"You need to be less ignorant"

(66 Posts)
GooseyLoosey Mon 08-Jul-13 10:38:42

Help me get some perspective on a teacher saying this to my 9 year old dd.

Dd told the teacher an exciting fact she had just discovered, teacher said "that's not right". Dd replied "I'm sure it is - I just read it in XYZ book". Teacher said "You're wrong. You need to be less ignorant".

Aside from the fact that dd was infact quite right, how bad do you think this comment is from a teacher?

maja00 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:43:47

What do you think the teacher meant then?

MrsBodger Mon 08-Jul-13 13:44:55

No you're right not to let your dd take the book in. But I do think you should - it makes your point but without being confrontational. Unless you want to be confrontational?

Lancelottie Mon 08-Jul-13 13:46:30

Could she have misheard the teacher, as it does seem a really odd word to pick?

If this had been DS correcting a teacher at that age, the phrase in question would probably have been 'need to be less impudent'...

Yes, plenty of people currently seem to use 'ignorant' to mean 'rude'. Odd, isn't it?

WhatWillSantaBring Mon 08-Jul-13 13:48:27

What the teacher could have said is "you need to be less trusting of what you read" - which is a true and valuable lesson. Books, the internet and EVEN TEACHERS get it wrong sometimes. << I'm looking at you, Mr Weiss, even if it was in 1988>>

Its an important lesson to learn (particularly the bit about teachers). Also important to learn is how to respond when people in authority (e.g. teachers) get it wrong.

But I don't think what your DD's teacher said was particularly pleasant or constructive, and is probably worth your DD writing an essay for the teacher with some other sources to back up why she is in the right, and the teacher was "ignorant"!! <<disclaimer: don't follow my advice. I'm a smart arse and constantly got told off by teachers for being one>>

juule Mon 08-Jul-13 13:50:43

Had your dd interrupted the teacher when telling her the fact?
Did the teacher think your dd was ignorant (bad-mannered) for interrupting?
Something like that?
What was the conversation before and after what you describe?

maja00 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:52:09

Yes, maybe the teacher thinks ignorant means rude or bad-mannered? I've seen people use ignorant to mean literally someone was ignoring them.

GooseyLoosey Mon 08-Jul-13 13:53:35

It's interesting to get other perspectives. To me, this sounds like a really quite horrible thing to say but I guess that is because it is simply not a word that I would use. To others, it seems not to be so bad.

If the word was being used to mean "rude", I still don't think what was said was appropriate because it is not rude to maintain what you know to be correct. I would do that as an adult and the context here was not contradicting the teacher in a lesson, but a casual comment on a school trip.

GooseyLoosey Mon 08-Jul-13 13:54:50

No - dd didn't interupt the teacher. Dd started the conversation by telling the teacher her interesting fact. The teacher then told dd she was wrong.

WhatWillSantaBring Mon 08-Jul-13 13:55:04

x-posts with goosey and mrsbodger - its a tricky one, because it still annoys me to this day that I let myself be bullied by an ignorant teacher, and I believe it is important to learn how to challenge people in positions of authority when you have a reasonable and honestly held belief that they're wrong. Problem is, I've never learnt how to do this without pissing that person off.

Perhaps DD could ask the teacher (in private) to explain in more detail how the teacher can be right and the book wrong. Its a legitimate question to ask. Maybe the book is wrong? There is a lesson for your DD to learn (and the teacher should pick up on this) on the veracity of different sources, and how even multiple sources doesnt' make something correct.

maja00 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:58:05

I don't think anyone is disagreeing that it wasn't a nice thing to say (and it doesn't even make much sense in the context) but it's probably not worth making a fuss about. I'd agree with your DD privately that teachers aren't always right but also help her to let it go.

GooseyLoosey Mon 08-Jul-13 14:00:15

I still remember being told I was wrong once at school - more than 30 years ago. It still needles me as I most definitely was not wrong. I think that may be part of the reason I feel a need to actively support dd here.

Dd is absolutely right in what she said. The teacher responded with a commonly held, but totally inaccurate misconception. No problem with that, but I don't like the complete refusal to acknowledge that dd could be right and calling her ignorant when she insisted that she was.

angusandelspethsthistlewhistle Mon 08-Jul-13 14:02:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GooseyLoosey Mon 08-Jul-13 14:07:09

Not sure where they are from, but I agree that used in this context it means more than a lack of knowledge. It is the only way it makes sense. However, I think that that makes it even worse. How can it be rude to say that you are sure you are right? I certainly would as an adult and would not simply accept someone giving me the correct information. Can it really be the case that we expect children to do that? I do accept that in some contexts discretion is the better part of valour, but not when it is chit chat on a school trip.

maja00 Mon 08-Jul-13 14:11:39

I would sometimes just let it go if someone was wrong - my boss or my MIL maybe. It's not a bad lesson to learn that sometimes to smooth social interactions it isn't appropriate to insist that you are right about something (or that being right isn't always the most important thing).

GooseyLoosey Mon 08-Jul-13 14:16:51

I see what you are saying - not really thought of it in those terms. However, I do think that because dd had no choice but to let it go as the teacher is in a position of authority, it puts a greater obligation on the teacher not to abuse that position by insisting they are right and then insulting the child.

Lancelottie Mon 08-Jul-13 14:25:22

How do you find this teacher generally? DD had one who was such a bloody disaster that eventually I complained to the school (amongst other things, she would slap down interesting things the children brought up as 'wrong and stupid', and scold them for cheek if they argued).

Another would sometimes tell the children that they'd got something wrong, but if they could argue their case, she would admit it with good grace and say 'how interesting, people must have done more research since I last looked it up!'

GooseyLoosey Mon 08-Jul-13 14:45:01

Think this teacher is a bit like that. It is actually the music teacher rather than a general classroom teacher. Dd is not at all musical so I wonder if there is some background there.

adeucalione Mon 08-Jul-13 15:39:24

I also think it's an odd choice of word in that context.

Might she have said 'arrogant' if your DD was being a bit showy offy?

Or something like 'we seem to be ignorant of the facts here', which would make more sense.

If the conversation was exactly as your DD described then it is an unpleasant way to talk to a child and I would make time to talk to the teacher about it.

PickleFish Mon 08-Jul-13 17:33:10

my first thought was 'arrogant', too. Not sure I'd like a teacher saying it to a child in quite that way, though, but it might have been that she had a point - some children can be really smart-alecky, get one over on the teacher, prove them wrong, make them look stupid, etc, and they can have a certain tone in their voice that conveys that. Not that your daughter necessarily did, of course, but maybe something made the teacher think that she might, just in the way she said it, or based on some history of their interactions, or poor word choice on your daughter's part, or whatever. Or the teacher had had loads of people doing similar already, and one more potential interaction like that was just enough to tip her over the edge?

I once had a teacher who was talking about the word 'miscellaneous' and how we could write it on our jotters, though she would have to think about how to spell it. I piped up "I'll tell you how to spell it" - when what I meant was 'I'll go look it up in the dictionary for you, in order to be helpful'. I got seriously snapped at, with the teacher clearly thinking I was trying to show I was cleverer than she was, etc. I wasn't intending that at all!! As it happens, I was an excellent speller for my age, and probably could have spelled some word she didn't know, but I really truly wasn't trying to show off at all. I can see now, though, how it sounded like it - and in several other situations, where I might well have known more than someone, but didn't express it in a way that made it clear I was still deferring to them in some way. That can be an important lesson for children to learn, especially those who do know lots of weird/random things that someone else might now - how to put that across without pissing the other person off, however 'right' you might be. Learning to let someone 'save face', if you will, or just respecting their feelings. I was too enthusiastic about wanting to share things I knew!

Lancelottie Mon 08-Jul-13 17:37:56

PickleFish, DD has just had on her school report 'Best to let your new teachers get to know you before you start pulling them up on their spelling mistakes'.

I think we have some Emotional Literacy work to do over the summer. Far more use than spelling practice, in her case.

cansu Mon 08-Jul-13 19:12:26

Maybe she is confusing it with rude or know it all. Perhaps the way your dd spoke to the teacher seemed rude and that is the reason for the response? I would not however be wasting this much energy on this. Speaking to the head is overkill to me.

Notcontent Mon 08-Jul-13 23:19:00

I agree that the teacher must have meant "arrogant" - which is a pretty nasty thing to say to a child anyway...
But proves that the teacher is in fact ignorant!
I have noticed that lots of people, for some strange reason, use the word ignorant when they mean arrogant...

Clary Mon 08-Jul-13 23:30:23

Where are you OP? Where I am from (east mids) "ignorant" means sort of rude rather than knowing nothing.

As in "Not inviting me to the barbecue was a bit ignorant." Mind you I am not sure it helps, still a bit brusque of the teacher, but maybe they felt yr DD was being rude/pushy??? clutching at straws here.

Can I add tho that sometimes as a teacher you open your mouth and wish you hadn't? Or I do anyway. I told a reasonably bright 13yo the other day who didn't now what the word "excursion" meant that they should read a greater more different books which was perhaps a bit rude of me.

Clary Mon 08-Jul-13 23:30:55

Oh sorry I see lots of other people have said the same thing!

colditz Mon 08-Jul-13 23:34:01

The point of going to school is to become less ignorant, and it is the teachers job to ensure this. If she has ignorant children in her class, she's not doing her job.

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