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.

ItsBiggerOnTheInside Sun 08-Dec-13 13:16:25

As a teacher, I use the phrases 'disruptive', 'disrupted' and 'distracted' to mean different things from each other.

But I can see how your interpretation works. Guess all the other teachers did say the same thing.

insancerre Sun 08-Dec-13 13:24:09

Sounds like your dd is bright but is not interested in school.
You say she has 'a lack of work ethic'
So she is disrupting other children in most lessons and maybe the teachers are a little bit fed up with this and a little bit frustrated too, if she is capable of doing more than she is.
The teacher was trying to tell you this, but you are not listening.

freeezing Sun 08-Dec-13 17:44:19

Wow! Loads more messages since I last looked - must be a slow day. smile

Thanks for all the responses. I appreciate it's been a long and tedious thread, but can I just repeat from page 1 for those who skipped it:

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".

There is no way I think dd's behaviour is fine - far from it. And she knows that. And I have discussed that on other threads (under other names, sorry). Clearly she needs up stop being an arse, distracting herself and others - but this thread is on a different topic. Not because I don't think it's important - I do. But I wanted to discuss something different in this thread.

My point in this thread was that in this day and age I was truly horrified at this particular teacher's reaction. Not at the reaction of any teacher who dared to criticise dd - others did it that evening, were entirely justified and I agreed with them. What made this teacher different to all the others I spoke to at that parents' evening wasn't the fact she criticised dd - fine by me - but the fact that she specifically went on at length (more than I have reproduced here) about how all she does is talk. I was flabbergasted. Honestly. Capped off with the suggestion that dd read to herself when the teacher was being dull. Added in the fact that she was the only teacher all evening who clearly didn't have the faintest idea who dd actually was, and I was left with the impression of a very unprofessional teacher.

For the record, BTW, I teach at an FE college - mainly adults but have taught classes of cheerfully rowdy 16-18 year olds too, so I do have plenty of experience of teaching students who don't want to be there. Certainly far more discipline issues than any teacher at my dd's naice school has ever needed to deal with, frankly. And yes, I've taught some shit lessons, of course I have. But the difference is, I'm not proud of them and I certainly don't go around claiming that shit lessons is all I'm prepared to do, and anyone who doesn't like it can go and teach themselves.

An appropriate reaction to a dc misbehaving in class is to threaten (or follow up on) sanctions; or to discuss why they are misbehaving and how they can re-engage (dd's bad behaviour is v recent - she was a model pupil, top of the class until a few months ago). This is what other teachers did, and I am grateful for it. I want dd's behaviour to improve, dearly.

But if she is taught by sub-standard teachers, I see that as less likely to occur, sadly. It is also unfair on all the other pupils in the class.

freeezing Sun 08-Dec-13 17:49:32

And to all those who said that if there were major problems with this teacher, then other parents would have complained - I must assume you have far more contact with the parents of children in your dc's secondary school than I do.

Unlike at primary, where I knew all the parents, at secondary I know only one parent well, whose dd is in a different form to my dd, and know none from dd's form (she was the only one from her primary to go to her secondary). So I have no idea if every other parent has complained or none. I just have to rely on my own judgement - and the collective MN wisdom. smile

nkf Sun 08-Dec-13 20:13:03

The thing is I don't think there is enough evidence that the teacher is "crap" and teaches "shit" lessons. She said she is talky. She might have been softening up the bad news by saying she knows she isn't perfect. You may be 100% right and she is a terrible terrible teacher. But what you wrote doesn't automatically suggest that. Not to me anyway. I think substandard teachers often know they are and won't admit it but that's just my impression. I wasn't there. Nor was anyone on this thread. If you think she was telling you even indirectly that she was a poor teacher and your daughter might as well ignore every word she said and learn from a book instead (do you really think she was saying that?) then you might have a good reason for going ahead and what? Complaining that she talks too much? But from what you've written, that's not what I understand.

friendlyduck Sun 08-Dec-13 22:49:22

reezing - the point is that your daughter is disrupting the class. The teacher has a duty to all the other pupils too, so has offered your daughter an alternative. Reading the OP again it strikes me that your daughter may have said something to teacher about being bored/her being boring and this is her wAy of disciplining your daughter. You have two options, blame the teacher or deal with it. I would go back to the teacher or the form tutor and ask for your pupil to be monitored with the monitor coming home daily so you get a good idea of what is happening.

longingforsomesleep Sun 08-Dec-13 23:22:23

OP - your original post said the teacher told you, "she is a talky teacher, likes to talk a lot in class".

In your latest post you say that, "she specifically went on at length (more than I have reproduced here) about how all she does is talk".

There is a good deal of difference between your two statements. So which is correct? Did she make a throw away comment that she likes to talk a lot in class (which is what your op seemed to say) or did she go on at length about how all she does is talk?

fluffypillow Sun 08-Dec-13 23:46:35

Clearly she needs up stop being an arse, distracting herself and others You said it freezing, and I totally agree.

You get to judge the Teacher when your DD turns up to her lesson ready and willing to learn, and the Teacher doesn't deliver. Until then, your DD is in the wrong, and this should be made very clear to her.

She is acting in a very wreckless way, and putting not only hers, but her fellow students education on the line. That is SELFISH.

To be honest, I have little sympathy for her situation. My Son has spent most of his time at High School having to put up with kids like your DD messing about in class, and it is disgusting. Just a few kids in the class have made it impossible for the staff to teach the class as a whole, and that is very wrong and unfair. It is only this year ( he is in year 11) that the School seems to be putting the students that are there to learn first, and I am very pleased about that. He is doing very well now, dispite the disruption caused by a few individuals, but how much better would his grades have been if he had been allowed to have Teachers that didn't have to 'baby' disruptive kids through their lessons? I'll never know.

Tell her to respect her Teachers, and stop making excuses for her. She is making a choice to behave this way, don't encourage her to blame others for her own selfish behaviour. You are not doing her, or the other children in the class any favours.

wordfactory Mon 09-Dec-13 08:54:53

Whilst it's always natural to take our DC's side and try to fix any problems they have, it's often not that helpful.

Obviously, if there's a real issue with school, then parents must step in.

But for the most part, as our DC get older, it's better to step in less and less. It certainly doesn't make us bad parents if we insist that our DC man up to their own behaviour, and understand that thhe world cannot be styled around them.

I don't teach at school, but I do teach at university, and let me tell you, the young people who believe that the world revolves around them, who have no experience of analysing theirt own actions, who are used to thewir parents fighting their corner, have a very very torrid time of it!

wordfactory Mon 09-Dec-13 08:58:33

And yes, lectures often involve someone standing at the front of the hall and talking!

StrokeOfBadLuck Mon 09-Dec-13 10:42:03

I just wanted to comment on your thoughts about lessons being all talk. When I was at school (obviously a long time ago!), our best teacher in what would now be called Year 9 was our history teacher who every lesson sat on a desk at the front of the class and delivered a lecture about eg the Chartist movement, while we took notes and asked questions. She always knew the answers. We wrote up our notes for homework. Everyone loved the lessons, because she was just so interesting, and was always recommending books. She was a great fan of Georgette Heyer - well, it was a girls' school. Talking doesn't always equate to a boring lesson, although under current trend, her lessons would perhaps have failed Ofsted inspection.

It is difficult to hear bad things about our children, and that is when you need to work with the school to sort it out. You are always going to get bad teachers - although I don't see any evidence for it in this case. However, children and young people will find that jobs aren't all entertainment either. Do you blame the teacher, or get the young person to take on responsibility for herself?

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 09-Dec-13 12:24:43

You and the teacher clearly didn't hit it off. But I have to agree with others, it sounds as if she was trying to explain gently that a) your daughter won't engage with the class b) her lessons involve a lot of talking and discussion with the class c) under the generous assumption that your daughter is being a pain because listening/discussing isn't her favourite learning style, she will point out to her where she can find the same information in writing (textbooks) which might suit her better. It sounds like she irritated you and you are taking that and your frustration at your daughter, and making it into a big blame session on the teacher. She is probably a fine teacher. If you're worried, why not speak to the head of year to try and get a feel of what the teacher's lessons are really like? You have zero grounds for complaint while your child is behaving badly and still being catered to in a variety of ways, which is the case at the moment. What would you prefer she did ? Stop talking to the whole class to come and sit by your daughter and ensure she's enjoying herself?

Rpeg Mon 09-Dec-13 13:59:16

And it's wrong to say that OFSTED are completely against plenty of teacher talk. Michael Wilshaw has stated that he thinks there is room for a wide range of teaching styles, including pretty old fashioned didactic delivery, provided students are making progress.

But I don't think the OP is going to listen. She's decided, with no evidence, that this teacher is "crap" on the basis of one brief conversation, and even the content of that has been reported inconsistently across the thread. So much easier to blame somebody else than deal with the real problem. All this talk of taking her DD's behaviour seriously sounds like bluster. The kid is a PITA across the school, and focusing ire on a specific teacher is a nice distraction.

RiversideMum Tue 10-Dec-13 06:59:52

TBH, it sounds like the teacher was trying to let the OP down a bit more gently by suggesting she was partly to blame for the DDs lack of engagement. Given that similar behaviour is seen across all subjects, I'd say the issue rests with the OPs DD rather than the teacher.

Fairenuff Fri 13-Dec-13 22:50:22

I am surprised that 'as a teacher' you would resort to asking on a public form who you should complain to. Surely any teacher knows the complaints process?

HamletsSister Fri 13-Dec-13 23:00:17

I am a teacher and never fail to be astonished by how truly shit some of my colleagues are...really. Truly shit. My HT has lessons where he talks non stop for up to an hour, occasionally pausing to give an instruction. Others who are worse. My son's Maths teacher: he is doing a completely different course to the rest of the class (2 years ahead - tiny school so no setting) and she hadn't spoken to him or checked his work for a month.

So, OP, if you are confident that you have a case, I would take it up with the HT. But, I would very, very much doubt anything will be done. It will be even harder if your DD is not a model pupil as this will be the excuse.

NearTheWindmill Sun 15-Dec-13 20:00:23

Agrees entirely with fluffypillow. Pupils need to behave in class whether the teacher is outstanding or otherwise. The majority will learn more if the minority start behaving themselves. I believe Michael Wilshaw has had some apposite comments about this published this week.

It is a privilege to attend a "naice" high performing school. They generally have high standards of behaviour. IMO if a handful of children can't conform once they get there; there are alternatives available which allow more freedom of spirit disruptive and selfish behaviour

Ingrid1964 Thu 26-Dec-13 02:21:56

Its pretty lame blaming the teacher for your daughter's poor behaviour in class. That is the sort of nonsense trotted out by SMT / OFSTED / HMie......

Kenlee Thu 26-Dec-13 04:42:16

Parents of disruptive children always feel that it is the school that has let them down. It is always the teacher that is unfair. The teacher is crap.

A crap teacher is one who follows a formula for teaching...One who does not understand the material ..One who informs rather than teaches ....

I can't see any suggestions of this in the posts....Being disruptive is great fun....I use to do it...especially to the soft teachers ...who wouldnt rat on you.....

My daughter had a crap teacher at primary for English ..She could not distinguish a food (chicken) and a dish (curry chicken)....It was frustrating but we told DD not to disrupt the class and listen you still may have things to learn ...

Its not about the teacher being crap its about the social behaviour of your child....

Youorns Wed 01-Jan-14 21:43:03

chalk and talk is rubbish teaching. I switch off if people talk to me for too long. got to complain to the school. lazy teacher needs a kick up the backside.

Charlie2000 Thu 02-Jan-14 14:13:16

My daughter has recently told me she feels 'picked on' by a teacher. She is a bright, hardworking girl who has always had fantastic reports and parents evenings. I have never had any complaints about her behaviour. The teacher seems to be telling her off for talking when she isn't, telling her she will be in detention, shouting at her that she will 'feel his wrath' and saying she is showing off. I don't think my daughter is an angel but I really can't believe she is being such a problem! She has been awarded prizes for effort and attainment and even her friends agree that she is being picked on. To complicate matters I know the teacher as I used to work with him and I have always liked him. My dd says that this is only recent - b4 he praised her work and seemed to like her. Should I go into school and see him or do you think this will make matters worse? He is also a deputy head so I will see him at prize-givings etc

cory Sun 05-Jan-14 12:24:07

RiversideMum Tue 10-Dec-13 06:59:52
"TBH, it sounds like the teacher was trying to let the OP down a bit more gently by suggesting she was partly to blame for the DDs lack of engagement. Given that similar behaviour is seen across all subjects, I'd say the issue rests with the OPs DD rather than the teacher."

I was wondering this.

Basically, all the teachers were saying the same thing.

The only difference was that all the other teachers said "it's your dd's fault". This one teacher tried to be generous and said "well, maybe it is partly my fault but that does not absolve your dd". So you make a complaint about this one teacher?

To me it sounds like a clumsy attempt to find common ground and giving your dd the benefit of doubt. It wasn't a good idea, because it gave you less confidence in her. The other teachers didn't bother, so they don't get any judgment from you about their teaching style.

You need to think longterm here. You haven't seen any evidence that this teacher is either better or worse than any other teacher: they just didn't comment on their own teaching style. The teacher will already be subject to inspections on the same lines as her comments. Your dd has not reported any specific problems with this teacher until she annoyed you at the meeting, and the HT already knows there is a problem with your dd. In other words, it is unlikely that your complaint will do very much.

On the other hand, it will compromise the message you need to give your dd at this time. She is at a stage in her life where she is increasingly expected to take responsibility for her own life. Sitting down and refusing to do your part because the other person isn't doing hers is basically a ghastly career move. This teacher won't be in her life for very long, but the attitudes she learns now will stay with her. It is more important to think about the self image she is building up than about this one teacher.

I remember my niece had a very similar attitude at this age: "if the teacher aren't entertaining they can't blame us if we don't want to learn". We tried to point out gently that the learning was not actually to be done for the benefit of the teacher but for her benefit, but it took several years of working in a call centre before she realised the truth of this.

NoComet Sun 05-Jan-14 12:46:21

I'm sorry, I fail to understand why the OPs DD being disruptive stops her being allowed to flag up one particular teacher who she feels isn't doing a good job.

I was generally chatty, cheeky and a smart Alec. Non of which changed the fact that our French teacher was unbelievably shit and in these days of Ofsted I would certainly have got my DDad to email.

NoComet Sun 05-Jan-14 12:48:12

Believe me, it's often the disruptive DCs who could give the SLT the best list of teachers to pay a visit.

cory Sun 05-Jan-14 18:25:44

Starballbunny Sun 05-Jan-14 12:46:21
"I'm sorry, I fail to understand why the OPs DD being disruptive stops her being allowed to flag up one particular teacher who she feels isn't doing a good job."

Because the only reason she has for thinking this teacher is not doing a good job is the teacher's polite attempt to shoulder part of the blame by a possibly over-generous comment during parent's evening.

If there had been any other evidence that this teacher was bad (such as earlier complaints by the dd, an unexpectedly poor result in her subject, failure to communicate previously), then I think the OP should certainly complain. I just don't think this is enough.

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