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crap parents evening- AIBU to think teacher could have said one positive thing?

(31 Posts)
lottielou39 Fri 21-Oct-11 11:43:59

well, that was unexpected. We went to my eight year old daughters parents evening on Wednesday evening. She's in Yr.4. I knew when she started in this class that the teacher was a straight talking, no holds barred woman of the old school. I'd been warnedtold this. I'm quite happy she's a strict, old fashioned sort of teacher cos there arn't enough of them quite frankly.
What I wasn't happy about was the unexpected barrage of negatives thrown our way throughout our fifteen minute chat. We walked back to the car afterwards trying to think of a single good thing she said, and there wasn't one.
I don't expect her to lie and say my daughter is an angelic little cherub if she's a royal pain in the ass, but is constructive feedback too much to ask for? Also, shouldn't we have been made aware of some of these issues earlier in the term and not had them all dumped on us without warning at parents evening?
This is what the teacher said about our daughter:
she's incredibly self absorbed
she thinks the world revolves around her
she's 'manic'
she distracts the rest of the class
she's a poor listener
she gets preoccupied with friendships problems

To give you an idea of why we were shocked, her parents evenings in previous classes have all been positive and mentioned plenty of good things.Now I'm wondering if any of that was true, or the teachers were just too lazy/polite to be honest?
She's pretty well behaved at home most of the time, but does have a loud, gregarious personality. So, why the sudden change in Yr. 4?
Would it be petty, childish and wrong of me to ask the teacher if there are any positive aspects to her personality, or would that have my cards marked as a difficult parent?
I'm not ashamed to say that I burst into tears when we got home, was so pissed off because we weren't expecting something so negative.
I wish I could be a fly on the classroom wall for a day to see what really goes on. The only time my daughter has mentioned 'problems' with other kids has been in lunch breaks, when the teacher isn't there anyway.

worraliberty Fri 21-Oct-11 11:48:12

I do wish teachers wouldn't do this

As much as I can't stand the namby pamby 'shit sandwich' type of reporting...where they say something positive, then something negative, then something positive etc

I still think every child will have something positive about them and the teacher's need reminding to mention that to the parents.

I'm not sure I'd go back and question the teacher but that's your call.

Hullygully Fri 21-Oct-11 11:49:48

It osunds very much like the teacher finds her irritating, can't be bothered to work out how to deal with someone with her personality, and is a miserable old cow to boot.

AliGrylls Fri 21-Oct-11 11:51:48

I would want to know how other parents got on with her. Some people are just really negative and she could be one of them.

Also, I would be asking what my daughter thinks of her. Is it possibly a personality clash?

I would be tempted to ask for another meeting, explaining at home there are no causes for concern. If the teacher is prepared to say such things she should be able to back them up with concrete examples and come up with positive solutions for how to take matters forward.

SmethWitchBelle Fri 21-Oct-11 11:52:16

If she's THAT much of a problem it would be reasonable for you to "follow up" and ask for a review in a month or so. At which point you can ask specifically for some positives "so you know what you can build on". And because she must have a few! What the teacher has described sounds just like me when I was eight and I was lovely grin

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Fri 21-Oct-11 11:54:16

I think I would approach the teacher and say that you have had the chance to reflect on some of the issues raised at parents evening, that now have a few questions and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss these with her. Keep it neutral.

If she is unwilling to do this, go through the HT.

So long as you don't appear to be criticising the teacher, or have a 'bad attitude' you won't have your cards marked as a problem parent, but may get a reputation as one who won't be fobbed off or take any shit. Which, speaking as a parent and a teacher, isn't a bad thing.

Esta3GG Fri 21-Oct-11 11:54:18

Poor you. I hate this kind of thing. I would love to dismantle the personalities of some of these teachers in the same way they tear into kids. If I were you I would ask her what she was doing to engage your daughter more - it is her job after all.
Try not to get too upset about it - there is always one old bag who digs the boot in (in my experience anyway.) The fact that the rest of the staff had positive comments says to me that this woman is just not doing her job very well.

Miette Fri 21-Oct-11 11:54:24

I would go back and ask if she has any suggestions for how you could help with these issues and what strategies she is using to deal with them. (Other than to bitch about it to her parents.) I would also ask if she has anything positive to say about your dd at all.

Renniehorta Fri 21-Oct-11 11:54:44

Why don't you ask if you can come into class to see for yourself? I have had parents do this. If your dc behaves it can be used by the teacher as leverage in the future. If your dc misbehaves then you can use your visit to start a concerted effort coordinated between home and school to correct the problem behaviour.
I would most definitely enter into a dialogue with this teacher. The worst thing would be to communicate to your dd that there is a gap to exploit between you and the teacher.

lottielou39 Fri 21-Oct-11 12:08:22

I don't think it helps that I'm one of the more low key parents who rarely goes in to see teacher unless absolutely essential.

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Fri 21-Oct-11 12:11:07

Seriously lottielou, if I'd made a parent feel like you do, I'd be mortified! Try and make another appointment to speak with her.

Pakdooik Fri 21-Oct-11 12:11:09

Perhaps she was simply telling the truth and your daughter needs to change her behaviour

IndigoBell Fri 21-Oct-11 12:13:14

YABU - I hate them telling me how well my children are / are doing, when I know they're not - just so that they've said something positive smile

None of this sounds like a big deal that should have been said before 6 weeks into term.

This is all little stuff, that the teacher wants to work on - with your help.

Everything else that she didn't mention (especially the academic stuff!) is her positives smile Teacher just doesn't need to mention them, because you know all that.......

Hassled Fri 21-Oct-11 12:16:58

What TheTenantOfWildfellHall said - follow it up.

But if she's happy and progressing well and learning and is interested in learning then please don't fret too much. It just sounds like a personality clash - I think most kids have one with a teacher at some stage of their school career.

simbo Fri 21-Oct-11 12:26:49

Actually, it just sounds as though she doesn't like your dd. You never mentioned anything about educational progress- isn't that what they are supposed to be discussing at parents'evening? Personality only comes into it if it affects the work of your child, or the rest of the class. You should definitely speak to her again, and if your girl needs to modify her behaviour, then you need to track her progress with the teacher's help. This snould be a partnership after all.

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Fri 21-Oct-11 12:42:40

Pakdooik even if the teacher is right about all of those things she said, she should still have been able to find some positives.

mummytime Fri 21-Oct-11 12:42:57

Ds had a teacher like this, when challenged to say 3 positive about our son, she managed 1, 1 which turned into a negative and couldn't do the third. I don't think that teacher liked kids much, certainly not that age group, but she was a fantastic teacher just not good at the rest of it (class control, pastoral etc.).
I wouldn't take what she says as gospel. If everyone else is positive, if you assessment at home is positive, and at her out of school activities are positive; then you need to champion your daughter.
I would go back and challenge the teacher, that if this is her assessment what steps is she going to put in progress to change things? You can also give her a smiley face book, where the teacher has to record every lesson if your DD has been smile or sad or neutral.
DS's teacher also liked to drop in the "your child has no friends" which is the cruelest thing someone can say to a parent.
I now really appreciate +ve -ve +ve feedback, as at least it doesn't leave me feeling suicidal and in need of a drink.
BTW personality clash is no excuse, it is the teachers responsibility to appreciate, preferably like every child. If you look hard enough there is something positive about every child, or at least something you can sympathise with.

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Fri 21-Oct-11 12:46:58

I don't think a teacher should send the parents away feeling shit though. Or without something positive to take home to their child.

It's not about finding anything positive to say about the child, but the teacher owes it to the child to find something positive about them.

It can be a bit of a shock to arrive at parents evening all excited and wonder what you're going to hear, to leave feeling like you've been winded by the teacher. And there's nothing you can do about it.

At this stage in the year it is all about settling in and not so much about academic progress.

Roughwiththesmooth Fri 21-Oct-11 12:48:52

I just had a similar experience, nothing positive said at all. I am surprised you got 15 minutes; after we were there 5 minutes she started looking over our heads at the other parents who were waiting, so we ended the meeting. But, I am definitely going to follow it up with another chat and specifically ask if she has any positive feedback.

I am a teacher and would hate to think a parent left a parents' evening with a negative feeling.

Hardgoing Fri 21-Oct-11 12:52:40

I would have cried buckets if someone had said this about either of my girls. I would not expect a long list of negatives, I would expect the teacher to tell me the one or two glaring problems and provide solutions about how they and we were going to tackle them together. She sounds like an old cow who took great delight in bursting your bubble about your daughter (after all, if she's so much of a problem, how come no other teacher or you at home have noticed?)

lottielou39 Fri 21-Oct-11 14:30:32

I did cry buckets, and ate lots of chocolate! She's not some awful, unmanagegable, self absorbed horror at home. Far from it. Hence my surprise. And after a good last parents evening, I wasn't expecting this one to be quite so negative! On the positive side, I know she's academically very bright, and she loves school, and only has good things to say about school. So at least she's happy. Even if the teacher isn't.

carabos Fri 21-Oct-11 14:42:58

Sometimes its about them, not about the DC... It's a PITA when you get a personality clash with a teacher - my DS1 had one with a maths teacher in secondary school who unfortunately taught him for three years...hmm.

DS2 had a teacher in primary school who, when he was being bullied, suggested that we teach him to be less of a victim, and another who, despite him being head boy, beloved of his friends and all round good egg wink could think of nothing more to say about him than "well he's just very average isn't he".

f you are worried, ask for another meeting and ask for the head to be present - I think you'll find that she --changes her tune--modifies her comments somewhat.

good luck.

NorfolkBroad Fri 21-Oct-11 14:48:58

Sorry you had to go through that. She sounds like a right miseryguts. If you have never heard that before from a former teacher of your DD and she is now in Y4 you must be dealing with a very negative, insensitive teacher, I doubt very much your dd has suddenly changed personality! Sit with it for a few days and if it is still upsetting you then go and see the Head and just say, as you have here, that you found the parent's evening completely negative and that it really upset you.

NorfolkBroad Fri 21-Oct-11 14:50:56

I am also a teacher and am always at great pains to point out the positives in EVERY child while being upfront and honest about any problems. There is no excuse for being entirely negative. Your dd sounds great anyway.

Shannaratiger Fri 21-Oct-11 15:03:03

That sounds really out of order and upsetting. Every child has some positive points.
My dd is in year 3, her teacher is the one she had in year R and yr 1. At parents evening we were told that she is still working at year 1 level and her reading and hand writing were worse than when she left year 1, she only has 1 friend as she has social problems but her teacher still manged to find a positive comment that she is always happy and tries her best. We therefore went away feeling reasonably positive though aware their was lots of work for us all to do together.

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