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Have lost all sense of perspective - am I being over the top here?

(46 Posts)
Hassled Wed 29-Jun-11 20:07:51

So - DS2 is 13, Yr8, Dyspraxic with some AS tendencies, very clever, sometimes quite socially inept, very intolerant of all things religion (we've talked about this a lot). Basically he's an annnoying militant atheist. This is relevant because I can imagine that over the course of the year he's probably wound up his RE teacher over this; and I know that on 3 occasions the teacher has encouraged the class to boo DS2.

RE lesson today and they're talking about some Buddhist (?) thing re people being represented by animals and the teacher is telling children what animals she thinks would represent them. She gets to DS2 and says "a skunk". DS2 thinks that means he stinks, but no, she then shows the class a YouTube clip of Bambi where the skunk is sniffing flowers and tells Bambi he can call him Flower if he wants to. Teacher then tells the class she's going to start calling DS2 Flower. Much laughter and merriment all round - not, though, from DS2.

This of course is already all over fucking FB, it seems half of Yr8 are calling him Flower, and I have (in temper) written a pretty snotty email to the teacher and copied in the KS3 head, asking her basically WTF was she thinking, saying DS2 felt publicly humiliated and was very upset and saying that I want her to apologise. I can't undo it - I've clicked send - and am now panicking that I've over-reacted. Have I?

tasmaniandevilchaser Wed 29-Jun-11 20:10:19

no, YANBU, I think the teacher has behaved quite strangely. It doesn't seem as though she understands his difficulties at all.

catgirl1976 Wed 29-Jun-11 20:10:56

No you haven't over-reacted. That is appalling if it happened the way you say. Have they replied? I would be furious.

lizziemun Wed 29-Jun-11 20:11:03

No I don't think YABU.

SecretNutellaFix Wed 29-Jun-11 20:12:17

I think that the teacher acted very inappropriately.

To encourage mocking of other pupils is not on! It's a form of bullying.

BuxomWenchOnAPony Wed 29-Jun-11 20:13:19

Erm, YANBU. Even if you minus your sons difficulties from this situation, the teacher behaved like a bullying kid! Completely inappropriate, unprofessional and downright mean really.

worraliberty Wed 29-Jun-11 20:14:40

That would depend on whether your DS was happy about the email...was he?

I don't know if the teacher was wrong or not. Lots of my son's teachers have a great sense of humour....they 'rib' the kids, the kids 'rib' them back and it's all very good natured.

However, if the teacher knows your son well enough to be able to guess he's not likely to find it funny...then YANBU.

It is a shame though because it often puts the teacher in a position where they feel scared to have a laugh with anyone.

Hassled Wed 29-Jun-11 20:16:09

Thank you. Phew.

DS2 is very honest - I do think what I've written is what happened. She may have a different spin on it - but I can't see how. The Flower stuff is certainly on FB - mostly fairly light-hearted and jokey so far, thankfully, and I'm busy down-playing it to DS2.

Teacher is very young - mid 20s at most. No reply but then this only happened this afternoon - school shut tomorrow so I don't know when I'll hear back.

Thornykate Wed 29-Jun-11 20:16:13

Yanbu & I think if you hadn't stood up for your son you would be feeling worse.

It's natural to feel a little self doubt when you are challenging a large patriarchal institution such as a school. Doubt she would have used a skunk analogy to a colleague.

BuxomWenchOnAPony Wed 29-Jun-11 20:17:06

worra, a laugh with is entirely different to a laugh at though, no?

Hassled Wed 29-Jun-11 20:17:55

worra- yes, DS2 saw the email and was happy. I take your point re the humour - and that's probably what she was trying to do. But there was no empathy, no thinking of the repercussions for DS2 - that's what's wound me up. She should have been more aware of what kids are like and how that would have been used.

worraliberty Wed 29-Jun-11 20:22:38

Buxom yes of course but it seems the FB thing is where he was laughed at.

Hassled I hope the kids forget about it and move on soon sad

pickgo Wed 29-Jun-11 20:23:32


Sounds very very unprofessional - bet she wouldn't have said that in an Ofsted observed lesson.

Hope you and DS get the public apology that is richly deserved.

bubblecoral Wed 29-Jun-11 20:28:43

You have done the right thing. Laving aside any other issues, what half decent teacher would think that it wouldn't provoke a 13yo boy to be called Flower?! She sounds horrible.

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Wed 29-Jun-11 20:30:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

worraliberty Wed 29-Jun-11 20:31:56

My son's RE Teacher is an Atheist and makes no secret of that fact grin

Siobhan487 Wed 29-Jun-11 20:35:56

I think she (teacher) may being unreasonable as in not understanding him and his specific needs - however I used to work with a fantastic, very dramatic and OTT welsh teacher (long skirts, long hair, bright colours etc) who at the start of the year always nicknamed the biggest pain in the class - "her little flower" because they brightened up her day and announced how overjoyed she was to teach him, and greeted him with her resonating, very welsh accented (she had been a stage actress) voice each time she saw him and gave him a huge smile and asked him how he was etc. Her lesson was the only one those students behaved in (and this was a rough school) they were so confused by her and slightly unnerved, yet flattered that she liked them but didn't know what to make of her. It was fabulous to see these hulking great bullies, respond politely "fine, thank you miss" whenever she spoke to them as she sailed past in the corridor or they entered her room! So, I would therefore not object to using the word flower to a student, but more not reading the situation well and making an error in judgement.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Wed 29-Jun-11 20:53:01

O yes, Siobhan. A fine example of honey attracting more flies than vinegar.

I've often thought that teaching is akin to a performing art, and it's a great shame that formal acting lessons and voice projection/control classes aren't part of teacher training.

But it sounds as if your colleague possessed oodles of charisma and that's a talent which is worth it's weight in gold but, sadly, can't be transmuted to base metal or vice versa.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Wed 29-Jun-11 20:58:48

I don't know if it's a pecularly London thing, Hassled but calling someone 'flower' is a term of endearment or a greeting/word used when speaking to a stranger - and it's not a word restricted to females as I've often heard males address other males as 'flower'.

Perhaps a born and bred Londoner can advise?

worraliberty Wed 29-Jun-11 21:16:25

Born and bred Londoner here grin

Well ok...East London/Essex boarder...but that's where all the 'old Eastenders' live blush

Anyway, you're right about the word 'flower' being a term of neighbour always shouts "Wotcha Flower" When he sees me...but I have to say I've never heard it used for a male. He calls my boys "treacle" if that's any help.

Perhaps they come across as sweet but thick? grin

Hassled Wed 29-Jun-11 21:23:36

grin at the Flower/Treacle thing.
In the teacher's defence (why am I now defending the bloody teacher?) I don't actually know that any of this was driven by DS2's militant atheism and general religious intolerance. It's just all I can come up with.

I keep rereading my email and it was really was rude. I actually said "I'm fairly sure that the public humiliation of a child isn't within your remit". I was all sarky and mean and WTF have I done?

MyCatHasStaff Wed 29-Jun-11 21:35:57

You will not have done your DS any harm. Sometimes you need to demonstrate that your DS has vocal and strong support at home to make these 'amusing' teachers think twice. She may or may not have been trying to be funny, but she's missing the mark with your DS and she needs to back off and find another way to reach him. So he has opinions? So what? I have always taught my DS to have his own opinions and make his own decisions and believe me, teenagers need that skill. Sorry for ranting you may have gathered my own DS had a similar issue with a juvenile teacher. You sound very restrained. I believe I informed the HoY that the teacher needed to grow up and stop using his position to bait the kids! grin

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 29-Jun-11 21:53:40

I can understand why you were angry but I think I would have held onto the e-mail for a little while. Too late now, I know.

As Worra says, some teachers and pupils banter back and forth - appropriately - and it's the FB element that has kicked it all off. Perhaps it would have been forgotten by now if not for that.

I don't know if your DS banters with the teacher or not, perhaps the teacher enjoys debates about religion with the pupils, not every teacher would appreciate or encourage pupil debate. It would be a shame if the relationships changed just because of an incident that you weren't privvy to. Tolerance goes both ways and you say yourself that your son is an 'annoying millitant aetheist'. Does he have good people skills himself? Ability to fit in with classmates, knows where the lines are with the teachers and so on?

As far as copying in the Head of Year, I think that was overkill personally, you went over the teacher's head and didn't give him/her a chance to explain themselves. You could have gone in to have a word with the teacher yourself to get the sense of what happened.

I don't know, OP, it's hard to be objective when it's your own child. I know that my sense of perspective can fly out of the window easily. I save all my e-mails to draft till the next day for that very reason.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Wed 29-Jun-11 22:05:43

WTF you've done is most probably reduced a young teacher to a trembling jelly fearing that you'll make an official complaint about her- if this is the case, it won't be the last time as it seems to be an occupational hazard for anyone working with children these days.

Have a word with her on Friday to get her version of events, and tell your ds that he's now an Honorary EastEnder and he should wear his title of 'Flower' with pride.

Hassled Wed 29-Jun-11 22:08:13

LyingWitch - you've said exactly what I've been afraid of. I should have slept on it. And I shouldn't have copied it in to anyone. She's young and she made an error - a big error, I think, which she needs calling on (you just can't hold one child up to the class and make a mockery of them like that with no thought to the repercussions, and DS2 isn't the sort of robust kid who could possibly handle it) but it needn't have gone further.

DS2 has very poor people skills. This is the Aspergic part of his Dyspraxia. He struggles to read people and struggles to realise when it's appropriate to stop talking. But the teacher should know this.

MyCatHasStaff (great name) - thank you.

Anyway - it's done, and I can't undo it. I suppose the teacher has to get used to Nuts Parents With Raised Hackles - this is all part of her learning experience grin.

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