Totally out of line and any teachers like that should be reported. Even if they had genuine concerns for you, such as your education and health, they cannot just come out and tell you to get an abortion. That is solely the woman’s choice and nobody else has a right to dictate it. Obviously the father has some say, but not teachers,not parents, not even doctors (with the exception of if the baby is going to present serious health problems and may kill the mother).

      There are some people who really don’t deserve to be called ‘teacher’ because all they are is bullies.

    • Kitty

      That makes no sense. Okay, being pregnant does result in gaining weight… but you lose that weight once you give birth…

      • Kiryn Silverwing

        Not always. I mean, sure, you lose the part of it that was the baby and the fluids it was floating in, but not everybody loses the fat they gained during the process.

  • Connie McFadden

    This bitch sounds a lot like my son’s original first grade teacher. She would do things like literally bending over and screaming directly in students’ faces if didn’t stand perfectly still and face forward while in the lunch line. I complained about her treatment of her students to the principal, but there wasn’t much they could do since she was 2 years from retiring and had tenure. I managed to get my son transferred to one of the other two first grade classes for the year as did some of the other parents.

    • Kathy Plester

      Yeah but tenure doesn’t mean total immunity – if you’d made a complaint higher up because what she was doing was basically abuse, which is gross misconduct, which you can be sacked for even with tenure. More likely the school just couldn’t be assed which is awful. I feel so sorry for your son.

      • 19th-Century Radical

        Tenure just means contractually-agreed-upon due process before firing. Tenure is an excuse used by lazy administrators who don’t want to do their jobs.

        • Kathy Plester

          Yeah people with tenure can be fired. It doesn’t make them immune to everything.

        • allahboleh

          Yeah, but with two years to go… the firing process takes a long time and costs about $80K

    • Difdi

      Tenure won’t save her from criminal charges — child abuse for example.

    • SylviasDaddy

      There may not have been much the school could do, but you could have done something: You could have beaten her up, or smeared dog manure on the handle of her car door, or several other things …

  • Lydia Kimmel

    oh my!! what a horrible teacher. sounds like my 4th grade English teacher who would always go after me for not paying attention (my back was to her and she had a rule where you had to sit with your legs under the desk at all times no ands, ifs or buts about it) embarrass me infrount of everyone. and the school had a stupid rule about us caring all our books to the class without a bag( i am 5’5 now and weigh 110 pounds so you can guess how big i was when i was 9), i was a little late on crazy hat day, and she said i am not taking your picture casue you were late, i just took the last picture for your homeroom.

  • Kitty

    “I can’t keep my legs closed or know how to use protection! I’m so proud of me!” Con…gratulations? That’s really not something to be proud of. Why even tell that to 6 year olds? They probably don’t get what you mean. Why are there so many people who apparently can’t stand kids teaching? I don’t have patience with kids, I noticed when I worked at a kindergarten, I’d never go into teaching.

    • Trihan

      “Other memories include her proudly declaring she had never been married but had three children to a bunch of six-year-olds.” I initially parsed this sentence very differently and wondered why she wasn’t arrested for child abuse…

      • Benny

        I *still* can’t parse this sentence. Please explain to me?

        • randomshoes

          She has three children but she was supposed to pretend they didn’t exist because the OP still thinks that having children out of wedlock is shameful and, I guess, something you can’t allow six-year-olds to know exists.

          I mean, the teacher is still an utterly horrible person, but damn, what century are you living in?

          • Trihan

            The thing is, she was their teacher. Why would the 6-year-old students need to know this in the first place?

        • Rebekah

          Quite often “she had a child to Nicolas” would mean Nicolas is the child’s father. Having children to a bunch of children would be child abuse (and it’s how I parsed it at first as well, which made it confusing to me, cos whaaaat??).

        • Jessica Robbie

          She declared, to a bunch of six-year-olds, that she had three children. Does that help?

      • That sentence still makes no sense to me. Just…what?

    • Kali Ravel

      Why do you assume the children were unplanned?

  • Kitty

    Nobody wants to read something by an uneducated person, huh? *cough* Fifty Shades. *cough cough*

    My highschool teacher for Math and Physics was a bitch. She’d yell at us, even called one of the girls “too stupid to read” in front of the whole class because she stumbled over a big word while reading out loud. I complained, the principal had a talk with her, she denied it happening and things kept going.

    • Kathy Plester

      I read something similar going around on FB – a guy had this really abusive teacher who would mock him and call him names but this teacher was supposed to be the star of the school and came with all these recommendations so of course they never believed the guy. They had people come sit in on the lesson but of course the teacher was always informed and when they were there she was nice-as-ninepence. Any he checked up on the law, turns out it was legal to record her in school as it counted as public property, so he snuck in a recording device and recorded her during class and all the cruel things she said to him. He took that recording to the principle. Principle listened to it for a while and was horrified, summon the teacher to his office and they all listened to the rest of that recording, with his teacher going whiter and whiter. She was immediately dismissed and watched her carrying a box to her car and she just looked at him. I don’t know if it was true but I sure as hell hope it was – teachers like that need to be fired. They’re not teachers – they’re bullies.

      It takes a lot to be a teacher – it’s not about lording it over kids and ‘being the boss’. Yeah, you have to be in control, but you also have to be constructive and supportive.

      • Gnomer Denois

        From the way I read the original post, the assignment was to draw any flower showing the seeds. Granted, the way the flowering – fruiting – seeds works means that most flowers aren’t around for the seed portion of the life-cycle, but that’s a problem with the assignment, not a young child’s interpretation of the assignment.

        • Kathy Plester

          Well to me it was to draw a flower where you can see the seeds (such as a sunflower). OP admitted they just didn’t want to follow the assignment, not that they misunderstood, so the issue is very much with OP. As I said though, the teacher is 100% in the wrong in how they dealt with it, so while OP is in the wrong for deliberately choosing not to follow the lesson because they didn’t feel like it, they certainly didn’t deserve to be treated as they were.

          • kittykat0714

            No all she said was she didn’t want to draw anything easy like a sunflower, not that the assignment was to draw a sunflower. “assigned us to draw flowers showing the seeds in the flowers”. And you are talking about a 6 year old here, these things happen a lot with children this age and if this teacher cannot handle it, she should not be teaching this age group.

          • Kathy Plester

            If you read my comment FULLY you will see that a) at no point have I condoned this teachers behaviour. and b) OP didn’t do what was asked. She didn’t draw a flower with the seeds in them (like a sunflower). Maybe not an easy sunflower but I’m sure there were other types that showed the seeds. But while I said she was in the wrong, I ALSO said there was a better way to deal with it (go back, read, you will see it). I did not in anyway say that she deserved to be treated that way or that the teacher was right.

            See, when I worked with 4, 5 and 6 year olds while training as a teacher, if they deviated from the lesson, we would first see if they understood, then if they confirmed they did but just decided they wouldn’t do it, we would explain to them why doing it the way we asked was important and what we were trying to teach them. Never had a problem because kids are smarter than people given them credit for even at 4 years old. What this teacher did was inexcusable, and I have never said otherwise. My point was, don’t be surprised if any teacher is unhappy you don’t follow what you are asked, but that the response given was inappropriate for a teacher.

          • Nic

            But even in a sunflower, the seeds aren’t visible until the flower itself is over. Sure, you can see where they will be, but that’s just as true of a rose (or any other flower) if you draw it side on, or with the middle visible.

          • Kathy Plester

            I grow sunflowers and yes the flower is wilting, but it is still there and the seeds are visible on the flower itself as opposed to the flower morphing into the seed, such as with other flowers (including roses). OP did not follow the lesson plan, though the worst that should have happened was what I described, but OP still did wrong.

          • Kathy Plester

            And also she said SEEDS visible, not inside visible. What she is drawing will not be the seeds but the reproductive organs of the rose so this is NOT following the lesson given. OP admitted the sole reason for not doing it was not that she didn’t understand the brief but rather he/she just didn’t want to do it.

    • EJ Nauls-Poland

      I know that so well. My sophomore year geometry teacher hated me for reasons I still don’t understand. I was bad at math at the time (I’ve since gotten a lot better) so I was always struggling just to maintain a passing grade in her class. She always seemed to have it out for me, doing her absolute damnedest to make the class harder for me than it already was. At the end of the year, we had a project that, if I passed, would ensure that I passed the class. However, she decided to be a spiteful little bitch and take off 5 points that I deserved. Said 5 points resulted in me failing the project which in turn resulted in me failing her class with a 69.

  • Bajovane

    I had severe anxiety when I started forth grade – there were a lot of changes – new school building, first time using a school bus, problems at home – I cried often. One day my teacher saw me breaking down and screamed at me, “What, you’re going to CRY again!?” Yes, Mrs. B—h. You made it so much worse, thank you so much.

    I hated her.

    • Kathryn Baggs

      Sounds like my fifth grade teacher. He was a raging jerk. He lost it so bad he once picked up a students desk and shook it until everything fell out. Way to rage out buddy.

  • Natasha

    I’m just wondering why the parent volunteer watched this abuse happen and didn’t get her ass fired. Seriously, even if it wasn’t my child, I’d have a thing or two to say to a teacher that’s abusing a bunch of 6 year olds.

  • James Smith

    So apparently everyone had at least one mean teacher.

  • KashyaCharsi

    I feel sorry for her children. She shouldn’t be allowed near any.

  • Max

    What the fuck is wrong with teachers like this

  • SicklyGiggler

    I’ve had issues in the past with teachers deciding I was “lazy and trying to get out of work” when I used my accommodations present in my 504 plan, or if I asked for a modification to an assignment I physically could not do. Of course, when I tried to report it I just got told “Well maybe you should ask (the teacher) nicely :)” Ended up having to drop out of the class because otherwise I would have failed and not graduated. Some people really should not be teachers.

    • Leiko Burningbear

      Violating a 504 is a big deal. Sounds like your school system sucked majorly. Did you ever look into getting an advocate to represent you and help make the teachers follow the 504?
      My mother used to be an advocate for children with disabilities. She worked for a non-profit, and was very good at her job. (Special Ed directors throughout the state were a bit afraid of her. She knew how to get things done, and she had some state-level connections.)

      • SicklyGiggler

        No, I was a shy child and I didn’t know that the 504 plan wasn’t a “suggestion” like the teachers were treating it as, as it was developed largely without my input, so when I told the counselor and she told me that she couldn’t do anything I left it at that. It’s in the past though, so whatever.

  • Jackie Fauxe

    Reminds me of a Harry Chapin song that always made me sad:

    “The little boy went first day of school
    He got some crayons and started to draw
    He put colors all over the paper
    For colors was what he saw
    And the teacher said.. What you doin’ young man
    I’m paintin’ flowers he said
    She said,
    It’s not the time for art young man
    And anyway flowers are green and red
    There’s a time for everything young man
    And a way it should be done
    You’ve got to show concern for everyone else
    For you’re not the only one

    And she said
    Flowers are red young man
    Green leaves are green
    There’s no need to see flowers any other way
    Than the way they always have been seen

    But the little boy said
    There are so many colors in the rainbow
    So many colors in the morning sun
    So many colors in the flower and I see every one

    Well the teacher said
    You’re sassy
    There’s ways that things should be
    And you’ll paint flowers the way they are
    So repeat after me

    And she said
    Flowers are red young man
    Green leaves are green
    There’s no need to see flowers any other way
    Than the way they always have been seen

    But the little boy said
    There are so many colors in the rainbow
    So many colors in the morning sun
    So many colors in the flower and I see every one

    The teacher put him in a corner
    She said
    It’s for your own good
    And you won’t come out ’til you get it right
    And all responding like you should
    Well finally he got lonely
    Frightened thoughts filled his head
    And he went up to the teacher
    And this is what he said, and he said

    Flowers are red, green leaves are green
    There’s no need to see flowers any other way
    Than the way they always have been seen

    Time went by like it always does
    And they moved to another town
    And the little boy went to another school
    And this is what he found
    The teacher there was smilin’
    She said
    Painting should be fun
    And there are so many colors in a flower
    So let’s use every one

    But that little boy painted flowers
    In neat rows of green and red
    And when the teacher asked him why
    This is what he said
    And he said
    Flowers are red, green leaves are green
    There’s no need to see flowers any other way
    Than the way they always have been seen.”

  • Ólafur

    I’ve also always wrote in capital letters. No one ever gave a shit about that.

  • Ashley Whitman

    I struggled with ADHD as a kid and was also dealing with a father that was only sort of in my life (but mostly I felt abandoned and took it out on my mom). You would think that my 5th grade teacher would be a bit more understanding, but at one point I had acted up (typical for an ADHD kid) and she took me out into the hall and SCREAMED at me like an inch from my nose! When I turned my head away and averted my eyes (out of respect and fear) she screamed at me to look at her, said that I was disrespectful, and that she was calling my mom. She always kept my color on “teacher control”, which means I didn’t have any privileges, and the ONE TIME my dad came to eat lunch with me I took him to the playground. Guess who screamed at me and gave me detention for that? Yup. Crazy bitch.

  • imagitivewriter

    …Jeez what a cunt bag. All the more reason i want to be a teacher. We’re not all power hungry i swear

  • She sounds awful and it seems like you have all the right to have the lowest opinion on her, but “her proudly declaring she had never been married but had three children to a bunch of six-year-olds”, really? So what? People have children with multiple partners for multiple reasons and there are many reasons not to get married. A bunch of six-year-olds surely aren’t going to shame her for it in the same way you are shaming her now. Why her family and marital status are the way they are is none of your business, and there is nothing wrong with people with families like hers.

    • allahboleh

      She doesn’t have a family, she has three… you know, what’s the word?

  • Xebi

    I had a teacher just like this at the same age! We were supposed to be drawing stars (I think? Maybe I misunderstood the assignment) and she drew loads of different ones on the board to demonstrate how a four, five, six and eight-point star looked. I think we were meant to pick one but I decided to be creative and draw loads of different ones. She hit the roof, ripped the page out of my book and yelled at me for ages until I was in tears. I still have no idea what I did wrong.

    This teacher sounds every bit as horrible and should not be working with young children, in my opinion.

    Not sure what the deal with the “proudly declaring she had never been married but had three children” bit is, though. Why is that an issue or something that would stick in their mind? Sounds like they’re saying she should have been ashamed rather than proud and that it was wrong to teach children that it’s OK to have families without being married.

  • What an asshole!