Please note that threads in this topic are removed from the archive 90 days after the thread was started. If you would like your thread to be retrievable for longer than that, please choose another topic in which to post it.

year 6 report - would it hurt your feelings if a teacher said your child lacked empathy for others?

(51 Posts)
querolos Mon 07-Jul-14 17:27:27

Just had dd2's report, she's just finishing year 6. One of the extra activities is out of school drama which has an exam every year (we pay extra for this - she is at independent prep)

They work in a group and have studied one piece all year and had the exam a couple of weeks ago. dd2 loves drama and is bright and enthusiastic.

Her report was really quite damning, saying that she was clearly upset that having to concentrate and help others learn their lines 'spoilt her fun' and that she had to learn the most important thing in drama: 'empathy for others'. I am ridiculously hurt by this - dd2 is a really sweet natured, sensitive child and she'd be cut to the quick to read this. There are a couple of girls in the group with dyslexia who struggle to learn the lines but dd2 has always been really supportive of them - although I know she did get fed up with having to repeat the scene again and again for a year - but I'd be AMAZED if she was really intentionally horrid to anyone over it.

Does anyone think that accusing a child of not having empathy seems unnecessarilyharsh for a 11 year olds report? Or am I being whatever PFB is for a second child!?

AnyoneForTennis Mon 07-Jul-14 17:29:37

they aren't accusing her....they are telling you she needs to learn it,that she hasn't grasped it.....

lljkk Mon 07-Jul-14 17:31:38

I thought one of the bonuses of private education was that the teacher gets to speak their real opinions. You get a refreshingly honest opinion.

That said, if you disagree, can you just shrug it off? Will your DD have this teacher again? Otherwise could ask for specific examples to clarify what teacher meant & whether that's any chance you ever would agree.

LeBearPolar Mon 07-Jul-14 17:32:57

It sounds an odd thing for a teacher to make up if it isn't the case. As a teacher, I can't imagine constructing an elaborate lie like that for the hell of it on a report confused

JimBobplusasprog Mon 07-Jul-14 17:34:41

Ii hope your dd isn't upset. It sounds like the teacher has got frustrated with her. You might be able to convey a message about being sympathetic to others without being as brutal as the teacher who wrote the report.

Goblinchild Mon 07-Jul-14 17:37:42

Yust a thought.
Sensitive children are often very aware of their own feelings and hurts, and less aware of how their behaviour impacts on others.
Being sensitive also makes it hard for them to listen to constructive criticism and learn from it, they are focused on working through their own distress at someone having a less than wonderful opinion of them.
You have one view of your DD, and the teacher has a slightly different one seeing her in a setting with many others of varying abilities. It won't be the last time it occurs.

deakymom Mon 07-Jul-14 17:41:00

seriously i would not be surprised if my sons report says this as its absolutely true sad

he has his moments but for the most its self self self take now for example can i play on my mobigo when i get home me yes but just that don't keep asking for the others and bugging me so he plays on it and his brother plays outside for a bit then comes in when it rains since then its can i play on x can i play on y can i go outside (he knows its raining) can i go upstairs can i have something to eat to all this im telling him im cooking tea its literally nearly ready so NO! he doesn't listen and he has now hurt his brother he has dozens of toys down stairs he doesn't want them but if i tell him he can go upstairs/outside play with his DS within 5 minutes he will be bugassing at me again! so no he has no empathy for anyone or anything other than himself but he is a CHILD what do i expect?

SittingNextToSanta Mon 07-Jul-14 17:41:02

You may need to get past your dd's and your hurt feelings, and have a think about the comments.

Pagwatch Mon 07-Jul-14 17:41:56

But it's not am accusation. It's an observation in a report.
If you disagree then ignore it.

A lack of empathy in a child is not unusual. It's a life skill. Children have different levels which hopefully grow as they develop. My DD is year 6. At times she has bundles of empathy but, like most children, she can be immensely self absorbed. She's getting better

You are over reacting IMO.

JonSnowsPout Mon 07-Jul-14 17:44:04

I think she's given you the opportunity to help your daughter with this.
It might have hurt to hear it but its something that can be worked out

My some has aspergers and really struggles with others but he tries really hard to remember that people work in different ways to him and he needs to respect that.

Beenspotted Mon 07-Jul-14 18:02:26

I'm sure it's upsetting to read, but teachers don't say these things to be malicious. Take the opportunity to work on empathy with your dd.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Jul-14 18:05:20

My History teacher once thought I had been rude to him. I hadn't and he had misunderstood me. Because I got top marks he wrote on my report I was "complacent". He was reacting to one incident.

Could something have happened in class to make teacher write this? I would ask.

AnyFucker Mon 07-Jul-14 18:05:40

Why would you be "hurt"

"personal hurt" is a strange reaction here

your child has had a poor report with some rather worrying comments made

I would be getting over my own personal feelings and trying to find a solution, working with the school to do so

outtolunchagain Mon 07-Jul-14 18:09:49

If this is just a report for one after school activity And contrasts with the report from your child's normal day time teachers I would not be too concerned.this person sees your child for no more than an hour a week .

LingDiLong Mon 07-Jul-14 18:11:00

Hm, the question of whether it would 'hurt my feelings' is a bit of an odd one really. That's kind of irrelevant - the report isn't about a parent's 'feelings', it's about your child's progress. I would be upset to read that in a report, yes. I would do some soul searching to see if I honestly recognised that kind of behaviour in my child. If I didn't recognise it at all I may feel moved to try and speak to the teacher about it - not in an accusatory way but out of concern. If I DID recognise that behaviour then I'd be thinking of ways to help my child develop empathy.

I don't think it's that harsh an observation though, not really.

Andro Mon 07-Jul-14 18:13:34

she was clearly upset that having to concentrate and help others learn their lines 'spoilt her fun' and that she had to learn the most important thing in drama: 'empathy for others'.

That seems incredibly harsh; like fanjo I would question whether there has been a specific incident, something that has really affected the teacher's overall impression of your DD.

I could imagine (easily) and 11yo might 'need to work on maintaining an empathetic approach and manner over an extended period of time', especially if frustration started to set in over a period of time but the statement suggests no empathy at all and nothing positive at all either (unless the rest of her drama report was more positive?).

Iownafourinchporsche Mon 07-Jul-14 18:15:38

I would probably want to discuss the report with the teacher and ask teacher nicely what sort if behaviour has prompted teacher to write the report and what can the suggest you do to help your DC develop more empathy.

The teacher has noted something that needs work and its only right to take the point on board

RainbowInACloud Mon 07-Jul-14 18:15:59

OP I completely understand and I too would feel hurt as we feel things directed at our children so acutely.
I wonder if this teacher and your daughter just do not have compatible personalities and the teacher is expressing this in the report. It in no way diminishes your daughter's love of drama and all the good qualities she has.
You could try to have a gentle discussion with her about that class and observe and teach her over the summer how to empathise with others even more. Using books could be a way to practice at home thinking about how a character feels.
Sounds like the teacher had a bit of a bee in her bonnet and was using the report in an unconstructive way.
I totally get why you are upset though. Is this teacher's sentiment echoed by other teachers on the report?

AnyFucker Mon 07-Jul-14 18:17:25

christ, all these threads ever do is remind I am so glad I never chose teaching as a career

Sundaedelight Mon 07-Jul-14 18:26:53

So, it comes down to this. Do you believe the teacher? Could your love for your daughter make you blind to her faults? (understandably)

Seems surprising that a teacher would write this in a formal report without there having been some incident/evidence. Best to speak to the teacher.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 07-Jul-14 18:34:34

My dd loves drama & dance but her Stagecoach reports often said stuff like this (I work there so the drama teacher could be brutally honest). She struggled working in a group though she was brilliant with a SN child.

It turns out she has aspergers.

Nomama Mon 07-Jul-14 18:37:53

Speak to the teacher. We don't write comments like that without thought or reason. We just don't.

It may be that what you report as her being fed up came across much more actively to some of her peers.

Look, bluntly, could her being 'fed up' have led to her huffing and puffing, rolling her eyes a bit? As that is what I read from between the lines you wrote.

If so then OK, she has to learn a little bit of patience, to do what we all should, control that face and don't raise your shoulders and huff, it can make other people feel really stupid.

That may be hard to hear as a mum, but it may be the most valuable advice you ever get for your DD. Play nice...

LeBearPolar Mon 07-Jul-14 19:40:15

AF: it's a minefield trying to tread the fine line between honesty and accepting what parents want/are prepared to hear. TBH, a lot of parents have a very clear-eyed view of their DCs' strengths and weaknesses and are appreciative of reports which show that the teacher knows that as well, but there are always those who really can't accept that their DC have any faults - or aren't A* material.

JollyGolightly Mon 07-Jul-14 19:44:52

I would be concerned and possibly want to know more about why the teacher held this view.

My own "hurt feelings" wouldn't come into it.

YeGodsAndLittleFishes Mon 07-Jul-14 19:49:57

I'd need a chat with that teacher about it to put it in context before getting upset.

DD got a damning Y7 or Y8 report for one subject based on one piece of homework which relied on group field work the rest of her group had failed to do. So she had no possible way of achieving much. The following month I got a letter from the same teacher commending her for attaining a level 8 (or something) and telling me I MUST be proud of her! I did tell that teacher he should do a bit more of his own homework before writing reports! Some teachers can get great results out of students but not by the best means.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now