WWYD - dd very upset about art teacher

(8 Posts)
marchart Thu 14-Mar-13 15:34:29

Dd is aged 14 and in year 10 at school, doing art gcse. She has had problems concerning handing her work in on time; some due to her spending too long on each piece, and others to do with her father becoming suddenly very ill, and her visiting him in hospital every night over a period of two weeks. The main art teacher and I have kept each other updated; it has been a useful, polite set of conversations.

Yesterday I came home to dd in floods of tears. According to her, her second art teacher approached her in the lunch time queue and hurled abuse at her about her art homework being in late. This in itself was odd as the homework is due in today. Dd tried to explain this; the teacher refused to accept this, and continued to berate dd in a loud manner. She saw dd break down and cry and be comforted by her friends, and asked in a sneery tone, "oh, so you are upset, now are you?".

Dd and I spoke about this. I was shocked, dd really doesn't cry easily. As she told me what had happened, she started crying again, she was genuinely extremely upset. I wrote to the teacher, copying the head of year in, asking for a meeting. I did not go into what dd had specifically said, but I did say that the incident had made her feel that she had been shouted at, not listened to, and that she felt publicly humiliated.

The teacher emailed me back (not copying in the head of year).She "appreciated dd was very upset and I would have liked to have addressed the issue in a more polite manner" (her words). She goes on to talk about dd's work being late, and the extensions that she has been granted. She does not offer an apology at all in any way.

I have written back asking for a meeting, and am meeting her and the head tomorrow. My stance is that there are two issues here - firstly the way the teacher has treated dd and made her feel and secondly dd's work. The issues should, I feel, be dealt with seperately. I back up the school consistently and constantly (although there is little need to, dd is a hard worker and does well without my having to nag her). However, I find it difficult to do this, when a teacher has acted so unprofessionally.

According to dd, the teacher also shouted "you can fool Miss B (the main art teacher) but you can't fool me!", and has had two sets of parents complain about the way she treats their children already since September.

I want the meeting to concentrate on the teacher's actions, and the fact that this will not happen again. Am I being reasonable? Any words of wisdom for the meeting tomorrow?

cricketballs Thu 14-Mar-13 17:28:33

Whilst I am not condoning the behaviour of this teacher I do need to ask about the homework - is her father ill now?

The other issue is how you have said that she spends a long time on each piece of work; the trouble with this is that other students will see that she is allowed extra time because she doesn't work fast which isn't fair. It also means that work is backing up and she will struggle to complete the GCSE if this is sorted out now.

The teacher shouldn't have shouted like that and that is not professional and she should be called on it but if she has just fielded a lot of students moaning that your DD gets extra time so why should they hand in their homework on time then you can see why she might have snapped

LIZS Thu 14-Mar-13 17:34:04

How reliable is your dd ? Could she have perhaps been selective in what she has told you of the conversations and previous issues. Not trying to excuse the teacher if she overstepped but if the suggestion that she has still not handed work in despite deadline extensions, encouragement etc is true then maybe there is another issue to address with your dd . Perhaps the course is not as she expected and she simply made the wrong choice ?

I agree - the teacher absolutely should not have spoken to your DD like that and needs to be pulled up on it.

However, your DD needs to be able to work within the time given (parental illness excepting) or she won't be able to succeed in the exam.

3littlefrogs Thu 14-Mar-13 17:54:50

I really feel for your dd. Unfortunately some teachers forget that other things happen in life besides homework .

My nephew was yelled at and humiliated by his PE teacher for forgetting his kit. Somehow the teacher had forgotten that this poor kid's father was critically ill in intensive care that week, having been seriously ill and in and out of hospital for a year. It must have slipped his mind. DN was 11. sad

Blissx Thu 14-Mar-13 21:09:28

Very sorry to hear about her father's illness and well done for suggesting a meeting.
However, in response to 3little frogs, it's very hard to remember the personal lives of 210 + pupils each year and actually, some schools don't pass on personal information to teachers so the PE teacher may not have known. I have worked in schools where teachers get very little information as management like to keep things private, I know.
I'm guilty of raising my voice at persistent lateness, disruption, homework etc, but usually the pupil will give a reason and of course if they have an ill relative and I haven't been told, I will deal with it differently. I suppose I just want to say, of course, there are teachers who handle situations shockingly, but if I had a pound for all the times over the past 13 years, I have had a chat with a parent and it transpires DC has "embellished", I'd be rich! I hope this isn't the case with you marchart and the matter is resolved at the meeting. Let us know how you get on!

marchart Fri 15-Mar-13 11:22:11

Many thanks for all your replies.

The meeting went well. The teacher apologised completely and utterly before we had even sat down - it does seem as though my dd's version of what happened was very close to the truth, which is unfortunate. But the teacher took full responsibility and is going to apologise to dd today. The teacher said she had "completely lost it" with dd.

The issue concerning dd's work is also being addressed. She is behind, and has been with art almost since she started the GCSE. Both the teacher and I think dd is not using her time wisely; and that she could do with help and support on this. She also needs to learn to work more independently and to ask for help when needed. The school runs art clubs every lunch time and after school twice a week, and dd has not been taking as much advantage of these as she could. Dd loves art and I think is trying too hard to hand in perfect work - the teacher suggested this and I can absolutely see that.

The teacher did know dd's father has been ill, there are around 70 children in dd's school, and one of the reasons I love it so much usually is because of the fantastic pastoral care. Without going into too much detail, he collapsed in front of dd when we were out, just over a month ago, and spent just under a fortnight in hospital, some of it in ICU. He spent another night in hospital last week, his illness is long term, dd is very aware of it, and it really has impacted on us all.

I hope that the meeting I had this morning will help things move forward!

marchart Fri 15-Mar-13 11:24:22

Sorry, I meant 70 children in dd's year!!

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