Was DD punished appropriately?

(59 Posts)
IvyFoy Fri 01-Feb-13 12:34:26

My DD is in Yr2, and yesterday, she and other pupil were awarded with (much desired) Headteacher Awards in assembly. However, on the way, my DD had spied the names on the certificates and tipped the other recipicent off that he was to receive an award. This boy told teacher that my DD had pre-warned him so Teacher called her over before home time and told her that her certificate would be withdrawn until tomorrow as punishment.

DD is as good as gold and never gets told off. It took me until the early hours to prize out the story amidst inconsolable tears and nightmares. To make matters worse, it was her party after school and it was basically ruined by the days events. It's not so much about not having the award, more about the severity of the punishment that has hit her badly. She's a very sensitive child.

Spoke to TA first thing as Teacher was in meeting. Do you think I should speak to Teacher about the incident? Any teachers out there who can help?

drinkyourmilk Fri 01-Feb-13 12:35:39

I think that's harsh. She didn't do anything wrong as far as I can see.

Feenie Fri 01-Feb-13 12:39:00

(Teacher here) Awwww, that's mean. Yes, I would talk to the class teacher, that's not fair at all.

FelicityWasCold Fri 01-Feb-13 12:39:25

It took me until the early hours to prize out the story amidst inconsolable tears and nightmares.

Really? Nightmares? Because a teacher said she had to wait a day before taking her certificate home? really hmm

To make matters worse, it was her party after school and it was basically ruined by the days events.

If your daughters party was ruined by a quick telling off and not being allowed to take a certificate home (which btw is not a days worth of events, it's less than ten minutes...). Well. I'm baffled really.

Also you cannot expect school to allow her to behave however she wants just because of her after school plans- that way anarchy lies.

It's not so much about not having the award, more about the severity of the punishment that has hit her badly.

Am I missing something severity ? She'll be bringing it home tomorrow...

She's a very sensitive child.

If this is true she certainly is. How are you helping her get over this?

Catsdontcare Fri 01-Feb-13 12:39:53

Can see why the teacher was annoyed, but tbh it's the sort of thing you'd expect from a 6/7 year old. I think the teacher could have had a stern word about spoiling surprises and left it at that. She may want to consider keeping the certificates out of sight in future. There was a mistake on her part too.

Catsdontcare Fri 01-Feb-13 12:41:19

I do agree with felicity though that it's not something to ruin a party over and I think I would leave it now as speaking to the teacher over dramatises it more.

perceptionreality Fri 01-Feb-13 12:43:07

I also think this is harsh. Why should anyone be punished for this? She did nothing wrong as far as I can see.

DeWe Fri 01-Feb-13 12:43:52

I would say that it's more the problem of the teacher who left it where a child can read it.

But I wouldn't call it an especially severe punishment. If they'd said she wasn't going to get it after all, yes, complain, but to hold it to tomorrow isn't that bad.
For what it's worth, the other little boy might have been upset to be told before. For one of mine, it was the anticipation and the surprise when she got it was at least part of the excitement of receiving it. The other one would have been the one telling wink

I might point out that if they want to keep things like that a secret then they do need to keep them in an envelope or something.
One of mine was renowned for reading stuff off teacher's desks and stuff, occasionally confidential. blush Luckily she's quite a descrete child and didn't usually tell anyone except me.
And yesterday ds came out in tears, and the TA came and told me rather embarrassed that he'd read something he shouldn't have seen, and discovered that something he was looking forward to was cancelled. In these things it was definitely seen as the issue was with the school, not with him for reading them.

Pancakeflipper Fri 01-Feb-13 12:45:32

I think the punishment was a little OTT and your DD's reaction was rather OTT. I know she is sensitive but I think you might need to help her to learn to brush somethings off in life.

evertonmint Fri 01-Feb-13 12:50:45

Felicity - I would have probably reacted like that as a 7yo. I hated being told off more than anything, esp when I was in the wrong so knew i'd messed up, and would be inconsolable. I'm better as an adult but still feel sick when I do something minor like that! A big part of it for me was very high expectations of behaviour and standards from my dad. He wouldn't punish me but his disappointment would be clear and I hated disappointing him. It's taken me a long time to understand that, and I still struggle with disappointing people now over minor things.

OP - teacher might have been a bit harsh, but I don't think any good comes of asking about this. The certificate will still be awarded to your DD. Celebrate that with her and move on. If you dwell on it you will probably make her more upset. She needs to just move on. You might also want to consider why she is so sensitive about telling off, in case it's something about how you handle it. She may just be sensitive, but maybe she hates disappointing her parents like I did, maybe she is picking up on the standards you set for her? In which case definitely don't dwell or make a big deal of it as that will make it worse for her. I'm not saying that is it, but I now know that is why I reacted so badly to being told off and why I was sensitive.

AmberSocks Fri 01-Feb-13 13:00:04


she is what,6 or 7?

I would be asking them to apologize to her actually.Its their own bloody fault they should of made sure no one could see.

wheresthebeach Fri 01-Feb-13 13:14:00

I think its mean of the teacher. At the same time teaching your DD to move on and enjoy an event rather than let a telling off ruin everything sounds like a priority to me!

Floggingmolly Fri 01-Feb-13 13:32:28

The teacher was just making a point, fgs! Inconsolable tears and nightmares, plus her party being "ruined" because she had to wait a day for her certificate makes her sound like a right prima donna, tbh.

plainjayne123 Fri 01-Feb-13 13:54:53

These things are very important to young children, my dd would also have been devastated and the punishment was mean and vindictive

Startail Fri 01-Feb-13 13:55:25

She's a year two
In my experience getting very upset at perceived unfairness by adults or other DCs is very common at that age.

Y1 and Y2s have a very black and white view of the world and a very clear interpretation of the rules.

They also find accepting being told off very difficult, many DCs that age will still lie to get out of trouble, when there is no possibility of success.

OPs DD got an unexpected punishment for a non crime at home time after a nice day, when excited about her party.

My DD2 would have been very upset too!

DD1 would have shrugged and thought Miss is clearly having a bad day, but DD1 was born understanding that adults have feelings and are sometimes just as illogical as children.

Most DCs don't totally get this until Y5 or later.

lljkk Fri 01-Feb-13 13:58:21

It's unfair but as an aside... I do feel so envy envy of people whose DC are that upset by a minor telling off / punishment. They must be so easy to reason with and persuade to cooperate with you

DoctorAnge Fri 01-Feb-13 14:01:11

poor girl, that is very harsh, quite spiteful actually.

LadyBigtoes Fri 01-Feb-13 14:08:55

What is wrong with some teachers!? I just don't get why this is seen as bad behaviour of any kind. Yes, the DD sounds sensitive and the punishment is not that bad, but why punish at all? Because of the certificates being visible, she knew about it ahead of time anyway. All she did was tell the other boy, who blabbed to the teacher. If I was that teacher, I would have said "REALLY? She's even cleverer than I thought!" or some such and laughed it off.

And all over an award that presumably is about her achievements and/or good conduct in general. hmm Way to ruin it!

I would probably mention it to the teacher informally and say how very upset DD was and how you're not sure why what she did was wrong. I would try to be gentle and calm about it and hopefully help the teacher to see they don't have to be mean with a child like your DD to get good behaviour from them.

Lostonthemoors Fri 01-Feb-13 14:12:27

I can totally see why she was upset:

Presumably she was bursting with pride at getting the certificate and running out of school with it to show her mum and dad.

She excitedly told her classmate he was getting an award too, seeing nothing wrong in this.

She had a lovely assembly and was so happy.

Then everything crashed down when from feeling appreciated and praised she was unexpectedly told she had done something wrong and wasn't allowed to take her certificate home.

I used to be a brownie leader and would never have done anything like this. Teacher is either mean, or was having a bad day.

I would:

Tell dd you understand why she was upset

Try to explain why teacher was cross - was meant to be a surprise, shouldn't tell surprises or look at things only meant for teacher's eyes

Tell her it doesn't spoil your pride in her getting the certificate and she should be very proud of it

Maybe arrange a call/visit to doting family member who can coo over certificate?

Don't bother speaking to the school unless she's still upset over the weekend or they mention it again

trinity0097 Fri 01-Feb-13 14:38:52

I personally think that this is totally appropriate. Young children have to learn that they have to respect the belongings of adults, and that it is not appropriate to find things out before the time (fast forward a few years, would it be OK for the child to sneak a peek at their GCSE exams before they do them?). Children get told off at school if they do things that are not acceptable. Some children don't do 'bad' things often and get more upset at being told off and having a consequence than the actual event if that makes sense. The child in question was probably upset etc most because they realised that they did something bad and had a consequence and was upset with themselves.

Owzat Fri 01-Feb-13 14:41:11

Agree with lostonthemoors.

Very harsh, and such a shame as she did nothing wrong.

I wouldn't talk to the school, but I would try to encourage your daughter to place less value on rewards / punishments, afterall they say more about the teacher and the school than they do about the children. Being appreciated by loved ones is much more important than being noticed at school. smile

I feel for your DD.

My DS1 (8) is a bit of a goody goody, and on the very rare occasion he has been told off, he does find it incredibly upsetting. eg he went to friend's house and parents' room had just been decorated, and the children got muck on the walls. My friend was cross and got all children out of the bedroom, but didn't overreact....fast forward a couple of weeks and he was invited round again. cue massive paddy...was worried he would get in trouble again.

DS2 (6) wouldn't have been that bothered at all. In fact I think he was there that day too.

I think the teacher overreacted totally. A quiet word afterwards saying that it was meant to be a surprise etc would have ben more appropriate.

Not sure that you shoudl say anything though - I suppose it depends on how your DD calms down.

NutellaNutter Fri 01-Feb-13 14:51:31

I also think the punishment was overly harsh. Something like that would utterly crush a sensitive and anxious child. I can't believe the people here saying she should just 'man up'. She's a little girl FFS. Anxious children need to be treated with kindness. Bully for you if you or your own children aren't anxious. I was a very anxious child and actually lost patches of my hair when I was doing the 11+, and on other occasions wouldn't be able to eat if I was really worried about something.

I'm sure she wouldn't have had any idea that what she was doing could be construed as bad. I definitely think you should have a word with the teacher. The teacher needs to have a reassuring chat with her and tell her she's not in the bad books or anything. Let us know how it goes!

momb Fri 01-Feb-13 14:55:38

I can understand her being upset and keeping it from you if she was ashamed of getting in trouble but how you handle the incident now will go a long way to making her able to handle the next telling off better.
Don't minimise it, just tell her that the teacher has dealt with it and now she has her certtificate you can celebrate and forget all about the upset, as long as she remembers the lesson about not telling secrets/spoiling surprises. Congratulations on her certificate, She must be very pleased.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 01-Feb-13 14:55:43

hmm at 'not appropriate to find things out before the time' - maybe the adult should be punished for 'carelessly revealing information ahead of time'?

Poor kid, unless there is an actual rule that your daughter knew about and broke, that head sounds like he is majorly over-reacting. I would complain.

whiteflame Fri 01-Feb-13 15:49:39

I think this is harsh - it has basically cast a gloom over her prize, which she presumably worked hard for. If there was going to be some kind of punishment/telling off, it should have been unrelated to her prize.

Did your DD see her name and the other DCs name? If so, you can point out that the teacher should also leave her own certificate at school for the night, because she ruined your DDs surprise by not being careful with them wink

Floggingmolly Fri 01-Feb-13 16:37:27

If the child had sneaked a look at the SAT's results, or some other class test scores and decided to broadcast these to all and sundry ahead of the teacher, would that be appropriate?
The fact that it was a celebratory thing doesn't make it ok.

pooka Fri 01-Feb-13 16:57:09

I think it was appropriate.

Euphemia Fri 01-Feb-13 17:04:33

I teach that age group and I think the teacher's reaction is disproportionate.

The child did something perfectly natural - not appropriate in the circumstances, but not out of naughtiness. She was nosey, and unable to keep a secret. Perfectly normal at that age.

I would have had a word with her about not looking at things on my desk, and about how the surprise was part of the excitement of being awarded a certificate, and how she had spoiled that. I would ask her to promise not to do something like that again.

No way I would have denied her the opportunity to get her certificate with everyone else.

Bunnyjo Fri 01-Feb-13 18:46:17

My DD is 5 and in Yr1. She is a sensitive soul and very much a goody-goody and, if something similar happened to her, she would be equally inconsolable. I think the punishment was very disproportionate; she was doing something perfectly natural, especially given her age.

Hope your DD got her certificate today and is much happier.

Narked Fri 01-Feb-13 18:52:11

If she'd found out by snooping - opening a book she shouldn't have been touching and reading the name - I could understand it. As it is, I am really confused as to what she was punished for. I'd want to go in and ask the teacher exactly what she did wrong.

Narked Fri 01-Feb-13 18:53:08

WhatI mean is that she didn't go out of her way to see it. It was in plain sight.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 01-Feb-13 18:57:01

Is she nosey? Is it the last in a long line of MYOB type incidents?

My DC1 is nosey and I can see this happening with her tbh, teacher at the end of her tether from sayin 'MYOB' 100 times a day.

If it was a one off and she saw them without snooping then yes it was a bit harsh.

Your DD's reaction was so masively OTT though, that I'd be more concerned about that. If any of my DCs had responded like that, I'd be posting in development/child health not education.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 01-Feb-13 18:57:55

Yes, that is what I thought too Narked - if the item was in view, how could a child NOT see their name?

Narked Fri 01-Feb-13 19:01:33

There are DC like this. It's just as normal as having those that don't particularly care about being told off. Teachers generally know which is which and the DC who are usually very well behaved tend to respond to the D word - disappointed. They want their teachers to see them as good and be pleased with them.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 01-Feb-13 19:02:44

I think it is quite common in young children that they feel upset if they perceive a punishment is unfair or don't understand why someone was angry with them, especially if they are used to pretty fair/consistent treatment and are not usually in trouble.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 01-Feb-13 19:08:40

Upset, sure, but inconsolable tears and nightmares, I assume about 10 hours after this had actually happened?!

My DC1 is a goody-goody and would have cried/been upset at the time and maybe again after school when she told me about it, but if she was inconsolable or woke up with nightmares I would worry tbh.

Rainbowinthesky Fri 01-Feb-13 21:45:33

Poor thing. I would have told the other child too!
I don't think you should speak to the teacher though. I would focus on getting your dd to be less sensitive.

ponyprincess Fri 01-Feb-13 22:49:54

But Eumphemia the OP never said that her DD was denied the chance to get the certificate in the normal way. She got the certificate as usual, but later in the day the teacher called her over and had a quiet word about the certificate being withdrawn till the next day.

I don't think I would handle it this way if I were the teacher, but even so don't think this is a harsh or severe punishment.

Euphemia Sat 02-Feb-13 03:43:59

You're quite right - I misread the OP. I still think the teacher over-reacted.

mumchat Sat 02-Feb-13 06:29:16

I can imagine how she feels. I don't think she even realised she had done anything wrong. She was just sharing excitement and good news with someone else to make them excited too. I can see that teachers may prefer it to be a surprise so teaching that by way of explanation to create an understanding of that way of seeing it - fine. Punishing the child - not fine.

I have had similar situations and just tried to explain that sometimes grown-ups make errors of judgement too sometimes. Now it has happened you do the teaching bit to gain the understanding that one assumes the teacher was trying to instil. Explain that it probably was a bit unfair to keep your certificate back but we know you've earned it and doing xyz to acheive that is fab, in fact (insert daddy, grandma, neighbour etc) was only saying the other day how they had noticed you had done xyz so well when they saw you. Then keep conversation on her acheivment not mentioning the certificate withdrawal again. Then distract with plans for tomorrow.

Wouldn't stop me feeling very niggled by what the teacher had done but would hopefully have put my child back on track.

whiteflame Sat 02-Feb-13 07:12:53

What's the big deal about it being a surprise anyway? A lot of people hate surprises, and would prefer to know in advance/savour it.

Not really the point I know.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sat 02-Feb-13 10:00:56

Yes quite whiteflame, I hate surprises personally, my own personal hell is getting called out unexpectedly!

trustissues75 Tue 05-Feb-13 11:03:07

It was a completely unfair punishment - unless of course the teacher had had a talk with the class about spoiling surprises? Your daughter did something perfectly innocent - share good news with a friend. And her reaction wasn't really over the top - children are smart and know when they are being treated arbitrarily and unfairly - which is exactly what this incident was. I'd be keeping my eyes and ears open regarding this teacher...perhaps she was just having an off day (no excuse to the over-reaction on her part though) or perhaps this is her modus operando...

trustissues75 Tue 05-Feb-13 11:10:01

Also I would be wondering about exactly how the teacher delivered the news to your DD because really...she was that ashamed about what she had done that she took hours to tell you why she was upset? (Is this normal for her?) Or did someone make her FEEL that level of shame with words, tone of voice, actions and setting in which the punishment was delivered (eg loudly in front of the whole class?) I'm not trying to shit stir..but as a child who was controlled using shame and guilt I'd wonder about this to be honest...and again keep my eyes and ears open.

GiveoverGove Wed 06-Feb-13 19:52:47

What lost on the moors said.
I'm a primary school teacher and what happened to your DD today was just mean. Children hang onto those things for ages ( I've still got my own story from when I excitedly blabbed in a similar way when I was 5!)
I'm afraid there might be no way to make this teacher see sense though as she'd lose face to back down, on the other hand she might say she's sorry she caused your DD so much upset for a trivial thing - I wouldn't bet on it though.

socharlottet Wed 06-Feb-13 21:11:34

I think you8 need to work on your DDs resilience!

Phoebe47 Fri 08-Feb-13 19:57:43

Poor little girl and what a horrid way for the teacher to have reacted. She should just have had a quiet word along the lines of "It was supposed to be a secret" if she really felt she had to say something. It was the teachers fault for not keeping the certificate in her desk drawer. Most children would have done the same thing. I think Felicity and some others are being harsh about the fact that the OP's daughter is sensitive. I teach Y2 myself and a lot of them are sensitive souls if they get told off. Making her wait a day for her certificate was truly mean. She did not do anything terrible just was excited and wanted the other child to know. What a stupid reaction from the teacher. She sounds a twat to me. It was not a punishable offence. And I bet she's the sort that sends children to get things from her desk quite regularly!

AICM Fri 08-Feb-13 22:05:45

Teacher a bit insensitive.
Child a bit sensitive.
Mother over sensitive

MareeyaDolores Sun 10-Feb-13 15:22:18

Wot AICM said.

Schools aren't set up to be fair, or sensitive to a dc's needs. They're large state-run institutions which are specifically designed to impart a work ethic, a habit of obedience and the National Curriculum.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 10-Feb-13 15:25:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MareeyaDolores Sun 10-Feb-13 15:26:18

The loveliness of many teachers who also guide and educate their pupils is a welcome bonus, but one which we (as parents) shouldn't take for granted.

OlaSparkles Sun 10-Feb-13 15:50:04

Another teacher here. Actually I'm going to go against the tide and say I don't think it is too harsh.

The teacher let your dd get her certificate. If the fact of who recipients would be was not a secret then she would have told them beforehand so your dd was aware she was doing something wrong. Your dd shouldn't have told the other little boy.
For all you know the teacher may have been waiting to give this little boy a wonderful surprise after he had worked really hard to achieve something. Some children struggle (lack of concentration, confidence etc to produce outstanding work), because your daughter 'sneaked a peek' and told him, that lovely surprise was ruined.

Your daughter does sound very sensitive but I doubt any teacher could predict inconsolable tears, nightmares and the ruining of a birthday party because of a rightful and mild telling off.
I think the teacher needn't have kept the certificate but it was hardly corporal punishment.

What are you hoping to achieve by talking to the teacher if you have already spoken to the TA who will have alerted the teacher about your daughter's upset . I am presuming you wish for a personal apology from the teacher because if you wanted to let them know how sensitive your dd is, you have already done that...

whiteflame Mon 11-Feb-13 09:17:10

But Ola, what about the OP DDs surprise? If she did ruin the other child's surprise, the teacher ruined her surprise by leaving the certificates lying about. So a bit rich to punish the child for something she was equally guilty of.

Loa Mon 11-Feb-13 10:38:11

Mine would over react like this and it would be mentioned for ages afterwards- but their teachers - well all bar one - have grasped that very quickly.

I remember being constantly told in my childhood to be 'less sensitive' - never helped me. It wasn't till late 20s I learnt to brush things off more.

My DC teacher's have all said it’s just their personalities - anxious and eager to please and little bit perfectionist and they all say how lovely the DC are and this is little we can do to change this it's more managing it.

OP I’m not sure speaking to the teacher will help though – you’ve spoken to the TA but either the teacher knows how to handle your DC and had a bad day or whatever you say probably won’t impact – well that was my experience and I had a very unhappy DC and stressful year over tiny easily avoided or rectifiable things again and again.

Just make a huge fuss of her when she brings the certificate home.

RedHelenB Tue 12-Feb-13 09:20:59

Are we sure it was left lying about? Maybe OP's daughter is a busy body in class & this was the final straw?

housepiglet Tue 12-Feb-13 14:23:40

FWIW, I also think it was unnecessarily harsh of the teacher to withdraw the certificate overnight.

OP said her little girl is normally as good as gold at school, and never told off, so I'm not sure why some people are apparently so keen to suggest that she's (for instance), "a busy body in class & this was the final straw?" Unless we assume that OP is lying, and why on earth should we/she do that? Sometimes teachers do get it wrong, and it sounds as though this is one of those occasions.

Teachers can be spiteful. Although I'm now in my 50s, I still remember the occasion when my primary school teacher didn't allow me to join in the clay modelling class with all the rest of the (7 year old) children, because I'd been so excited that I'd had the audacity to touch (yes, just touch) the clay while we said the pre-lesson prayer. Injustice/disproportionate punishments do rankle, and a sensitive child will be upset. It sounds to me as though OP's little girl, who normally tries very hard to please, felt humiliated and embarrasssed, which is why she was so upset.

As for MareeyaDolores's contribution:

"Wot AICM said.

Schools aren't set up to be fair, or sensitive to a dc's needs. They're large state-run institutions which are specifically designed to impart a work ethic, a habit of obedience and the National Curriculum."

Thank goodness no child of mine has been taught by anybody with that sort of attitude. Fairness and sensitivity should be part fundamental to any good teacher's approach.

RedHelenB Tue 12-Feb-13 15:06:55

|Just the point that as no one was there it is hard to judge.

RedHelenB Tue 12-Feb-13 15:08:13

And no child can be 100% good in class - as you point out, there are temptations to be other than good all the time!!!

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