what exactly do they expect from me?

(65 Posts)
Hattifattner Thu 07-Mar-13 10:13:23

A toss up between here and AIBU....allow me to rant a little.

Two lots of parents evenings in the last couple of weeks. Ive spent most of the evening listening to the teachers moaning about my sons being chatterboxes. you get a small slot to discuss your child, they are invariably running late, so its all rushed, and they spend 8 out of the allocated 10 minutes telling you that your child talks too much.

I actually stopped Teacher 1 yesterday, and said "Well, Ok, now lets talk about how he is actually doing academically"

The other child is in seniors, and by the 4th teacher, I said, "Hello, Im Xs mum, just so we are clear, I accept that he is chatty and a bit giddy, but what I actually want to hear is how he is doing in History/math/english."

AIBU to actually want to hear about things I can control and assist in? Surely chatty behavior in class is the teachers issue, not mine - if she's told him 10 times a day not to chat, does she really think that one word from me is going to stop it?

Ive also had a call from a subject teacher of DS1s about him giggling in class (he is a young 13) and could I punish him at home. This is after he has given my son detention. Again, if the teacher has no control over a bunch of teen boys, is that really my issue? Im at a loss as to what they expect me to do. I think if my son has had a detention, and I have supported the school in that decision, I shouldnt then be taking my childs phone/games controller/pocket money away from him as a second punishment?

I really want to be supportive of the school, but honestly, Im sick of it.

Last night the teacher actually said my youngest was very bright and clearly gets what is needed on the first explanation, but then "gets really excited about the work and starts chatting..." - and somehow, Im supposed to deal with this? SUrely a child who is excited about his work is a good thing? ANd if he is chatting in class, she needs to deal with that, as teachers have done since forever.

Grrr.

To make matters worse, what I actually wanted to explore was the fact that my son is showing many signs of being dyslexic and I want to know how they will support him and whether I need to get things in place now for when he goes to secondary school. But no, we had 8 minutes on how chatty he was.

DO they not teach behaviour management is teacher training college?

5madthings Thu 07-Mar-13 10:59:59

Fgs if your children are being chatty and disruptive at school you back the school up and come up with strategies to sort it out.

My ds2 had issues at school re behaviour and you are dam right i backed the school up even when it meant going in everyday to see how he had behaved and yes i folowed that through with consequences at home.

I have a young 13 yr old as well. Aug bday so youngest in the yr and by 13 they should bloody well know to pipe down and get on with their work at school!

And re evidence if ALL of their teachers are complaining about them.being 'chatty' then i would say its fairly conclusive that they are indeed chatty.

Pozzled Thu 07-Mar-13 11:00:59

You need scientific evidence to decide whether a child is behaving? As opposed to the opinion of the professional who wants that child to achieve to the best of their potential?

The tone of your earlier post made it sound as if some of us want the teacher and parent to gang up and pass judgement on the child. This is absolutely not how I see it. For me it is a team effort where all 3 members (ie parent, child, teacher) need to work together. The child should be involved in discussions, and be able to put their view across. But they also need to see that the parent will work with and support the teacher because they both want to achieve the same thing.

Pozzled Thu 07-Mar-13 11:02:41

Sorry, that last post was addressed to lands.

mummytime Thu 07-Mar-13 11:02:54

In both cases I would phone the school and ask for an appointment with the SENCO.

If it is a bad enough problem that a teacher phones you at home because your son is "giggling" then there seems to be a real problem; secondary school teachers do not phone parents willy-nilly.

By getting the SENCO involved you are acknowledging there is a problem, but also forcing teachers to be more specific, and starting the process towards any diagnosis for underlying issues.

"And that it really isn't within the teacher's remit to teach your child the manners you seem to have failed to teach them yourself." Is a totally unhelpful remark, on the lines of lets just "blame the mother". I have no idea what I could do to stop my children being chatty/or giggling in class, other than a quick word. If the problem is such it is mentioned by all the teachers like this, then I don't think a quick word is going to solve it.

(Could be that they are bored BTW.)

Hattifattner Thu 07-Mar-13 11:03:55

Yes, you are probably right, my kids are chatterers, they enjoy school, they like their work. Crap parenting right there, clearly.

We do support the school, we do speak to our kids about appropriate behaviour, we do also invoke punishments at home for the big important stuff - we have made a huge effort to be supportive with No 1 child, and got the behaviour under control by following a "more carrot, less stick" approach - because if you put a kid in detention every day for 2 weeks and the behaviour continues, then clearly the punishment is not working and you have to look and do something different. So him getting off report and having 2 weeks straight without any detentions earned him a reward.

I get that discipline in class is important - believe me, I do understand this. And I get that the teachers need our support in dealing with the behaviour.

But surely to God there are more important things to worry about a childs' education that whether or not he chatting. Like for example his spelling is in the lowest 10% and he is still reversing letters and he can't decode words.

I also get that its annoying and disruptive, but again, I have to ask what a teacher would expect from me......I can and do talk to my kids, I can and do stress how important it is, I can and do reinforce behaviour at home. But I cannot sit in the classroom everyday. That's her job.

Also, while with older child I am having an ongoing dialogue with the school and working cooperatively with them to bring DS1s behaviour into line, WIth child No 2, last night was out of the blue 8 minute rant about his chatting. "Its not malicious..", "its not intended to disrupt, but..." rant rant rant.

How hard would it have been to catch me in the playground and tell me "could you have a word?" Or write me a note?

I guess my problem is that my concerns about his actual education (reading, writing, arithmetic type stuff) were pushed to one side so the teacher could have a moan. A valid moan it may have been, but clearly our expectations about the purpose of parents evenings differed significantly.

Acinonyx Thu 07-Mar-13 11:05:20

Absolutely agree Pozzled. It's actually quite alarming to think that a lot of parents basically wash their hands of their dc's behaviour when they are not physically present.

I'm working on this with my own dd. Looking at her school books, there are often rather blank pages where she has been chatting and I think her relatively quiet form of chatting goes under the radar most of the time. As both an ex-teacher and a parent this is highly undesirable. Don't you care that they are missing school work due to their own behaviour?

In an ideal world both parents and teachers would be able to discipline all children perfectly. Since that is clearly not the world most of us live in - we have to team together to do the best we can.

learnandsay Thu 07-Mar-13 11:07:30

In the long term I quite agree with you, pozzled. If I knew damn well that my child was a pain in the butt in school and one of the ones who disrespected the teacher, talked while the teacher was talking and threw things around the classroom I'd expect him or her to be disciplined in school. But I would also demonstrate to him or her that this type of behaviour was unacceptable and inadvisable. I'd do that by taking him or her to meet people who have done badly at school and who work with such people. If the teacher and the school can't organise their own discipline then neither can I. But I can bring my children up well in general.

Acinonyx Thu 07-Mar-13 11:07:57

Hatt - I agree that this should have been discussed earlier. I myself was a terrible chatterer at school - and that's partly why I want to discourage it - I so know whereof I speak!

tiggytape Thu 07-Mar-13 11:09:01

if the teacher has no control over a bunch of teen boys, is that really my issue?

The answer partly is yes. You do need to back up the school and, whilst you are not there in the classroom at the time, both DSs need to know that you find this unacceptable. Teachers have very few sanctions to use if detentions don't work and do have to sometimes rely on parents enforcing sanctions that they cannot at home.

I think though from the tone of your OP that you don't find it as unacceptable as the teacher. Perhaps she has not explained how disruptive this constant chatting and giggling through a lesson can be - and it must be bad to dominate 80% of parents' evening. You seem much more focused on how they are doing academically without perhaps realising that the reason the teacher emphasises the behaviour so much is that it will hamper their academic achievement (and that of the rest of the class too). They may both be able enough to wing it at the moment but at some stage, they are going to need to learn to concentrate and behave in order to be able to do the work and at that point could come unstuck.

If you believe unsupported additional needs are at the heart of one or both boys problems then you need to seek help from the school with this. But if you believe they are both just quite young and naturally chatty types, you do need to think how you can help the school get this in check.

Pozzled Thu 07-Mar-13 11:13:46

Well if you are doing the things I listed above (and it sounds like you are) then I agree that there's not a great deal more you can do.

I also thoroughly agree that the issues with your son's literacy need to be looked at in more detail- how old is he? (Sorry if you've said and I've missed it). I would make an appointment to see the senco to discuss the specific issues.

Do you think that the teachers feel that the chattiness is responsible for the other issues? If so, that might explain why they are focusing on it so much.

cloudpuff Thu 07-Mar-13 11:14:16

Do you think that maybe your son has difficulty decoding etc because of the chatting instead of listening? A little bit of chatter is one thing but it sounds like its much more than this and the chatting is probably disrupting lessons above usual level for everyone. I do agree that it should have been discussed with you earlier.

learnandsay Thu 07-Mar-13 11:14:37

OP, how old is your youngest son and why do you believe he is still unable to decode?

pinkdelight Thu 07-Mar-13 11:19:31

"Well, the level of evidence being discussed here isn't exactly scientific. Is it?"

I'm really not following now. It's not a court case. It's not about evidence. The kids are playing up. OP knows they're playing up. No suggestion that the schools are making this up. Crikey, must drive teachers crackers when simple pleas for parental support become matters for scientific evidence!

Hattifattner Thu 07-Mar-13 11:28:16

He is 10. We know that he has issues visually processing data - had him tested last year, found his visual spacial awareness is that of a 4 year old, cannot see that a letter or number is back to front or even upside down without using a motor skill to confirm - so he writes the letter in the air to compare what he can see and what he knows to be the correct letter/number orientation. But he still gets 5, 2, 7, 9 back to front, as well as J, F and S

And yet his visual sequencing memory is that of an 18 year old. However, he copes well at school - his reading is average for his age, his writing ito content is good and imaginative, but its barely legible. He has a writing slope to help him, and we've tried a variety of pencils and grips.

His latest spelling test gave him 28%. His decoding.....for eg yesterday he wanted the Cinnamon. And picked up the Cumin. He will look at a word and as long as it has some of the right letters, he makes a guess I think. BUt im not an educator, or a dyslexia specialist. But the school seem to be taking the tack that as he is not that bad, they need not really intervene. He is on School Action for his physical writing skills, as the act of writing is very hard for him, especially copying things from the board, because he loses his place so easily.

Hes a bright and inquisitive lad with great imagination and I went in wanting to know if they thought he would be able to cope in secondary school, when there is more writing and a greater emphasis on being able to spell correctly, or whether I needed to get him fully assessed for dyslexia/dyspraxia type spectrum, so that he would be able to get more support in Senior school. I got nothing.

learnandsay Thu 07-Mar-13 11:41:09

I would raise your question in the special needs forum. It's possible your son would get no special help in secondary school either. If my son was doing that guessing thing that you talked about I would try to work out with him how he was doing his guessing and see if we couldn't improve it a bit. His cooking is never going to be much good if he keeps picking up the cumin when he's reaching for cinnamon. But if he never picks up coriander then something is going on there. The question is, what?

mummytime Thu 07-Mar-13 11:49:43

I would be very pro-active in getting him more assessments and help, and also talking to the senior school SENCO about his issues.

To be fair it is those parents whose kids get the most help a lot of the time. Make yourself a nuisance.

If he has that level of difficulty in decoding, then it is no wonder he is chatty. Either he can't cope so is chatting to relieve the boredom, or he is asking for help. (He may even be one of those kids who find it hard to think without speaking.)

Ilovesunflowers Thu 07-Mar-13 17:13:53

My goodness. You know you are being completely unreasonable surely?

Get a grip on your children and stop the poor behaviour in it's tracks. In 10 years time this won't matter a jot to the teachers but it will to you and your children.

Teachers try their best but at the end of the day they have 30 ish children to care for, look after and educate. It only takes 1 or 2 to be disruptive to make this a pretty much impossible task. BACK THE SCHOOL UP and do your job as a parent. Your attitude is extremely poor.

Ilovesunflowers Thu 07-Mar-13 17:16:45

Sorry I missed the bits about possible SN. Finding things difficult is not an excuse for poor behaviour although it does sound like more support at school will be needed. Push for this.

StuffezLaBouche Thu 07-Mar-13 17:26:13

YABU. I don't know if any teachers will empathise here, but I know I've spent a lot time telling parents about their kids' chattering. ( I always give levels and progress, too.) the reason for the chatting babble is that, to be honest, I'm trying to find a way of saying "your child is really pissing me off with their constant talking over me. It's hindering their learning and the learning of those around them."
Yes many kids are natural talkers, and it's a lovely quality fora child to be confident and articulate. However, as they go up the school, they cannot possibly give their best effort when they are talking. Their mind simply isn't engaged. This is why it's a bigger issue than you seem to think.

mrz Thu 07-Mar-13 17:32:34

But surely to God there are more important things to worry about a childs' education that whether or not he chatting. Like for example his spelling is in the lowest 10% and he is still reversing letters and he can't decode words.

Do you not see there may well be a link between the two?

learnandsay Thu 07-Mar-13 17:34:41

True, but equally there may be none.

Floggingmolly Thu 07-Mar-13 17:39:34

Well it would still be in the op's best interest to find out, don't you think, learn??

Hattifattner Thu 07-Mar-13 17:53:04

flogging, if the teachers repeatedly fob us of with "Oh its not that bad" because he is not in the lowest quartile of the class, what should a layman do? We spent £££ on a private behavioural optometrist report, to establish what exactly his visual processing issue was after the school noted there was a problem but did nothing to assess what it was. The report was sent to his teacher and copied to the SENCo.

The result - well they help him with handwriting, but that's it. Because he is "not that bad". But, as in the original post, I want to know if "not that bad" in juniors will become a big problem in seniors, and I was hoping that the teacher would be able to give me some guidance as to whether he would be able to use his current coping strategies effectively in senior school, or whether his particular issues might benefit from me starting the endless paper trail now that will be needed to get additional support at senior school.

sigh.

please dont assume I dont support the school in behaviour management, because I do. But in this case, I have to wonder again, "what do they expect me to do" if the first I hear of this is an 8 minute rant on parents evening. An evening that I obviously mistakenly believe to be an opportunity to discuss concerns with academic achievement as well as behaviour.

exoticfruits Thu 07-Mar-13 17:59:11

It would appear to me that the eldest could do well academically, if he applied himself and stopped chatting and that the youngest could be dyslexic, but it is difficult to tell because he might just be chatting and not applying himself. If you stop the chatting and get them to concentrate then you might find out! The teachers need back up and a partnership. They can't get very far if your DSs know that you don't take it seriously and write it off as the teachers job. Take it seriously, with a few consequences and you might be pleasantly surprised by the change.

mrz Thu 07-Mar-13 18:00:36

The teacher's concern seems to be that the chattering is having a detrimental effect on your children's progress.

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