Would you complain about this teacher?

(33 Posts)
CeliaFate Fri 07-Mar-14 10:29:51

Dd's teacher has some noisy kids in her class. She thanked the children who were listening and said the rest can go to hell.

Is that a reasonable thing to say? I'm a primary teacher and I was shocked, but I know things are different in secondary schools. Am I out of touch, or is that unacceptable?

tiggytape Fri 07-Mar-14 10:33:03

Well no - that's not acceptable at all if that's what she said.
Are you sure that DD hasn't misheard or something's been lost in translation (that the others should "do as well" or something?).

I cannot imagine any teacher saying that really unless actually on the verge of breaking down pretty spectacularly.

CeliaFate Fri 07-Mar-14 10:36:57

Dd is adamant that she said it, verbatim. She also sent one girl out for two minutes adding, "If you can count for two minutes, that is."
I have had previous issues with this teacher, but have said nothing for fear of being a helicopter parent.
Don't get me wrong, I would have whispered it under my breath, but dd said she said it aloud. The class was shocked.

VodkaRevelation Fri 07-Mar-14 10:42:13

Email the head. State that this is what your daughter thinks she heard. Ask her to look into it.If the teacher is saying things like this it is inappropriate.

VodkaRevelation Fri 07-Mar-14 10:43:05

Him or her! I have no idea if your daughter's head teacher is male or female!grin

Hassled Fri 07-Mar-14 10:45:38

To be honest I'd leave it - at least for now. It sounds to me like a teacher at the end of her tether, and probably something she instantly regretted. It may stop the noisy kids from being quite so noisy for a while.

noblegiraffe Fri 07-Mar-14 11:19:25

Don't email the head, the head of department should be your first port of call. They may have heard it before. If the teacher has got to that point with this class then they may well need some support.

If the kids are noisy then you can say that you are concerned that the teacher is struggling and this is leading to inappropriate comments.

mummy1973 Fri 07-Mar-14 11:19:26

It is not nice or acceptable. However, before going to the head you could ask to speak to the teacher directly. Might be hard as you teach too but a phone call maybe? Going to the head seems rather official before discussing it with the person involved? IMO.

MillyMollyMama Fri 07-Mar-14 12:28:43

I would go to the Head. I would want to know if the teacher's lessons are ever monitored and if the Head actually knows the teacher is losing control of the class. This is the job of the Head, not anyone else. I would want to know what the Head is doing about it. What the teacher said is a distraction from the real problem. It is the class control that is the real problem and yes, the teacher needs help, but this is up to the Head and senior leadership team to sort out and they should know there is a problem. If they do not, they are failing to monitor the quality of teaching and learning in the school.

Biscuitsneeded Fri 07-Mar-14 12:39:55

Of course the teacher is monitored. No teacher these days gets away without regular observations. Some secondary classes are horrendous, and it is very hard when you want to teach the few kids who are willing to listen and work and it is constantly undermined by the poor behaviour of others. I wouldn't take it as evidence that the teacher is on the point of a breakdown. He or she probably had had enough of the crap behaviour and decided to tell it like it is!

MillyMollyMama Fri 07-Mar-14 12:43:28

Biscuitsneeded. A teacher might be fed up, but that language is not acceptable. If the teacher is monitored, it is totally valid to ask the Head what is being done about class control, especially if other teachers are managing the class. Do not defend the indefensible!

noblegiraffe Fri 07-Mar-14 13:19:05

Honestly, the head is not the appropriate person. The teacher's line manager is the appropriate person and this would be the head of department. The head has got way more stuff to do than micro-manage the performance of individual teachers. Maybe at primary where there are about 10 teachers the head would be the right person, but at secondary it's not.

If there is a bigger issue with the teacher, the head of department can escalate it.

Floggingmolly Fri 07-Mar-14 13:26:24

It sounds awful, but the teacher who's probably being driven to distraction is going to get a slap in the wrist (or worse), while the kids will continue their disruptive arsing around unchallenged. Doesn't seem fair.

Biscuitsneeded Fri 07-Mar-14 13:27:26

I agree, in an ideal world a teacher would never need to speak to kids in that way. I'm not defending it. But, having worked in a challenging school, I know there are moments where you want to champion the 'good' kids whose education is being jeopardised by others. I was just pointing out that every teacher in every school is monitored so if this teacher is struggling generally, as opposed to having one particularly awful class, it will be known to the Head. I would go to the Head of Dept before the Head though, if you think it's an ongoing problem and not just a bad day.

BuzzardBird Fri 07-Mar-14 13:33:02

If the kids weren't acting so feral then the teacher wouldn't have said it. The teacher's hands are tied re disciplining these children. How much could you take? This is why many teachers cannot wait to leave their profession.

MillyMollyMama Fri 07-Mar-14 15:52:04

Often bad behaviour is exacerbated by poor teaching. That is why it is important to know if the class is ok in other lessons. It is also important to find out what the school leadership intends to do about the badly behaved children. I know that some children are extremely difficult in class but describing them as "feral" is hardly a professional way of dealing with them. Teachers' hands are not tied regarding discipline. In good schools there is a clear strategy for dealing with indiscipline with support from the leadership team regarding sanctions. However, good teaching and lesson planning is vital so pupils are engaged.

Teachers have always left the teaching profession. Some teachers are in poor schools where discipline is not supported by the leadership team. Some teachers teach boring, poorly planned and executed lessons and the schools do nothing about it but the pupils act up. If teachers can tell "feral" children to "go to hell" what example is this setting? It only tells me the teacher is possibly in the wrong job!

cricketballs Fri 07-Mar-14 17:07:20

"Some teachers teach boring lessons" life can sometimes be boring and I completely dispute that this is the reason for poor behaviour. We are there to teach, not entertain.

Op, if your DD is positive that this was said, I suggest you speak to HoD to voice your concerns

cory Fri 07-Mar-14 17:43:05

Biscuitsneeded Fri 07-Mar-14 12:39:55

"Some secondary classes are horrendous, and it is very hard when you want to teach the few kids who are willing to listen and work and it is constantly undermined by the poor behaviour of others. I wouldn't take it as evidence that the teacher is on the point of a breakdown. He or she probably had had enough of the crap behaviour and decided to tell it like it is!"

The problem here would seem to me that a student who is driven to distraction by disruptive classmates, or who has been unfairly goaded by a teacher, would still be punished for using this kind of language in the presence of the teacher and no amount of provocation would serve as an excuse.

As a good and studious pupil I would not have felt championed by a teacher who lost it and used bad language: I would just have felt even more depressed at the thought that uncontrolled behaviour was now universal. In fact, that's how I remember feeling in some lessons.

CeliaFate Fri 07-Mar-14 17:48:35

I've decided not to say anything and put it down to the teacher having a bad day and making a mistake. Dd was really put out that the teacher said it, even though dd was one of the ones she was thanking. Dd said it was harsh and inappropriate, so it definitely worked as a shock tactic!

BuzzardBird Fri 07-Mar-14 18:02:53

Exactly Celia.

Biscuitsneeded Fri 07-Mar-14 19:44:43

I hate to say it but in many schools staff are tacitly encouraged not to get into confrontations with students over swearing, unless it is actively directed at a teacher or another student with malicious intent. I hear bad language probably 4 times in any lesson. I tend to repeat what the student has said minus the swear word to make the point that it's not acceptable but if I sanctioned every time I'd be a laughing stock. So WTF gets tolerated but F you doesn't, if you see what I mean.

PottyLottie123 Sat 08-Mar-14 10:53:46

OP, the short answer is no. I'd speak to the teacher, or Head of Department. No matter how awful the kids' behaviour. I know from personal experience how bad it can get, I've had bad language, nasty threats made and even a chair thrown at me at one school, but I handled it without retaliation or inappropriate words or phrases. (What I was saying and doing in my head at the time was another matter altogether! ;)

The teacher is the role model and that's the end of it. Sounds like an end of tether teacher who needs support. Dealing with persistent bad behaviour and abuse on a daily basis is not for the faint-hearted. It needs addressing generally, then maybe less new teachers would drop out of the profession within the first five years on the job than the alarming rate we have now.

Hopefully this is an isolated lapse, and support will help a frazzled teacher.

MillyMollyMama Sun 09-Mar-14 01:48:15

There is a huge weight of opinion that believes poor, boring lessons brings about poor behaviour in children. Teachers do not have to entertain, but they should teach well, engage the pupils and manage the class. Fortunately most teachers do not want to be boring or indeed think the children should put up with this. Luckily many Heads don't want poor teaching in their schools either hence such big efforts being made to improve the quality of teaching. It shows little respect for your pupils if you think that your boring lessons should be endured by those you teach. Is this all they are worth, cricketballs?

cricketballs Sun 09-Mar-14 07:27:48

When did I say I taught boring lessons? I actually said that I don't agree with the notion that we have to entertain. As we get close to the summer there are times when a lesson can not be all singing and dancing and by this time students should have experience of a lesson that they are not entertained but there to learn.

RiversideMum Sun 09-Mar-14 07:41:02

When I was at grammar school I'd say well over 50% of the lessons were boring. Mostly consisting of the teacher writing on the blackboard and all of us copying it out. There was no issue with behaviour although some people did fall asleep.

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