Feel that ds is being treated rather unfairly by his teacher. Thoughts?

(37 Posts)
Rooners Fri 28-Feb-14 17:19:24

Hiya

I'm not sure what I ought to do about this situation or how unreasonable anyone is being so though I would ask here (famous last words!)

Ds is in Y6. He is a good boy generally, I mean the sort of boy who tries to appease, is fairly earnest, tries his best and is nearly always polite at school (and even at home tbh).

However he is very disorganised and he tends to fall quite a lot (dyslexia, dyspraxia - recently assessed)

All the boys play out in the playground which is all hard surface, except some surrounding muddy grassy bits they don't go on in the winter. There is surface water, muddy water everywhere.

This isn't the first time but today he got a bit muddy (I say a bit, and I mean a small amount of mud on his shirt - last time it was a huge football imprint!) and apparently his teacher really laid into him.

It wasn't deliberate and he didn't even fall. He was playing with a football, all his class were, with another teacher (the PE guy) and of course took a few hits and his shirt got some mud on it. Hardly any - when I heard this at pick up I assumed he had changed because he just looked normal to me.

They are encouraged to play football by the PE teacher and tbh I don't know how, in this climate, they can reasonably be expected to maintain a properly clean uniform during this activity.

I spoke to his teacher. She was at pains to point out that he is 'always the worst' which makes me feel as though he is being targetted somewhat. She is aware of his recent diagnosis and its relation to his personal appearance and spatial stuff such as falling over.

I pointed out that it was a difficult thing to make sure he stays clean without making him stop joining in with the game. She seems overly concerned with appearance, perhaps trying to prep them for big school next year?

But it seems very unfair. (she is the nominated sports rep for the school...!)
No conclusion was reached in this brief conversation, as to how it could be managed.

I then spoke to the PE chap who happened to be nearby, and asked him to have a word with her as I thought it inevitable the children get spattered with mud and he said he took a few hits himself today. Only thing is he's a grown up and wears a water resistant tracksuit.

Ds isn't allowed to change into sports gear for playtime. I have suggested it before.

So what do we do? I want to make more of an issue of it as he was so upset (said she really screamed at him) that he pretended to feel ill and went to sit by the office for an hour as he 'couldn't take any more'. He was in tears when he came out of school.

Well I would be hugely pissed off that the teacher made ds feel ill. I think you are well within your rights to ask her if she realised that was case? She may have not seen that or she may have and be feeling crap about it.

The actual issue - well he's yr 6 and unfortunately getting covered in mud likely won't go down well at secondary school. I think that's a failing on the part of the school system but it is what it is. As far as that goes I think both you and ds have to accept that he can't get in a muddy state at school. No power on earth will keep mud away from clothes nor a football on the ground so I think we need to be cunning. I'm guessing he doesn't want to wear a coat? What about an oversize dark colour fleece sweatshirt in lieu of a coat? he pulls that on, it gets muddy, he takes it off. Most of the mud stays on it. For the rest and his trousers what about supplying him with a travel pack of wet wipes? he could get the worst off with that and certainly ensure hand and face are clean.

BackforGood Fri 28-Feb-14 17:26:36

I think, as you have tried to speak to the teacher and got nowhere, then you probably need to speak to the HT next. Explain how upset ds was - nobody should be being 'screamed at' like that in school, whatever they've done, tbh - as one point, but also say you don't mind that he gets muddy sometimes, and, indeed are pleased that he is encouraged to play sports at break time, joining in both socially and from a health and fitness point of view, but, if there isn't time to get changed, then what are they supposed to do. You are the one doing the washing, so I don't see why it is upsetting the teacher so much.

Rooners Fri 28-Feb-14 17:27:45

Thank you Northern, I appreciate your sympathy there - wasn't sure if I was over reacting.

Poor old ds finds it very hard to remember anything so I think if I sent him with an extra fleece, he would forget to wear it - the only thing I can think to do is stop him playing football. It is a very good suggestion though so will try it out in case it works! smile

As for the rest of him, he actually asked her when they came in, if he could go and clean his hands, and that was when she screamed at him.

I think that's desperately unfair. I assume she is aware he said he felt ill, because he had to ask to go to the office - but she didn't mention this to me at all.

BackforGood Fri 28-Feb-14 17:28:10

When ds was in KS3, he would often come home with muddied trousers from playing football - it was never a problem. Thankfully he went to a school where they were pleased to see the boys out in the fresh air getting some exercise.

brettgirl2 Fri 28-Feb-14 17:28:31

Arent secondary school kids allowed to get muddy these days? I left teaching 8 years ago, but tbh I just used to make a joke about what mum was going to say when they got home.

Rooners Fri 28-Feb-14 17:30:44

Thank you Back. Yes indeed - I am used to it, he is always covered in crap at home grin and a lot worse than today's effort! She has no children. I think she is genuinely shocked at how dirty a small boy can become within an hour's break.

sad which doesn't help him.

I wonder if you are right and I should email the HT. He is a very nice guy and I think he might be on side. His teacher isn't someone I've considered a witch at all - I like her, but ds says she shows me the nice smiley side and he gets the shouting.

I'll reserve judgment but I think emailing HT might be a great idea mentioning the points you raise there.

iseenodust Fri 28-Feb-14 17:33:22

Agree totally with Backfor.

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 28-Feb-14 17:34:26

I would take a photo of the 'muddiness' today and go and see the head with it printed out to be honest.

MrsKCastle Fri 28-Feb-14 17:35:26

Eh? How utterly bizarre. I'm not entirely sure that I'd notice the level of mud that you describe. I'm sure that I wouldn't care. Not unless the school were expecting a visit from someone important (and I'm talking government level here!) OR if the mud was so bad that they needed to change their clothes- that would irritate me, if they had to go and change in lesson time.

If she really did scream, that was a massive overreaction.

cansu Fri 28-Feb-14 17:37:36

OK tbh you need to think about your ds being nearly ready to go to secondary school. You really will seem like a barm pot if you go into sec school to complain he was told off for being muddy!
1. he is old enough to cope with this by himself. if he isnt you need to start helping him to toughen up by laughing it off. He will have to deal with lots of different teachers at sec, they will not be pussy footng around him.
2. It is a non issue. Save your energy for real problems.
3. He said she really screamed at him. This is a matter of perception.
4. Many children have dyspraxia and dyslexia and manage to keep their uniform clean. Making it into a special needs issue again makes you look a bit OTT. If he is able to play football then I guess he will be able to avoid getting excessively muddy.

No doubt you will think I am harsh and wrong etc. I have a dd who has dyspraxia and sensory issues and is autistic. I try and save my energy and conversations with the teacher for the crucial stuff. I also accept that I wasnt there, nor was I in charge in the playground when she comes home with v muddy shoes etc. Privately I would rather the staff at her school ensured she didnt get muddy and ruin her uniform, but instead I accept that she is of course my top priority but is one of many at school.

MerryMarigold Fri 28-Feb-14 17:38:45

You definitely need to speak to someone. It is enough living with dyslexia/ dyspraxia from a confidence point of view. She seems to have a huge lack of empathy. I would be furious and I'm generally on the teacher's side in these kind of situations.

cansu Fri 28-Feb-14 17:40:43

FFS emailing headteacher because he was shouted at for being muddy!! Only on mumsnet!

MrsKCastle Fri 28-Feb-14 17:43:45

X-post. OP, do you think it could have been the hands that were the problem? You say he asked to go and wash them as soon as he came in- if that is a regular occurrence, and several children need to wash hands before the register, then that could actually be quite disruptive. And if they've been reminded about this previously, I can understand the annoyance. Not the screaming though- definitely unacceptable.

Of course I'm just speculating, but if I am right, the solution seems pretty obvious- PE teacher should stop the game 5 minutes before end of lunch so there's time to clean up.

I don't think the school can have it both ways.
Either the PE teacher encourages them to get active, and the school accepts a bit of mud, or the school thinks mud is unacceptable and the PE teacher stops doing outdoor ball games at playtime.

Viviennemary Fri 28-Feb-14 17:47:13

This teacher sounds like a horrendous bully. You are quite right to be absolutely furious as to the way this was handled. I'd complain to the Head.

Nojustalurker Fri 28-Feb-14 17:51:57

I am a teacher and when I saw the title of the thread I though 'here we go a gain, more teacher bashing' but in ths case I think the teacher in not acting in the best way. Your son has a disability which the school must appropriately accommodate.

cansu Fri 28-Feb-14 17:55:45

is it possible he came in for afternoon lessons and immediately asked to go out to wash his hands? Is it possible he does this regularly? is it possible he cam in noisily holding up his muddy hands and making a fuss? Perhaps he did. perhaps that annoyed the teacher. Perhaps he needs to accept that.

Rooners Fri 28-Feb-14 17:56:14

Thanks for all the replies. Given the response from Cansu I am going to walk away from this thread as it just is not worth it.

Cheers to everyone else though.

cansu Fri 28-Feb-14 17:59:01

sorry if i had known you only wanted thoughts from those who agreed with you I wouldn't have posted. Maybe you should have put that in the title.

Rooners Fri 28-Feb-14 18:04:02

That wasn't the case. People who are capable of civility perhaps but that should go without saying.

Cansu - I think you have been very harsh to a clearly stressed and concerned mum. Her child was rendered in such a state today at school that he says he felt ill. If that happened to me at work I would call it bullying - and yet because it's a child they're supposed to just suck it up?
Rooners asked in her op what she should do. She did not asked to be attacked. That's where you're out of line. I'm sure that wasn't your intention. Given your child's situation you must surely appreciate her feelings?

VeryStressedMum Fri 28-Feb-14 18:10:35

Whether he was muddy or not (and since they allow football at break times what do they expect) I would not be happy at all with making my dc feel like that.

Krindlekrax Fri 28-Feb-14 18:13:22

I think you need to accept that 'being screamed at' is a matter of perception. Your son might feel screamed at, but he is probably embarrassed that he was told if, if he's usually good, quiet and polite, and so it most likely seemed worse - to him - that it was.

I think emailing the headteacher is too far, if I'm honest. Although it is difficult to accept that he has been upset, complaining to the head of a Secondary school that your son was told off for being muddy - dyspraxia or no - will be viewed as OTT.

VeryStressedMum Fri 28-Feb-14 18:14:46

Cansu, I wonder what you'd say if one if your children was made to feel physically I'll because of how a teacher was towards them.maybe you wouldn't care that much, but I would be furious.

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