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To of phoned the school and asked them to withdraw this?

(142 Posts)
quoteunquote Mon 15-Oct-12 12:21:16

The year 7 have been set homework to share in class,

What makes you frightened and why?
When did this fear start?

I know that amongst DS's friends there are children with serious medical situations going on, children with parents with terminal illness, children with dead siblings, children with a dead parent, children that have suffered serious sexual abuse, children in care, a child who's older sibling has had recently very nearly successful suicide attempts, and children with parents who have mental illness, and children who are facing homelessness.

I feel that this is a situation where, "Can opened and worms all over the place." will sum up the situation nicely,

I don't feel that children sharing these kind issues with their peers is going to do either side much good, even the children sharing normal fears are going to be laid open to teasing.

I know that the children that are receiving counselling and support are having that structured very carefully, none of the people proving those services have been contacted to advice on this.

So my first AIBU, strapping hat on.

is a link to the thread I started last night, asking this question in chat, without the reason why, I did so as I wanted to see what responses to such a question would be, because I have now have phoned the school to express concern, I thought I would ask for the MN views while I wait for someone to phone me back.

LindyHemming Mon 15-Oct-12 12:23:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OhDeerHauntingFENTON Mon 15-Oct-12 12:25:17


That is the stupidest show and tell idea I have ever heard of.

What on earth to they hope to gain by doing that?

WorraLiberty Mon 15-Oct-12 12:25:36

How do you know so much about your DS's peers and their families?

YABU anyway.

I'm sure they'll make something up if they're not comfortable divulging personal info.

I suspect there'll be more fears about mice and spiders than anything else.

RedHelenB Mon 15-Oct-12 12:25:45

At year 7 they can decide WHICH to choose I would have thought so may not wish to share about cancer but would want to share being frightened of spiders.

OhDeerHauntingFENTON Mon 15-Oct-12 12:26:14

I can't see how they think sharing their deepest darkest thoughts and fears with their school mates is going to help them.

RedHelenB Mon 15-Oct-12 12:26:20

Which lesson is it for?

WitchesTitWhistles Mon 15-Oct-12 12:27:05

Maybe these fears should be aired? If of course the school plan to back up this topic with constructive and helpful support.

RedHelenB Mon 15-Oct-12 12:27:05

Lile say English if they were studying 1984 I could see a link.

DystopianReality Mon 15-Oct-12 12:27:27

It may be part of PSCE.

shewhowines Mon 15-Oct-12 12:30:03

YANBU - can of worms is correct. It could make things worse for some kids.

Although, I can see how helping children to see that they are not the only ones with fears is helpful, I am not sure this homework is the best way to go about it.

Children do often think life is rosy for others and think they are the only ones who are fearful. Perhaps someone will suggest a better way help them to address this.

Pagwatch Mon 15-Oct-12 12:30:24

I don't think I would be alarmed at this tbh.

I had a hideous childhood but I suspect I would have said 'slugs. Started when I stepped on one'

I think year 7s are able to judge what feels comfortable for a particular situation arn't they?

Maybe I am missing something?

fourbears Mon 15-Oct-12 12:30:24

I would also be very concerned in the circumstances and would contact the school. The teacher who set this is probably expecting fear of spiders, heights, that kind of thing. If the children share what is really going on in their lives, will they be properly supported? I don't see how they could be, unless the teacher is also a counsellor. Then there are all the other children's reactions to manage. I hope they see sense and pull this 'homework'.

quoteunquote Mon 15-Oct-12 12:33:46

It's for RE class,

How do you know so much about your DS's peers and their families?

I do a lot of support work with children in difficult situations,

I know a lot of the children's families as friends, and we are a rural community, so confidentiality is key, when certain situations arise.

MissAnnersley Mon 15-Oct-12 12:35:14

I wouldn't have a problem with it either. Sorry OP but I don't think there's anything wrong with it.

HopeForTheBest Mon 15-Oct-12 12:35:42

I don't think asking adults on an anonymous forum is comparable to what the school is doing, tbh.
And I agree that the kids will most likely say things like "spiders" etc. when asked this in a classroom setting.

YABU to have phoned the school about it.

WorraLiberty Mon 15-Oct-12 12:37:03

Perhaps that's why you're over reacting then imo.

I'm 43 and we did the fear topic at have my 3 DS's.

Kids are not forced to write anything 'deep'.

A fear of spiders for example is perfectly acceptable and despite whatever's happened in their past, that might be the first fear that springs to mind anyway.

We also learned about happiness, sadness and other emotions.

quoteunquote Mon 15-Oct-12 12:38:01

OK, so if your child had suffered sexual abuse by their father, it would be considered a good thing to share that information with 33 other eleven year olds?

Kewcumber Mon 15-Oct-12 12:38:35

My child was adopted and most teachers are going to be so out of their depths dealing with any honest essay he writes about his fears hmm. If the teacher doesn't mind them fudging the issue then I don't think its a problem - if its really intended as a "show and tell" and the children are being encouraged to open up and be honest then its bonkers.

Maybe these fears should be aired? - yes I'm sure they should, but the vast majority of school teachers are not competent to deal with my childs deepest fears, I am... and do...

Worra - if many of the children have moved together from primary (as happens at our school) then it really wouldn't be uncommon after 6 years to know a fair bit about childrens situations. Everyone knows DS was adopted and given a few issues I have talked about would also have an understanding of his situation.

MissAnnersley Mon 15-Oct-12 12:38:46

I agree, I would imagine there will be a lot of homework about spiders etc. That's certainly how I would respond.

However it may give even one child an opportunity to open up about something painful and that can only be a good thing.

BigWitchLegsInWailyTights Mon 15-Oct-12 12:39:30

I think yabu. As someone else said, they don't have to choose the dark stuff...they can choose spiders...DC are caring in general and it's good to encourage them to share.

Boys in particular need to be in situations where they can open up and be allowed to admit to fear. There are too many people STILL telling them to be "big boys" and not cry or show fear.

WorraLiberty Mon 15-Oct-12 12:39:42

And yes I agree

A load of adults typing on an anonymous chat forum doesn't really compare to children working in a classroom.

I'm not sure why you linked this thread with the other and then linked the other with this?

Blu Mon 15-Oct-12 12:41:15


DS's very first English excercise, with a teacher who knew nothing of the children, asked them to stand up and describe 'the worst thing that has ever happened to me'.


I know children yr 7 age who found a parent dead, / witnessed something no-one should ever see before arriving in the country as an asylum seeker / have been treated in ways no child should be treated by an abusive parent.

You don't 'help' children by suddenly introducing a bit of public disclosure in an open classrom when you have no therapeutic experience!!!

The reality is that most children will operate some self-preservation and talk about spiders or something. But for some children inappropriate disclosure to all and every stranger is part of the problem legacy of disturbance.

And truly I think it naive to expect a secondary school to have briefed each and every subject teacher on the detailed backgrounds of each new Yr 7. In fact numerous posts on the education boards are about exactly that.

Yr 7s still know little about each other. It isn't a safe space for children to talk about vulnerable subjects.

WorraLiberty Mon 15-Oct-12 12:41:53

OK, so if your child had suffered sexual abuse by their father, it would be considered a good thing to share that information with 33 other eleven year olds?

Don't be ridiculous.

If the question was "Have you ever suffered sexual abuse...please share your story with the class" then you'd have a point.

But since it's not, I think you're doing these year 7 children a great disservice if you think they can't talk about something less personal that scares them.

It's a classroom discussion and as such, I'm quite sure they'll treat it as one.

Pagwatch Mon 15-Oct-12 12:42:20

Erm quoteunquote. I was sexually abused all through my childhood from my first memory.
I would not have raised this with my peers if you set fire to me.

I am quite prepared to be wrong about this but just because I am not sure that this would be a huge problem does not make me thick or oblivious to the difficulties some children are facing.

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