crap teacher - should I do anything?

(75 Posts)
freeezing Thu 05-Dec-13 11:00:22

Went to dd's parents evening last week, dd in year 9 and lots of comments about her being v bright but disorganised/distracted/homework late etc <sigh>

All fair enough. Except for the biology teacher. She gave me the same spiel, but prefaced it by saying that "she is a talky teacher, likes to talk a lot in class and if dd doesn't find this interesting, she shouldn't talk or distract others, but should open her book on the correct page, and read it. If she can't find her book, there is a pile at the back of the class, and dd should sit quietly and read that in class."

WTAF??! I am a teacher [in adult ed though] and I'm not saying I never do classes that involve me talking too much and ignore students who are not engaged/understand what's going on - but I certainly don't state to my pupil's parents that this is the only way I teach and if they don't like it, they can eff off and teach themselves (but quietly, mind, so they don't interrupt my flow of speech!!). angry This is something I would not admit to in public, and know I should be working on.

I'm not a massive fan of Ofsted. but any teacher who taught like this would get an immediate fail in an observation and that is as it should be. It's the teacher's job to engage the pupils, not my dd's to teach herse;lf from a book because the teacher is so boring!

Should add, it is a very academic girls' school and maybe the teaching methods are more 'traditional' and 'old-fashioned' than the average - but there are limits!

Should I complain? And if so, who to and how? Don't want to piss off all my dd's science teachers (she's not exactly flavour of the month anyway, thanks to lack of work ethic, as above) but this teacher just shocked me...

Thanks for all advice.

Mrswellyboot Thu 05-Dec-13 11:03:13

This is a hard one. The teacher sounds poor but being honest, they could throw back your dd homework issues etc.

givemeaclue Thu 05-Dec-13 11:10:52

Not seeing problem? Sounds like dd is distracting others when teacher is talkin

freeezing Thu 05-Dec-13 11:15:06

The problem is that it is the teacher's job to teach all pupils - not just the quiet ones. Yes, it's annoying if a pupil is talking in lessons and that is my dd's fault. But that does not mean the teacher is absolved of all duty to teach her.

Teachers who just talk at pupils = crap teachers.

Teachers who tell bright but disengaged pupils to shut up and read a book, rather than try to engage them = crap teachers.

That's why.

petteacher Thu 05-Dec-13 11:17:07

well, teachers are not Gods they are just humans. Like footballers there are some poor ones.

Not many Sqarez level teachers. But teachers shud not bite the pupils necks. "Eh Miss, stop it, I like it"

freeezing Thu 05-Dec-13 11:17:40

I wouldn't mind and would agree with her if she'd said dd should shut up - she should. But I don't agree that all pupils (not only my dd) are best served by a teacher whose only teaching methods is non-stop talking. This is biology, too - I'd expect practicals, visuals etc - not just talking. And it is the teacher's job to ensure all pupils are engaged - not just those (are there any?) who learn best by listening to a teacher talk at them for lesson after lesson.

freeezing Thu 05-Dec-13 11:20:09

I don't think ~I expect teachers to be superhuman. hmm I am one. I just expect them to at least make an attempt to teach all the pupils in the class, including my dd. They might not succeed every lesson, but I'd like them to at least have a go. hmm

So should I complain, and if so, who to? As I asked originally.

NigellasLeftNostril Thu 05-Dec-13 11:20:39

most schools have a few crap teachers, complaining about them will get you nowhere

freeezing Thu 05-Dec-13 11:21:50

Hmmm - that may be true. But as a teacher, as well as a parent, I was pretty horrified.

NigellasLeftNostril Thu 05-Dec-13 11:22:08

my daughter has a science teacher who does no practical work, and if one pupil says anything out of line or giggles, the whole class copies pages from a textbook for the rest of the lesson. lazy arsed teacher.

freeezing Thu 05-Dec-13 11:23:26

shock

And you haven't complained??!

NigellasLeftNostril Thu 05-Dec-13 11:31:24

no there is no point, it would reflect badly on my daughter, and nothing would change anyway.

I complained about a crap teacher (to the key stage subject coordinator) and by the next lesson the teacher had been observed, talked to and had changed her lazy methods. However, we've just had a new head who seems to be shaking things up, and we're being encouraged to complain contact the school if we have any issues.

How I phrased my email was to not back the school into a "must defend our staff" corner, but give examples of exactly what wasn't appropriate for that particular class and why. And we knew exactly what we wanted to achieve (that the teacher get a boot up the bum and actually teach the class) rather than the general "it's all dreadful, the school is so rubbish" whinging that other parents had done. Sadly for DD this now means she gets homework in that subject, but she is now actually covering the work.

I'd complain, but either to the head of that subject or the tutor (if that's how your school is set up), and be clear about what you are trying to achieve. Do you want to know why your DD is being told to sit quietly and read a book (ie have the school established that lots of talking at the DC works most efficiently), or do you want the type of lessons changed, or do you want her switched to a different teacher, that kind of thing?

Also IME you get further by asking the school how you can work with them (so "DD doesn't feel that Mrs Xs teaching style works for her, and we know that she gets distracted when she's not focused on a specific task. How can we solve this together?").

freeezing Thu 05-Dec-13 11:35:21

Great advice, thanks. Yes, you're right about focusing on why complain (sense of outrage not a good reason...) and on approaching it from point of view of how to resolve it together. There are issues - dd disengaged but I also agree it's not all the teacher's fault!

freeezing Thu 05-Dec-13 11:38:58

Nigella - there is a point - a whole class (several classes) would actually learn something in those lessons. That seems like quite a big point to me. Plus your dd would learn that her dm sticks up for her and that she doesn't need to accept crap teaching/service/etc but can challenge the status quo and improve it. The same way I don't want my dd to grow up accepting crap boyfriends or crap bosses - I want her to have the knowledge that you can challenge these things and shouldn't have to just 'put up with' them.

NigellasLeftNostril Thu 05-Dec-13 11:43:37

"Plus your dd would learn that her dm sticks up for her and that she doesn't need to accept crap teaching"
I always fight my children's corner and do not really like the suggestion that I don't tbh - however last time I complained about her engineering teacher (for sexism) the HOY came to find my daughter and shouted at her for 'trying to get teachers into trouble'.

Wolfiefan Thu 05-Dec-13 11:47:28

The teacher didn't say she does nothing but talk for the whole lesson. The teacher talks. Your child starts chatting. Total PITA for the teacher. Not acceptable. I'd leave the teacher alone and deal with your daughter's lack of work ethic, disorganisation, homework etc issues. "Sigh" is not a helpful response.

SummerPlum Thu 05-Dec-13 11:48:19

Is it a selective school, OP?

If this biology teacher's exam results stack up, no one is going to pull her up on overusing chalk and talk...

freeezing Thu 05-Dec-13 14:24:43

Wolfiefan - I'm trying to deal with that - but part of that is recognising that bright pupils may be unengaged in crap, boring lessons. Yes, my dd needs to pull her socks and knows that in no uncertain terms - but so does the teacher. Routinely delivering substandard lessons is not what she is paid to do.

SummerPlum - don't know, and don't think it would be possible to find out, as teachers usually change every year and there are lots of science teachers - so don't know which of the year 11 or 13 sets she took, if any, nor for how long. And there is streaming - so a lower set wouldn't be expected to get as good results as higher ones which means it's hard to extrapolate from the teacher to the results directly.

Rpeg Fri 06-Dec-13 12:52:31

The teacher hasn't said that she doesn't do practical work or use visuals. She's said that she uses teacher talk, and when she does that, your DD is disruptive, and perhaps she could read the corresponding information in the book instead. Not the best solution, admittedly, but the real problem here is a badly behaved student. The "she's bored because she's clever" thing is a tired excuse. The teacher may well not be the best, and might be a bit boring, but suggesting that this gives your DD the right to disrupt the learning of other students is ridiculous.

DrankSangriaInThePark Fri 06-Dec-13 12:56:30

It sounds to me like the teacher was trying to be witty (and perhaps failing) whilst saying that your daughter is a disruptive influence on other students.

I would be focussing on my child's behaviour in class if I were you, rather than this "crap" teacher.

DrankSangriaInThePark Fri 06-Dec-13 12:58:00

Oh, the whole "bored because she's not engaged" thing is risible.

Teenagers are bored as part of their job description. It's a defence mechanism when they get pulled up because of bad behaviour. Especially when they know helicopter mummy is going to rush to their defence.

davidjrmum Fri 06-Dec-13 13:07:49

I think the "bored because she's clever" excuse is pretty lame too. My dd - y10 - is doing well at school but gets fed up of lessons being constantly disrupted by some of her classmates. Of course some teachers are better than others at engaging the whole class but frankly that's no excuse for bad behaviour. I think you would be sending completely the wrong message to your daughter if you try to tackle this from "the teacher is crap" angle.

freeezing Sat 07-Dec-13 12:55:44

Lots of point-missing going on here. I am a teacher, and of course I know how annoying it is if you have a student mucking about, not paying attention - but frankly if I gave a shit-boring lesson and all my students were restless, looking out the window etc I'd realise that I needed to improve my lesson-planning/delivery pronto.

Believe me, I have given my dd merry hell about her behaviour, had chats (ongoing) with head of year etc - there is no remote likelihood of my "rushing to dd's defence".

BUT two wrongs don't make a right. The fact that dd is disorganised and distracted doesn't mean the teacher has carte blanche to teach rubbish lessons. That is not only going to affect my dd - that will affect all the dsc in the class: even the organised and silent ones will be bored silly.

FriendlyLadybird Sat 07-Dec-13 20:59:51

This was exactly how I was taught O-level biology (compulsory) in my very academic girls' school all those years ago. Yes, it was a bit dull, and I would often look at the textbook instead. BUT we all got As, and early too. It would have been hard to complain that we had a 'crap' teacher. Even if we found chalk and talk a bit boring, she pointed us in the direction of the materials that would help us do well in the exams, and it was kind of up to us. In an ideal world all teachers would be like Robin Williams in The Dead Poets Society but it's not an ideal world, and anyway teaching is a two-way street. Your DD needs to take responsibility for her own learning, and if she won't learn by listening to the teacher, then reading the textbook seems a reasonable alternative.

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