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To think it is not ok to completely trust the word of a young child in these circumstances?

(13 Posts)
goldenlula Thu 27-Feb-14 12:45:55

Ds2 came home from school saying he had been shouted at and made to cry by his teacher for swearing after another child had misunderstood what he had said. Both children are 5. Another child eventually stood up for ds2 and told the teacher what had actually been said (well sung actually). Ds2 was apologised to by both the teacher and the child concerned but I was not happy that the teacher had acted on the say so of one child and not given ds2 the chance to explain, so yesterday I went to speak to the teacher about the incident. For background, ds2 is under a paediatrician, is seen by a OT, SALT (for communication issues, rather than speech specifically) and I suspect he has a SN of some sort, so when shouted at like this he would have closed down and his only defence would be to cry.
Teacher was apologetic that the incident had happened (if a little abrupt) but I said I was more concerned with the fact that she had taken the word of 1 child and told ds2 off without any other proof or even asking ds2 what he had said, what had happened. He reply was that she trusted this particular child without any doubt and she would never lie. Now, I am happy to accept the child did not lie, but was I right to say to the teacher that having such faith in one child is not on when you are dealing with a large group. It is not beyond any child to take advantage of such trust, including my own I might add. I also pointed out that this particular child had been involved in a number of small incidents with ds2, with regard to her taking the mickey out of him for want of a better way of putting it.
While I am pleased with the apology, I am left feeling that the teacher still does not feel she is wrong to trust the word of this child without question. To add, there has been other issues with this teacher's methods and I have already had to talk to the deputy regarding my concerns (been at the school for 4 years, never had a problem with a teacher before and am normally totally behind the teacher/school and will give sanctions at home for bad behaviour at school, my children are normal children, not prefix by any means).

prh47bridge Thu 27-Feb-14 13:24:05

she trusted this particular child without any doubt and she would never lie

Stupid. Everyone lies. And, even if not lying, the child may be mistaken. Even more stupid that it appears the teacher intends to keep on taking the word of this child as gospel despite proof that the child was wrong on this occasion. And when there is low level bullying going on as well...

You can either wait and see if there are any further incidents or go to the deputy head (or head) with your concerns immediately.

BumpyGrindy Thu 27-Feb-14 13:29:57

Sounds like she was on the defensive to me. Of course no teacher should just believe one child above another automatically.

I suspect she will think twice next time. The thing is that teachers are human and do make a bad judgement from time to time...I would put this one away now and make sure DS knows she said sorry if not to him, to you....and that she knows he is a good boy.x

KoalaFace Thu 27-Feb-14 13:31:15

Its so tough isn't it? We all want to support teachers and back them up when our DC have misbehaved but we also need to make sure our DC aren't being let down...

The teacher sounds as if they are very naive at best to think that taking the word of one child is wise. But in this instance if I were you I would wait and see how things go with your DS, keep a close eye on things and take any further issues to her line manager.

Sarahschuster Thu 27-Feb-14 13:41:24

So the teacher apologised to both you and your child... Not entirely sure what the problem is.

goldenlula Thu 27-Feb-14 13:42:14

Oh, I totally understand teachers are human etc (was one of the things she said too), I worked in a school for 8 years so am experienced now on both sides of the fence. Ds2 was apologised to at the time, I accept she realises her mistake but she is blaming the mistake on the child's hearing difficulties, which is totally plausible as even with hearing difficulties the line of the song ds2 was singing can be miss heard. My concern is that she still kept saying that the child is normally totally dependable and she was just mistaken, leading me to think she had no intention of moving from relying on this child as being honest and trustworthy.
I think for me, put together with the inappropriate approach she has had in the past few weeks, it is all very worrying. For example, the class have been clearly told which children she believes will succeed, ds2 can name them (and he isn't one of them). She made a big thing of saying how wonderful ds2 is etc.
I do not intend on dwelling on it as such, but I am being vigilant. The small incidents with the other child concerned are just that, small incidents but ds2 can not grasp why she has said the things (he has social issues too). Also, ds2 has no idea why anyone would think he was swearing with this particular line and I have no plans on explaining it to him!

goldenlula Thu 27-Feb-14 13:48:51

The problem sarahschuster is even after this incident! where a 5 year old was made to cry by a teacher based solely on the say so of 1 other 5 year old. Even 24 hours later she maintained that she totally believed I the honesty and trustworthiness of this child, so therefore if this child tells her, for example, another child hit her, she would believe her and the other child would be punished, because this child would not lie. I do not believe she lied in this instance, I believe she was mistaken BUT one question to ds2 would have prevented it, but this teacher was so convinced in this child's honesty she didn't even think to question it at all.

mymiraclebubba Thu 27-Feb-14 13:53:24

I think the teacher was well out of order! irrespective of how trustworthy she thought the other child was she should still have asked your ds the questions to find out the other side of the story.

I would speak to the head about it if I were you

goldenlula Thu 27-Feb-14 13:58:59

Not drip feeding here, but even when I told the teacher the incidence that the totally trustworthy child had been involved in (mainly to illustrate that said child is a normal, healthy 5 year old and should be treated as such) she immediately looked disbelieving of it and questioned if we were talking about the same child as she highly doubted it. At this point, no names had been mentioned, ds2 piped up with the child's name, totally un prompted by me. This is why I am concerned, she seems so convinced in this child, that anything is just not possible. That is an unhealthy train of thinking in my mind, I do not even think that of my own children!

AMumInScotland Thu 27-Feb-14 14:02:21

The teacher's attitude bothers me quite a bit.

Any sensible teacher of 5yos knows that they sometimes have an 'imaginative' approach to truth - they may not be deliberately lying, but their reporting of 'facts' will be heavily weighted by their feelings about the situation, things they have misheard or misunderstood, the way they think things 'might' have happened.

When DS was that age, I have no doubt he didn't lie to me. But the things he came out with didn't always have much connection to the literal facts.

I would definitely contact the deputy or the head to make them aware of this.

PlumpPartridge Thu 27-Feb-14 14:05:28

The problem is that the op believes that nothing has changed in the teacher's mind (i.e. child A is totally honest and reliable, even though this may not be so) and so issues like this will probably come up again, sarah. She'd probably like to avoid that, if possible.

SanityClause Thu 27-Feb-14 14:09:28

Oh, this often happens.

The real bullies are often the socially successful children. They are popular with teachers and students alike, and teachers can often not imagine that this particular child could be a bully, when butter wouldn't melt in their mouth!

If you have concerns, I would speak to the teacher's line manager (head of KS1, or even the HT)

goldenlula Thu 27-Feb-14 14:13:20

Amum that is totally my thinking. When my children tell me anything, I listen, I think and I talk to them. Ds1 came out and said he was told of for laughing at someone else playing the clown on the table. He felt it was unjust that only HE had been told off, when 2 others had laughed too. We talked about it and he came to realise that the reason he was told off was due to the volume and 'effort' of the laughing. The others sniggered, he used a very loud, over exaggerated laugh, therefore he was fairly pulled on it! When I worked in a school, if parents questioned something their child had told them that they deemed unfair we always pointed out that while their child was telling them lies, they were telling them how they saw it, from their point of view, which is not always a true reflection of the actually events. It was very basic train of thought amongst all staff I worked with, maybe that is why this teacher's attitude surprised and worried me.

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