tiny answer Tuesday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s tiny answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Resigning when you have an abusive boss

Any tips for resigning when the boss you’re resigning for is abusive? This person has physically pushed me as well as screamed, hit desks, and sworn at and around me. I have stayed in the job for the experience and because I needed the money. I am leaving for a better job with a significant pay increase and that will allow me to develop the skills I want to develop, but I’ve put up with the abuse for a long time out of fear of not finding anything better.

My question is twofold: (1) how to resign tactfully and keep her from an explosion, and (2) how (and if) to let her boss know about the abuse so as to hopefully prevent it from happening to the next person in my role.

The advice in this post a couple of years back — to someone whose boss became abusive when she gave notice — should help here too. And yes, you should talk to her boss about what’s been going on, since it’s so beyond the realm of mundane bad management. (Physically pushed you? Make sure you mention that.) You can do this by asking to meet with her, and then simply letting her know that you feel obligated to alert her to what’s been going on in your department. Keep in mind that your mission isn’t to convince her or to exact promises for any particular action — you’re simply there to deliver the facts to her; if she seems uninterested, go on your way and happily leave this place in your past.

2. Business contacts who send unwelcome texts

One of the teachers from my daughter’s day care occasionally texts me. I believe he got my number from the emergency contact sheet. He does not text me often, and is usually somewhat work-related, such as reminding me about paperwork, or asking if my daughter will be in the next day if she has been out sick. However, he once texted me Happy Thanksgiving, another time he texted me to ask if my son would like some toys, and recently he text me over the weekend to ask how we were doing. The other day he asked me to tell my daughter he missed her. I wasn’t comfortable with the texting in the first place, but tried to look at it in a positive way, like an easier way to communicate with my child’s teacher. I did consider the possibility that he may be interested in me, and maybe this is his way of trying to get closer to me. He also friend requested me on facebook. However, now I am growing more uncomfortable with it, especially when he says he misses my daughter. Even if he loves his job and enjoys having her in the classroom, I don’t think it is appropriate for him to “miss” her.

I usually don’t respond to the texts, but I have responded to a couple. From now on, I have decided to not respond at all. However, I am wondering if you think I should speak with him about not texting anymore, or if I should talk to the child care director about it? Or should I not talk to anyone and just wait for it to stop?

I would (a) tell him directly that you prefer a phone call or email when he needs to reach you and to please not text you anymore, (b) only respond to messages that are truly necessary, and (c) talk to the child care director. You don’t need to accuse him of anything; just relay the facts, tell her that it made you uncomfortable, and take the stance of “I’m not sure if this is an issue, but if it is inappropriate, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

(And I know that this letter isn’t really work-related, but I found it too interesting not to answer, so I’ve framed it as “business contacts” in the title so that maybe I can get away with it.)

3. Applying to a job when the salary range is too low

I came across a job recently that I think could be a great fit for me, and I’d like to apply. But the hiring salary range that the organization lists for this position is pretty significantly below what I’d like to be making (about 20-25% below). Should I apply for this job anyway, thinking that I may be able to negotiate up if they decide to pursue me as a candidate? Or should I pass up this position if I probably wouldn’t accept a salary in their posted hiring range, even though the job sounds great?

Pass it up, unless you’re willing to address the salary issue up-front (either in your cover letter or when you’re called for an interview — before you accept it, since you shouldn’t waste their time if it’s a no-go). The reason you have to be up-front about it is that (a) they’re operating in good faith by sharing their range up-front (something job seekers generally complain that more employers won’t do) and (b) you’d probably be quite frustrated if you told a company what you were looking to make and they let you go through a lengthy interview process, only to tell you at the end that they wouldn’t possibly pay you more than 75% of that range. So address it up-front, or pass it up. (It’s worth noting, though, that if the salary range is market rate for the work, they’re unlikely to budge.)

4. Staffing firm won’t tell me where they’re sending my resume

I applied for a position that was being hired for through a staffing firm. The staffing manager contacted me via email to ask additional questions about my skills set and seemed genuinely interested in me. I politely, at the conclusion of the email exchange, told her that I did not want my resume passed on to this “unknown firm” until she first briefed me on who the hiring firm was. I explained there are some firms in that particular field that I was not interested in working for, and would not be comfortable with them having my resume. The staffing manager immediately became defensive, told me I obviously didn’t really want a job, and that she didn’t have the time to call me and get my “approval” on where to send to submit my resume. Needless to say, I guess I won’t be working with this agency in the future. Question: who was in the wrong here?

It’s not uncommon for staffing firms to work that way, but it’s certainly your prerogative to say that you’re not interested in entering into that kind of arrangement … and it’s also their prerogative to tell you that it’s the only way they can work with you. So both of your fundamental stances were fine, but she erred when she became hostile to you.

5. Sending a emailed thank-you and a postal mail thank-you

I recently interviewed for an assistant position this past Friday for a big media company. From job searching for so long, I’ve developed the habit of sending a handwritten thank you note AND a thank you email after each interviewing. I usually keep the handwritten note short and sweet, and go more into detail about my experience in the email. Is this too much to send? I just want to have all bases covered and make sure I’ve done everything I can possibly do to make a good impression.

Also, when I interview, I usually send the thank you email the morning after (but still within 24 hours) so it shows that I have gone home and truly digested everything that was discussed. However, I was wondering if it would make more sense to send it Monday morning if I interviewed on Friday, since Saturday and Sunday are not business days?

Yes, it’s too much. Send one or the other, but not both. It doesn’t matter that they’re arriving by separate modes of communication; you’re still sending two thank-you notes, and that’s odd.

As for timing, you can send it any day you want, even weekends; they don’t care one bit what day of the week you send it.

6. Cover letters when you know the hiring committee

I was hired for a year-long contract position, and the position has now been reposted due to organizational requirements. I am finding it a bit tricky to write the cover letter because I worked so closely with the hiring committee. It feels strange to write to them about things they already know in a tone that is more formal than how I speak to them on a daily basis. Do you have any suggestions?

Don’t use a tone more formal than how you speak to them on a daily basis. Write it in the same conversational tone you’d use with them if you were sending them an email on anything work-related, as a coworker, not a stranger. Frankly, that’s more of the tone that you want with any cover letter, not just the ones where you know the recipients.

7. How to motivate people in boring positions

I would like to hear your opinion on how to motivate and challenge employees who are in non-challenging positions. I am in a management position, and on our company’s Employer of Choice council, and this is the problem we are trying to solve.

Many of our hourly employees do tasks like process orders for supplies or issue tools from a tool room. Since these employees are contracted to a customer, they have to work solely within their job description so there is not much opportunity for them to learn new skills or cross train. Most people in these type of positions would probably consider it entry level and would be looking for other employment to challenge themselves to advance their career. However, these are very well paid positions (government contract) so we have long term unhappy employees!

The key is to create the conditions in which good people will feel motivated — by giving them feedback, helping them see how their work contributes to a larger whole, giving them the resources they need to do their jobs well, showing that you care about them as people, etc. — and to not de-motivate them by treating them poorly, giving them ever-moving goalposts, neglecting to deal with performance problems, or otherwise being a frustrating and difficult manager. You should also be up-front with people before you hire them about exactly what these jobs are like: Be very clear that the work is rote and there’s not much opportunity to learn or advance. Believe it or not, some people are just fine with that, and even prefer it — but you need to screen for them in the hiring process, and make sure you’re not bringing on people who will be frustrated by that.

Beyond that, though, I’m a big believer that if you have to engage in special behavior to motivate someone, you have the wrong person in the job. Taking someone who isn’t self-motivated and excited about a job and turning that person around is pretty hard, and generally not a good use of your energy.

{ 113 comments… read them below }

  1. KarenT*

    Interesting. I never know what to do there either. I know recruiting companies often work anonymously, but there are so many sketchy recruiters out there that I feel uncomfortable having my resume floating around too. And I fully agree with OP in that I want to know who the company is before I apply. I have a good job, so when I see a job posting that might interest me, who the hiring company is is a big factor for whether or not I’m interested in applying.

  2. Anon*

    I’m responding to #3. I’m exactly the same boat right now and I am taking the offer of an in-person to gain practice in interviewing (first job phone interview, first offer of an in-person interview after graduating from graduate school). The people doing the hiring know that the salary is an issue but they don’t have any control over it and that HR has set it. So that’s something to think about too. Good Luck!

  3. Anonymous*

    #2 – I agree with AAM and that maybe ask him that your preferred method of communication is a phone call or email and that you will reply in cases where it is necessary. Also, I’m not so much in agreement by involving the child care director at this moment, I mean when you’re texting, you can’t put much in so perhaps he meant he misses her in the classroom, etc, why bring in to the attention of his boss that may put his career in jeapordy, if you must then tell him directly, let him know that you think he means well but feel uncomfortable with the comment, this time arounds time, then take it higher if it continues. Just my 2 cents

    1. Perpetual Intern*

      I honestly find the situation a bit creepy. Using an “emergency contact” for things that aren’t emergencies at all and that aren’t even important seems very inappropriate. If the situation were more of a mistake/misunderstanding nature, I would talk to him about it to see if things could be cleared up without involving anyone else. But I think talking to the child care director is fine in this case because the teacher is doing something he’s not supposed to be doing, and I can’t imagine him not knowing he isn’t supposed to be doing it.

        1. Kat M*

          Yeah, it’s possible that he does this with everyone. When I worked in daycare, I regularly called parents (from the center, not on my personal phone) to tell them about something great their kid did, or that the child ate well/went right down for a nap/cheered up soon after drop-off/whatever the parent was worried about that morning. But that was a part of the culture of that center. Also, since it was a company daycare, I knew that it was acceptable for these parents to receive those sorts of calls occasionally at work.

          More personal calls like the one OP mentioned seem a little odd, but they’re not totally unheard-of, just very unusual.

  4. Josh S*

    #2: Unwanted texts:
    Alison–your blog, your rules. :) You can get away with pretty much anything you like.

    #7 is really good advice. It’s hard to remember that there are people who really just want a job that gives them a paycheck but is otherwise boring. Heck, we’ve had a couple of them write into AAM trying to find jobs like what you have:

    But like Alison said, it’s a matter of being up front and screening for people who are ok with the situation.

  5. EngineerGirl*

    #1 When you get into your new position you’ll realize just how badly you were treated. Be prepared for feeling a lot of anger once you realized how badly you were abused. Its hard to forgive but the best path.

    #7 There is a good way to motivate line workers but you have to follow through on it or it will backfire and demotivate them. You need to ask them how things can be improved. You may even want to have a process improvement event asking them how to better their jobs. Ask them how to eliminate waste. Ask them how where the bottlenecks are. Ask them how to reduce defects. But if you won’t act on the suggestions then don’t ask. Please! That is like picking them up and dropping them on their head. If you are under a government contract there may even be funds for a six sigma event.
    If there is a big picture an orientation would be nice.
    A dog and pony show would be nice too. Let them see how their product is used. How about bringing in some users of their product to talk about how it helps them perform their duties?
    It also helps if you can create a team. If they are happy they will produce better products more quickly. Have a lunch time barbeque. Or if the team wants to participate in a team charity would be nice – I realize that many have problems with this, but you could ask the team if they want to do it. Then it is their choice.

    1. jesicka309*

      Some places have corporate games where offices can sign up teams to participate. It’s great for people who plan on sticking around. There are team relay triathlons, basketball, marathons etc. Great for teams who have a high proportion of health nuts – even the most toxic worker (me) gets into the team spirit

    2. Sabrina*

      Re #7 I agree with your suggestion and AAM’s about asking about improvements and also giving them the proper tools to do the job right. I’m in a boring job while I finish school. The things that make me count down the days until I’m finished with school are 1. The fact that they ask for improvement suggestions and then tell you that you’re wrong about what needs to be improved and 2. Training sucked. They give you half the information you need and hold you accountable for all of it. Then if you try to point out that you didn’t know you needed to do XYZ they will say it’s always been a procedure, even if it’s not documented anywhere. And of course if you try to point out it’s not documented, they tell you you’re wrong! Even though they can’t produce the documentation! *sigh*

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Yes! If workers feel like they’re being listened to, that goes a long way. And make work fun. Just because the tasks are boring doesn’t mean the rest can’t be engaging. We had fun stuff like Chili Dog Day at Exjob. That was the most epic potluck ever. A nice break in a boring day, for sure.

  6. RF*

    Wouldn’t #1 be one of the rare cases where a resignation letter explaining your reasoning and no notice (if possible) were a possibility? With an abusive boos who had already overstepped the line to physical violence, I would not feel comfortable/safe enough to have a “I’m leaving, and this is why” conversation.

    In the entry you link, you say “unless they become outright abusive, you should work out the full two weeks because it’s the professional thing to do, even if they themselves aren’t professional”. But the situation with LW 1 is already “outright abusive” and I, at least, would fear for my safety in this situation. The LW might be different in that regard, of course.

    1. Sharon*

      I agree with this, but instead of resigning by letter, I would call both the abusive boss AND her boss into a face to face meeting to give my resignation. The purpose for this is:
      a) Perhaps the abusive boss will not respond abusively in front of her manager, or
      b) If she does lose her nut, her manager is witness and can possibly protect you. At the very least, this enables the boss to see what’s going on without you having to say a word. :-)

      I once resigned from a job using professional behavior despite it being an ugly political situation. I politely gave two week’s notice. My boss responded by bringing me into her office with witnesses and proceeded to scream at me full volume for 20 minutes. She wasn’t physically abusive, but she blew my hair back telling the world how insubordinate I was and how I was a horrible person, etc. I managed to keep it together until after I left her office, then the tears came as I was doing the paperwork. People like that should never manage others.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        I absolutely think OP #1 at a minimum needs someone else in the room when giving notice, or else OP should resign to his/her boss’s boss — and make sure boss’s boss knows why. “Bigboss, normally I would never resign this way, but honestly, the last time I turned in a TPS report to Evilboss and she didn’t like it, she actually shoved me, so I didn’t feel safe giving my notice directly to her.”

        1. BW*

          Reading these comments and thinking, “What the heck is WRONG with people?” Shoving? I worked 2 layers under a woman who was known for yelling and berating people publicly and privately, and she was one of the main reasons I left that job, but AFAIK she never shoved anyone. How are these shovers still employed? You’d think that kind of behavior would land them out on their butt, although in my experience so many people complained about the berater at my work and left, but because the person was senior management it was pretty futile.

          1. AdAgencyChick*

            Seriously, I don’t get it. I don’t care how much revenue you bring to the company — aren’t you at least as high of a cost in terms of lawsuit liability?

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Yeah, I don’t get this either. Pushing and shoving is assault. So is hitting and throwing a chair at someone (seems I remember that coming up here in one post). As Judge Judy says, “Keep your hands to yourself!”

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              In practice, though, police end up not dealing with a lot of those sorts of instances because of other priorities — and since many people know that, they often don’t bother. (Plus, plenty of people make the calculation that they’ll get a better outcome by not doing that anyway.)

          3. Elizabeth*

            As an elementary school teacher, I wonder how people get to adulthood thinking that shoving others is acceptable behavior. We lay it out pretty clearly in kindergarten that that is Not Okay!

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      My personal answer — not advice I’d push on others — depends on details we don’t have here. For instance, if the pushing was one time three years ago and since then it’s just been profanity, I’d give two weeks notice, although I’d curtail that if the person’s behavior worsened. (I’m in no way defending pushing (!!), just noting that if it was once three years ago, I’d rather do the professional thing and give a full notice period unless I was given current-day reason not to. For my reputation, not because I cared about their business.)

      That’s me personally though. Someone who wanted to leave immediately would be justified in doing so, and I wouldn’t try to talk them out of it.

  7. Jamie*

    I may be paranoid, but Im shuddering at the texting question.

    What do you mean he misses your daughter?? I’d have demanded an explanation for that immediately, but it’s not too late…you can ask him now and tell him you really need to know what he meant by that.

    Nothing would appease me on that front, though. Either he is trying to use his relationship with your daughter to try to get in with you or he really misses your daughter….the first is vile and the second to horrible to contemplate.

    I’m aware people will think I’m overreacting, but I wouldn’t leave my kids with someone of whom I was suspicious and I wouldn’t be able to get past that. The most innocent explanation is he lacks any kind of professional boundary and I’d make damn sure his boss saw the texts.

    1. Xay*

      I found the missing your daughter part creepy too. I talk to most of my son’s teachers via email and if he is absent or out sick, they may say “we missed Little Xay in class today” and then go on to talk about what they did in class or pass on information. But not just out of the blue or over a weekend.

    2. Anonicorn*

      No, that immediately sounded alarms with me as well.

      It’s possible nothing is wrong, but I would be certain to collect as much information as possible. Talk to the other parents – does he send similar and as many texts to them too? Ask his boss, in a fact-seeking way, if frequent texts from teachers are common. Then let the boss ask the questions.

    3. Mints*

      No, that’s totally weird. I might say “we missed little Bob yesterday” but in person the next day, or if the parent reached out first. Initiating by the adult is way into creeperville

      1. SAN*

        I do have one question that AMA might want to spike as being too inflamatory. If this was a she rather than he teacher, would everyone be equally creeped out? A good friend of mine is an elementary teacher (teaches Grades 1 to 3) and the only male outside of the principal. The female teachers hug their kids when they get hurt (very common as the elementary school encourages active play – so scrapped knees, elbows, etc.. are common. A band-aid and some cleaning, they are back running around 10 minutes later as good as new). My friend? Doesn’t get near them at the warning of the union’s counsel. Sends them to a female teacher to take care of. He is seriously considering quitting simply because he loathes being the veritable pariah and is very afraid of being sucked into a legal whirlpool that will destroy his name, and wipe out his life savings.

        1. Long Time Admin*

          Unfortunately, that’s the way of the world right now. His union counsel is absolutely correct, and it’s the best way to protect himself from what we’re talking about here. Perception almost *is* reality.

          Hopefully, he will have children of his own someday. A good dad does hug his kids and bandage their boo-boos.

        2. Mints*

          If you looked at my answer, I said in first person what I would consider appropriate. I worked with kids for a long time, and I’m female, and I thought “Would I reach out to a parent to say this? No way.” So while it’s true that men are looked at with more skepticism in situations like this, the OP was still creepy.
          As far as hugging, my place was really strict with child abuse prevention, and we were explicitly told to only give kids side-hugs. Both male and female. If anyone started stretching that, we’d get talked to. Side hugs were cool all around.

  8. Waiting Patiently*

    #1 based on what you said the reason for your resignation is because you found a better position not necessarily because of the fear. Of course inform her boss, if she becomes explosive; then I would then leave immediately. No need to suffer anymore abuse. Im not sure how hr or her boss will react if they didn’t know that you were working in fear for so many years. They may try to turn the table on you.
    #2 His form and type of communication is out of the norm of what I would expect as a parent and something I wouldn’t do as a professional in a simliar role. I would politely tell him my preferred choice of contact is through email and a phone call in emergency situation. If he doesn’t comply inform the director. Or you can ask the director what methods of teacher/parent contact are acceptable. And if all parents are aware of how the teachers and parents should contact each other. That way you sound as a concerned parent about the school’s communication system at which point she/he may send out a memo. Nor would you be directly implying the teacher is doing something wrong. But don’t wait for it to stop.

  9. Waiting Patiently*

    #3 I have considered taking jobs that’s less than my salary range because it would afford me more experience, knowledge and/or skill sets. However I struggle with the thought of accepting an offer, doing more of what I want to be doing with less or not a significant increase in pay -as opposed to staying where I am relatively happy, despite little nuiances, with a decent pay. I would love to take some of the offers but sometimes it doesnt benefit me when i factor in longer hours, commute times plus the extra work. Not sure if this is your dilemma.

  10. Jamie*

    Believe it or not, some people are just fine with that, and even prefer it

    That was one of my first lessons when I started working. In my naïveté (or arrogance) I assumed that the default was for people to think like me. I learned that there are people from entry level to very highly paid engineers who don’t care about variety, visibility, and not what you would tink of as ambitious. They want to come in, do their job well, and go home. Ask some of these people to step outside their box, get involved in a new project, or take on some management tasks and you’d think you just asked them to hold a handful of poisonous spiders.

    That really surprised me at first, because I cannot imagine the boredom of the same thing for years on end. But we need all types for the workplace to function smoothly – we need the people who will just quietly perform their duties well and reward that. And I hope we’ll always need people itchy for new stuff and excited about what’s next…otherwise I’m out of a job.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      There have been points in my life where I absolutely wanted a calm, mundane job. Dying parents, estates, etc can really drain a person. Of course, I did not have a calm, mundane job and that really added to all the chaos.

      Also some folks have limits on physical abilities- which could define the type of work they prefer. Using extreme examples- I would not cut down trees for a living. Nor would I repair cars. I not only lack the physical strength for the work, but I also lack the specialized knowledge. (Some people cannot get on airplanes- so that would preclude major business travel…. etc.)

      Lastly, I have read story after story of former self-employed people that are very grateful to have a mundane, boring job and are able to go home and forget the place. These were folks that had intense situations during the times they owned their own business.

      Listening to the reasoning helped me to make sense of their choices.

      1. Jamie*

        This is a good point. I actually have times where work is just unrelenting that I think that a job which was contained and easily accomplished each day seems like heaven.

        But then I talk about it and my husband reminds me of the temp jobs I had like that where I was miserable. There are definitely benefits to it, though.

        1. Anonymous*

          A lot of people have a “just that’s just a job” and are happy to leave it at the office because they have a lot of outside passions. I remember reading about a woman who worked at Starbucks because it was flexible and she got benefits and allowed her to follow her primary love of painting.

          1. Natalie*

            A lot of my friends who are artists or musicians work “just jobs” – Starbucks and Whole Foods seem to be the most popular because you get insurance, but plenty are also waiting tables or working at independent shops.

      2. Kat M*

        I turned down a promotion when I was working during the day and going to school at night. I decided that the raise wasn’t worth the extra responsibility, even though I would have done a superb job. It was so nice to go home and focus on studying, knowing that it was my superior, not me, who was up late making plans.

    2. Kathryn T.*

      A lot of businesses have no room for people who just want to do the job well and go home, it’s “up or out” for all positions. This always strikes me as short-sighted, because there are a lot of positions where having someone with a real depth of experience working in them can make the wheels of business turn so much more smoothly! But no, instead they choose to always have a rookie in that job, learning the ropes, forever.

  11. Anonymous*

    #2- I think you just need to tell him you’d prefer that he not text you. My mother owns a daycare and I can tell you she sincerely misses each of the children she watches as she truly loves the little buggers— and there is nothing creepy about that. You should want the person charged with spending 8 hours a day with your child to truly care about them. My mother has parents who text her, and she is also facebook friends with a number of parents. She typically uses e-mail to send reminders regarding paperwork, but I wouldnt be surprised at all if she has texted a parent who she has texted before to remind them to please bring in paperwork, etc.

    In sum, I wouldn’t bring this to the director, I would simply tell the worker to please refrain from texting your phone. THEN, if it continues, I would say something.

    1. Ellen*

      I agree. If he’s young, texting is probably second nature to him and he’s not considering how he might come across in choosing what the OP considers a mode of communication reserved for emergencies.

      A question for the OP and the commenters here: would you feel so creeped out if the daycare worker was female? How much of the creep vibe comes from gender bias?

      1. Xay*

        The creep factor for me was, as I stated, the miss your daughter seemed to be over a weekend and not related to an absence. That may be an unprofessionalism problem rather than creepiness, but it is still a problem. My son goes to a school where everyone knows everyone else, the students call teachers by their first names, I have all of his teachers cell phone numbers and we email regularly and there is still a understanding of boundaries. They would never contact me out of the blue just to say they miss my son over the weekend.

      2. Regular Reader Going Incognito*

        I said this below, but yes I would feel creeped out if she was female. Different concerns, but still creepy.

        Also, I don’t think it’s gender bias when more child predators are male than female.

        1. Jamie*

          This. It’s not a bias to be more wary when it’s backed up by statistics.

          I.e. most men don’t kill their wives. But if a wife turns up murdered it’s the first person the police question because statistically he’s the most likely person.

          We wouldn’t be keeping ourselves safe if we ignored crime statistics.

          1. Anonymous*

            One thing no one mentioned: he may be saying he missed her daughter over the weekend to play up the idea that “hey, I obviously care about your daughter to text you over the weekend about her. Aren’t I awesome? Awesome enough to consider making me your boyfriend? Maybe? Please? Say Yes?!” A passive-aggressive Nice Guy way to worm his way into potential boyfriend consideration.

            But no matter how you slice it, it’s unprofessional and borderline creepy. I’m always loathe to brand someone a possible pedophile when it’s just a matter of a misguided violation of a social boundary.

            1. Jamie*

              That was my initial point, actually – and I agree with you. I didn’t know if he was being creepy in using the daughter to get to the mom…or if it was beyond creepy into horrific if the interest was in the child.

              I totally agree it could be a really clumsy way of trying to hook up by showing how much he likes kids and not knowing he’s throwing out all the wrong signals here.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                I can see what you are saying, Jamie. He could have spent a second longer on word choice, that is- choosing words that were less apt to be read in ambiguous manner.

                Such as:
                The kids missed your daughter in class today.
                We all missed your daughter in class today.

                Hope all is well and we will see her on ___.

                My personal bias here is that I expect teachers to spend a second longer picking out words. Okay, I think that any child care professional has gotten the memo about how they come across to the public they serve.

                Barest minimum this is sloppy communication.

            2. Long Time Admin*

              A very creepy guy did this with a friend of mine – always saying how much her little boy “Adam” liked him, giving “Adam” gifts (toys), or how he notice how wistful “Adam” looked yesterday, as though he wants a father so bad. My friend was rather a blunt person and told this creep off, with absolutely no room for misunderstanding.

              It’s been 20 years, and it still creeps me out.

      3. A Bug!*

        Gender bias in childcare is a real thing, but I agree with the other comments in that this is unsettling behavior, male or female.

        At best, it signifies a serious lack of understanding of appropriate boundaries, which is very worrisome in a person who is in charge of caring for children. Man or woman, I literally cannot think of a set of circumstances where this behavior would be okay between a daycare employee and a parent who aren’t otherwise acquainted outside of the daycare.

    2. KellyK*

      Yeah, I didn’t necessarily read the bit about “missing her” as creepy all by itself, because any decent teacher or daycare worker is going to have a pretty good deal of affection for their kids–people don’t get into jobs with kids because the pay is so awesome and the job is so stress-free. I was a teacher for a couple years, and I can totally see saying to a parent, “We missed little Johnny today–I hope he’s feeling better,” if I run into them in the grocery store. But looking back at it, the LW phrased it as “tell her I missed her,” which is different, and kind of creepy, especially when it’s out of the blue.

  12. Kristinyc*

    Re #1: I was in a similar position for my first job (but luckily no physical abuse). As soon as I got another offer, I gave 3 days’ notice and got out. My boss happened to be out of the country at the time, so I didn’t have to deal with her reaction at all. Totally worth it. You’ve got to watch out for yourself.

  13. Mike C.*

    I was in OP #1’s shoes 18 months ago. I quit without notice, and it’s one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. You owe them nothing, and I would encourage you to leave as soon as you can pack up your desk.

  14. KellyK*

    For #7, knowing how your job contributes to a larger whole is huge. Boring rote tasks feel much more meaningful if you see how they’re part of the larger picture.

    Also, at least in my opinion, the importance of music in getting through repetitive tasks can’t be understated. If the work environment is conducive to bringing your iPod, streaming music or playing CDs from your computer, or having a radio on your desk, make sure people know they can do that (and which ones they can do).

    1. Natalie*

      Allowing people to listen to music (assuming it’s feasible given the specifics of the job) is a great idea. I processed checks for about a year (indescribably boring), and I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to get through each day without audiobooks and Golden Age of Radio collections.

  15. Anonymous*

    I think #2 is a business question. She is a customer and being treated inappropriately by one of the staff members.
    I would talk to the other parents, if you know them, and see if the teacher texts them, as well. That is information that would impact how I approached the daycare owner.
    If I was not the only person getting texts, I would talk to the teacher directly and say I’d prefer emails, phone calls, or to talk in person. If I was the only person, I’d go directly to the director/owner. That is not a good sign, IMO.

  16. Coming out of the Closet Reader*

    #2 – This is creepy and it is innapropriate. I was a preschool teacher and supervisor for many years, and although I genuinely did miss the children when they were gone and would even think of them on the weekends at times, I would NEVER have done this. At most, you do what has been mentioned above to simply say “I missed little Johnny in class today, I hope he’s feeling better.” That’s it…you stop there to maintain proper lines of etiquitte and non-creeper titles.

    As to whether the director should be notified, absolutely! As the prior supervisor, this is something that I absolutely would have wanted to know. Number 1 from a business liability standpoint, but number 2 from a coaching standpoint. As a first offense it wouldn’t have been fireable, but certainly coachable. I would want to explain to this employee how his comment came across as creepy, not genuine (I’d want to know this as an employee too) and would have explained how to have better handled the situation. You can not mess around with these sorts of things, there are innocent children at stake, who could be harmed if he is a true creeper. A good and caring teacher would understand this and would not want to make the same mistake a again.

    1. Anonymous*

      Seconding this! I too worked as a preschool teacher and as a child care director for years. Alison’s advice is spot on, both in terms of talking with the teacher & the director. Is it unusual for teachers to contact parents with paperwork reminders or to follow up about a student’s absence? Not at all. However, this does fall outside of proper communication channels. Most likely it is a function of the teacher’s age. (How many of us know professionals in their early 20s who use text messages to call in sick, for example?)

      As an aside, I’ve noticed that several comments are emphasizing a ‘creepy’ factor here, and I’d like to suggest that we imagine a female teacher behaving the same ways. Does it seem creepy? Or does it seem like a teacher showing thoughtfulness & concern who chose a communication style that may feel a bit too casual? Just something to be aware of.

      1. Regular Reader Going Incognito*

        “I’d like to suggest that we imagine a female teacher behaving the same ways.”

        I think that pretending men and women are the same is a useless exercise. Other than the media-sensationalized hot high shcool teacher who seduces a high school student stories, are there many reports of female child predators?

        And yes, if I got a text from my kid’s teacher that said she missed my kid over the weekend, I *would* think it was creepy, too. I’ve heard of some situations like this, where a daycare provider would want to take a kid to the park or something over the weekend, and it is weird. I think it’s an inappropriate attachment, although with the women I see it more as someone has a hole in their life that needs filled and a man I might see it as more predatory.

        1. Xay*

          Actually, it is likely that the number of female child molestors/predators is underreported because women are not viewed as being threatening to children. Young children are often disbelieved because female caregivers are viewed as nuturing and preteen/teenage boys in particular are encouraged to find the attention flattering rather than predatory. Not to suggest that the numbers are equal, but that the number of reported cases don’t tell the entire story.

          1. Coming out of the Closet Reader*

            I think the wording of the comment, is what makes it creepy, male or female. Again, it’s pretty typical to say you missed having them in class, but not in this manner. My mom and teacher radar is high on this one. None-the-less, reporting it to the director will allow he/she to properly assess the situation and determine whether this was a really poor choice of wording or a more severe offense. That is why it is so important to report it so a proper assessment can be done and action taken as appropriate.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Exactly. And I can pretty much guarantee that the director would rather have it brought to her so that she can assess the situation and decide if there’s an issue than to have parents worrying/wondering about it … even if there’s no real problem here, it’s bad for the school to have parents wondering if there is and not just talking to her.

  17. Regular Reader Going Incognito*

    #2 – The texting daycare worker.

    While the comments seem to fall on both sides (creepy/not creepy), my mom radar is going crazy & I have to warn the OP to take care with this situation. The extra attention seems beyond what’s considered appropriate.

    Some of my relatives were abused by a family member for about 10 years, and they told no one until ~40 yrs later. The long-term mental health affects for 2 (of 4) of them were ultimately fatal, so I take this very seriously.

    I also had a neighbor whose son was abused at a local daycare ~10 yrs ago. I remember the neighbor saying how great the place was, and then suddenly a couple months later, her kids were pulled out of there.

    Even more to the point of this worker you mention being male, I had a friend in HS whose mom was a Montessori preschool teacher. He wanted to get a job there during high school. They wouldn’t hire him because it was unofficial policy to not hire teenage males. This policy makes me think it’s not uncommon for male predators to take jobs close to children, and you cannot be too careful with your babies.

    Oh, AND I almost forgot this one: My sons’ principal was led off in handcuffs about ~10 yrs ago, too. When he was a student teacher, he had had an inappropriate relationship with a teenage male student, and the kid grew up and pressed charges. (All these stories, and I live in a very nice, normal area, just like everyone else.. . )

    Seriously, err on the side of caution.

    1. JamieG*

      “They wouldn’t hire him because it was unofficial policy to not hire teenage males. This policy makes me think it’s not uncommon for male predators to take jobs close to children, and you cannot be too careful with your babies.”

      That policy was probably in place because of the perception that any young man who wants to be around children is a predator; parents are less comfortable with their kids being around strange men than women. Granted, most child predators are men from all the statistics I’ve seen (which are of course skewed for the reasons Xay listed above), but that doesn’t mean that most men are pedophiles.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        No, it doesn’t, but it’s well-known that predators DO seek out personal or work situations where they have access to children. That is why the majority of incidents that aren’t familial still take place between a victim and someone they know.

        1. Elizabeth*

          Definitely predators seek out places where they have access to children, but I think it’s very damaging to assume that that means that a man seeking out a position where he works with children is a predator. *All* people who work with children should scrutinized before being trusted, and schools/childcare institutions should have precautions in place to protect students (such as policies prohibiting students from being alone one-on-one with adults in closed rooms – frankly I would make sure any high school worker, male or female, was never with the children without another adult, for so many safety reasons). But a policy prohibiting male teenagers from interacting with kids at all? That makes me really sad. Little preschool boys would LOVE to have a teenage guy to look up to.

          1. R.R.G.I.*

            I agree with you and I don’t think they assumed all males working with children were predators, either, but if they didn’t want to risk making those judgements, I do think there’s some basis for their decision. I actually did send my preschool age son to a preschool that had a college age male employee on staff. All the kids thought he was great, and their was never a moment that seemed inappropriate. (Of course that was what we thought about the elementary school principal who’s in prison now.) It’s a tough issue, and one I am probably overly sensitive to. If my grandma had beat my dad with a belt every day, I might be cautious about older female caregivers, but that hasn’t been my experience.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I agree also. It falls to the employer to do a thorough background check. Often, though, this doesn’t happen because it costs money. You’d be surprised how many companies don’t do very good background checks on anyone. Nursing homes, etc. I would definitely want my child/elderly relative someplace where they vetted the workers!

  18. Victoria HR*

    #4 – having worked for a recruiting agency, I can confirm that we didn’t typically tell applicants who our clients were, to keep the applicants from doing an end run around us and applying for the company directly. That said, once a candidate surfaced that we were actually intending to submit for consideration, we did usually tell the candidate what company it was, if they asked. Sounds like that staffing manager is just too busy to care much about the candidate experience.

  19. kiki*

    #2 screams inappropriate boundaries to me. I mean, it *may* be nothing, but I’d push back firmly and right away, just to send the message that you’d like to have a professional relationship with this person, not a texting/facebook/etc. one. We hear a lot about grooming the children who are the victims of abuse, but their parents are also groomed so that what would seem abnormal just ends up seeming kind and flattering.

  20. Yup*

    #1: Get all your stuff in order – files, personal items, HR and paycheck records – and have it ready to go. Write and print a copy of a resignation letter. Keep it generic: I’ve accepted a new position at my last day at Company ABC will be X. I will work closely with my supervisor and team to ensure a smooth transition.”

    Then schedule a 15 min meeting with your boss. Take a deep breath, square your shoulders, walk in and say: “Thanks for meeting with me. I have some news. I’ve accepted a new position with Company XYZ. Thank you for the opportunities I’ve received here, I’ve learned so much. I’m happy to be here through Date X, to wrap everything up and make this as seamless as possible for you and the team.”

    Then sit back and wait for her to reply. If she freaks out, stay calm and repeat the points above. If she crosses any lines about physical or verbal boundaries, stand up and say calmly “I can see that you’re very upset by this news and need some time to take it in. Here’s a copy of resignation letter, for your HR files. We can discuss my transition details when you’ve had a chance to consider them.” And then get up, go back to your desk, and carry on. And remind yourself every minute that you won’t have to put up with this insanity anymore. :)

    1. Mike C.*

      You never, never tell them who you’ve taken a new position with! Crazy bosses like these may try to make your life miserable even after you’ve left.

  21. Elizabeth M*

    I’m also going to weigh in on #2 as I’m a teacher myself… While I think that the texting behavior is unprofessional, I don’t think it by itself is necessarily creepy. If other things about this teacher have made you uncomfortable, OP, then I’d treat this as part of that. But if this is the only thing, it may well just be a case of someone who doesn’t understand professional boundaries. As others have asked, is he young? Also, is he a fully-certified teacher who has been through formal training (which might have included training in how to interact with parents), or is his experience less formal? I know day cares especially may employ people who haven’t had the same kind of formal training – which doesn’t mean they can’t be excellent child care providers, but might in some cases mean that they’ve been exposed to less in terms of professional norms.

    I would mention it to the director in addition to addressing it with the teacher himself. I think it would be nicer to have the conversation with the teacher first, then tell the director. That way if the director talks to him, he’ll have a heads up that you were uncomfortable. If this is the only thing going on, the director can help him develop more professionalism – and if there are other possibly-boundary-crossing behaviors occurring, your comments will help paint a fuller picture.

    1. OP #2*

      Hi Elizabeth,

      The teacher is youngish. I think he is in his 30s. I know he has completed at least some college at a 4 year school, and believe he is certified in teaching as the staff at this center are all professional teachers. I am not so much in fear that he could be abusing my daughter, god forbid, because there are always at least two other staff persons in the room. But another one if his behaviors is that he brings her hand-me-down clothes from his daughter. I don’t see him do that for any other kids. however, my daughter is the youngest in the class and I don’t think the clothes would fit any other kids. He has also sent me a message on facebook before saying how I’m a great mom and have achieved so much and I should be so proud. So, I’m really hoping this is all to flatter me and not an inappropriate attachment to my daughter.

      Regardless of his intentions, I do plan to approach him and let him know that I prefer to communicate via phone calls. And I think I will just come out and ask him what he meant by saying he misses my daughter. I will then follow up with the director and ask if it is a normal mode of communication for her other staff between parents, and let her know that he did text me.

      The thing that is creating anxiety with me is that if he just chose poor wording, I would hate for this to create a rift between us since he does care for my daughter every day and I see him every day.

      1. Natalie*

        “The thing that is creating anxiety with me is that if he just chose poor wording, I would hate for this to create a rift between us since he does care for my daughter every day and I see him every day.”

        If he’s a reasonable human being, he will probably understand that his wording was ambiguous and not greatly chosen. It might be awkward for a minute, but you’ll both get over it.

  22. Janet*

    As another perspective to the #2 question. My son is in preschool right now and he’s gone to the same daycare/preschool for a few years. The older teachers would leave notes on his hook. The younger teachers e-mail. I have had one teacher text me once or twice and it’s been only to make sure my son is feeling well after he’s been absent a few days. So while it’ snot unusual, he’s doing it quite a bit.

    I would find out if the texts are going just to you or if they’re going to all of the parents. I have a friend who likes to text holiday greetings “Happy Thanksgiving!” or “Merry Christmas” and she texts them to her whole address list at once. The situation is slightly less creepy if he has a texting list on his phone where he lets the parents know that he’s thinking of their kids and that he wants to wish them holiday greetings. But if it’s just your kid? That’s super creepy.

  23. Jess*

    Isn’t #1 something you could call the cops on someone for? This is something that has always bothered me – basically people can so often get away with any kind of bad behavior they choose, up to and including physical abuse, as long as it’s in the workplace and to an underling. The only recourse the victim has is to quit because, god forbid they call out the perpetrator and get a reputation as a “troublemaker” and never get a job again. Meanwhile, the perpetrator goes on to abide their successor and the cycle continues with the complicity of all. I know this is just how things work but I think it’s pretty wrong.

    1. Jamie*

      My heart breaks for the OP and anyone else who needed to keep their job so badly that they’d feel their only option was to stay.

      I will put up with a lot, but someone putting their hands on me in anger and I’d be out the door before I could turn in my phone. Would I if I were a single income family and needed that job to feed my kids? Maybe not – maybe I’d stay but I can’t imagine what that would do to my spirit.

      Seriously, if you have to be told you don’t shove people you have no business being employed when there are loads of excellent non-shoving job seekers who would love to take over for you.

  24. Elle*

    I’m sorry to be “hysterical” and “overreact” but the day my childcare provider gave me creepy vibes and clearly violated professional boundaries would be the last day my child spent in that place. Buy “Protecting The Gift” by Gavin DeBecker. Your child only has you to protect them. You don’t need evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt”. You only need reasonable suspicion. The potential downside (this teacher is abusing your child) is way bigger than any inconvenience from changing day care. His behavior is completely inappropriate and unlike many other jobs, inappropriate behavior from a childcare provider should be a complete dealbreaker.

    If you didn’t before, now is the time to look at the state license for that daycare and see if there have been any violations. Here is state by state information about who is the licensing body in each state: http://www.daycare.com/states.html Don’t assume because a daycare is open that they haven’t had multiple complaints against them. Many poor daycares are one more complaint away from being shut down – BE THAT COMPLAINT!

    Save everything! Do not delete ANY TEXTS. Any conversations that are “off” – send an factual email to yourself outlining the incident. Speak to other parents, see if they are also being made uncomfortable. For all you know, many of you are sitting around thinking this teacher is not quite right.

    I would meet with the Director in person and stress how uncomfortable this makes you and how their behavior is inappropriate. Stress that you will call the state licensing board. Give it 2 weeks and then leave anyway.

    Gavin DeBecker has a great anecdote about childcare. He was doing at a workshop or a class (not sure exactly) about this and he asked the parents there: “how many of you don’t trust your nanny/babysitter not to harm your child?” and a few parents raised their hands. He said, “well, what are you waiting for? Go home and fire them!” The parents thought that by going to this class, they would get enough expertise to get “evidence” to justify their suspicions. His point is that childcare is not an area where you resolve ambiguity against your child’s welfare interest. No one has a right to look after your children but your children have a right to be safe – this right should always be a heavy trump in favor of listening to your instincts. If you cannot shake a weird off feeling about someone who spends intimate time with your helpless vulnerable child, then HEED IT.

  25. Jamie*

    #4 – Since not telling you the name of the firm is common practice with recruiters can you just give your next recruiter a list of companies for whom you wouldn’t want to be submitted?

    I understand why the recruiters do it, but I understand the OP’s frustration as well. It’s the loss of control and it feels like an afront to have people submitting you to things while telling you that you don’t have a right to know specifics. But as someone who works in a niche industry, where everyone kind of knows everyone, if I were looking I’d be very nervous about my resume just floating around out there. Really easy to get back to my company – news travels faster around my industry than in Floyd’s barber shop.

      1. Jamie*

        Those ladies better watch it – because Jessica gets her hair done there and I refuse to believe all those murders that happen wherever she goes are coincidental.

        Seriously, when is someone going to start looking at the fact that Jessica Fletcher is clearly a serial killer.

  26. OP #1*

    Thanks for the advice and sympathy, all. The pushing incident was sort of a last straw for me. After nearly two years of verbal abuse, the pushing was what finally gave me the impetus to find something better. It was a push from behind to move me faster down a hallway, and if I’d had my wits about me I would have stopped it, but I was so shocked at the time that I just froze up. It hasn’t been repeated, and now with my new job, thank goodness it never will be. I’m going to take AAM and commenters advice and let you all know how it goes once I’m settled into the new job!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Presence of mind. Yeah, we do not expect to be literally pushed around while at work. So when it happens it is a total surprise. I sincerely doubt you will ever see this behavior again, OP.
      But it does sharpen us to think, how would we react if this happened to one of us?

      I suspect the “pusher” realized she pushed the wrong person, OP. That is why it did not happen again.

      I had a boss (taller, larger, stronger than me) raise his hand to me. I did not quit in the moment. The next morning when I realized I could not stop shaking, I knew what I had to do. I went to work on my day off and my husband waited just outside in the car. I walked in and told the boss’ wife, “I will not be working here anymore.” That was all I said. She said a few words and I left.
      I never felt that I actually stood up for myself but I did get myself away from a crazy situation. At that time, I figured the vital part was getting out.

    2. Good to get out*

      I worked in a similar situation, and “shocked” was my constant reaction to our boss’ abusive and inappropriate behavior and comments. (There was never physical abuse, though.) My coworkers and I thought it was so bad that once upper management knew, action would be taken. Nope – so getting out was the best option.

      I took my resignation letter – just my last day, effective that day – to HR first then to my boss. I also let her know that HR had been informed. No drama.

      Good luck and congrats on the new job!

      1. Jamie*

        I think that’s one of the rights of passage – especially for those new to the workforce who end up working for a company with an ethically questionable management style.

        Assuming that once management gets involved they will correct a bad situation, yet nothing changes. It’s a real loss of innocence when that happens.

    3. Jamie*

      It was a push from behind to move me faster down a hallway

      This may be the most immature and passive-aggressive thing I will ever admit to, publicly, but if that happened to me and I had the presence of mind I think I would have fallen forward hitting the floor and sitting there stunned saying “I cannot believe you just pushed me!”

      Not the most adult way of forcing management to act – but I understand fear of lawsuits and it would work most places.

      Kind of like when you’re a kid and your brother swats your arm and it doesn’t hurt but you start to cry and make a big deal of it to get him in trouble. I owe my brother a phone call, and several thousand apologies for that.

      1. Jess*

        Actually, apart from the fake falling to the floor, that sounds like a pretty appropriate reaction. Who wouldn’t respond with disbelief?

  27. Anonymous*

    Re. question #1, why the hell did hasn’t the boss been reported to the police and charged with assault?

  28. Sam*

    Regardless of the content of the texts, I find them REALLY inappropriate in almost all professional situations. I’ve had some sales associates offer to text me about sales, etc. and I find it really weird. Plus, if you’re sending a mass text to someone with an iPhone, they see every other person who got that text. And then all the other iPhone users reply and it ends up as a reply all. Just don’t do it!

    (And I say this as a Millennial whose voice mail may as well be, “Hi Dad! Just send me a text with the time and date you’d like to chat” since he’s literally the only person who ever calls me.)

    1. Rana*

      Not to mention that it’s rude to send texts to anyone without confirming that they have a text plan and/or are willing to receive texts in the first place. I get charged individually for every text I get or send, so when some random somebody sends one out of the blue, it tends to irritate me.

  29. Elizabeth West*

    #3 – salary too low

    That’s so tough to do. I had to pass on one where the salary was low, but I thought it was a starting wage, so I still applied. I didn’t find out until I got in the interview that no, that WAS the pay, and there was also a mandatory retirement deduction. It’s county so it’s dependent on budget. Knowing I wasn’t likely to retire there and the fact that the take-home pay would have left me with about $10 at the end of every month, I told them no thank you. It sucked because I really, really liked the bosses. But it just didn’t strike me as enough of an experience booster to justify starving if I had any unexpected expenses.

    The job has been reposted too. So whoever they hired bailed, and I’m betting it was the pay.

    #7 – boring position

    I’m fine with that, if I get to do my own work my own way. It’s even better if it’s the kind of job where I’m left alone with my headphones. I would love to find a job like that if it paid decently. Give me a pile to sort and let me have music, and I’m happy. Being a receptionist for so long, I’m starting to get tired of talking to people all day!

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Meant to add for #3 –
      I had an interview this morning where a similar thing happened. No health insurance, and a salary range where my low end is their high end. There’s no way I could pay for a doctor’s visit if I needed one. Plus, when I get a job, I lose the Primary Care Access program at my doctor’s office, where poverty qualifies me to pay $10 for a visit no matter what it’s for. There’s no good replacement for that except health coverage.

      On the bright side, she was really nice and said I interview well. That feedback is good to hear. :)

  30. J*

    #2, I would disagree slightly with one of AAM suggestions. Don’t switch to phone calls with the teacher because phone calls don’t allow for documentation (in a worse case scenario), while texts and emails can always be printed out.

    1. Rana*

      Google Voice. It saves text versions of phone messages, and avoids the problem of people having direct access to your phone (though that horse is out of the barn with this one).

  31. Steve G*

    #2 Reminds me when I worked in a group with a guy who thought he was a Casanova. One of the girls told me he called her on Christmas Eve “just to say Merry Christmas,” but then he kept talking and she was at her family’s house and they were asking her who was on the phone, then her man wanted to know why this guy was talking to her, and it caused a bit of drama at the family gathering she wat at.

    Eventually she made me and my other coworker go with her, basically following him, to the elevator, then pretend we happened to board at the same time. She then asked him not to call her anymore with the pretense her boyfriend was jealous. When he was gone we died laughing because the situation was so stupid and rediculous. We were only 27 at the time so didn’ take it overly serious.

  32. OP #2*

    Thank you all for the advice. The day care my daughter goes to is DCFS licensed and has a NAEYC accreditation and also is an Early Head Start facility so they are monitored very closely and all of the staff have an Associate’s Degree or higher along with teacher certification and if the director had any complaints I’m positive it would be addressed immediately. I’m not so much concerned that abuse is occurring since there really is no opportunity for my child and the teacher to be alone at the facility. My main concern is that there may be an inappropriate attachment. Secondarily, regardless of whether there is or isn’t an inappropriate attachment, I want to be careful how I go about this as I do like this center and would have an issue having to change facilities.

    I plan to directly approach him about the texting and about the “missing” comment. I’m also going to ask my family advocate who is basically meant to be a liason on this subject on how I should communicate this to the director without sounding disciplinary.

    1. Elle*

      If he has an inappropriate attachment, he will find a way. Regardless, it seems like you are going about it the right way. I would ask open questions. “What did you mean by this?” etc and listen for his response. Don’t put explanations in his mouth. Just listen very carefully.

      whatever you do, definitely speak to other parents.

      1. Melissa*

        I know I’m late to the party, but I wouldn’t speak to the other parents. Such a reaction escalates a situation that might panic other parents, and completely embarrass the school and teacher. I think that the behavior this teacher is exhibiting is inappropriate – and I’m a teacher who works with a majority of male teachers in an elementary school. However, the proper person to direct questions to is the director, and not doing so can make you look as though you are gossiping and trying to start trouble, even while you have the best of intentions.

        And also, I just want to say that some of the most caring, wonderful teachers I have known were men. :)

  33. alison1l*

    Fwiw, I appreciate the daycare dilemma being included. I think many of us are working parents and can put ourselves in her shoes. I, personally, would just go straight to the director. That behavior would be enough to get a teacher removed from the classroom at our daycare (and rightfully so! I don’t want to know teachers are “missing” my children on the weekends, yikes).

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