feeling that these discipline techniques are a bit archaic?(13 Posts)
Bit long, apologies, don't want to drip feed.
My ds first year in school (yr3 - homeschooled previously) was brilliant all except for his relationship with his teacher who was a shouter. He can be quite anxious and assumed she was always shouting at him for quite a while to begin with.
Also, although his other academic standards were on par or above, he hates handwriting and is consequently a plodder in written work (of which there is a lot in school). However, he is no worse or better than a lot of other boys in his class in this regard. By the end of his first year, he was thoroughly convinced that he had never done enough work in any lesson, come what may.
Like a lot of boys he is also easily led/distracted and a bit of a butterfly brain, so no doddle to get to concentrate and focus, I totally admit. However his yr4 teacher 'got him' straight away and and away he went - house point badges for good work and gold ribbon award for good behaviour. Sadly she was only temp. and left at Christmas. New teacher, new year. However, 7 days in ds came home anxious and upset and by bed time was crying about a tea party that was happening the next day and the he couldn't attend because he was sure hadn't done enough work. Didn't quite understand the full story so checked in with the teacher the next morning. She said:
I have quite a lot of very naughty boys in my class, and because I am new they are testing my boundaries and I'm having to come down hard. Ds isn't one of them, but he does get drawn in to their behaviours sometimes. As positive motivation I decided to have a 'good' list, and anyone on the list by Friday could have a tea party with cakes/music etc. So I told him last night there was a question mark over his name and that it was totally up to him if he worked hard enough.'
I was a little bit about the idea of a good list/lots of naughty boys thing, it seems a bit labelling to me, but didn't question it at the time. Explained to ds that it was down to him now to focus and work his hardest. After school, face like thunder then floods of tears - I worked hard all day but had to sit in the corridor and copy out of a dictionary for no good reason. Decided to call his bluff a bit and we went to see the teacher because he's not always good at admitting when he's done wrong. She said:
Ds has worked really hard all day and I've been praising him, but because he's in yr 4 now I thought I would get him to self assess and when I asked him if he thought he'd done enough work to go to the party he said 'no I don't think I have.' The TA looked at me and we both asked him again, but he said no he didn't think he had. So I had no choice but to put him with the others, and when he walked away he said 'I didn't want a donut' anyway, so after he had been cheeky I couldn't call him back.
Ds was off school on Monday with temp, which cleared up, so back on Tuesday. Coincidentally, one of the so called 'very naughty boys' was also off on Monday. Cue Ds and this boy messing around and making faces during carpet time and the teacher announced to the whole class :
Wasn't it lovely here without Ds and Naughty boy yesterday?
I was a bit shocked, and DH went mental. We now have a meeting with her tomorrow and would just like to see what others think of the situation. Many thanks if you manage to plough through it all.
I don't consider the list to be a bad thing.
However, asking people to self assess is fine, but I think she should have been prepared to give her own assessment as well - e g when he said he didn't think he had done enough:
"Well it's very good that you have been honest with yourself and with me, and I think you have done very well, so as long as you promise to keep working hard, then I think you should definitely come to the tea party".
However, the last comment I can't imagine ever being appropriate.
I don't really see anything wrong with it other than the last comment, which was out of order.
If he had done more than enough work, I'm sure the teacher and TA would both have told him, that actually the amount he did was fine.
His being down on himself and setting up a protective mechanism to manage his assumed disappointment - that was her cue to leap with in a terribly enthusiastic ego stroke and build up a little boy. Every right to be furious and upset. I would speak with her AND the head. All the best.
I think the list is a progression on the sun/cloud wall chart thing some schools do in the lower years however being told that the teacher was glad that your son and another child wasn't in/was ill is dreadful and she should be pulled up.
Some children are perfectionists so to be asked 'have you done enough' would make lots respond with 'no I don't think I have' as they feel that is the right answer when actually what they have done is perfectly reasonable.
You need to have a chat with her with possibly another teacher present and no children around. Perhaps involve the head after that if nothing is resolved as you should chat to the teacher as a first port of call.
The list is fucking ridiculous. She sounds like a massive wanker and incompetent at dealing with her class. I have twin boys in yr 5 now, and they are in both classes, so I get to see very different approaches. One twin is in a very boy heavy class which could easily be described as full of naughty boys. The teacher is amazing, never shouts, uses stuff like the mission impossible theme tune for tidy up time, and is basically incredible. Ds loves her. The other twin is with a relatively new teacher, who is loud and shouty. He is definitely not having the same wonderful experience, but fortunately is coping. It sucks ass. I hope next year that he'll have a great teacher again, as he has mostly had through the school. Last year, the other ds had a series of appalling teachers, but this year has evened it out. Don't accept bad teaching, and feel free to keep going back, with the outcome you want clear in your mind!
Did she actually use the phrase 'naughty boys'? I would be shocked. If she did that's disgusting and indicative of an attitude problem.
As a teacher I would never label a child like that. You can talk about the behaviour but not label a child in such a way. How disempowering if they were to overhear that.
With regard to the self assessment he could have been given a self assessment checklist- did I try hard, did I use a new adjective in my writing etc to go through but what he was asked to do sounds a bit vague for someone his age and there is no way to measure 'enough' unless clear (and differentiated for the child) criteria were given.
With that in mind I think you would be in reason to want to have a sit down.
But if she actually said that 'wasn't it lovely without ...' comment I would be asking that her line manager be present at the meeting. Such an archaic and twisted attempt at behaviour management shows she has some issues that need to be addressed as part of her professional development. She may need to go on a behaviour management course or get some mentoring/do some observations of a coworker who has the skills she is lacking.
Is she aiming for self fulfillling prophecies? I would be having a meeting with the head.
So your son was thriving in the last academic year, and this new teacher and her 'positive motivation' are undoing his confidence and potentially his progress. I think the teacher's methods and labels are indeed archaic and are likely to lead to negative outcomes. I think a meeting with her is a good idea. I would only speak to the head if you don't get a satisfactory outcome from the teacher.
Thanks for your input, guys. The comment 'lots of very naughty boys' was actually said to me personally.
WorraLiberty, the teacher also told me face to face that he had worked really hard all day, but because he self assessed as not having done enough work, she had to put him with the others.
Trashcanjunkie, that's why I feel so frustrated, he had a very negative experience for the whole of Yr 3, then 3 1/2 lovely months with his Yr 4 teacher, who never shouted, and had loads of really positive ways of promoting good behaviour, and now we seem to be back to negative again.
Ds can have a very low opinion of himself and is very hard on himself - his first yr 3 teacher noticed this and actively worked with him to improve this, and she was only with him a short time. I did try to explain to his new teacher about his problems with this.
Also, knowing that if there are problems with a child, often the first question is 'are there any problems at home' I decided to clue her in to something that has been going on for about 3 or 4 months now, prefacing it with the fact that I wasn't trying to excuse any bad behaviour on his part but just wanted to give her a bit of background, and told her that I had been suffering with a particularly crippling bout of depression that had been really impacting on him...(was about to explain how) but before I could say anymore she cut me off with 'well all children have something to deal with' and moved the conversation on.
When I rang to ask for a meeting I spoke to the head; she couldn't speak for very long as was due in a meeting, but I briefly outlined and said that after the last comment he feels as though his teacher really hates him. Her response was, 'I won't have any child in my school feeling unloved or unwelcome.'
She emailed me later with this: I am sorry to hear of ds turmoil. I have spoken to 'teacher' already and we have talked about how we can support ds and give him a boost and help him regain his confidence.' And then suggests meeting time/etc.
The head is absolutely lovely, her educational philosophies and the way she handles the children are amazing. But obviously she can't teach / be in every class.
Sorry should be first Yr 4 teacher...in para 4
That sounds encouraging. Having the head in your corner always helps. Good luck at the meeting
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