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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.

longingforsomesleep Sat 07-Dec-13 21:59:42

A comment from the teacher that she likes to talk a lot does not equate to talking all the time and does not mean that she does not employ a range of teaching methods. I'm gobsmacked that from this comment you've deduced that she delivers "crap boring lessons". The only problem seems to be your disruptive dd.

freeezing Sat 07-Dec-13 22:29:44

No, should add that in the teacher's own words "I am a talky teacher" - "I like to talk a lot" - -plus the fact that a lot of her comments were about dd sitting by the window, staring out - dd pointed out (to me, later!) that clearly the biology teacher didn't have the foggiest who she was, as dd sits at the very furthest from the window it is possible to sit!

I can only assume the people backing up this teacher are not teachers and have not set foot in a school for the last 20 years or so. Notably, no other teachers have been on to say this is a perfectly fine way to teach...because we all know that anyone who professed to this 'method' to Ofsted/head of year/head etc would be out of a job immediately. hmm

As a teacher, I don't know whether to feel relieved or profoundly depressed that so many parents have such low expectations for their dcs' teachers... Bit of both, maybe.

freeezing Sat 07-Dec-13 22:33:11

Certainly, my job as a teacher would be much easier if I could just sit at the front of the class and talk at my students for lesson after lesson, and tell all the bored ones to shut up and teach themselves from the coursebooks. hmm Especially if I knew my students' parents thought this was an appropriate teaching method. Niiice.

And back in the real world...

longingforsomesleep Sat 07-Dec-13 22:56:06

Sorry, did she make a comment about being a talky teacher (which doesn't preclude interaction with students) or did she say she stands in front of the class and talks AT the students all lesson, every lesson and tells the 'bored' ones to shut up and teach themselves?

You seem to be reading an awful lot into a single comment.

longingforsomesleep Sat 07-Dec-13 22:58:50

You also sound very aggressive and quite frankly rude. I have very high expectations for my children thank you and yes, I do set foot in schools regularly.

freeezing Sun 08-Dec-13 00:19:48

Clearly your idea of high expectations and mine differ... I regard a teacher who tells a pupil to get a book and read it during lessons rather than trying to actually teach them = a crap teacher, yes. As is one who doesn't know the names of her pupils but makes up stuff about them.

I can assure you I was the soul of politeness to this teacher - but so far, I've only had one helpful comment on this thread. So forgive me if I sound a tad bad-tempered - I'm just astonished by the number of people who seem to think that only quiet, perfectly-behaved children deserve teachers who can teach. Or that don't see any link between poor behaviour in the classroom and poor teachers.

As a teacher, I should be skipping with joy - sod wasting time preparing decent lessons, when I can just tell the kids to read the textbook to themselves while I read it aloud at the front. hmm Save me loads of hours, that would. smile

sashh Sun 08-Dec-13 05:32:52

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

Your dd sounds like someone I attempted to teach who would interject, 'this is boring, can't you talk about anything more interesting?'

Not very helpful when you are trying to introduce a lesson.

Yes it is my job to engage the students and to accommodate different needs but I still have to take a register and actually tell you what we will be doing today.

madwomanintheatt1c Sun 08-Dec-13 05:49:51

Your dd sounds like a right pita, freeezing. And you sound like the sort of parent that defends their pita kid rather than passing on the message that they are being a distracting pain in the butt.

I'm also struggling to work out how you have managed to get a clear idea of the lessons from the teacher saying she talks a lot. I talk a lot. Freely admit it. Love the sound of my own voice. But I also use an awful lot of other methods (quite often whilst I'm talking'.

It's still a pita if some kid insists on talking when I need everyone's attention on me, if they have any interest in learning the knowledge that I am imparting grin

Your rude brat wants more talking to, preferably by the HOY. Or just to shut up and read her book, like she's been asked to if listening isn't how she prefers to learn.

And the drip feed about where she sits in class? Pathetic. Sorry. I'm sure the teacher was using 'just stares out of the window' as an interesting correlation to 'talks over me so the other kids can't hear'. It's code for 'your child doesn't pay attention and distracts others. Sort her out.'

I'd say it was a warning shot over your bows. You are going to look like a loon if you complain.

Kenlee Sun 08-Dec-13 07:58:15

steady on there....

Theres two ways of looking at it....If your child is a pita at school then as a parent you should make it abundantly clear to your child that it isnt unacceptable.

There is nothing more unsettling than a heckler.

The teacher nowadays really has no recourse as they are unable to control the class by fear of pain...nor sarcasm (whilst a comedian could). So go to the back read a book although not ideal smacks of a nice teacher who really reached the end of her tether.

I suppose the teacher could make her classes more entertaining for the kids but some subjects are so boring.

You still have to suck it up and concentrate even more so because it is....

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 08-Dec-13 08:10:47

"I can only assume the people backing up this teacher are not teachers....."

I was last in the classroom yesterday.

And will be again tomorrow.

And you've had lots of helpful comments. Thing is, you've only had one comment that has agreed with your PFB point of view. That's different.

longingforsomesleep Sun 08-Dec-13 10:07:13

I'm still really struggling to understand how you've managed to glean so much information from a single comment about being 'a talky teacher'!!!! Does that really mean she reads aloud from the text book each lesson?!!! That's quite an assumption!!

We've got the point that you're a teacher - you don't need to keep saying it. But that doesn't mean you can make such sweeping generalisations about another teacher's teaching style.

Maybe the teacher's comment about her liking to talk was a subtle way of saying "your daughter talks too much in class, well funnily enough, being the teacher, I like to talk a lot too and I'm finding it difficult with your daughter interrupting me...."

Kenlee Sun 08-Dec-13 10:18:29

I actually am not a teacher. Although I do know that most teachers are polite and tend to soften the blow to the parents when it comes to parents evening. They usually say if your child is a spawn of the devil...as your child can be quite boisterous at times. The correlation no one knows but thats teacher talk for you.

So her being talkative in class could mean she is disruptive. In a polite manner. If my daughter was disruptive in class I give her whats for.... because she is not only ruining her own life but the lives of her peers too.

If you are a teacher then you understand that the hecklers in class spoil a good lesson. I think sge was actually lucky to be told to read a book opposes to standing outside the classroom doing nothing.

Im not clear about how discipline is administer nowadays but we usually had a ruler across our hands...

I think a quite word with the teacher would be better than an abrasive all guns blazing approach.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 08-Dec-13 10:53:57

And it is the default defence mechanism of any teenager caught out behaving badly is it not? Rubbish teacher, can't teach, can't hold our attention, everyone plays up because......

No, teenagers play up because they are badly behaved. Because they think it's dead funny to get a rise out of the teacher.

And, no kind way to put it OP, but adult ed, wonderful though it is, is hardly standing in front of 30 "bored" teenagers.

I have just opted, given a choice of 2 extra-curricular courses at my school, to do the languages course for the adult ed part of the school, rather than the kids. Why? Well d'oh. Because it will be an easy ride of course! Because the adults, for whatever reason, (and yes, some are doing the course as semi-obligatory) are doing the course because they want to, not because the government is saying they have to.

Please don't think that just because you are a fandabbydoozy adult ed teacher, you could cut it in a classroom full of narky and hormonal 16 yr olds.

Actually, any teacher with such high opinions of themselves as you seem to have, well, I'd buy tickets to observe a lesson quite frankly. Because despite being a teacher for 19 yrs now, there is not a day goes by when I don't question some element of how my day has gone. And the day I stop doing that, will be the day I know I need to change jobs. One of my classes is the school "class from hell" and even though I love each and every kid unconditionally, I breathe a sigh of relief when my hour with them is done. And this afternoon I am going to sit, as usual, trying to work out how to be a better teacher for them. I imagine your daughter's teacher is doing the same.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 08-Dec-13 10:56:28

Obviously, if this teacher is "routinely delivering sub-standard lessons" then I presume all the other parents in your daughter's class are aware, and also up in arms. As will be the teacher's head of department, head teacher, governors, and Ofsted themselves.

I take it you are taking your concerns about this teacher to all of the above?

Or is it only your daughter and yourself who have noticed this glaring elephant in the room?

NigellasLeftNostril Sun 08-Dec-13 11:38:27

thats a good point dranksangriainthepark - what encouraged me to complain about the science teacher who doesnt prepare any practical lessons and routinely has a GCSE class sitting in silence copying from the text book was the fact that at least two other parents were also putting in complaints about her.

DrankSangriaInThePark Sun 08-Dec-13 11:53:20

I have also (against my will if I'm honest, but when needs must) advised a parent of a boy I tutor to have a word about his languages teacher as she clearly has no clue. The boy brought me an exercise book last week, copied from the board, of grammar rules which were completely and totally utterly 100% the wrong way round. I told him he must have copied wrongly from the board but it transpired the teacher really has taught them this. Not only this, but he is first year secondary, and bizarrely, the work he is doing is from a GCSE level book. I honestly wonder if this teacher is aware of how old (young?) these kids are in this case!

(anecdote just to show I am not a kneejerk supporter of teacher no matter what...)

ItsBiggerOnTheInside Sun 08-Dec-13 12:07:56

Actually, as a Biology teacher, I entirely agree with freezing. If this was a teacher in our departments a lot of support would be going on behind the scenes to encourage more diverse learning styles.

If you genuinely believe that this is the case here (and only you do so I'm taking your word for it) then an email to the Director of science.

ItsBiggerOnTheInside Sun 08-Dec-13 12:13:38

Sorry! Lots of sentence errors there...which I am blaming on the hangover!!

friendlyduck Sun 08-Dec-13 12:18:42

I am a teacher in high school. Your DD's teacher was politely telling you that your daughter is a disruptive pita. That when she is talking your daughter is not listening and disrupting the learning of others. She offered a solution, that if your daughter is not prepared to be taught and will insist on being disruptive she will be given a text book as a means of shutting her up. I am quite sure that the teacher in times of PRP, OFSTED, observations etc will have been notified if she is 'crap'.

Teaching adults and teaching disruptive children is very different. Ask for the teacher to put DD on a monitor that comes home to you, with comments about DD's behaviour - support the teacher in disciplining your child, seems to me like you are shooting the messenger

Only1scoop Sun 08-Dec-13 12:25:40

Op it sounds as if you have already decided you need to complain, and have asked re how to go about doing this. I'm sure as a teacher (be it of adults) you have a knowledge of complaint procedures etc. Is it a private school (girls only)?

Hope you get to the bottom of it and are happy with outcome.

ItsBiggerOnTheInside Sun 08-Dec-13 12:27:52

It all comes down to how well op is interpreting this situation. None of the rest of us can possibly know.

I agree with everything you have written, friendly duck, if op is in denial about her dd's behaviour here,as you suggest.

In op's defence though, rubbish teachers do exist, no other teacher seems to have reported disruptive behaviour in other subjects, and teacher led activities should be kept to a minimum to encourage independent learning. And not all teenagers make stuff up when reporting problems to adults.

I personally am going to assume that op knows what she is talking about and the dept head can investigate the realities of the claims if she does write in.

friendlyduck Sun 08-Dec-13 12:44:34

Bigger - in the OP she says that there were lots of comments from teachers about her daughter being disorganised, disruptive and late with homework - the only thing the OP seems to have latched on to is the fact the teacher is a 'talky teacher' and seems to be overlooking the fact that her daughter is the same in most subjects

ItsBiggerOnTheInside Sun 08-Dec-13 12:49:53

Not disruptive.

friendlyduck Sun 08-Dec-13 13:06:10

Distracted sorry. Teacher talk for disruptive - not concentrating, not on task etc. OP needs to be working with the school not against it - her daughter clearly has a problem and it is this that needs to be addressed.

I know that some teachers are not great, however the only implication that the teacher in the OP is rubbish is down to the comment that she is a 'talky teacher' . This does not mean she is rubbish, does not do anything else or gets bad results. Her 'talkiness' may be effective questioning, instructions etc. we only have the viewpoint of one parent, who has been told her daughter is not an angel.

I would class myself as a 'talky teacher', mixed with independent learning, mixed task, get great results etc. OFSTED obviously liked my style as they awarded me outstanding last month ....

nkf Sun 08-Dec-13 13:07:38

All your daughter's teachers said the same thing. There are issues across the curriculum with your daughter's work and attitude. Why focus on this talkative biology teacher?

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