To be shocked how children speak to adults at school

(50 Posts)
Jules666 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:30:27

I've just started working in a school as a lunchtime supervisor (like dinner lady but don't have anything to do with the food) looking after the children during the lunch hour in a Junior school and it's been a real eye opener.

They ignore you when you ask them to do something (or not to do something), argue back over little things like telling them to put their coats on as it's raining. Walk away from you when you're telling them off about something. They just have a total lack of respect.

Admittedly it's not everyone but it does seem like a general attitude towards the lunchtime staff. It's in a 'naice' area as well.

Is this normal? Does anyone else find this?

If my kids spoke to me that some of them their arses would't touch the floor!

Jules666 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:31:03


Floggingmolly Fri 23-Nov-12 09:34:23

I wouldn't have thought it was that normal, no. Where are you?

sausagesandwich34 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:36:36

in my experience, I have come across this with SOME pfbs whose parent's place them on a pedestal and let them rule the roost

I have also come across it with SOME children from large families who are copying older siblings

when I'm picking the dcs up from school, the way I hear some children speaking to their parent's is shocking and they either say nothing, or 'wait till we get home' through gritted teeth!

DD1 tried it once when she had just turned 10 and I told her what for infront of the parents and teachers that were around the playground, not shouting but not keeping my voice down either -strangely she hasn't tried it again grin

ReallyTired Fri 23-Nov-12 09:37:12

Its normal and secondary school children are even worse!

I actually think that children in a 'naice' area can be worse to support staff than children in a deprived area. Some of the children I met at special school because they had severe emotional and behavioural problems are politer to support staff than some well off children at middle class primaries.

My son came home with the comment that he has discovered that he gets extra chips if he says please and thank you to the dinner ladies. Unfortunately his class mates have not cottoned on to how my son manages to get extra chips.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 23-Nov-12 09:38:33

I do lunchtimes occasionally in the school I work in, and I don't think there is an attitude towards the lunchtime staff in my school. The children are respectful to all adults generally.

There are a few children that will push boundaries, and will try to chat back if they are old to do something, but they get told off, they apologise and they genuinely seem to feel bad when they know they have been wrong. They are children and they are still learning. Younger children can't learn what is acceptable without testing to see what isn't IMO.

wonderingsoul Fri 23-Nov-12 09:46:05

not at my sons school you wouldnt. that would be headteacher vist worthy crime.

the school is mainly made up with children from "deprived areas." by that i mean the big council estates and mainly family on benifits.
they are VERY VERY big on manners. my son was caught swearing for the first time at school a couple of months ago. i was called back after school and told about it. had he sworn AT (as in not just saying it or you are a beep beep ) another child or child they will think about suspending you / or making you work out of the class with another teacher.

so yeah that would not go down at his school with out getting into trouble for it.

and i have to add its a lovely school they are also VERY big on praise and encouraging just as much as bad behaviour. which imo is the way it should be.

Jules666 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:47:12

I wonder if it's depends on how cheekyness is dealt with them. With the school I work in we have to warn them twice that if they don't stop then they will lose free time on Fridays (where they choose what they want to do). But only in 3 minute blocks. So someone has to be cheeky 3 times before you can take 3 minutes off them.

javotte Fri 23-Nov-12 09:49:11

Same thing in France. Once I sent a pupil who had called me a "fat whore" in class to the headmaster's office. The headmaster sent him back to class and told me off for expelling him because "there was no immediate physical danger". sad.

Jules666 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:50:27

wonderingsoul - that sounds like what's lacking in this school. There are 2 boys in Y6 who are constantly badly behaved including fighting but nothing ever seems to be done about it.

Jules666 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:51:56

javotte - that's terrible.

I wouldn't like things to go back to when I was at school (cane etc) but think it's gone to far the other way now.

freddiefrog Fri 23-Nov-12 09:52:24

It wouldn't go down well in our school either.

Our school is very hot on manners, respect and treating others as you expect to be treated

I volunteer at school 2 days a week and I've never heard anything but politeness towards any member of staff of volunteer. I'm quite relaxed around them and they know they can be a little bit jokey with me, but it's always respectful and polite.

claraschu Fri 23-Nov-12 09:53:26

I have been shocked at how some lunchtime supervisors treat the children. My daughter (who is overly polite and worried about putting a toe out of line) is scared of some of them, as they shout and don't listen to the children. My daughter is too scared to ask for help (opening her thermos or water bottle etc.). She is normally very good at talking to adults, and not at all shy.

OwlLady Fri 23-Nov-12 09:59:02

My two youngest children got to school in a naice middle class area and I would be horrified if they deemed other people less worthy than them hmm or if they were rude to people. It has nothing to do with area, it's to do with parents teaching their children manners and the school rewarding good behaviour and manners.

Jules666 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:25:24

claraschu - it's not good that your daughter is scared of some of them but unfortunately you get people who are bad at their job in all professions. As to the shouting then yes we do shout because sometimes you have to. When you've got a room full of noisy children and the dinner ladies can't hear what food the children are asking for then do have to shout to be heard to tell them to keep the noise down.

As to the not listening then I've been guilty of that myself. When you're trying to sort out an argument between 2 children and you get the busybodies coming over to nosy and give their opinions on who is to blame then I've told them to butt out.

Your daughter being too scared to ask for help is obviously not good. Have you spoken to the school about it?

claraschu Fri 23-Nov-12 10:34:11

She is getting better now; I didn't talk to the school because I thought she just had to deal with it (it wasn't terrible and she needed to toughen up). I just feel that adults are often rude to children too, and that will make the problem worse.

I think the problem starts because some children are used to being shouted at and bullied by adults, so they become desensitised.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 23-Nov-12 10:39:39

That's sad to hear claraschu. sad

One of the big problems I have noticed in the school I work in is that there is very little continuity between what goes on at lunchtimes and what goes on during the rest of the day. It's something I'm trying hard to sort out at my school!

Lunchtime supervisors are often just Mums looking for some pocket money, they have no experience of working with children, and because they don't spend time within the school during the rest of the day they have no opportunity to take their lead from teachers and classroom staff. So they set their own boundaries about what is acceptable, often with very little guidance from the school. Schools, in my opinion, don't give enough attention to what goes on at lunchtime because its not formal learning, and they fail to realise that it is actually a huge learning opportunity for children and for them, it's on of the most significant parts of the day where they often need the most support. The playground can be tough! Teachers who are brilliant and dedicated to the children they teach do need a break, and simply don't have the time to increase their workload by communicating effectively with lunchtime staff and overseeing what goes on. I think head teachers need to take more notice of lunchtimes.

Anyway, I could rant for far too long on this subject, so Ill stop there! smile

mam29 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:47:46

well in last school child broke her ankle in accident in playground and dident tell teacher she fell of some equipment.

She then sat in class all afternoon in pain until her mum picked her up discovered what had happened and took her to a & e.

dd would have minor bumps and no accident form to sign.

A lot of fallings out with freind seems to happen at lunch.

I do think its quite skilled.

I havent seen any kids be rude to support staff.

I would go to head with concerns.

remember as akid our primary supervisors were scary strict used to send people to stand in the corner with hands on head.

But secondry ones were dire always swearing refusing to let us go libary just genrally hated kids.

Auberginestripes Fri 23-Nov-12 10:48:51

OP, absolutely agree with you. I got conned into doing lunchtime supervision at school for a while. When the children had finished their lunch, they were supposed to scrape their plates into a large waste bowl and stack their trays. There was a 9 yr old girl there that I had had a run-in with once before (she used to kick my son under the table in class because he was new). It's another story but I once re-enacted a scene from The Hand that Rocks the Cradle with her when I knelt down beside her and whispered "do you know who i am? I'm Henry's mum. I know you have been kicking him. You are a bully. My children do not get bullied. If you don't stop immediately, you have no idea how much trouble you will be in with us. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?????!!!!". Worked like a dream.

Then one day the same girl walked towards me holding out her tray after lunch. I said no, you have to do it yourself. She actually said "if you're not here to scrape my plate, what are you here for?". I said how dare you speak to me like that. I'm reporting you to the headmistress" and marched into the staffroom, (bet the head was thrilled) and repeated what this obnoxious child had just said. Child was publicly berated, reduced to floods of tears and had to write me a letter of apology. The thing that always surprised me was that her mum was a teacher.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 23-Nov-12 11:19:28

Are you for real Aubergine?

I can't believe you have written any of that post with a tone of pride behind it! shock

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 23-Nov-12 11:25:38

Woah, Aubergine! I don't think you are in any position to be judgemental of a child who "bullies" when you're an adult behaving like a bully!

The little girl might have been a tad obnoxious but I do think if you behave that way back you've totally lost your moral high ground.

Seriously, you're not doing your DC any favours, behaving like that!

kim147 Fri 23-Nov-12 11:28:11

I work as a supply teacher in a very tough inner city primary school - trust me, children can talk to adults in ways you would not believe. And you would also be shocked at the way some of them talk to each other - the hatred and anger in their voices has to be heard to be believed.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 23-Nov-12 11:28:15

And OP, my DD has only started reception this September so I don't really know if there is a problem in her (middle class, naice school) but I do think if you are having any issues with the general attitudes of children at the school you work at, you should take it up with the head. They need to come down quickly on that sort of behaviour and disrespect imo. If I found out my 5 year old was rude to any adult (or child) she'd be in trouble.

Auberginestripes Fri 23-Nov-12 11:29:27

Am absolutely for real! Am a lioness around my children, who isn't.

Tincletoes Fri 23-Nov-12 11:31:13

Thank goodness you have implied you no longer do that role Aubergine. Talk about totally abiding your position.

Tincletoes Fri 23-Nov-12 11:31:32


Auberginestripes Fri 23-Nov-12 11:32:54

Threatening a child with being in trouble if they bully??? Jeez, get a backbone people. We are the adults here.

JenaiMathis Fri 23-Nov-12 11:36:01

Aubergine, are you Peggy Mitchell?

Oblomov Fri 23-Nov-12 11:39:57

I think Op's expereince is symptomatic of children these days. And our school is very strcit and hot on manners. But still the way I see children behave, and talk to people and talk about people. And when I see children at parties and just children everywhere, this is what I think this generation of children are like.

kim147 Fri 23-Nov-12 11:43:22

Aubergine So you threatened a child at your school where you worked?

Do you know what would happen to a teacher if they did that and in the way you did?

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 23-Nov-12 11:43:24

Aubergine, you are very lucky that situation didn't blow up in your face!

I'm a frigging lioness too when it comes to my kids and I'd found out you'd dared to treat them like that there'd be hell to pay! Especially as you used your job at that school as the means to get your own back!

shock that you think that's acceptable behaviour!

Auberginestripes Fri 23-Nov-12 11:44:17

Ever heard of the expression 'it takes a village to raise a child'?

Behaviour at that school was dreadful. One child (who "didn't like being disciplined by women" I kid you not) had appalling tantrums in class (absolutely fine at home, just at school. Ran circles around the female staff) but staff weren't allowed to physically remove. They were only allowed to remove the other kids so my DC found several times on the monkey bars in the playground when they should have been in maths. As a member of staff, I went to the meeting where we were taught the restraint hold to use on them - but only to be used when you felt another child's life was in danger!!! This was a mainstream primary, it was so out of control. We had to take DC's out and put in the private system, was so ridiculous.

Auberginestripes Fri 23-Nov-12 11:53:17

Desperately, I would have no problem with another parent or teacher disciplining my children if they were being horrible bullies ....

kim147 Fri 23-Nov-12 11:56:39

Do you call this:

"when I knelt down beside her and whispered "do you know who i am? I'm Henry's mum. I know you have been kicking him. You are a bully. My children do not get bullied. If you don't stop immediately, you have no idea how much trouble you will be in with us. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?????!!!!". Worked like a dream."

Whispering in her ear about how much trouble she'll be in - is that what you call disciplining or is it threatening behaviour?

Startail Fri 23-Nov-12 11:57:33

No the DCs shouldn't speak to you like that.

Unfortunately, dinner supervisors start at -100% on the pupils and parents respect scales.

Honestly OP, did you like your dinner ladies, did you do a thing they said?

If you are going to enjoy the job you have to earn the pupils respect. you have to be firm, but unbelievably "fair".

Fair in the primary schools child's idea of fair.

In one sense that is very black and white, rules are rules and everyone must be treated according to them. In another it is way more complicated.

If you apply the rules without listening to the mitigating circumstances. They will moan about you for weeks.

In the end the parents will give up and say "oh for goodness sake shut up, Mrs X is only a dinner lady, don't bother about her."

Truly it's an incredibly difficult job, with very poor pay and often little back up from the HT.

I wish you good luck.

Auberginestripes Fri 23-Nov-12 12:03:30

I didn't shout, touch or threaten violence! I just used a different technique to ensure I had child's full attention. It worked.

Viviennemary Fri 23-Nov-12 12:03:38

I agree that the behaviour of some children is not good. Far too much choice is given at home. And then when the go to school they are shocked that they aren't in control and making all the decisions. Oh little DC is just so intelligent he/she questions everything and is really difficult and a nightmare at home. Said with a great amount of pride. Madness!!

1charlie1 Fri 23-Nov-12 12:24:12

I'm a bit surprised at the negative reaction to Aubergine's post. When I was in Yr 1 I was being 'dominated' by a very bossy little girl (not 'allowed' to have any other friends etc.), as well as being threatened by her older sister that I was only to play with her little sister (she was in Yr 5, but she seemed so big and terrifying to me!). I remember vividly how anxious and sad I felt. Mum did the 'right thing' and reported the same to my teacher, but nothing changed. So Mum came up to the school again, and this time intercepted the little girl and her big sister as they were coming in the school gate. I have no idea what was said, but I was never bothered by either of them again. My life reverted to happy normal. While their behaviour suggests that something a little odd may well have been going on in the homes of these two sisters, it's really not for bullies to be allowed to play out their psychodramas on either their peers or their teachers. Or their lunchroom supervisors! Whatever support bullies may otherwise require, I think a clear and unambiguous spelling out of consequences for unacceptable behaviour (such as, um, kicking a new classmate repeatedly) is sadly lacking in the life of some children today. Go tiger mums!
BTW, I know my post is irrelevant to the OP, sorry. FWIW, I ended up being invited to the 21st birthday party of the bossy little girl years later! I hadn't seen her for years...

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 23-Nov-12 12:30:16

Charlie, there is a big difference with a Mum having a word with a child and a member of staff doing the same in a threatening way when they are then going to be watching over that child every day at school.

Auberginestripes Fri 23-Nov-12 12:36:34

Teachers 'threaten' kids every day, don't they? "If you don't desist from this behaviour, the consequence is you will be in trouble".

1charlie1 - your mum sounds fab

Groovee Fri 23-Nov-12 12:39:56

My son made a comment this week about some of his classmates and their lack od respect for the learning assistants in the school and how they ignore what they are asked to do or laugh when told off. These same children are from the parents who have been ignoring me since a playground incident a couple of weeks ago. People in glasshouses and all that.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 23-Nov-12 12:43:37

Teachers shouldn't threaten 'trouble'. If they do, they are not doing their job very well. They can tell a child that the consequence of their behaviour will be that they will be sent to see the head, miss golden time or whatever, but giving a direct consequence of what will happen is very different to threatening trouble.

vigglewiggle Fri 23-Nov-12 12:46:53

I've been shocked by some of DDs friends whom we've had to play. Some have been lovely, normal children, but a couple of them stood out to me as rude and demanding. They would turn their nose up (literally) at food or drink offered to the, no please or thank you. They were bossy to DD's and even tried it with me shock. One insulted DD's appearance and when I told her it wasn't nice, she turned on me telling me I had "elf ears"! I do have more than a passing resemblance to Gary Lineker, but that's not the point!

My observations of these parents is not that they are overly harsh, so the child has become immune to discipline as suggested above - they are weak parents who are afraid to say no to their kids.

<Disclaimer - I disassociate myself completely from Aubergine's methods>

<wonders whether OP's kids' bums normally touch The floor wink>

Chandon Fri 23-Nov-12 12:58:47

Aubergine, you are way out of line!

You behaved like a complete psycho nutter freak.

Poor girl.

....just gobsmacked really

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Fri 23-Nov-12 13:57:24

Well done, Aubergne, you taught her a really effective way of intimidating people weaker than you.

I'm sure she's putting it to good use.

idobelieveinfairies Fri 23-Nov-12 14:10:26

There are only a handful of children that act this way in the school i am at. I think there are probably a few in every school. They will be the same with the teachers though...they don't just save it for the lunchtime supervisors ;)

The teachers are fab and keep us well in the loop when it comes to certain children having a difficult morning, so we are pre-warned.

If they talk to me disrespectfully then i will ask them where their manners have gone and that i will reply to their requests when asked properly. We can keep children in so they miss their playtime/goldentime or whatever their punishment maybe for being rude. They know we will always have the backing of the teachers so they know not to mess ;).

Auberginestripes Fri 23-Nov-12 14:17:13

I really couldn't give a toss if I upset an obnoxious little madam for 10 seconds and shocked her into changing her behaviour. I meant to change her behaviour, was the point. It worked. Next!

Chandon Fri 23-Nov-12 17:12:03

It is nice to see someone workingwith children, who really likes kids.

You are so in the right job!



Heroine Fri 23-Nov-12 17:21:11

I think its cool that the kids treat support staff with contempt - its helpful for fitting in with public school types at yoni.

thebody Fri 23-Nov-12 17:24:12

I am a TA and have no discipline problems and neither do the lunch time supervisors or the teachers.

There was one TA who clearly disliked the job and kids and of course the kids Sussed this and played her up. The head got rid of her as she was useless.

If you genuinely like the kids, get to know them as people and actually talk to them in a respectful warm way then they reciprocate.

Autumn, I would have reported you if I had heard that bullying.

My mom did this in the playground to a bulky but that's totally different.

You were in a position of trust and care to this girl. Awful behaviour.

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