in thinking the teacher shouldn't have clipped my 7 year old son around the back of his head in class

(108 Posts)
pingu2209 Fri 15-Mar-13 18:03:08

My son was being a little sod, no doubt, but should she really have clipped him around the back of the head.

He told me that he quietly cried into his school work after it had happened.

However, when I queried with the teacher this afternoon she said that it really wasn't hard at all and barely brushed him. She also said that his behaviour didn't improve either.

I'm not sure what I'm thinking really. Teachers used to clip me, I had board rubbers thrown at me etc. It didnt' do me any harm.

kim147 Sun 17-Mar-13 19:39:44

Every teacher knows they should not hit a pupil. Some of the older teachers I worked with told me tales of what they did (and were expected to do by parents) in the old days.

I can see how a pupil / extreme and constant behaviour can push you over the edge. It's also impossible to walk away from a situation - there are times when I have just wanted to walk out of the classroom for 10 minutes but that's been impossible.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 17-Mar-13 19:35:17

If you know that for your job certain things are total no's then you don't do them.

When it comes to how you treat vulnerable people it is down to third parties to report.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 19:24:21

Yeah OnwardBound I know what you mean.

And the behaviour really wasn't that bad. I know how 7 year old boys can be, but nothing the op described makes him sound more badly behaved than any kid the same age.

OnwardBound Sun 17-Mar-13 19:16:18

I actually find it a bit odd and sad that OPs son told her he had been hit and this had made him cry but OP chooses to believe that the teacher is good 'un and her behaviour was appropriate.

A clip on the back of the head [which the teacher admits] however light is not an appropriate disciplinary tool in modern teaching. And for what, a 7 year old giggling at funny faces?

Yep, a right 'little sod', he obviously deserved it hmm

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 19:13:22

My DMum and Stepdad have over 60 years teaching experience between them (now retired).

They taught at secondary level, some of that time in rough schools and dealt with accordingly serious misbehaviour, which, I would hazard a guess, was a lot more challenging and provoking than that displayed by an averagely naughty 7 year old. Neither of them every used physical discipline. A good teacher doesn't need to.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 19:11:21

I agree - it is stupid of the teacher to put themselves at risk. But that does not necessarily mean that a 3rd party should go out of their way to ensure the letter of the law is enforced just because they can.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 19:04:38

But corporal punishment is illegal.

If you (general you) have trained and/or qualified as a teacher in the last 20 -30 years then you would know that physically punishing pupils could cost your your job and you don't do it

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 18:38:25

I wasn't going to post again but then I remembered something that might be interesting to some people so here goes.

I know of an ex-teacher who some years ago had a disruptive child in their class, talking, laughing, generally being a distraction and this teacher finally snapped and said "I know you're thick, but some of the other children would benefit from this lesson if you could behave". This (teenage) child immediately stormed off with some of her mates and went to the headmaster because she was rightly upset at being called "thick". The teacher was subsequently summoned to the headmasters office to discuss the incident.

"X informs me there was an incident in your class".
"Yes that's right"
"Did you touch her"
"No but I did call her thick"
"Don't worry about that, you didn't touch her then?"
"Nope"
"Ok fine, lets forget about it then"

Now IMO, being called thick by a teacher is immensely more damaging to a childs long term wellbeing than being lightly struck as a prompt to behave. Yet it would seem the rules allow damaging insults to be directed at a child, yet the lightest physical contact is absolutely out of the question. You could argue the current state of affairs is an overreaction to the bad old days of the cane, but it seems there is a out of proportion over-focusing on one technical aspect of the old system (physical contact), and a wholesale missing of the wider picture. Rules are not always well thought out - and sticking to the rules for the sake of sticking to the rules is a poor way to think.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 17-Mar-13 17:59:14

If the teacher struck the child, they broke the law. There is no getting away from it really.

The penalties for a teacher are higher than a person in the street as they know explicitly that they must never do it. They signed up to never doing it. Their employment is dependent on them never doing it. If they didn't want to be bound by those rules, maybe teaching is not the right profession for them.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 17:37:34

No I simply believe most things in life are not black and white and the response to any given infringement should be proportionate to where the offence sits on the sliding scale of seriousness.

If you are a doctor murdering your patients - lifetime in jail is proportionate. If you punch your boss in the face for no reason - a conviction for assault is proportionate. A tap on the back of the head to a misbehaving child (and from the information given, "hitting" really does sound like a useful word to exaggerate what happened), does not warrant financial ruin and a lifetime of unemployment and consequent depression.

I'm fairly sure one or two teachers may have done something comparable to me during my school years but I'd feel incredibly guilty if they were now sat taking depression meds in a one bed council flat because of something of such little significance.

I also suspect that in another setting, say an OAP tapping on the back of the head a feral misbehaving child in a public place, people would be less inclined to scream "assault" and demand a lifetime of misery for the remaining years of said OAP.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 17-Mar-13 17:25:14

No, not just driving jobs, many employers terminate employment if people are convicted of criminal offences.

Doing illegal things relating to your work in some cases should lead to you no longer being able to do that job. Hitting children as a teacher is one example, defrauding customers as a financial adviser is another.

You seem to think people should be allowed to break both the law and the rules of their employment but not bear the consequences of their actions?

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 17:14:50

Many people do lose their jobs for speeding or other road crimes, if prosecuted.

Yes, generally if they lose their license and are doing a job that involves the car, or were doing something that warranted significantly more than a standard speeding ticket.

My point was that most of us have done something illegal at some point, but illegality in itself doesn't warrant an automatic response of ruining your life.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 17-Mar-13 17:08:29

Many people do lose their jobs for speeding or other road crimes, if prosecuted.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 17:06:19

I don't think I've ever been for an interview where I wasn't asked "why did you leave your last job". The answer "inappropriate contact with a child" pretty much rules you out of any such job. Then of course you need employment references.

Maybe you could get a job in some dodgy backstreet NMW-or less sweatshop I don't know, but mainstream employment would definitely be out.

Roshbegosh Sun 17-Mar-13 17:06:11

My DH was a teacher for 40 years and says he would have loved CCTV in the classroom to enable offending children to be identified, with irrefutable proof of misbehaviour. Consultation with parents could then be based on fact. Of course it's simply not acceptable to clip children on the head and you were right to talk to the teacher. Getting her fired via governors, ofsted etc is a bit over the top though, unless it happens again.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 17:01:31

Reading the op back, the teachers response sounds rather odd.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 17-Mar-13 17:00:13

A teacher who gets sacked for hitting a child would not be unemployable for life.

They would only be unemployable if they tried to work with vulnerable people. Many jobs do not require you to work with children.

flippinada Sun 17-Mar-13 16:58:41

Well yes - giggling and acting up in class is well within the realms of normal bad behaviour, and I would imagine any decent primary school teacher will have strategies in place to deal with it that don't involve hitting.

He's 7 years old. I don't think she sounds like a great teacher to me if her usual action in a situation like that is to 'softly brush the back of his head'/clip him round the back of the head.

But as you are happy with what she says then i suppose that's it.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 16:41:55

Speeding is illegal too. The dole queues would be pretty long though if anyone who did it was made unemployable for life.

hackmum Sun 17-Mar-13 16:40:51

"snotmereally": A 7 yo boy giggling at a friend pulling faces sounds TOTALLY normal to me."

Me too. You can understand a teacher losing it with a child who was doing something really naughty (though most teachers don't, of course), but giggling at another kid pulling faces? Come on.

Fairly incredulous at some of the responses on this thread.

AmberLeaf Sun 17-Mar-13 16:34:42

It was deliberate hitting, not 'the merest uninvited physical contact.

It is illegal in a pupil/teacher setting.

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 16:27:42

Uninvited physical contact happens every day in lots of settings, whether its somebody doing a slide tackle in a football match, to somebody in a crowd prodding the person in front of them to ask them to stop standing on their feet, and lots of other less notable incidents.

Why is it only in a pupil/teacher setting is it seen as an appropriate remedy to publicly name and shame, financial ruin and destroy the future possibility of employment in any job to the person who arguably instigated the merest uninvited physical contact?

No the teacher shouldn't have reacted as she did, but destroying her life is a ridiculous response.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 17-Mar-13 16:19:12

Uninvited physical contact that is not needed to protect from harm is not ok in any other setting, why should it be ok just because its a teacher and pupil?

zwischenzug Sun 17-Mar-13 16:17:22

So people who object to corporal punishment are mentally unstable. Ok.

Once again, straw meets man.

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