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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!

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 11-Dec-12 16:47:29

Lougle I totally agree with you that just because your Dd went into class doesnt mean she is happy.

Dd3 is very passive and rule bound, if a teacher says she must do something then she would do it even if it caused her massive anxiety.
At school she is often described by teachers as quite and shy but outside school no one who knows her sees those things in her.

In fact Dd3 is different in different areas of the school , in the resource base she is not the same child as in the classroom!

Roll on next Friday.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 11-Dec-12 16:54:32

'Overall, I think it would be much better if the school could accept that there is something real affecting DD2.'

Yes. For you. Not for them.

If you just consider basic pyschology. The teacher sees no problem with dd2. You start making demands (albiet reasonable and polite ones) and then YOU become the teacher's problem. The solution for a happier and peaceful life FOR THE TEACHER is to try and make YOU go away. Even if the teacher agrees there is some extra work to be done for your DD, the reward might have to outweigh the work. Often this just doesn't happen with the passive children as there is no consequence for ignoring their needs. Ignore a child with agressive behaviour and the teacher soon knows about it.

I'm not teacher-bashing for the sake of it here. I just want you to see what the situation might appear to be from the teacher's point of view. And you have to add the teacher's professional confidence and sensbilities wrt this (and teachers imo are a pretty defensive bunch having been bashed by politicians, media, ofsted, society in general - the only thing they have to hang onto for their own self-esteem is a belief in themselves as 'professionals' is this idea that they know better than parents at least).

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 11-Dec-12 16:57:46

'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'

Blimey - lol

I always just thought that the only worse thing that a teacher had to face than a parent, was a parent of a child with SEN.

HotheadPaisan Tue 11-Dec-12 17:07:38

Today was the first day in years that DS1 kissed me goodbye and went into class on his own without delaying and saying 'I don't want to go to school'. It has taken that long and a lot of soul searching through some awful times of watching him be horribly distressed.

No easy answers, but I know what you're talking about.

moondog Tue 11-Dec-12 17:18:57

I'd just like to mention that I am in schools nearly every day of the school lterm and see kids very often whose parents swear blind they don't want to come in but who, when they get there are obviously having a great time.

Just saying. smile

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 11-Dec-12 17:27:35

Yes moon I do too but there is a difference AFAIAC, I can tell when I pick Dd3 up that she has had a tough day and yet if I asked her teachers they would say she has been fine.

I also know that children can be very different at home and at school but I think it is very worrying when your child is saying they are ill and cant go to school.

Tummy pains and anxiety often go hand in hand as I am sure you know but as a parent it is a horrible situation to be in when you have to make that call every day and you dont know why your child keeps saying they are in pain.

Dd3 once vomitted at school through anxiety over staying for lunch and when I bought her home she waded through a bowl of sausage casseroleconfused

HotheadPaisan Tue 11-Dec-12 17:28:48

Just out of interest, when we saw DK she mentioned DS1's unusual way of speaking, we hadn't really noticed, or at least didn't think it was a problem or that it meant anything, but it was true and not typical of a child his age.

moondog Tue 11-Dec-12 17:29:25

Maybe so.
I can't fathom any teacher I know lying about it though.
Why would they?
If kids are unhappy, most people, whoever they are, would want to know why.

moosemama Tue 11-Dec-12 17:34:32

Ds is another one that only presents anxiety symptoms, both physical and emotional at home. We keep being told he is fine in school, yet he's a wreck and they just don't get to see it. He suffers from reflux, constant upset stomachs, migraines, headaches, nausea and tics when he is stressed and the school says they aren't seeing any of this (despite the fact I was sitting there watching him tic in assembly last Friday hmm angry).

We had some success with using a feelings diary that he completed with the teacher each day, discussing what was good and bad about the school day and eventually (after some work on emotional scaling) he gave the day a score out of ten. I then did a pie chart with him showing that there were actually more 'average' and 'good' days than bad and that helped him understand that school isn't all bad. He then found that he was wanting to put different numbers on different parts/experiences of the day and that was a breakthrough, as he started to realise that each day has good and bad bits and no day (well almost no day) is all bad. The book also acted as an emotional barometer for his teachers to assess his anxiety levels during the day and take evasive action if/when necessary.

Unfortunately, thanks to the behaviour of certain staff members this year, he no longer trust the school enough to tell them anything. As a result he is telling what they want to hear in the diary, then coming home and telling me what he is really feeling. This is a huge problem, because I no longer have evidence that he's struggling at school.

Still, sorry went off on one a bit there, some sort of feelings diary/journaling might help your dd sort out her emotions a little?

Also, ds1's autism teacher suggested using a sparkle book at bedtime. It's when you take some quiet time before bed to think of three good/nice things about the day and write them into a notebook. You can decorate the book together and use it to remind her that good things can and do happen every single day.

Ds1 is highly anxious and very much a glass half empty kind of child. He needs it clearly pointed out to him that nothing is all bad and gently prodding to notice and try to focus on the positive.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 11-Dec-12 17:37:13

I think it is more complicated than that though moondog. DS often creates a whole song and dance about going to school, and he did at his last school.

But his TUNE is very different now.

With old school he was withdrawing into himself and becoming frightened and tearful but at the same time not actually making any demands. They were denying his needs.

His new school understand him and make him engage when he doesn't want to. He has a behaviour plan and he's pushed to perform in the school productions.

He's a skilled avoider and would rather stay at home all day playing with google earth. I sometimes have to physically get him out of the door (stupid taxi won't wait), but once out of the door he bounds, all smiles, to the car and straight into a row about whether the driver is going to put capital or kiss fm om the radio.

cansu Tue 11-Dec-12 17:57:01

Maybe the fact that your dd is or appears happy in school isn't the issue. She is displaying unusual behaviour at home. She is showing anxiety and saying she is I'll when she perhaps isn't. This is still an issue but perhaps it isn't a school issue. I think the fact that she presents very differently at school doesn't make you wrong and maybe it doesn't make the teacher wrong either. T is simply that she presents differently in different environments. This doesn't change the fact that you are concerned about how she is behaving at home.

imogengladhart Tue 11-Dec-12 18:10:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 11-Dec-12 18:36:22

moon, I dont even think it is about lying, ime. It is more about lack of awareness about anxiety and also being too busy to spend much time really getting to know each child, especially the passive ones!

Dd3 spent 3 years in her old school and they knew nothing about the real her because they never saw the real her.

She was virtually mute, very well behaved and never caused them any trouble.
They just cant understand it why would a parent be worried about a.child like that???confused

moosemama Tue 11-Dec-12 19:00:47

Imogen, ds's feelings diary scales all his emotions from 0 = worst ever to 10 = ecstatic. The sparkle book was suggested in addition, to reduce bedtime related anxiety and is only to be used at home - nothing to do with school and they would never get to see the contents.

Sounds like your link-worker needs some lessons on how to develop emotional literacy in children.

The feelings diary has been a fantastic way of developing his understanding and scaling of his own emotions and was something I read about and implemented and then the EP developed while she was working with him.

The problem we have started having this term (after two years of using the feelings diary successfully) is that ds is afraid to tell his teachers and TA the truth about how he's feeling and doesn't want them to read it in his feelings diary either, so is putting down what he thinks they want to see, rather than how he's actually feeling - hence giving the school evidence that everything is ok at school. Unfortunately, he seems to have made a connection between his previously much loved and trusted autism teacher and the school as well, so he no longer even trusts her enough to tell her what he's worried about, because he sees her as 'staff' and possibly complicit as a result. It's a nightmare. He's telling me things and then begging me not to tell anyone at the school, including his ASD teacher, which effectively hogties me and stops me being able to help him. sad

PolterGoose Tue 11-Dec-12 19:22:57

It is so hard when school don't see what we see, or when they interpret behaviours using the wrong framework IYSWIM? They see a quiet passive child whilst we see a frozen scared child sad

Lougle, I so hope you get what you need from the paed in January, sending honks.

moondog Tue 11-Dec-12 19:28:03

Ok then.
I must be fortunate enough to work in schools where this doesn't happen, thank God. smile

imogengladhart Tue 11-Dec-12 19:32:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Walter4 Tue 11-Dec-12 20:05:24

Totally agree with star, par for the course before diagnosis and with some, after too. I sympathise with you're situation, I have a similar one with my 4 year old. A nightmare to get to school, walking on egg shells every morning , with him saying he won't go to school every day. Once there he refuses to go into class, very upset and extreemly anxious,the second I leave he is ok. This is coping behaviour for a child with asd/PDA. He is not ok in class and any trained professional would see the signs of his anxiety at school, teachers are NOT trained autism professionals and will not see passive anxiety/avoidance, often if the child co operates for them all is well. For my son PDA means that for the moment he can cope with the demands of school and his challenging behaviour is reserved for everywhere except school. I would imagine that because you treat your daughter as she need to be treated at home, this is enabling her to cope with the stress of school, for the moment.
Don't allow yourself to feel this way, you are right, and although diagnosis is not always a solution it does really help. Before it I felt much as you do, but its better now , most teachers sit up and listen. Often it's just ignorance of asd , once you have a diagnosis, bombard them with " helpful" information!

moosemama Tue 11-Dec-12 20:13:02

He won't write anything down at home if he thinks I will tell the school what he's said and I couldn't break his trust by getting him to write it down and then telling them despite him asking me not to. So frustrating.

Also, I suspect if it was written down at home, they would claim I'd coerced him or I was causing the anxiety.

imogengladhart Tue 11-Dec-12 21:07:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moosemama Tue 11-Dec-12 21:21:33

I know imogen - at least we're in it together though. smile brew

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 22:09:58

Moondog, you are right, in many ways. DD2 does have a good time once she gets there, according to her teacher, and I believe her (the teacher). However, that doesn't negate the fact that, when I ask her what the best bit of her day was, she says 'coming home'. Or the fact that she hides under my bed so she doesn't have to dress, then begs me repeatedly not to make her go to school. Just because she complies when she gets there and it isn't as bad as she thought it would be, doesn't change how she feels about it beforehand or afterwards.

Interestingly, when I got to the school this afternoon her teacher pulled me to one side and said she felt bad about our discussion earlier, that she wasn't suggesting I was neurotic, but was trying to reassure me that, whatever DD2 is saying at home, she's displaying no signs of unhappiness at school.

We were able to discuss the situation, and the teacher mentioned that she had noticed DD2's meltdown about tights/leggings/socks after dance club and had been suprised because they never see anything like that at school. I was able to explain that they were very unlikely to see anything like that, because DD2 is so keen to do as she is told by her teacher. I think it got through.

I also managed to communicate that my concerns have nothing to do with 'intelligence' or 'performance' and that if her teacher came to me and said that DD2's ability was low average, say, but she was happy at school, I would be fine with that as long as she was progressing as she should. My concern is about something very different.

I'm hoping that we're coming to an understanding. We both agreed that I looked pretty daft when I told the teacher what DD2 had said moments before, then DD2 started dancing, making funny noises and saying 'look at my bear' before skipping into the classroom (the same classroom she'd refused to go into for the few minutes before, when I was trying to get her in). Having said that, DD2 laughed moments before going into complete meltdown over her blood test, meaning that 3 of us had to hold her down. She does that wink

Shayo Wed 12-Dec-12 07:55:57

Could you record her discreetly using your phone?

Lougle Wed 12-Dec-12 09:16:59

Yes, that's a thought.

We have progress, though!

Today, DD2 (for the first time since 22 Oct) didn't refuse to dress, actually skipped on the way to school, and was singing Christmas Carols, then flew like an aeroplane into her class [shocked]

Her teacher came out to tell me that yesterday, she had taken DD2 to her old classroom to look at the differences between them. She then took her to all the classes in the school to look at the differences between them all, and explained that they all look different because each teacher likes different things. Then, she talked about change in general and how DD2 is changing.

DD2 didn't mention it yesterday, but I doubt it was a coincidence.

Ineedpigsinblankets Wed 12-Dec-12 09:39:05

Great news lougle, sometimes a little bit of extra support is all it takes.

I hope now that the teacher has realised what she needs to do you will have a better time.

Good lucksmile

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