Was I over the top about this?

(51 Posts)
Ledkr Thu 27-Feb-14 09:47:13

Ok so dd 12 was in trouble at school as she'd put some pink streaks in her hair that we then couldn't get out properly.
No problems, we know the rules.
However, her head of house is a 6ft4 male and he took her in his office and shouted at her so loudly that other children heard from the school hall and asked dd if she was ok.
She was shaking and sobbing when she got home.
She's been an exemplary pupil so far, never needed to be told off, does homework, plays for school teams, loves school.
So I've e mailed this teacher to tell him that I take a very dim view of him speaking to my daughter I that way.
As a dv survivor I feel it's important that my daughters know correct boundaries and behaviour between the sexes.
My husband or sons would never speak to me or my daughters in this way so I don't expect teachers to do so.
I've told him as much but I'm now worried I will come across as a raving militant.
I just feel if my husband screamed at me or dds to the point we were shaking with fear, he'd be out the bloody door.
What do you think?

expatinscotland Thu 27-Feb-14 09:48:16

YANBU.

Quangle Thu 27-Feb-14 09:49:39

I don't think this has anything to do with behaviour between the sexes and I don't think you should put that overlay on it.

If he spoke to her inappropriately that's an issue about the school and teaching and boundaries. It's not worse just because he's 6ft 4.

sooperdooper Thu 27-Feb-14 09:50:05

Would you feel the same if it had been a female teacher? I'm not sure this is a gender issue tbh

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Thu 27-Feb-14 09:54:08

YANBU, particularly as the situation was out of her control. It isn't your DDs fault she couldn't get her hair back to its regular colour! Considering her record, I think this teacher really overreacted. Why couldn't he just have a quiet word about it and ask her to dye over it/try and get the pink out by the next day or week or whatever? That's what they did when I was at school when I dyed my hair postbox red

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Thu 27-Feb-14 09:54:49

And YY not sure it's a gender issue.

HMG83 Thu 27-Feb-14 09:59:33

Would you be reacting the same if it was a 6'4" female teacher who'd reprimanded your DD?

Nocomet Thu 27-Feb-14 10:12:29

I agree it's not a gender issue. The DDs have a very imposing and strict female teacher.

I would feel equally obliged to complain if she used her full 'doing no work in Y11 voice' with a Y7 for something they had tried to put right.

Ledkr Thu 27-Feb-14 11:22:56

Thanks for replys, I did genuinely want some balance.

I don't think I would be as concerned if it were a female teacher simply because of the dv issue.
I guess I'm hyper sensitive due to my own experience.

I also work with children with behaviour issues and I would never shout at them like that.

I don't think you were unreasonable to complain. Is it a gender issue? I don't know. I think it's more of a bullying issue, tbh. A person using their position, as well as their superior size and volume, to intimidate someone weaker.

Would you have been equally as angry if this teacher had shouted at a 12 year old ds for the same reason? If so, then I'd suggest it's not a gender issue.

There's sort of something worrying about the dominant male / subordinate female dynamic, but to me that's more of a political analysis of an aspect of the power dynamics between the two people involved, rather than one that is specifically to do with what's wrong with this situation.

No, I think it's a bullying problem.

So in terms of what to do about it, I think if I were in your shoes I'd be approaching my complaint from the perspective that the teacher was unnecessarily intimidating and aggressive given the minor nature of the offence and your dd's otherwise blameless conduct, rather than emphasising the dv element.

meditrina Thu 27-Feb-14 11:45:16

Unless the teacher was really reckless, then the office door would be open. So being able to hear what was said from outside the room might not indicate anything unreasonable at all.

When dealing with a school, I think it is always best to take 'DD is upset and i am concerned. Please could you tell me what happened from your point of view' as the first line of enquiry. Whatever the age and previous record of the pupil.

Ledkr Thu 27-Feb-14 11:51:31

The door was shut, which did concern me!

SwayingBranches Thu 27-Feb-14 12:09:29

I don't think you were over the top at all. A 6 foot 4 inch male yelling at a 12 year old girl until she's shaking was completely inappropriate, both in a normal teacher pupil relationship and in a world where male violence against both other males and females is the norm.

There is no point comparing this to a 6 foot 4 inch female because female violence is not endemic and thus not comparable.

Discipline through fear is poor discipline. Especially for such a small transgression.

Quangle Thu 27-Feb-14 12:23:44

I think the point is any teacher reducing a pupil to a shivering wreck is unacceptable - if that is what happened it's not on.

He can't actually help his height though - or indeed his gender. And that shouldn't be an additional consideration "against him" as it were. Otherwise you'd have male teachers feeling unable to dole out discipline - particularly to girls and even more particularly to petite girls - and female teachers having to turn into complete cows to compensate for their lack of physical dominance.

I think to the OP though I would just treat this as an incident you very much need to find out more about and get to the bottom of. Find out what the school say and take it from there. I wasn't clear from the OP whether she had raised the DV history in her complaint but if she hasn't already, I wouldn't. I would just treat this as a "what happened here and why was this deemed appropriate?" discussion.

Hope DD is ok now.

meditrina Thu 27-Feb-14 12:29:39

A shut door is definitely inappropriate.

I suppose I'm aiming off a bit because the child with a long record of impeccable behaviour can so easily crumble when receiving first big telling off. And I know (the hard way) that a even a truthful account can contain key omissions which mean the overall impression given is very much at odds with the actual event. That's why I would now always begin with an enquiry, and like the way quangle has phrased an opening question.

DoctorTwo Thu 27-Feb-14 14:01:08

If a teacher, any teacher, had made any of my DCs cry rather strong words would be had and a letter of complaint sent to the head.

FloraFox Thu 27-Feb-14 15:34:38

Of course it's a feminist issue. Unlike a 12 year old boy, your DD will never grow up to be strong enough to physically withstand or challenge a violent 6'4 man so the dynamic is totally different. Fear of male violence makes women moderate their behaviour in society. This man is teaching your daughter to conform or be scared of the consequences. I would complain.

Nocomet Thu 27-Feb-14 16:14:49

I think if there is a gender issue at all it's over the reason your DD was in trouble.

Both me and the DDs find it's always male teachers who go OTT about minor uniform infringements. Yes our senior mistress moaned, but you always got the feeling she only moaned because she had to.

I think some men just fall into a suit and tie from birth and simply can't understand why anyone wouldn't just meekly do likewise.

Callani Thu 27-Feb-14 16:32:26

I think that gender does come into it if the teacher was purposefully using his large size, stature and voice to scare your DD.

It may be that he was not aware of the effect of it as men (particularly 6ft4 men) don't seem to realise how intimidating it can be to feel powerless - however he needs to be made aware of this and he definitely needs to know that shut doors are not acceptable.

ArtetasSwollenAnkle Thu 27-Feb-14 16:43:57

Unless, he gew up to be 5 ft 4 and 9 stone, eh, Flora? Or do you think all boys grow up to be 6 ft plus and 16 stone? And some women do grow over 6 ft, and some are well capable of withstanding intimidation - Nicola Adams? Do you live in a society where everyone is the same?

Ffs.

In my own personal experience of life, I've found that men are socialised to think of themselves as capable of physically standing up for themselves, large stature being merely an advantage. Whereas women are taught that we are weak and vulnerable. Just a thought really, don't know if it's relevant. But, y'know, chuck it in.

K8Middleton Thu 27-Feb-14 16:52:07

He was unprofessional.

I think his size and sex are relevant if he used them to intimidate her. This is unlikely if he was sitting down but shouting is unacceptable. He should be modelling good behaviour.

I don't think ywbu.

FloraFox Thu 27-Feb-14 17:02:57

Artetas we both live in a society where men are overwhelmingly larger and stronger than women and where women as a class are oppressed by the actual or perceived threat of male violence. Many women are actually subject to male violence, other women moderate their behaviour to avoid it. For many women, especially women who are not personally suffering from direct male violence, it is often easier to deny that to confront the reality. I would not want my DD learning from her teacher that non-conformity leads to aggression and intimidation from a man she will never possibly be able to withstand. I would not tell her that it is her responsibility to withstand intimidation.

TheCrackFox Thu 27-Feb-14 17:16:12

He sounds like a total dock TBH.

He should be reminded that 12yr olds are still actually children and he should bare that in mind when shouting at them.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now