To set you all a challenge?

(43 Posts)
FeltOverlooked Wed 30-Jan-13 14:30:22

I work in a school.

Every day we get complaints, moans and concerns expressed from the parents. Some of these are fair enough - lost gloves, wrong reading books, confusing communication. Some are less so.

But what we barely ever seem to get is any thanks or nice comments.

Can I challenge you all, for the next couple of weeks, that if something nice happens at school you SAY SO! Drop a note in the contact book, send an email, say it in the line...

I have sent an appreciative email to my DD's school today, as they had an external workshop group in yesterday and she loved it. I have already heard back from the teacher who ran it, saying how thrilled she was to be thanked.

Go on, give it a go.

If they don't do anything worth thanking, so be it, but if they do - please, just try saying so.

Ponderingonaquandry Wed 30-Jan-13 14:33:10

I will the day they do something worthy of gratitude

Nixea Wed 30-Jan-13 14:34:14

Challenge accepted! It's a point that applies to so many industries as well. People are quick to complain but slow to compliment.

So I'm off to write a note to drop in at reception thanking them for various "above and beyond" acts.

FeltOverlooked Wed 30-Jan-13 14:40:26

Well done, Nixea. Bet they'll be thrilled.

And sorry to hear Pondering that you are having such a rough time with school. Always a shame when that happens.

wonderingsoul Wed 30-Jan-13 14:45:26

agree with nixa. it applies to other places.alwsys ready to put a complant in but rarely so to compliment.

I can bad word ds1 school at all and have said to friends etc how they really do careand try for the kids. but I shall take up your challange.

wonderingsoul Wed 30-Jan-13 14:46:17

cant not can

Nixea Wed 30-Jan-13 14:48:02

On an aside though, wouldn't it be strange if you receive a thank you note today as a result of this post!

MammaTJ Wed 30-Jan-13 14:48:17

The last inset days I told me DD they had time to learn how to be better teachers, she said 'My teacher doesn't need to learn that, she already makes learning fun and interesting'. I did tell the teacher and the HT what she had said.

zukiecat Wed 30-Jan-13 14:52:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EmpressOfThePuddle Wed 30-Jan-13 14:52:28

I do! Honestly!
DD's in Yr7 now and we have less contact with the school, but when she was at primary I made a point of going along to the school coffee mornings (hosted by Head and Chair of Governors) and telling them what we were happy about.
Her Yr 6 teacher was absolutely fucking amazing in many different ways, the best teacher she's ever had, so when DD left we wrote to the Head about her and gave her a copy of the letter.
Only seemed fair!

FeltOverlooked Wed 30-Jan-13 16:02:45

Interesting responses - thanks all, some really nice stories.

And I do absolutely know that schools are not always perfect and you are sometimes let down. I had to complain to my son's school when he was being bullied and they weren't taking it seriously. They are making huge efforts now though, so I am trying to say thank you and that I have noticed the difference since their approach has changed.

FeltOverlooked Wed 30-Jan-13 20:28:24

Go on, night crowd, kids are in bed now - is there anyone you could thank at school?

YorkshireDeb Wed 30-Jan-13 20:47:30

What a lovely idea. My ds isn't old enough for school yet but I'll try to take your challenge & apply it to some of the other industries people have mentioned. Would be great to be part of your spread the love agenda. X

EllaEllaElla Wed 30-Jan-13 20:48:16

I work an a private International School overseas.....just last week a parent sent her PA (!) in to see me - the poor woman seemed to be under strict instructions to make it absolutely clear to me that I was an inspiration to her employers child! It was a very funny conversation (through a language barrier!) but even though it was from a PA rather than from the parent, it was very lovely to hear!

blackeyedsusan Wed 30-Jan-13 20:51:08

you get a lot more by being nice...

FeltOverlooked Wed 30-Jan-13 20:51:47

Ella, that sounds so sweet! Well done you for being so inspiring.

YorkshireDeb, yes, am sure the same applies in many industries.

larks35 Wed 30-Jan-13 21:05:38

I usually get 2 or 3 thank-yous at the end of most of my lessons, particularly lower school (yr7,8&9). I think at Secondary it means a lot more to hear it from the kids. Generally when I speak to parents I am fully supported and sometimes thanked for what I do for their children.

Thinking about this, I actually think that what we do (you in infant/primary and me in secondary) is for the children, not the parents. Thanks from parents is nice but doesn't mean anything. Thanks from the kids, even when it isn't expressed as a "thank-you miss" but more as a general enjoyment of the lesson, is much more affirmative.

However, I realise your and my roles are very different and I don't get complaints about lost stuff etc. so understand if you feel a bit fed up with only hearing negatives from parents.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Wed 30-Jan-13 21:12:42

Online shoppers are the same. They're quick to give poor feedback/reviews but never so quick as to write good stuff.

PotionMaker Wed 30-Jan-13 21:17:52

Felt I'm totally up for your challenge - and try to make a point of doing this myself. I gave some positive feedback to DS1's teacher last year (as I was aware lots of parents were griping and bitching and I thought she'd done a great job in very difficult circumstances) and she now hugs me whenever she sees me, she was so astonished to receive a compliment.
People are really ready to complain but feel awkward giving praise and positive feedback, or simply forget to. Well done you for flagging it, this is a really important thing to do grin

HollyBerryBush Wed 30-Jan-13 21:20:44

Not just schools, I always send emails regarding customer service and if it somewhere like a restaurant and the waiting staff have been exceptional I always ask to speak to the manager and tell him so as well.

FeltOverlooked Wed 30-Jan-13 21:22:05

Larks - the kids are wonderful and yes, thanks from them is worth more than anything.

It's not that I even need affirmation from the parents, but something to balance up the gripes would be nice - something for us all to remember maybe. (including on Ebay - HoHoho!).

Potion - agree, it is just so easy to forget in the haste of life. Problems seem urgent, so that message gets passed on. The nicer messages don't always.

FeltOverlooked Wed 30-Jan-13 21:25:00

Holly, yes, restaurants is another good one.

Have realised one of the things I really love in my life is the library. Their service is amazing. Can't quite work out how to get brave enough to say something, but had better take my own challenge and try!

withgreatpower Wed 30-Jan-13 21:30:00

The other day I phones the manager of a "Subway" shop to give positive feedback on one of her employees.

Here is the story: I went to Subway in a big city, I bought myself and my two children a sandwich (each!), and I realised too late that I didn't have my debit card (I had left it with DH as he had to return some things that I had bought with the card). I had left the house with £ 55, but then I spent £ 50 when I left a deposit to the new childminder (I had forgotten about not having my card with me, as I had given the card to my DS the night before, to be very organised!).

Oh, and I had spent the remaining £ 5 on a train ticket, so I was quite far from home anyway.

So, I am at the Subway till, with the sandwiches all ready for us, but no money at all... I really didn't know what to do. I was thinking of phoning DH (who would have been so happy to have to spend £ 10 in petrol to bring me £ 5 to pay for sandwiches - assuming his mobile phone was switched on!)... after a couple of minutes, this very nice Subway girl tells me that she has seen me before in the shop, so it's ok if I come back before closing time and pay then. I offered to leave my ID, but she said it was not necessary.

What a lovely, lovely girl!

Luckily I was going to meet a friend of mine, so I asked for a bit of cash and went back to the shop within 1 hour. I asked the girl for the manager's phone number so I could pass on to her some positive feedback on the helpful Subway employee.

I am the one that phones shops to complain when something has not been done "properly", but I do try to remember to say good things when someone has being particularly professional and helpful.

OP, you are right that we should give positive feedback more often.

Ok, I'll do that. The Yr1 teacher I now wish DS1 had had explained really well how kids understand maths at the school's maths fair last night. The whole thing was useful but him in particular.

FeltOverlooked Wed 30-Jan-13 21:39:45

withgreatpower - great story!

Jammy - bet he'd be pleased to hear how much help he was!

McNewPants2013 Wed 30-Jan-13 21:44:01

I always do, DS school has been my rock over the last 2.5 years.

I love leaving positive feedback, because if someone has done a good job they deserve to be told

FeltOverlooked Wed 30-Jan-13 21:51:07

Good for you, McNew. Pleased you had somewhere you could rely on.

Jinsei Wed 30-Jan-13 21:58:40

Oh, I always go out of my way to acknowledge the positive. I will complain if I'm unhappy, so it's only fair. Also, I work very hard in my own role and know how good it feels to have someone appreciate that.

Last week, I made a point of thanking the school caretaker for doing such a great job of clearing the snow from paths around the school. He looked a bit stunned tbh but I hope he was pleased.

A little gratitude doesn't cost us anything, and yet it goes such a long way. smile

pointythings Wed 30-Jan-13 22:10:46

I have just been engaged in a lovely email dialogue with DD1's head of department for History. She is part of a group involved in designing a memorial for the centenary of the 1914 Christmas truce football match, and he has bent over backwards to make sure she could be part of it despite having to miss the first trip due to a family wedding. I'm doing some translation work for the group (articles from local papers in Belgium translated from Flemish into English) and have sent these to him, he has been great. DD really rates him as a teacher for making history interesting as well as important and I've told him so (she's in Yr7 by the way).

I always give honour where honour is due and make a point of writing personal letters to teachers (and school admin!) when they go above and beyond. Because they so often do and never get the appreciation. It means writing a lot of letters as we are very fortunate in our local schools, but it's worth it.

MerryCouthyMows Thu 31-Jan-13 01:20:41

I'm trying to rack my brains for something to praise the school for, but am drawing a blank considering my 10yo DS1 spent half the night in years because he wants to die because if the subtle and not so subtle bullying that the school point blank refuses to deal with and even blames DS1 for.

What can you find to praise in this situation : Boy repeatedly punches DS1. DS1 complains to class teacher. Class teacher tells boy to apologise. Boy sullenly mutters a half-arsed apology. Rather than insist boy apologises properly, and put in place a suitable punishment like a missed break time or two, teacher just says "whatever, it's done with now".

When DS1 complains that the boy didn't mean that apology and will just hurt him again because there was no real consequence to his bad behaviour, DS1 is put on 'red' for 'rudeness', and told he will miss tomorrow's break for being so rude.

When I said that it wasn't acceptable, and that I will be going in to talk to the school in the morning, he sighs and says "I know you are doing that because you love me, but really, what is it going to do? You've spoken to the last 4 class teachers about the way the DC's hurt me and don't get punished, when DS2 got hurt the teacher told him it wasn't bullying if it didn't happen every single day, you've tried telling the Deputy HT, you've tried telling the HT. They aren't going to do anything, I'll still miss break, and I'll still get hurt again the next day".

Try and find the fucking positives I that.

And no, I'm NOT the only parent with problems with the school. But we are short by an entire Primary school here and there IS nowhere to move them to.

I know of at least 30 parents who have written letters of complaints to the board of governors about the way the school handles bullying incidents in the last year alone.

I know of two people who have left the town altogether in order to move their DC's school.

It's hard to be positive when you have a depressed 10yo and a 9yo that is used as a punchbag because he is too disabled to run away. And you can't find them a new school despite 4 and 6 years on the waiting lists for 8 other schools.


One positive about DD's Secondary - they take the time to work with DC's (particularly from this primary, which has had an endemic bullying problem along with poor management AND outright denial by the SLT of said issue for YEARS - I've had DC's here for 8 years now, some mums have had the same issues for at least the last 11 years...) that have low self esteem caused by said bullying, and brings them out of their shells.

Their pastoral care is excellent.

Pilfette Thu 31-Jan-13 06:55:49

I asked a few months ago what would my DDs HoY prefer as a thank you for all the support she has given DD, flowers/chocs or a letter. Most people who responded said a letter as it was personal, so I wrote one and cc'd it to the Head and the Chair of Governors. Sher carries on being wonderful, so she'll be getting another one soon smile

IceNoSlice Thu 31-Jan-13 07:18:51

OP, what a lovely thread. Well done. You must find a way to thank your library smile

Couthy - oh how awful. It sounds like you are doing all you can. Would home schooling be an option? (if that is ridiculous please don't jump on me, I know nothing about this and my DC1 is only 6mo, just trying to think how I might feel in your situation).

But, back to thread- I will try to find a way this week to praise someone for a job well done. Spread the love.

FeltOverlooked Thu 31-Jan-13 07:47:39

Couthy, that is terrible. I am so sorry. The slant I was trying to take was to say thank you if they did something good, and it doesn't sound like they have. Awful way to treat kids. As I said up the thread, my DS was bulled terribly and it did take our school a while to respond. They have been excellent once they did though, but I have seen enough to imagine some of the pain you're going through.

Great that the secondary is worthy of praise - some light at the end of the tunnel.

FeltOverlooked Thu 31-Jan-13 20:31:31

Any more for any more?

SirIronBottom Fri 01-Feb-13 05:36:05

I am a big one for positive feedback - I had a really good experience in a Waterstones and told them so, and have also phoned a local taxi firm to tell them what a great service they provided for me over the year or so when I had to use them regularly. DW works on a customer service desk, so I know how bad it can get!

deXavia Fri 01-Feb-13 05:53:09

Last year my son was pretty much destroyed by his teacher - she called him stupid in front of the class, refused to help him whenhe struggled, by the end of the year labelled him with various SEN - it was a catalogue of horror stories. He was in the equivalent of Reception (rings living overseas leper bell!).

We moved him to a different stream of the same school in September and I am currently in awe of his new teacher who has not only rebuilt him but almost got him back up to speed with the rest of his class. IMO she is a saint that walks on earth! I have to hold myself back from gushing too much when I thank her.

Mynewmoniker Fri 01-Feb-13 06:10:04

Don't forget teaching assistants with your thanks. They do an awful lot of background work and as my friend was telling me the other day the teacher gets the praise when the TA has worked extreemly hard for the results.

Mosschopz Fri 01-Feb-13 06:16:54

I work on the leadership team in the area of pastoral care and attendance and see a lot of unhappy parents as a result. We got a compliment from a parent yesterday - the first I can remember in the 4 yeas I've worked there - and it made my week.sometimes parents seem to forget they have a choice of where to send their kids.

I know one thing that really irks teachers is when they return from a school trip and all the parents zoom off with their kids without a thank you. Id never dream of not saying thank you if someone had given my child the experience of a school trip out for the day!

We're ofsted rated 'good' with 'outstanding' features by the way, so we know what we do is ok!

YorkshireDeb Fri 01-Feb-13 06:23:33

Good point about the school trip mosschops. I can take 30 kids away for a weeks residential & be lucky to get one thank you. It is so lovely when you do get one. X

FeltOverlooked Fri 01-Feb-13 14:09:49

Yorkshire Deb and others, I do know what you mean about school trips.

The teacher I sent thanks about the external workshop approached me today to say how thrilled she was. She has sent my email on to the team that came in to do it. smile

deXavia, I am pleased your son is getting what he needs now. Poor wee boy.

babybarrister Fri 01-Feb-13 15:57:58

Isn't this the same with all 'service' industries - people rarely bother to pass on compliments ...

MunchkinsMumof2 Fri 01-Feb-13 16:06:00

My ds's teachers know not to open their thank you letters from us during school hours as they make them cry as we are so grateful for everything they've done for our ds (sen)

FeltOverlooked Fri 01-Feb-13 18:49:46

babybarrister - yes, you are right. I set a limited challenge but it could be opened to the whole service world.

munchkins - aaaawwwwww...

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