to be annoyed that ds's teacher told him a spider is an insect?

(209 Posts)
pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:16:52

Ok ds is in reception, but still. I have always told him a spider is not an insect but an arachnid, insects have 6 legs, etc, but today he came home and said 'Mrs X told me that I could bring a spider to school as the letter this week is I for insect'

I asked him if she really suggested a spider for 'I'. And he was very sure she had. So I told him again a spider was an arachnid. I know it is a small thing but it does annoy me, her telling them that. Yes I know she does an amazing job with 30 children, and she is great, but still.

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:18:05

I think you may need to relax a little. smile

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:19:00

what next? A blue whale is a big fish? grin

fiercebadrabbit Tue 13-Oct-09 16:20:25

Is this a wind up grin

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:20:42

shock I would speak to the LEA if she did that and have her sacked! Bloody standards slipping and all that! grin

Will she be asking him to bring a tomato is when they learn V is for Vegetable as well?

GibbonWithAnAppleBobbingBibOn Tue 13-Oct-09 16:20:57

Is this a wind up re another thread?

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:21:10

in not is.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 13-Oct-09 16:22:20

I don't see why it has to be a wind-up; a spider is not an insect and small children should not be told they are.

*stands robustly behind pofaced*

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:22:27

No it isn't gibbon blush

Tomato as a vegetable fine. But a spider is not an insect. It annoys me. She is a teacher.

TheHeadlessWombat Tue 13-Oct-09 16:24:18

But tomatoes aren't really vegetables so why are you ok with that?

FlamingoBingo Tue 13-Oct-09 16:24:29

YANBU, but I don't think there's anything you can do about it except make sure your DS knows properly what's what!

stillstanding Tue 13-Oct-09 16:24:39

But a tomato is a fruit. Why is it fine to call it a vegetable?

texasghouldem Tue 13-Oct-09 16:25:22

surely you have other things to do than get annoyed about something like that hmm

andagain Tue 13-Oct-09 16:26:00

Sorry to ask but why is it ok then for tomato to be a vegetable (which it is not, it's a fruit) and spider not to be an insect?

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:26:09

Tomatoes are fruit! You have Annoyed me now, am leaving thread.
Fecking charlatan. angry

DiamondHead Tue 13-Oct-09 16:26:47

Have they done a week yet when they bring in something beginning with 'a'.

If not, tell your ds to take the spider in then and to tell his teacher it's an arachnid. That way everybody can learn something.

It's reception not GCSE course work

Take a chill pill

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:26:59

<is secretly pleased I have turned the thread into one about tomatoes not spiders grin>

ChopsTheDuck Tue 13-Oct-09 16:27:23

lol! maybe you should get him to tell the teacher that a spider is an arachnid.

I don't think my 4yos could say arachnid!

I hate the term mini beasts. Where on earth did that one come from?

Hulababy Tue 13-Oct-09 16:28:13

Actually I do remind the children in my y1 claas that spiders are not insects. They also know that tomatoes are fruit as we discuss this at snack time when we get them sometimes.

DiamondHead Tue 13-Oct-09 16:28:23

I think a tomato can be a vegetable.

In the scientific sense it is most definitely a fruit but in cooking, main course = vegetable and pudding = fruit.

Maybe your son should take a photo of his teacher in with

'I is for Ignoramus'

written on it?

hmm grin

GibbonWithAnAppleBobbingBibOn Tue 13-Oct-09 16:29:49

Agree you have to go the whole hog grin

If a spider is not an insect then a tomato cannot be a vegetable.

OrmIrian Tue 13-Oct-09 16:29:57

Agree with po-faced. DS#2 would have put here straight.

Hulababy Tue 13-Oct-09 16:30:04

The term mini beasts is used to cover the whole range of insects, bugs, spiders. Butterflies, bees and wasps, and even sometimes frogs and toads.
What other term can you use to cover them all easily?

alwayslookingforanswers Tue 13-Oct-09 16:30:13

no a tomato is a fruit.

I would be much more concerned about my DS's being told a tomato is a vegetable than being told a spider is an insect at that age grin

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:30:28

grin DiamondHead. Yes they've done A. I wouldn't do that to poor ds, can you imagine, I might be an annoying parent but there are limits.

I don't know why tomato doesn't bother me as much. I mean yes I'd still point it out but it is not as blinking obvious as a spider not being an insect. It has 8 legs! It doesn't have antennae! Doh!

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:30:38

Wrong, many many main courses contain fruit.
Pork and apricot.
Prokm and apple.
Duck a l@orange
Moroccan dishes often use fruit.
Indian dishes often use fruit.
And so on.

Put her in the stocks and pelt with rotting tomatoes.

FlamingoBingo Tue 13-Oct-09 16:30:54

ROFL grin Disenchanted.

GibbonWithAnAppleBobbingBibOn Tue 13-Oct-09 16:31:05

and let's not start on coconuts...

It's good that you explain to DS that a spider is not an insect. But the fact is that many people assume it is. Just as many as assume that a tomato is a vegetable (ditto cucumber, marrow, etc).

Children cope with these things, and with the idea that not everyone has all the facts, so i don't think it's worth getting worked up about.

TheHeadlessWombat Tue 13-Oct-09 16:31:37

It might be treated as a vegetable in the culinary world but it's still a fruit. Just as colloquially a spider could be considered to be an insect but it isn't.

Why object to one but not to the other?

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:31:40

What the fuck is prokm? I have invented a new species. I shall classify it as a mammal that eats arachnids and fruit.

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:32:13

Ah yes Disenchanted that would go down so well grin

I was thinking about I is for 'invertebrate' Do you think she'll hate him?

FABIsInTraining Tue 13-Oct-09 16:33:19

Is he really allowed to take a spider in to school????

Tomatoes are fruit so if you are going to argue it is fine to call them vegetables you lose the argument about a spider not being an insect.

stillstanding Tue 13-Oct-09 16:33:31

Incidentally (apart from your obvious confusion re tomatoes) YANBU. The teacher is wrong and that is annoying.

But goodness, it must be hard to be a teacher.... All those children hanging on your every word and then going home and telling their parents who then think you are completely ignorant and unfit to teach. We expect teachers to know better and I know they should but I would hate to be judged on this daily basis. When I think of all the guff I have told my children ... blush

GibbonWithAnAppleBobbingBibOn Tue 13-Oct-09 16:33:59

itsmeolord you're making me laugh with your zealous tomato fruit/veg posts grin

At 5 I would play it safe with igloo personaly.

CheerfulYank Tue 13-Oct-09 16:36:19

We call them "creepy crawlies" b/c covers worms, etc, but when I taught preschool and we did a creepy crawly unit I did tell them that a spider was NOT an insect.

edam Tue 13-Oct-09 16:37:57

Tomatoes may well be fruit but in cookery which is where most of us come across them they are used as a vegetable.

Spiders have never been insects! Don't think teachers should be telling children 'facts' that are just plain wrong.

The one that really irritates me is when people call chimpanzees monkeys. No, no, no, no no!

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:38:02

Gibbon - it is NOT a laughing matter! Nor vegetable matter...... Tis a fruit.

ChunkyKitKat Tue 13-Oct-09 16:38:03

Plenty of time to correct this gross misconception grin

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:38:19

Let's get one thing straight! I am not confused about a tomato being a fruit! angry

I was merely saying it would annoy me less that the spider thing.

I think she was thinking of a toy spider. We have one too, hence ds's confusion about bringing it in. We have a toy invertebrate. We don't have a toy igloo though. Hmmm. what shall send in? Any suggestions?

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:39:52

Thankyou edam!

TheDevilEatsBabies Tue 13-Oct-09 16:40:37

the point here is that the teacher has blatantly told the child a piece of spurious information when the child has been taught the correct genus.

vegetable can be used as a general term for tomato as it's the next class up.

so vegetable is split further into fruit, vegetable, nut, etc.

if we are going by this then mini-beast can be used as an all-encompassing umbrella under which to put arachnids, insects, bugs, etc.

but an arachnid can't be an insect.
unless it has two of its legs chopped off its body and stuck onto its head with glue.

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:41:34

Edam - see my post of 16:30:38 It explains things quite coherently. FGS.

I may flounce over this. And it will be everyone elses fault.

TheDevilEatsBabies Tue 13-Oct-09 16:42:16

po faced; you should send in the invertebrate.
she probably thinks that's an insect too.

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:42:26

<basks in the glow of TDEB's righteousness>

2shoescreepingthroughblood Tue 13-Oct-09 16:42:55

so a tomato is an insect and a spider is a fruit

TheDemonicButDandyLioness Tue 13-Oct-09 16:43:03

stillstanding- gawd, I'm with you on the guff one tell's ones children ...

I remember once being about 10 and asking my mother what sexy meant. She thought for a moment, then said: "it means a woman in a bikini" grin

itsmeolord Tue 13-Oct-09 16:43:36


Right, that's it, really am leaving this thread now, you is all bunch of harpies and ignoramuses and i have Better Things To Do.

<gets carried away easily emoticon>

stillstanding Tue 13-Oct-09 16:43:58

Ok. That's decided it. Little Pofaced needs to cut two of the toy spiders legs off and glue it to its heads. It was sooo obvious ... why didn't we get there quicker?! grin

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:44:48

grin Maybe I should send in a toy spider with two legs chopped off and stuck on its head?

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:45:14

Bah! You got there before me stillstanding.

stillstanding Tue 13-Oct-09 16:46:33

grin x-post, po (although the typos in mine beggar belief)

TheDemonicButDandyLioness Tue 13-Oct-09 16:46:53

and he'll need to make some wings for his spider/insect beastie.

fiercebadrabbit Tue 13-Oct-09 16:50:37

Is a cucumber not a vegetable?

Good thing I'm not a teacher grin

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 16:53:19

Perhaps we'll put spots on the toy spider instead.
Teacher - So you brought an insect?
Ds - No I brought an ill arachnid.

If it grows from where the flower was, and has seeds inside it (even very soft ones) then it's a fruit. If it's a leaf, stalk or root, then it's a vegetable.

It's got to be all or nothing - you can't get wound up about insect/arachnid but be all nonchalant about fruit/vegetable!!

Send him in wearing a big coat and boots and tell her he's an Inuit - just FGS don't let her call him an Eskimo!! shock


pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 17:02:28

yes I know AMIS, I know. wink

LOL about the inuit.

TheDullWitch Tue 13-Oct-09 17:04:05

You are completely right. She is an educator. She should look up her facts. That she has 30 children to look after is no excuse for her ignorance.

Used to be driven nuts by primary school teacher who gave list of spelling words in which there were several mistakes. The lazy bag couldn t even be bothered to look them up. She was teaching children to spell words incorrectly. Worse than useless.

I think parents have every right to comment about something like this. It is not pedantry it is about getting the facts right.

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 17:08:25

it is odd isn't it DullWitch? I mean it is a bit of a basic error. She would not be amused if I pointed it out though, there is a culture of parents knowing their place, which I suppose is fair enough in a way. I am rankled though.

TheDullWitch Tue 13-Oct-09 17:11:39

Was dismayed to hear that 58 per cent of primary teachers can't name two poets. And they are in charge of enthusing young minds about reading and writing.

stillstanding Tue 13-Oct-09 17:12:36

I think it is your place to ensure that your child receives the correct facts though, no?

Personally I wouldn't bother making a big deal of this with the teacher but I would ensure that your DS knows what's what (including that a tomato is a fruit, you know wink).

claudialyman Tue 13-Oct-09 17:14:38

can the poor old teachers get anyfink right this week on mumsnet? anyfink?

Tortington Tue 13-Oct-09 17:14:53

pull a couple of legs off


can't believe this is even a thought process tbh

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 17:16:03

I have, of course, pointed out the tomato-is-a- fruit-fact before now and will continue to reinforce it. wink

shock that nearly 60% can't name two poets.

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 17:17:21

Oh the anyfink thread. I only saw the title. Not bothered by a teacher's accent, as long as she can tell her arachniks from her insecks.

sarah293 Tue 13-Oct-09 17:17:36

Message withdrawn

LittleSarah Tue 13-Oct-09 17:18:29

I can see why you are irritated, but I must admit I don't see it as a big deal. And I have to say it would a bit of an upheaval for most children and adults to be absolutely accurate at all times; first insect/arachnid, next tomato=fruit, vulva not vagina... IYSWIM.

I discovered today that like many people my dd's teacher does not know the difference between an acronym and an abbreviation, I'll get over it.

I don't think calling a spider an insect is anywhere near as bad as giving children incorrectly spelled words.

PS Love this term mini beasts (sorry!), fab! Covers my children too.

MorrisZapp Tue 13-Oct-09 17:21:54

This would never happen in Edinburgh.

They'd all be filed under B for beasties.

Great word, saves confusion imo grin

BoneYard Tue 13-Oct-09 17:26:25

A famous and clever person once said:
"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad."

Sadly i'm not clever enough to know who it was....

gloiredemonpere Tue 13-Oct-09 17:26:33

Is this the same teacher with the lazy Estruary English (see yesterday's thread), I guess "anyfink" goes these days. I am going to send the Entomologists Liberation Front round to sort her out for you,grrr!

TheDevilEatsBabies Tue 13-Oct-09 17:27:00

i was always a bit of a pedant at school. i know how your DD feels, Riven, i wa stold off many times for correcting the teacher!

didn't stop me doing it though.
it used to annoy me how stupid uninformed some teachers were.

fiercebadrabbit Tue 13-Oct-09 17:35:04

Thanks for the cucumber info, you live and learn

<off to sue Abel and Cole for including it in a vegetable box>

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 17:36:44

I remember telling my know-it-all sister that the earth was not round but elliptical. God she was angry.

MillyR Tue 13-Oct-09 17:37:54

Getting fruit and veg confused is not such a big deal because they are similar categories. It is not analagous to saying a spider is an insect.

Saying a spider is an insect is analagous to:

A dog is a kind of fish.

A whale is a kind of bird.

A human is a kind of amphibian.

My DS did have to learn about different classes within the animal kingdom at a state primary school. I would expect a primary school teacher to know that a spider is not an insect. Even a totally uneducated person should be able to see from their own observations that a spider looks nothing like an insect.

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 17:38:39

<applauds MillyR>

gerontius Tue 13-Oct-09 17:43:05

well, no
because to most people the word insect means "something black which scuttles in a creepy kind of way"
spiders and insects aren't really worlds apart
just as fruit and veg aren't

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 17:46:37

but it is like calling a whale a fish. 'well they both swim in the sea so you can excuse the confusion' Er, no, not really.

Tomatoes are used in culinary terms as a vegetable. But botanically they are a fruit. As I have told ds [wonders how tomato tangent developed a life of its own]

gloiredemonpere Tue 13-Oct-09 17:52:45

Don't Worry too much, you can come around and vent spleen at my Dinner Party on Friday night. I am serving Coq in Pot along with other Fowl dishes. The Vicar is coming too and we can play 3into1 after the petis fours. Should be a blast and will be guaranteed to take your mind off the whole sorry business. 7.30 for 8.00 smart casual RSVP Bring your EMLA cream you might need it later!

gerontius Tue 13-Oct-09 17:53:17

To shamelessly copy and paste an earlier poster:
Wrong, many many main courses contain fruit.
Pork and apricot.
Pork and apple.
Duck a l'orange
Moroccan dishes often use fruit.
Indian dishes often use fruit.
And so on.

Fruit and vegetables are not specifically for one course or the other.
Also, whales /fish is a similar thing. Not that massively far away from each other.

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 17:56:58

<googles EMLA cream furiously]

Whale and fish a similar thing shock

Yes but apricots, oranges and apples are usually used as fruit, as sweet dishes. Tomatoes are not. Tomato crumble anyone?

Goblinchild Tue 13-Oct-09 17:59:11

No, I'm a teacher and this sort of thing annoys me hugely.
I'd send him in with his bug book so that he can point out that a spider isn't an insect.
She'' remember it for the rest of her teaching career.

MillyR Tue 13-Oct-09 17:59:17

I don't think most people do think of insects as black things which scuttle. Honey bees don't scuttle, or butterflies, or stick insects. Insects aren't really associated with being black either.

It is quite easy to tell animals apart and catergorise them correctly, even if you have no scientific training, because animals are classified based on their morphology. The same is not true of plants, which are classified by method of reproduction and other features which are not immediately observable.

I think a lot of people in Britain revel in their own ignorance of the natural world. It is hardly elitist and hard to access; it is staring people in the face.

Goblinchild Tue 13-Oct-09 18:00:26

She'll remember it, no idea why there are free-range speech marks invading my post.

MillyR Tue 13-Oct-09 18:00:54

Most animals live in the sea; land animals are a minority. There are lots of kinds of animals in the sea that are not fish.

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 18:02:34

<judges Goblinchild for typos> grin

Goblinchild Tue 13-Oct-09 18:04:20

In my day, clever Gels did Latin.
Not typing
<snooty emoticon>
So now I'm stuffed when it comes to IT.

mummygirl Tue 13-Oct-09 18:08:54

whatever he's taught wrong now he will have trouble correcting it in his head later.

And how are veg and fruit similar categories? They're so not

edam Tue 13-Oct-09 18:10:18

gerontius you are being shamelessly provocative with your 'whales are close enough to fish' argument.

To help you out here is a fruit and here is a vegetable.


"whatever he's taught wrong now he will have trouble correcting it in his head later"

Wish someone had told my A'level Biology teacher that! 1st day -
"remember everything you learnt for your GCSE's?"
"yes sir"
"well forget it. It was all wrong!!"


Iklboo Tue 13-Oct-09 18:13:18

It could be worse - you should hear my rants when someone calls a chimp/gorilla/orang a monkey.
American TV is a heinous criminal for this 'ooh look at the monkey'


DH shakes his head pitying me

edam Tue 13-Oct-09 18:35:26

As I was just saying, Iklboo. <jostles for position in the manner of a would-be dominant chimp>

IdrisTheDragon Tue 13-Oct-09 18:35:26

I agree about insects and arachnids. Just checked that DS (5) knew spiders weren't insects. He did smile.

I am however ashamed to not know the difference between monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas etc blush

IdrisTheDragon Tue 13-Oct-09 18:36:25

I agree with the A Levels thing (although in my case it was Chemistry). And then when you go and do a degree in the subject it is even worse.

edam Tue 13-Oct-09 18:36:59

Distant cousins - different branches of the evolutionary tree. Chimps, gorillas, orangutans are all apes.

edam Tue 13-Oct-09 18:37:34

(and so are we!)

pooexplosions Tue 13-Oct-09 18:38:56

Tomatoes, while obviously a fruit, can also be classified under vegetable, as fruits are technically sub-classes of the term vegetable, as in vegetable matter. A spider cannot be classified as an insect though, as arachnid and insect are on the same level of the heirarchy.
Its all to do with proto-typical classification systems innit?

PeedOffWithNits Tue 13-Oct-09 18:39:00

ROFL at this thread, especially

"but an arachnid can't be an insect.
unless it has two of its legs chopped off its body and stuck onto its head with glue"


"Not bothered by a teacher's accent, as long as she can tell her arachniks from her insecks"

PeedOffWithNits Tue 13-Oct-09 18:41:13

agree tomatoes are fruit, forming from a flower, but all fruit come under vegetable umbrella first - as in animal mineral or vegetable

pigletmania Tue 13-Oct-09 18:42:12

Oh dear, hardly a biggy yes relax, YABU a bit

OP, if your DS said "can I bring in a spider for the letter I tomorrow?" to a busy frazzled reception teacher and she said "yes" you really shouldn't be getting annoyed.

PeedOffWithNits Tue 13-Oct-09 18:44:20

OP - if your DC momentarily forgot a spider was not an insect, could he have said "can i bring in a spider", in which case, the kindest thing for teacher to do to encourage taking part is to say yes, rather than "stupid child thats an arachnid". if however he said he could not think of something beginning with i and she suggested spider as an insect, she is wrong

Of all the things to get your knickers in a twist about.
Lighten up OP.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 13-Oct-09 18:55:50

It would annoy me greatly.

But people who get sniffy over the tomato is a fruit thing annoy me more. Because they are confusing different types of category. A tomato is both a fruit and a vegetable. And so is a marrow.

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 18:58:45

No! He did not suggest a spider! She suggested a spider!

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 18:59:00

<untwists knickers>

corriefan Tue 13-Oct-09 19:02:45

Can you explain why the classification matters so much? The learning objective was for him to learn the letter i not to learn about insects. People do use the term insect loosely in everyday terms.

KittyCorncrake Tue 13-Oct-09 19:03:47

this cannot be for real.
A spider is not an insect. But to die in a ditch because a reception teacher does not know that suggests there may be many, too many, battles ahead...

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 19:06:43

because we have learned stuff at home and the point of school is to learn more stuff [as well as have fun] not learn rubbish and have to unlearn it at home.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 13-Oct-09 19:09:21

Die in a ditch?

The OP hasn't demanded her head on a plate.

She said "I know it is a small thing but it does annoy me".

As it would me.

madamearcati Tue 13-Oct-09 19:09:28

Actually YANBU. He shouldn't be taught facts that are not true whatever his age !

trellism Tue 13-Oct-09 19:13:17

This is absolutely unacceptable. I would not let this slide either. Insects and arachnids are at least a phylum apart in classification terms - it would be like claiming that a lizard is a mammal.

Just because they're small, it doesn't mean the difference is not important.

madamearcati Tue 13-Oct-09 19:16:50

wasn't there a thread a while ago about I is for Indian ?

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 19:19:26

Thanks FM.

I could be for Native American Indian I suppose. Anything else would be shock

trellism Tue 13-Oct-09 19:20:31

Oh, and a whale being like a fish?

Hmm. Lungs, warm blooded, gives birth to live young, a placental mammal...

No, shag all like a fish. Also whales shag, fish (usually) fertilise externally.

Tomatoes are a member of the Solanaceae family, which includes deadly nightshade and potatoes. "Vegetable" is taxonomically meaningless. A potato is a tuber, a tomato is actually a berry, a pea is a legume.

I hope this clears things up.

Take in the spider and say it's "I" for "Invertebrate". That at least is indisputable.

pointyhat Tue 13-Oct-09 19:23:31

It is very very slightl irritating.

Today, the answer to pretty much any question under the sun is at our fingertips. I think the far mor e important lesson is to teach children that anyone can get something wrong. And teach them how to check the right answer for themselves.

The kid's life isn't going to be blighted by mixing up an insect and an arachnid in infants.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 13-Oct-09 19:24:40

Oh nice with the I for Invertebrate grin

Tambajam Tue 13-Oct-09 19:35:28

I am with you. It's not the end of the world but it matters a bit.

Just because people are little it doesn't mean they deserve to be taught incorrect stuff. You obviously omit a ton but blatantly wrong is rarely necessary.

A while back on Cbeebies Pui played a guessing game and WORM was classified as an insect. DS was unimpressed and while it could certainly be argued I have too much time on my hands, we decided to write to them in disgust.

We got this back:

Thank you for contacting us at CBeebies. You are entirely right, we
have made a very basic error. We are all scratching our heads here as
to how we could have missed this one, as it is really quite obvious that
a worm is not an insect! The clip that you saw will not be shown again,
and I apologise to you for our mistake.

Yours sincerely

Alistair Hughes
Head of Presentation
BBC Children's

So THEY get it smile.

pointyhat Tue 13-Oct-09 19:41:37

in disgust - lol

ange8 Tue 13-Oct-09 19:44:11

my dd2's contribution: maybe he could take in the spider for 'invertebrate'!

cancantcan Tue 13-Oct-09 20:19:17

YANBU, easy mistake to make, but really as a teacher theres no excuse. Reminds me of the time my DS (aged 3.5 at the time) insisted on taking his dinosaur to put on the 'C' table at nursery school, he sat there stone faced while his teacher explained that dinosaur starts with a D, then said "but this is ceratosaur and that starts with a 'C' "

pointyhat Tue 13-Oct-09 20:24:10

Has anyone quieried the op?

Maybe her ds really wanted to take in a spider, asked if he could take one in, looked a little upset when told it wasn't really an insect, so the teacher thought, what the heck, bring in the spider. It's not as if anyone really cares about this.

How wrong she (possibly) was.

pointyhat Tue 13-Oct-09 20:24:56

cancan, I don't think the teacher got anything wrong there, did s/he? She just misunderstood.

charliesweb Tue 13-Oct-09 20:38:24

Grouping and classifying is a big part of the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. I taught children that you can identify an insect by seeing if it has 6 legs and 3 body parts (head, thorax and abdomen). Clearly a spider does not meet this classification.

Having said that I am sympathetic to a degree as teachers are not omniscient. The important thing is for teachers to see themselves as learners as well. I was always happy to be corrected or to admit I didn't know something. I think that in itself can be a powerful message for children.

Having said all that I have spent many an hour trying to convince my husband that a square is a special sort of rectangle!

edam Tue 13-Oct-09 20:40:49

cancant, would love to have seen the teacher's face. "Uh oh, will have to revise my expectations of this one..." grin

DrNortherner Tue 13-Oct-09 20:42:46

<tries to hide the fact that I got to 32 years of age and did not know that a spider was not an insect>

edam Tue 13-Oct-09 20:43:15

charliesweb, I'd hope someone with your name would know the difference between spiders and insects! grin

Interesting that grouping and classifying are a big part of the curriculum at this age - even more important to point out when someone gets it wrong, then. (In a friendly manner, of course.)

pofacedandproud Tue 13-Oct-09 20:58:04

<sigh> no it wasn't my ds's idea. He came home from school saying the letter was I. I said 'what shall we take in then? He said, 'Well Mrs X said we could bring in an insect like a spider. But I thought a spider wasn't an insect because it has 8 legs'

We had been talking about it in the bath just the other night. He couldn't remember it was an arachnid, but he knew it wasn't an insect.

pointyhat Tue 13-Oct-09 22:06:42

oh the smugness here

TheFallenMadonna Tue 13-Oct-09 22:19:10

I'm not smug. I'm a biology teacher. I notice these things. I wouldn't make a song and dance. I'd just notice.

Georgimama Tue 13-Oct-09 22:32:31

Great thread. All of the above is why DS is going private. At least then if teacher dares to make such an error I can withhold fees.

SomeGuy Tue 13-Oct-09 22:32:52

Fruits are not vegetables. They can be vegetables, but it is wrong to say that fruit is a sub-class of vegetable.

Helpful diagram

'Insect' has a specific technical meaning
'Vegetable' does not have a specific technical meaning
'Fruit' can have a specific technical meaning, but it depends on context.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Tue 13-Oct-09 22:38:41

I don't care enough. I probably should. Perhaps this is why I am not a scientist.

On the plus side, there is something to be said for an acceptance that kids can have 'wider' categories than adults. There are, clearly, lots of things they learn about that are not strictly 'true' or that become more 'true' as they get older. In fact, much of our knowledge is like this, as its accuracy is often contextual. Sure, a spider isn't an insect, but in vernacular and social understanding, it 'pretty much' is. I rather like that actually.

no time to read whole thread, but I find 'invertebrates' a v good substitute for 'mini beasts' which makes me want to scream. OP is NBU- spiders are NOT INSECTS


Georgimama Tue 13-Oct-09 22:52:37

I just knew before I opened it that Someguy's link would contain a Ven diagram.

edam Tue 13-Oct-09 23:01:28

Vulpusina, it's not contextual at all - spiders simply are NOT insects in any way, shape or form. There's no vernacular about it. (Unless you are a spider estate agent and are trying to flog a used web by claiming it has character or something...)

MillyR Tue 13-Oct-09 23:02:46

Vulpusina, you terrify me. You are the academic equivalent of the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I hope you are not a teacher, or at least not the teacher of one of my children.

edam Tue 13-Oct-09 23:06:39

I mean, this is not one of those things where we teach children a little bit of the truth at at time, like the brown eyes/blue eyes hereditary thing at GCSE level. The 'spiders are insects' line is simply untrue

VulpusinaWilfsuit Wed 14-Oct-09 07:53:21

I terrify you and am the childcatcher shockgrin

Why? I know it isn't an insect. I was merely wombling on. No idea why that is terrifying...

GibbonWithAnAppleBobbingBibOn Wed 14-Oct-09 09:48:37

Vulpusina - I hear you...I know a spider is not an insect but like you I could not whip myself up into the frenzy some posters on this thread have.

pofacedandproud Wed 14-Oct-09 11:50:44

Aw Vulpusina is not the child catcher Milly, she's lovely. I know what you mean Vulpus, but for the teacher to instigate something scientifically untrue, well, for me, it is a bit like saying a whale is a fish, and then I do wonder what they are going to school for apart from the socialization aspect which has been good for ds].
Sorry if that is smug. I don't think it is. As FM kindly pointed out, I'm not outraged, just slightly annoyed, and I will not be bringing it up with said sweet teacher.

sockmonkey Wed 14-Oct-09 12:19:28

I'm sure I heard somewhere that a strawberry isn't technically a berry, because it has seeds on the outside (same for blackberries and raspberries I suppose)

Wise Mumsnetters... is this true?

cory Wed 14-Oct-09 12:23:28

As a teacher myself, and the offspring of two teachers, I think that learning that teachers are not infallible is an important part of the learning process.

At least that's what I told dd the other day when she came home fuming from school after the teacher had told her that in the 1960s:

divorce was not available
adultery did not exist
and there were no single mums

Dd is in Yr 8. hmm

pofacedandproud Wed 14-Oct-09 12:23:29

apparently they are 'aggregate fruits' [I didn't google it, oh no, absolutely not]

Littledawley Wed 14-Oct-09 12:27:52

When I was teaching yr 6 a supply teacher told my class that the moon landing never happened, it was just a film made in a studio!!!

WoTmania Wed 14-Oct-09 13:00:50


sockmonkey Wed 14-Oct-09 13:23:10

Littledawley - you gotta love a conspiracy theorist teacher. Did s/he also say that Diana was murdered by the Royal family, and Elvis is alive and well? grin

tootyflooty Wed 14-Oct-09 13:41:28

I call a spider an insect or a bug !!!, but I do know that a tomato is a fruit. :0

doubleexpresso Wed 14-Oct-09 13:47:01

Threads like this one are brilliant. So entertaining. I lurve Mumsnet! wink

UndomesticHousewife Wed 14-Oct-09 13:51:46

Cucumbers are also fruit, like tomatoes. I learnt that from Nick Jr grin

CyradisTheSeer Wed 14-Oct-09 13:58:06


Its a fookin BUG! ::gavel::

eyetunes Wed 14-Oct-09 14:00:57

would have called it an insect too.

wheresmypaddle Wed 14-Oct-09 14:02:07

Wow 7 pages already - my take is that its fine for a child in reception but not for a GCSE biology class. So maybe you are being a little unreasonable.

MiniMarmite Wed 14-Oct-09 14:05:26

Only read pages 1 and 7 but I am with Pofaced on this one grin. Fine to call it a blanket name but not a wrong one IMO.

pofacedandproud Wed 14-Oct-09 14:06:30

but the point is not that it is 'fine for a child in reception' the point is that the teacher gave misinformation. why have to unlearn stuff when it is easier to just learn the right stuff when it comes up?

edam Wed 14-Oct-09 14:24:42

It's not fine for a child in reception because as a reception teacher on this thread has pointed out, grouping and classifying is an important part of the curriculum at this stage.

AND it's not on for teachers to teach things that are untrue, anyway. There's no grey areas here, the teacher is plain wrong.

Mind you, you can get these things a little out of perspective. My mother still occasionally brings up the mad headmaster at my infant school, who apparently didn't know some essential fact about dinosaurs that I had to explain to him (no idea what it was, eyes tend to glaze over when she tells this story).

(Mad as in many instances of odd behaviour - apparently my first teacher had a 'nervous breakdown' thanks to him.)

edam Wed 14-Oct-09 14:25:25

(and not due to me, no sirree not at all, my mother assures me!)

luckyblackcat Wed 14-Oct-09 14:41:32

Akshully, I believe a bug has different mouthparts.

MillyR Wed 14-Oct-09 14:41:33

I think children can cope with teachers getting things wrong.

I was taught in biology at secondary school:

Plants are all green except for mushrooms.

The principles of Lamarckian inheritance instead of Darwinian evolution.

I realised mistakes were being made and read up on some biology in text books. That's life; people are human and make mistakes. What concerns me is not that mistakes are made, but the attitude that it doesn't really matter what children are being told.

Someone on here recently was asking about the correctness of their child being told the Jewish holy book was called a bible. Nobody came on the thread and said that it really didn't matter what you called it. But when it comes to Science, lots of people are prepared to take that attitude. I do find that worrying and hope that those people are not teachers, because I don't want my children picking up the attitude that Science is some kind of trivial, nitpicking irrelevance that normal people don't need to worry about or involve themselves in.

wheresmypaddle Wed 14-Oct-09 15:37:56

Sorry I have caused offence by my comment that is was OK for a child in reception to be told this. Just wanted to set record straight that I loved science at school & have a bioscience degree- so I honestly do not feel science is any kind of irrelevance.

I don't remember being made aware of the different classifications until I reached a GCSE level and didn't have any poblem learning that there was more to this then I had previously understood- but things have obviously moved on considerably since then......

GibbonWithAnAppleBobbingBibOn Wed 14-Oct-09 15:44:01

'I don't remember being made aware of the different classifications until I reached a GCSE level and didn't have any poblem learning that there was more to this then I had previously understood- but things have obviously moved on considerably since then...... '

ditto wheresmypaddle

Now that's just silly! grin

wheresmypaddle Wed 14-Oct-09 15:52:49

sorry in a rush - poblem = problem, then = than

stillstanding Wed 14-Oct-09 16:08:59

I think my classifications are still a little blurry, wheresmypaddle!

Will print off the earlier venn diagram re fruits and veg but if anyone has anything useful that can fit on the fridge re animal classifications would be much obliged ... wink

TheDevilEatsBabies Wed 14-Oct-09 16:14:29

I've just looked in a number of children's books on the subject, and to throw another spanner into the works of ye who think that bugs is another term for mini-beast or creepy-crawly, you are wrong

a bug is a sub-class of insect.
so spiders cannot be bugs either.
so nur.

DownyEmerald Wed 14-Oct-09 16:27:39

Enjoying this - finding out who the other biologists are!

It is a small thing as OP said, but it would annoy me too. But I am a pedant (about things I know about).

DD is 3 so not there yet, but I did become dimly aware the other day there are whole areas of biology that I didn't do til A-level (didn't do O-level) that kids now do in primary school.

And I think that's great. I remember my A-level tutor telling me that the Krebs cycle was all fantastically new when she was at Uni and still being worked out by staff there; we did it at O-level; DD'll prob do it in reception class! Knowledge is like that.

I quite like 'mini-beasts' - it is better than using 'invertebrates' in pond-dipping say because it covers the newts etc.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Wed 14-Oct-09 16:30:46

I was more of a physics girl, meself. I correct a 10 yo pal of DS' yesterday on his incorrect interpretation of sub-atomic particles.

No. Really.

<child catcher? moi?>

VulpusinaWilfsuit Wed 14-Oct-09 16:31:21


<back to grammar laboratory>

TheDevilEatsBabies Wed 14-Oct-09 16:37:29

i'm just a pedant, full-stop.

i love watching QI, then i get annoyed because it's too pedantic and sometimes what you know is fine!
(as long as not wrong - it's okay to add sub-classes, but not to use the wrong sub-class!)

berry, if you please.

HowlingAtTheMoon Wed 14-Oct-09 16:48:01

Good Lord, I only clicked on this thread to see how such a title could raise 173 posts and I am still not sure!

Just to chuck my oar in, I believe that any food with seeds that grows above ground and the plant flowers is considered a fruit? My DS came home with a book from school libarary in Reception all about fruits and vegetables and it taught me a thing or two! grin

edam Wed 14-Oct-09 21:25:10

Downy, does that mean you'd be impressed if I mentioned I'd met John Krebs quite a few times? <showing off> (Believe it was his Dad who came up with the Krebs cycle?)

stillstanding Wed 14-Oct-09 22:36:55

Well, I for one and very impressed.

[Goes off to google Krebs cycle]

edam Wed 14-Oct-09 22:44:27

Ah, well, tbh it's not that impressive - he was the chair of the Food Standards Agency, lots of people met him!

pruneplus2 Wed 14-Oct-09 23:07:30

Rhubarb is a vegetable, pretending to be fruit - and utterly vile.

Spiders are just gross creatures that make me hyperventilate.

simplesusan Wed 14-Oct-09 23:26:12

On an aside my dd, who tells me she is an athiest, corrected her RE teacher the other day . The teacher called someone a muslim when in fact they are a siek (sp?).
The teacher then got stroppy with dd when she asked dd what nationality she is and she replied English, but that is another thread entirely.

MillyR Wed 14-Oct-09 23:32:15

Simplesusan, I don't care about the thread hijack, why did the teacher get stroppy about nationality?

DippyFarquhar Wed 14-Oct-09 23:44:00

After 38 years of not knowing the difference between monkeys and apes someone finally told me a few months ago - Monkeys have tails.

I can't believe noone ever told me it was that simple!

DownyEmerald Thu 15-Oct-09 09:46:02

I think this thread has attracted a lot of posts because if there is one area of my life Mumsnet doesn't cover its wildlife and science!

And I am impressed by the Krebs thing - obviously a high-achieving family there!

TheDevilEatsBabies Thu 15-Oct-09 14:15:17

like this?

might be interesting

ps: Krebs is the German word for cancer.

overthemill Thu 15-Oct-09 14:30:15

i'm still reeling from my dd coming home from school saying she asked her science teacher about string theory and the teacher said she'd never heard of it! in a science specialist school hmm

stillstanding Thu 15-Oct-09 14:34:58

[Goes away to google string theory]

This has been a most educational thread wink

puddock Thu 15-Oct-09 16:26:16

ITA with pofaced.
But remember, "the spiders ... are not insects ... but in a war they will side with the insects".

edam Thu 15-Oct-09 17:48:19

overthemill shock

I once bumped into a physicist at a party and tried to get him to explain superstring theory. Eventually it seemed to make sense... but next morning when I'd sobered up I was none the wiser!

pofacedandproud Thu 15-Oct-09 17:50:35

I watched a documentary about string theory. And one about parallel universes. And I concluded that those scientists are smoking too much skunk.

pofacedandproud Thu 15-Oct-09 18:17:27

[i was joking btw, before I incur the wrath of the biologists grin ]

Franbles Thu 15-Oct-09 18:41:40

The teacher definitely needs telling. Children get confused when people lie to them, even if it is inadvertant. Teachers can't know everything, which is why you should make sure he/she knows.

edam Thu 15-Oct-09 18:47:46

way back down the thread, someone pointed out that it's a good lesson to learn that adults sometimes get things wrong and that we can cope with realising we are wrong.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Thu 15-Oct-09 18:57:55

Never mind spiders, DS's RE teacher told him today that Jewish people weren't allowed to eat chicken! shock Because they don't have cloven hoofs apparently.

Chicken FFS. Fuckwit woman.

DH and I laughed our heads off in the car. And then we sobered ourselves and had an intellectual discussion about why religious food laws existed and What It All Means.

Pyrocanthus Thu 15-Oct-09 19:16:19

Vulpus - perhaps he attends the same synagogue as the Jewish guy in The Apprentice who, when instructed to buy a kosher chicken in a market in Marrakech, bought one from a halal butcher and got the muslim butcher to say a prayer over it.

Maybe they come from the school for stupid teachers.
I once had dd1`s yr1 teacher ask if her new twin brother and sister were identical!!!!!!!!!!

mumeeee Thu 15-Oct-09 21:51:08

YABU to be annoyed. The teacher might actually think they are insects or she just mighthave just thought it was easier to tell a 4 year old this. He is only in reception so relax a bit and just make sure he knows the correct term when he comes to taking his GCSEs.

edam Thu 15-Oct-09 22:30:10

Read the thread, Mummeeee, turns out grouping and classifying are an important part of the curriculum at this age. And more importantly teachers should not be telling children things that are untrue. 'Spiders are insects' is not vaguely right, it's not a simplified idea for children, it's just wrong.

simplesusan Thu 15-Oct-09 22:34:09

MillyR the teacher apparently asked dd what nationality she is (don't know why) to which dd replied "English" then the teacher said "Don't get awkward with me, you know that you are British."
Both myself and dh were angry because my dd was correct as England is part of bloody Britain and also the teacher should have then explained like I did that yes you are English but we usually just say British, that is what they put on your passport.
I am keeping an ear out because any further quips from the same teacher and I will be straight on the phone to the head of year.

MillyR Thu 15-Oct-09 22:40:45

Simplesusan, that is very strange. I don't know why someone calling themselves English should be provocative.

Woollymummy Thu 15-Oct-09 22:41:37

If it were me, I would take an invisible insect and an identifiable invertebrate, and I would take pictures of spiders and say "This is for another week, next time it is A for arachnid" - gotta speak their language, aintcha?!

simplesusan Thu 15-Oct-09 22:49:37

I agree Milly but have let it go. She is a new teacher as the old one has retired and perhaps felt a bit threatened by my daughter correcting her on what is supposed to be her "specialist" subject.

Take in a spider and say 'it has an insect - a fly in this case inside it's stomach. It ingested it. grin

Wonder if anyone being offensive and objectionable about teachers has been in a classroom recently. How lovely it must be to be so sure of ones own perfection. Small wonder then that such a large percentage of children have little or no respect for teachers. They are 'learning' from their parents. Teaching is a vocation, and very hard work. It used to be a joy. Just like it used to be human to err.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Fri 16-Oct-09 22:10:09

Oh jeez. Sorry. I was a bit offensive. But I have nothing but complete respect for school teachers. I am a teacher, of a sort and have no idea how they manage huge classes of kids and STILL manage to do their job professionally and with kindness. They are, truly, my heroes (though usually in primary heroines)

This is private joshing, really. Not really intended for teachers' ears directly, though of course you're all here.

It isn't quite the same as disrespect.

cory Fri 16-Oct-09 22:17:27

SleepySquirrel, pointing out that teachers sometimes get it wrong, or even laughing about some of their howlers is not the same as being disrespectful (are you saying teachers never laugh at pupils' howlers in the privacy of the staff room?). I want my children to be respectful of teachers as in being polite and considerate of their feelings. But as to believing that they are always right- good heavens, no! I'm a teacher myself, my parents were teachers, my grandparents were teachers: I do not believe in the infallibility of teachers. And if teachers laugh at the howlers of pupils when pupils are at a safe distance, then surely parents (and even pupils) can be allowed to do the same. The reason dd is able to be kind and gentle to her (quite remarkably ignorant) history teacher is that she is able to come home and blow off steam about what she actually tells the class- that plus the fact that she has never been made to believe that teachers are godlike beings who know more than other educated people.

ilovespagbol Fri 16-Oct-09 23:16:09

I thought it was an insect. Am I the only one? (have not read all this though as life is a bit too short). grin

Gracie123 Sat 17-Oct-09 09:21:04

Stuff is dumbed down for kids. It has to be.
I'm sure when you were taught that plants 'make' oxygen in junior school they didn't take you through the entire chemical process of photosynthesis.

Anyone who has done a science degree knows that everything you learn at GCSE is the dumbed down version. Why would reception be any different?

BubbaAndBump Sat 17-Oct-09 09:36:05

DH and I are both teachers, and he's a science teacher to boot. I told him the heading of this thread as I knew it would make his blood boil too. I laughed when I saw the tomato-as-a-vegetable debate start (as I like to be pedantic and point out people's errors when calling a fruit a vegetable etc), and told him this too in a knowing aren't-people-ignorant type way, expecting him to agree. ~ But he didn't!!!!! shock Divorce papers are on their way...

pofacedandproud Sun 18-Oct-09 00:01:46

SleepySquirrel I have already said my ds's teacher is lovely and I would not dream of mentioning it to her. Teachers are not though, beyond criticism, obviously.

pofacedandproud Sun 18-Oct-09 00:02:35

<Missing comma alert>

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