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Teacher made me feel like a complete idiot

(77 Posts)
Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 10:08:42

I took DD2 to have a blood test before school.

On the way to school afterwards she was begging me not to send her to school, saying her tummy hurt and she felt sick. I said to her that I had to take her to school, but if she was feeling really poorly we would talk to her teacher.

We got there and she refused to go into the cloakroom. Very quietly (she is quite passive when stressed in public) but stoically refused to set foot in the cloakroom.

I called the teacher over, and explained that DD2 had told me that she doesn't want to go to school because she has a sore tummy and feels sick, but that I had told her that Mrs x would probably want her to go to school and for school to let me know if she was too poorly. DD2 is stood quietly and purposefully ignoring the conversation at this point.

Mrs X said 'Oh DD2, you have lots of fun things to do today, you have to do your angel.' DD2 then suddenly laughed and jiggled her soft toy bear around in the air, making a silly noise, and walked into the classroom.

Her teacher said 'oh they like to pull on the heart strings'. I explained, once again, that she is genuinely distressed at home, that she refuses to get dressed, hides under the bed, etc., that the tears in the car were real and with genuine panic.

The whole time, her teacher was looking at me as if I was absolutely stupid. A mixture of pity and derision.

I ended up saying to her 'look, I'm getting the impression that as a school you think I'm neurotic and exaggerating. All I can tell you is that whatever DD2 is like at school, at home we have a very unhappy girl who is waking at night, begging not to go to school.' The teacher said 'oh well we need to work out why...'

Well yes, quite, that's why we have a paed referral!

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 10:13:41

Why do you feel like an idiot?

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 10:20:49

Because the teacher made it so clear that she thinks I am being neurotic and causing a problem where there isn't one, and because DD2 changes once she's in the school grounds. As soon as she's faced with the teacher, she pastes on a smile and skips in. Moments before, she is a quivering wreck refusing to go into the classroom.

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 10:27:01

But if the teachers experience is that dd responds well to "we're doing painting" type encouragement, of course she will see that? That's her reality.

Because you see something different, doesn't make you idiotic.

You are both operating with very different data.

helpyourself Tue 11-Dec-12 10:29:32

It reads as if the teacher was jollying your dd along effectively. You didn't look an idiot, but not great timing though- once dd had gone in I'd have said thanks, have a good day and left.
The time to discuss the background and how different your dd is at home is at a timetabled 1:1 meeting with the teacher, not in the middle of the school day when the teacher was teaching.
And that look of pity and derision is more likely to have been polite impatience as she tried to get back into the classroom.

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 10:31:37

I actually think the fact dd can cope with encouragement and the teacher seems to know the school version of dd well enough to find the right incentive for her, is very good news.

Of course you feel upset. You're not a robot and had probabley been patient beyond patient. Try not to feel criticised, instead think bout how his can be used to work in dd favour.

zumbaleena Tue 11-Dec-12 10:44:20

i think helpyourself is correct

helpyourself Tue 11-Dec-12 10:50:48

Thank you zumbagrin
I've been a primary teacher and a primary mother, in fact a mother for many more years than I was a teacher. It's horrid feeling you've been wrong footed, and I'm really sorry you felt stupid, but in this case the outcome was excellent, dd is happy in class.

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 12:58:33

"dd is happy in class"

hmm DD2 is not happy in class. The outcome is not excellent. If she were happy in class she wouldn't be hiding under my bed refusing to get dressed, waking in the night thinking she's going to be sick, begging me not to take her to school in the morning.

It wasn't in the middle of the school day, and I wouldn't have said anything if I could have got her through the door.

helpyourself Tue 11-Dec-12 13:06:21

She's there now though isn't she? The teacher wouldn't have encouraged her in if she was as she is at home in class.
I would imagine you feel awful that she's acting out her fears with you, but leave to one side your feelings and acknowledge that what she's telling you and what's actually happening in class are not the same thing.

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 13:14:07

I know this is off at a tangent lougle (and honk honk, because I am on your side and don't think you are inventing anything) but could the anxiety be the thought of school, not the reality of school IYKWIM? Transition between activities and environments is a huge subject and may be a bigger part of the picture than you have at first thought.

It's difficult because as you have said dd is passive in public (nb for some this is a sign of extreme anxiety, my selective mute dd is similar), but in some ways it can work massively in her favour. A child that can be coerced and cajoled into facing their fear, is not less scared, but they do have a huge advantage in being able to experience what is causing the anxiety. They are far more likely to overcome tha fear with good support and move forwards.

If dd can enjoy school once there, but cannot cope with the thought of school or the emotions afterwards, you have a much clearer focus on the issues, and this will ultimately drive the solution.

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 13:23:45

helpyourself I acknowledge and accept that how she is at school is different to how she is at home. That doesn't mean that she is necessarily happy, however. A passive child at school doesn't make a happy child automatically. Add to this, that DD2 is painfully honest. If she was happy, she would tell me, and she does tell me some bits of the day that are good (coming home hmm spelling, etc.) If her teacher could leave aside her feelings and consider for one moment that maybe, just maybe, as an adult I am telling the truth about what happens at home, she might be able to help DD2 to have a more positive association with school.

zzzzz - I think you have a point there, to the extent that DD2 seems to cope with school once she is there. I mean, there are aspects of school which she reports she enjoyed at the end of school, yet at the beginning of the day there is nothing she enjoys, IYSWIM.

Overall, I think it would be much better if the school could accept that there is something real affecting DD2. People outside of 'home' are starting to see it, for example at church, or in shops, etc. It isn't just me. Her Grandparents are also concerned, and to give context, they were absolutely horrified when we suggested that DD1 (who is now in special school) may have some additional needs. They couldn't face it until she had a diagnosis, they felt like they were somehow betraying her. Yet, with DD2, they are saying to me that there is something not quite right.

ouryve Tue 11-Dec-12 13:26:22

That's the nature pf ASD related anxiety, isn't it? DS1 becomes incredibly wound up about any change in routine, including going into school late after an appointment. Even if something he loves is coming up, he's really punchy and aggressive (his anxiety reaction) in the run up and quite often wants nothing at all to do with it until it's actually happening.

Your DD's anxiety about school may be because it's not THIS and her brain cannot build a comfortable picture of what THAT thing that she's expecting is. Even though it's a familiar place for her, anticipation of going to school makes such huge calls on her imagination that it's really stressful for her.

That would explain why you're seeing something completely different from her teacher. The moment she's physically in the building and she hears the familiar voice of her teacher, her THIS is now school and she doesn't have to stress about it any more.

ouryve Tue 11-Dec-12 13:31:01

Actually, I wonder if a photo album of her classroom to keep at home would help your DD? DS1 found this sort of thing really useful when he was small and hadn't decided that visual supports were beneath him. They still do help DS2 with learning new routines, though he is a lot more adaptable than DS1, so long as you don't break the rules (say by walking home when he went in the buggy or getting ready for school, then taking it all off again to have a nappy changed, then putting it all back on, then turning back after 10 minutes because it's too icy...grin)

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 13:34:00

ouryve, I've never heard it put like that before, and it makes perfect sense. Of course, we don't have a diagnosis for her yet, and it's possible that she has S&L issues rather than ASD issues, but whatever the issues, the anxiety is the same.

I had said to her that we might go to the cafe after her blood test for breakfast (one of the tests was fasting glucose), but then we ran out of time because of bad traffic. Instead we just popped in to buy something and left.

She was marching along beside me, saying 'why did you lie to me??' I explained that we had to change plans, but she was insistent that I'd lied and was being mean to her. It wasn't a big deal, but it highlighted to me how exhausting each day must be for her.

mariammama Tue 11-Dec-12 13:47:07

Righto, how about a trip to the shops for supplies. Then paste on big Christmas smile yourself and make a big photo album of 'home', With a matching 'school' version, and a disposable camera for dd to take pictures of her classroom.
Thank teacher for her help in bringing you to the eureka moment (yes, I know it was ouryve but flattery will get you everywhere wink). You think it's quite simple, she needs to remember the 'good' bits of school once she gets home and can't manage unaided.
It should either work on dd, or soften school up into a more co-operative mode

mariammama Tue 11-Dec-12 13:50:52

I no longer take offence at school treating me like a naughty kid, have lost the ability to care about their opinions or expect much useful co-operation. My theory is that, to the average teacher, we aren't adults, we're SEN-child-offshoots. Like their pets, or maybe their PE kit wink

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 13:51:10

Lougle the S&L / ASD similarities are massive ( and get more so ).

I think reading about anxiety disorders and nicking the ideas on how to help, would be sensible.

Dd went from not talking in school a all (18 months!) to a part in the school play in a few short weeks, just with a slight change in approach and morning routine from her teacher. It can happen.

Ds (severe language disorder) had photo stuff too, which helped. (also eating as we went in hmm )

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 13:51:56

grin maria so f***ing true!

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 13:53:26

X posting, but definitely let teacher take credit.

It's exhausting how many egos we have to stroke.

imogengladhart Tue 11-Dec-12 14:00:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bochead Tue 11-Dec-12 14:02:50

maria - so, so true & even odder is that once I finally hit that point where I didn't even care if my "Catherine Tate face " showed relationships started to improve lol!

Badvocsanta Tue 11-Dec-12 14:07:15

Meh.
I know my sons school think I am mad.
But it's ok.
He is now thriving because of what we have implemented at home and we are thrilled.
School think its the 2 x 10min phonics interventions be has been having (sporadically) since last year smile
Fine.
Let them think its them.
Don't care.
As ling as ds1 is happy they can take all the credit they want.
I could not give the slightest toss what they think of me and they of me and they know it.
Dead popular, me smile

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 14:10:57

mariammama, if I did that, school would most like call SS and say I've got Munchausen's grin

I think I need to tough it out until next Friday, then no more school until after she sees the Paed.

I just pray that he is able to see the issues. I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks taking (more) notes of things she does/says.

For instance, I asked her if her tummy pain stays all the time, or goes away then comes back. She said 'If I am downstairs in the house or the building, it goes away. If I go upstairs in the house or the building, it comes back.'

I think that she is feeling anxious, and she was thinking of the fact that her tummy pain comes back when she goes to bed (when she's upstairs) because she's away from me. When she comes downstairs to be close to me (if she wakes in the night) the pain goes away (probably because the anxiety stops).

It really isn't normal for a 5 year old to say 'the house or the building' though, I'm sure of it. Just like it isn't normal to say 'I must go and tell the sisters.'

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 11-Dec-12 16:36:10

'Because the teacher made it so clear that she thinks I am being neurotic and causing a problem where there isn't one'

Generally, that is ASD for you! Not diagnosing of course but it is standard treatment of parents with children who are embarking on ASD-type investigations, and often once given a dx too, so brace yourself.

BUT, don't doubt yourself.

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