To complain about DD's teacher

(111 Posts)
DancesWithWoolEnPointe Mon 16-Sep-13 16:32:07

When I collected DD1 (9) from school today her teacher was waiting for me. She showed me a rubber, in bits, and told me that DD had had a very bad afternoon. She had been fiddling in science, and cut one of the school's rubbers to bits with a ruler. She went on, rather angrily, about the importance of listening, not fiddling, the lack of resources at the school and that DD needs to replace the rubber. I have no problem with this at all, although I was surprised at how angry she seemed.

However, after DD and I got home I spoke to her about it, and she relayed just how much trouble she had been in. She was taken outside and the teacher told her off for several minutes, uninterrupted, including, to quote DD, "lots of How dare yous". She said she wanted to say something but felt if she tried to speak she'd be in even more trouble.

Now I am a teacher, and I almost never break out the "how dare you". Like "I'm very disappointed" and "I'm concerned" I keep "how dare you" for really serious issues. While DD has shown disrespect for the school resources and needed to learn a lesson, I can't help but feel this level of response is unwarranted. DD1 has never once been in trouble before in 6 years of formal schooling, and is a top pupil. There is no history of damaging school property or any other issue. I can't help but feel the teacher had had a bad day and lost it with DD. It doesn't sound to me like she was in control of her irritation or anger. I feel the need to stand up for my child.

Would you write a letter to the school? Who is being unreasonable - the teacher or me?

pooka Mon 16-Sep-13 16:36:22

I think you are being unreasonable.

Personally I think "how dare you" is not awfully different to "I'm very disappointed". DD would be equally upset with both IMO.

I think if you write in you would be making a mountain out of a molehill and quibbling. Just because your dd has never been in trouble before does not mean that the response should be tempered for her in a way it wouldn't if a child was relatively frequently in trouble - it's not a free pass. If the teacher would react in a similar manner to a child who has more form for misbehaviour, then it seems proportionate.

Tailtwister Mon 16-Sep-13 16:36:40

Do you think the teacher was so angry because your DD is usually so well behaved? If she had been having a bad day, your DD's behaviour may have been the straw that broke the camel's back?

I agree that her response was quite severe considering the nature of the problem and if I was a teacher I would benchmark her against what I might have done. However, if this was out of character and she's usually fine with your DD I would be tempted to let it slide and just keep an eye on things. If it happened again I would probably call her on it.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 16-Sep-13 16:39:44

It sounds like the teacher went slightly over the top.

But hopefully your child has learned a lesson. If you start nit-picking about the exact wording of the teacher's complaint you are in danger of conveying that you think that behaviour is OK. Quibbling

Altinkum Mon 16-Sep-13 16:40:12

The incidents I can understand are annoying, however I'd complain about the level if anger she showed to a mother. I'd be more concerned about that.

I'd also be telling my children her behaviour must stop, she clearly did have a bad day, even if it was little incidents that accumulated to a bad afternoon.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 16-Sep-13 16:40:27

Perhaps the teacher had remonstrated with her repeatedly to pay attention, than finally seen what was taking her attention - wilful destruction of a rubber (minor item, major irritation) - in her class - when she should have been listening.. and it was the last straw...

New school year, new teacher? - maybe DD has made a bad first impression and is being told off in order to prevent her straying from her previous great record....

I would not write, just tell DD to pay attention when she should... and not destroy things that do not belong to her.

Jeremiad Mon 16-Sep-13 16:40:37

They''re all 'top pupils' OP.

YABU. your daughter misbehaved and was told off. Unpleasant, but not unfair.

Katiebeau Mon 16-Sep-13 16:42:12

I understand your reaction as a swift "Don't you ever damage school property again, you will replace it and I will be talking to your DM at home time" would be better for a first offence.

However perhaps she expected much better from your DD and reacted to her own disappointment.

It's a good lesson for your DD though. Good behaviour 99.9% of the time doesn't buy you a free pass the other 0.1% of the time.

I would replace the rubber, tell DD never to do it again. Leave it.

Oh and keep an eye out for further issues with the teacher. It's early in the term to be loosing it.

BrokenSunglasses Mon 16-Sep-13 16:43:42

YABU.

Your dd is old enough to know she did wrong, so she should take her telling off graciously. Maybe the teacher did get more cross than was necessary, but the fact that she used a phrase differently to how you would use it doesn't make you right and her wrong.

What was it that your dd wanted to say anyway? What defence is there for what she did?

I know it's only a rubber and minor in the grand scheme of things, but it was till something that she chose to do knowing that she shouldn't.

In your position I'd be telling dd to suck it up and that one of the many reasons she shouldn't break school rules is that she won't always know exactly what the consequences are going to be. She got what she deserved for damaging school property.

I think it's really quite pathetic to think about writing letters of complaint against a teacher just because she used an angry voice and a phrase that you would have used differently.

Crowler Mon 16-Sep-13 16:43:58

I think it does sound slightly over the top, but I wouldn't complain about the teacher.

It would really piss me off if I found one my kids doing this.

buss Mon 16-Sep-13 16:45:24

so your dd she about 10 if she's had 6 years in school?
cutting up the rubber is a very silly thing to do.
I would leave it if I were you.
What exactly is a 'top pupil' anyway?

Canthisonebeused Mon 16-Sep-13 16:45:38

She's 9 she should know better. I would give my dd 7 proper telling off if she did this at home.

BrokenSunglasses Mon 16-Sep-13 16:45:42

You didn't even hear what the teacher said to your dd before you arrived.

I'm sure you know that 9yo girls can be quite adept at expanding the truth.

buss Mon 16-Sep-13 16:46:38

oh sorry yes I see now she's 9.

CookieLady Mon 16-Sep-13 16:47:08

YABU.

Cheryzan Mon 16-Sep-13 16:47:16

OP, I agree with you. I think the teacher sounds like she's lost it and isn't in control of her emotions.

I would have a quiet word with the HT or Year group leader or someone (if in primary) (Not sure at all what I'd do in secondary)

Maybe word it something like 'I'd like to talk to you because there seems to be a problem with DDs behaviour' or something to try and get them to either admit to a problem (which you support them with) or deny there is a problem, at which point you query the level of 'telling off' from this teacher.

MrsDeVere Mon 16-Sep-13 16:47:30

Sounds like the teacher got on rolly rant.
But I wouldn't complain.

It won't help. Your DD did something wrong and was told off.

They are the bare bones.

I tell my kids that teachers can be unfair sometimes but they have to suck it up because that is the way life is.

Unless it is something serious of course.

Just think of it as preparation for when she has to work for some officious twat in her first job.

JimmyCorkhill Mon 16-Sep-13 16:47:46

To be honest, I would replace the rubber and let this go as a one off incident. Has your daughter explained why she destroyed it in the first place?
It could be that the teacher took a bad mood out on your daughter. It could be that your daughter has not explained the whole scenario. Maybe the teacher has just had a talk to the whole class about respecting school property and your daughter has chosen exactly the wrong time to mess about and has been made an example of.
It's early days. If this teacher continues to 'over react' then by all means write a letter and mention this incident. If she doesn't, put it down to a bad day for all concerned.
I had a parent write pages of angry abuse towards me in a reading diary in response to a telling off incident. When we actually spoke we were able to see the truth quite easily. I had upset her daughter (unintentionally). I apologised for being heavy handed and she agreed that her daughter was in the wrong. The parent begged me to remove the pages she wrote in the diary and spent the rest of the year being incredibly nice to me.
My point is that we are all human and sometimes we do get it wrong. Give the teacher a 2nd chance. Explain to your daughter that although she was naughty, you think the teacher was too angry. Then your daughter knows you are on her side.

Cheryzan Mon 16-Sep-13 16:47:54

If this is a first offence then the level of telling off is unacceptable.

If this is her normal behaviour, then you should have been told about it before.....

DancesWithWoolEnPointe Mon 16-Sep-13 16:54:50

I have told DD off and to suck it up. She doesn't know I am thinking of complaining. i have made her write an apology note and replace the rubber.

However: I think it's really quite pathetic to think about writing letters of complaint against a teacher just because she used an angry voice and a phrase that you would have used differently.
Wow that is harsh! You think it is pathetic that I am worried that a teacher might not be in control of her emotions and let her temper out on my child? Teachers can bully too.

To the nitpickers that stalk AIBU looking for asides to attack, by top pupil I mean a child who achieves at the very top level, so has a reading age of 12 at 9, achieved way above age appropriate in all tasks and always completes her tasks. As in top academic.

MrsDeVere Mon 16-Sep-13 17:00:47

I don't think its pathetic to be upset and concerned about a teacher going off on one about a minor offence.

Trouble is, this stuff doesn't translate well onto paper and complaints end up looking a bit weak.

IMO its fine to tell kids that a teacher has behaved like a bit of an arse. You can tell them that they (the kid) was in the wrong but also that the teacher overreacted.
But there isn't a lot that can be done about it and she was probably having a bad day.

If she keeps doing this it might be worth taking it further. Ranting on at 9 year olds is not the best way of keeping them motivated and well behaved.

What difference does it make that she's a "top pupil"? If she's that bright she should knowbwhat is acceptable behaviour.
YABVU.

BarbarianMum Mon 16-Sep-13 17:01:03

I think that it seems a very OTT reaction to cutting up a rubber but I don't think your dd's standing in the class should feature in it.

I think you should let it lie. If there are more incidents of this nature then complain.

DancesWithWoolEnPointe Mon 16-Sep-13 17:04:42

hobnobs It was to give context -yes she fiddles, but she is listening at the same time. Fortunately she doesn't normally destroy property as her form of fiddling, I think she normally stares out the window.

Amy106 Mon 16-Sep-13 17:05:29

It sounds like the teacher did go over the top in her choice of words but the bottom line here is that dd did something wrong and needs to replace the rubber using her own money. A rubber is a small thing but this is a good teaching opportunity to respect the property of others.

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