awful supply teacher

(28 Posts)
thatsthewayitgoes Wed 09-Mar-16 18:18:21

So amazing teacher left my year 3's class at Xmas (retired). New teacher doesn't start til after Easter. Supply teacher is dire. I've ignored most stuff but yesterday ds1 came home from school and told me he was stuck on maths. He asked supply teacher for help (this is a real big thing for him) and was told "we covered that yesterday. You should know it" and left it there. Lovely TA offered to show ds1 but supply teacher wouldn't let her.

I spoke with TA today who knew what I was going to say before I said it. She said she was going to speak to head anyway about it as she was not happy. She did this today. Head went up to my son and told him he was right to ask questions. No apologies given. He is going to speak to supply teacher.

It is parents evening tomorrow night with supply teacher. I am still livid 24 hrs on. My son does not want her teaching him tomorrow - he "hates" her.

Would I be unreasonable to speak/email headteacher before parents eve and ask for supply teacher to apologise to ds, or do I just wait until tomorrow night and have it out with her myself? If I do that, she won't apologise I'm sure tomorrow and as she's not in on Friday it'll all be "forgotten about" by Monday. I think my son deserves an apology. Getting him to school is going to be enough of a struggle tomorrow. Thoughts? X

clam Wed 09-Mar-16 18:35:41

What are you hoping to gain from demanding an apology?

thatsthewayitgoes Wed 09-Mar-16 18:42:13

I want my son to know that it shouldn't have happened. Children should be encouraged to ask for help not told off for it.

irvine101 Wed 09-Mar-16 18:44:48

I think it depends on how she meant when she said, "we covered that yesterday. You should know it". Did she mean to encourage him to think hard before he gets help, or she was just rude and couldn't be bothered to teach him again?
I can totally see some teacher saying it to my ds to encourage him to work out something without giving up easily.

teeththief Wed 09-Mar-16 19:00:39

But the head has told him it's good to ask questions and he's said he's spoken to the teacher concerned. How did you react when he told you what had happened?

Wellthen Wed 09-Mar-16 20:32:39

You're livid that a teacher got a bit irritated and gave a terse answer? Bit of an overreaction I'd say.

All children forget things of course and ultimately the teacher will have to address whatever your son was stuck on. But as a pp has said, children do need to be encouraged to think for themselves. If they did it the day before then there should be work in his book, information on display or he could chat with a friend.

Was the teacher working with another child? Had she already been disturbed several times? Had she already asked the children to be independent and not disturb her? We just dont know enough about this to know if she was unreasonable.

The TA is ENORMOUSLY unprofessional and should be being disciplined for telling a parent that she was going to complain about a colleague.

If its a big deal for your son to ask and he is now afraid to ask then definitely bring that up at parents evening. But being livid about a teacher asking a child to work independently and demanding an apology will get you nowhere.

BoGrainger Wed 09-Mar-16 20:44:43

I'm actually stunned. This must be made up. Teacher encourages independent learning. Parent livid. TA overriding teacher. HT involved. God forbid what will happen if there is a major incident.

teeththief Wed 09-Mar-16 21:01:36

God forbid what will happen if there is a major incident

A stoning or self flagellation would be the only appropriate response I'm sure

irvine101 Wed 09-Mar-16 21:06:21

We obviously don't know the background, and feel sorry for your ds.
But I can feel dislike/disrespect for the supply teacher from your OP.
I hope you don't show that to your ds. If you have a chance to speak to her, please be open minded, she may have had a good intention for what she said.

clam Wed 09-Mar-16 21:46:43

Or, he may not have been listening when she went over the instructions. Or been mucking about, and her point to him was that she/the TA wasn't (at that point) going to repeat herself if he'd missed something on account of bad behaviour.
I don't know, but this sort of thing happens in classrooms all the time, but can get missed out when a child relays events to their parent.
Agree that the TA was very unprofessional to have said what she did to you, a parent.

ThatAnneGirl Wed 09-Mar-16 21:51:03

I'm with Bo. Your reaction is completely out of proportion to the incident.

clam Wed 09-Mar-16 22:02:47

Just be aware that if the supply teacher walks out, as she is well-able to do if she is employed on a casual and temporary basis, the class will likely have no teacher at all. It's extremely difficult to find staff these days.

WombatStewForTea Thu 10-Mar-16 00:47:39

Agreed that it completely depends on the situation.
I regularly send children away to think before I help them. We use 'three bs before me' - brain, buddy, book and then boss. You'd be amazed how often children just don't bother to think! And when you're trying to work with a group it's very disrupting to be asked a question every two minutes. That doesn't mean that if they're still stuck that I won't then help. We're trying to develop independence learners!

Stars1 Thu 10-Mar-16 01:07:42

As a qualified teacher myself the supply should know that not every child understands methods first time. Children learn at all different rates and paces.

She should of been more supportive of your DS and even if she was busy addressed it in a nicer way.

I would still go to parents evening and see if anything is mentioned.

KimmySchmidtsSmile Thu 10-Mar-16 01:15:01

Blimey, have you got a hard hat OP?!
I have been a supply teacher and it can be a bloody thankless task BUT there are also a lot of supply out there that give us all a bad name. Easter is what, two weeks away? That teacher is going to walk then be placed elsewhere by the agency: sadly, even if the head puts them on a shit list and gives the agency poor feedback, the agency will still deploy them elsewhere.
I honestly cannot think of a time I would have refused to explain like that (might have said I will come to you in a minute, but not downright refusal and I love TAs. Would have bitten her hand off for the extra help not said no.confused).
But...you sound raging: I would go to p/eve tomorrow and sit as quietly as possible whilst she does her spiel, not interrupting or going in guns blazing, just sit and wait for her to finish then ask her whether she thinks it is good practise to not give explanations when needed. But hear her out first: if she is a flake/trying to cover her arse/ bullshitting, you will see that straight off and your non-verbal frostiness will mean she ties herself in knots. If you go in there raging, you give her the upper hand.
Is son with you? It will be interesting if she can name him straight away...

clam Thu 10-Mar-16 06:23:59

Stars, as a "qualified teacher," I hope that your use of "would of" is a typo.
Likewise, the following poster (on phone so can't scroll back for a name), should know that 'practise' with an s is a verb, so it should have been "good practice" with a c.

Sorry to quibble, but these things give teachers a bad name also.

cansu Thu 10-Mar-16 07:13:28

I wonder if teachers should demand apologies from children who have disrupted their lessons or sworn at them etc etc or even should parents demand apologies from parents who have shouted at them or been rude? OP you are over reacting. You have complained and the head has spoken to your son, telling him he was right to ask. I have no idea why you are still livid nor why you are encouraging your d's to get sucked into all this drama, saying he hates the teacher etc etc.

Keeptrudging Thu 10-Mar-16 07:14:42

I hear the sound of a TA who has got it in for the supply teacher. Undermining and highly unprofessional. The TA should never have spoken about the teacher to you like that. It's malicious.

As for offering to help your son, it's very likely in a busy classroom that the teacher already had a job for your TA to do, such as working with a group of children who need extra support. The tone of it (if that's exactly what happened) sounds like a child trying to get more attention when he's possibly not been listening/working when he should have been, with the TA playing 'good cop' against the nasty supply teacher.

Having had the pleasure of working with a TA who pulled stunts like this/undermined me at every turn in some wierd popularity contest with pupils and parents, I feel really sorry for the supply teacher.

Scarydinosaurs Thu 10-Mar-16 07:27:55

In the kindest way, the more you press it the worse you will make it for your son and his relationship with school.

You have stuck up for him, he knows you are on 'his side'. The cover teacher isn't going to be removed based on this one incident alone (and being generous, this could have been a comment made with a misjudgement of what would motivate your son).

The best way to move forward is to try and model good behaviour for your son: be respectful, be forgiving, be clear with your expectations and boundaries.

I really hope the parents evening goes well.

KimmySchmidtsSmile Thu 10-Mar-16 08:43:22

Waves to clam
Guilty as charged blush
Best practice
No excuse except insomnia at stupid o'clock! Am nowhere near a classroom anymore, don't worry!

AKissACuddleAndACheekyFinger Thu 10-Mar-16 09:02:21

I'm going to swim against the tide here. I don't think it's acceptable. It takes courage for children to ask questions and at they don't understand. Yes, that could possibly be because he was messing around, but surely that's academic? Deal with the behaviour, sure, but that doesn't address the knowledge gap. It isn't encouraging independent learning if no signposting to resources happens, surely? So, 'we did cover this yesterday Little Johnny. Perhaps have a read through this worksheet/use the textbook/have a look at this example and see if you can work it out.' Rather than 'we did this yesterday, you should know.' How to make a child feel inadequate in one quick step. I would also say that if the TA also feels strongly about it, rather than defending the teacher, that it is probably not an isolated episode. I'm genuinely surprised at the other answers; children don't have another opportunity to be educated and surely we need to make sure that their learning is always encouraged?

Advance apologies for any spelling mistakes. I'm not very clever!

Keeptrudging Thu 10-Mar-16 10:40:00

If the TA feels strongly about it, the correct action would have been to go to the HT, not bitch about it in the playground with a parent.

I agree re children being allowed to ask questions/ask for help, but there's a time and place. If a child is repeatedly interrupting during lesson intro, that's not fair on everyone else.

I'm presuming, by the fact the teacher & TA were both available/ in the vicinity of your son, that this happened during intro, rather than while the class were busy working. If work had been underway, I would have expected TA to be working under direction, not 'free', and likewise the teacher to be working with a targeted group/doing reading. Children need to learn to try strategies first instead of trying to grab an adult. Very difficult to tell without being there, which is why I've just made up a complete scenario grin.

AKissACuddleAndACheekyFinger Thu 10-Mar-16 11:08:25

Not my child/thread obviously, but where is there any indication that this little boy had repeatedly interrupted? The op clearly states that asking at all is a big thing for him; a supply teacher who had been there a while should be able to tell the difference between a child who rarely asks questions and therefore probably needs some support and a child who constantly interrupts for attention.

Agreed, the TA was not professional, however nicely she put her concerns but I do love a TA, over worked and underpaid in my experience so I tend to be very forgiving of them when perhaps I shouldn't be.

Hope your son gets help next time, OP.

clam Thu 10-Mar-16 20:41:57

I feel quite sorry for the supply teachers. I've had experience of schools where some parents are determined to find fault with them (along with permanent teachers new to the school), and will bitch and complain and niggle about all sorts of minor things that they wouldn't dare to bother with established staff members.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 10-Mar-16 21:41:36

Not sure clam. I think if I had a child for whom asking was a 'big thing' and they'd received this response from a teacher I wouldn't be happy regardless of whether it was a supply or permanent teacher. I'd probably give supply more slack for not knowing the class very well.

Obviously the TA shouldn't have told the OP she was going to complain but just done it without saying anything.

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