Ds2 had a bad year last year (Year 3). His teacher was a very dour, negative person who endlessly criticised him over his handwriting (he's left handed, but his writing is actually very good) and seemed to take a dislike to him. She used to make the odd, sarcastic comment and he received no housepoints at all. He was well behaved and tried very hard with his work, but she was always very down on him. She seemed to have a chip on her shoulder about something.
Ds had very few problems in Years 1 and 2 and I am wondering if what this teacher did has filtered down to his peers who have picked up on it and continued it.
The class went from being quite friendly and cooperative to being very unfriendly with a negative atmosphere last year. Some of the other kids make comments to him that sound similar to how she would speak to him.
Can a teacher influence the class to that extent? He has now become ostracised in class and we're actually moving schools now because people are hitting him.
Hi Hiddenhome, I would argue very strongly that a teachers attitudes affect the classroom environment. Teaching styles and attitudes vary greatly and all will have their own style. Year 3 can be notoriously difficult from a teacher stand point in that nationally, children always experience a dip in progress and yet, are still under pressure to make a set standard of progression. Most teachers however, are very concious of not allowing such pressures to effect their work. It sounds like this teacher has fallen into a pattern of negative behaviour management and improvement tactics. This works for few but ultimately breeds an unhealthy way of learning for the children also, ultimately a poor view of education. For the most part these tactics cripple childrens self-esteem. Be honest with the teacher concerned, they may not be aware of childrens opinions or parents. If no improvement occurs take the matter to the headteacher and if there is evidence enough the teacher can be made to attend an improving teachers course or any other number of training programmes that can give them mire tools or educate better on the positive role they should be playing. Your last port of call would be the governing body of your school and if like you say other parents notice the problem across the year group, you would do well to band together. Make contact with the school PSA if you have one. They can advise and support also, they should be able to give you an indication as to whether or not others have experienced the same issues.
Im really sorry to hear your HM was unsupportive and wish more parents in your situation would take complaints to governing bodies. It is only at this level of complaint that OFSTED sit up and take notice and therefore the headteachers decision is examined with clear critical thought by governors so as to ensure a good decision is made. Too many times long standing teachers are assumed to be too much a part of the furniture to chalkenge and this shouldnt be the case. Good luck with the new school i hope all goes well.
Hiddenhome, I believe teachers can have a profound effect on the way children view their classmates. I would like to tell you a little of my own experience with DS as I think there are parallels to your situation and I hope it might give you some heart to know that you are not alone.
By year 6, DS had already had several years of persistent insidious bullying in the form of social exclusion. His teacher that year did not warm to him and gave her time and attention to others in the class, ignoring him. I think that her attitude reinforced the pre-existing ostracism, making it almost 'state sanctioned'
Like you, I did not find talking to the Head fruitful. In my case, I was subjected to an angry rant about how wonderful the teacher was and how offended he was on her behalf that I should dare to suggest she was not treating the children equally.
DS is now at a different school and doing much better. His classmates are friendlier. However, he remains too scared to ask if others will partner him in shared activities, so convinced is he that he will be rejected.
I just wish all teachers could be aware of the extent of their influence over class social dynamics and their power to dissipate or promote, however inadvertently, bullying behaviour.