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AIBU to think my DS teacher needs to think about her language?

(54 Posts)
Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 17:12:12

Some background: DS1 is in Y1 and has an assessment coming up soon for ASD, he was referred by school. DH does most dropoffs and all pick ups due to my working hours. By the time I get home at 4 school phones are closed.

So today I get home and find out that DS1 has wet himself at school. DH says that DS1 misunderstood an instruction by his teacher to use the toilet at break times only and so waited and didn't make it in time. DS1 one had apparently told the other Y1 teacher that his teacher had said he couldn't go to the toilet. So at home time she told my DH that DS1 had lied. So used that word.

AIBU to be angry that she is accusing him of lying? For the record I don't think she said he couldn't go to the toilet, I think he just misunderstood. But he wasn't lying. It's like she thinks he was trying to get her Ito trouble or something.

It's not the first time she's used language like this. A few months back she said he had been 'making accusations' about classmates. I called the school and the headteacher answered the phone - he apologised for her words used and I explained that DS misreads his peers, so someone having a joke around, he would see that as being mailicious - so he's not making stuff up its just that he interprets it in a different way.

It seems to me that whatever she said to him, he has obviously misheard/misunderstood since he would not deliberately wet himself (he was very upset about it). So AIBU to think she should think about how she phrased it to make sure she's clearer next time, she should not be calling him a liar, and WIBU to call the school tomorrow about it?

Osolea Tue 19-Jan-16 17:19:48

Could there have been more to the conversation between your ds1 and the other teacher that led her to believe he was telling an untruth rather than it just being a misunderstanding?

Children do lie about things, it's fairly common at that age, I don't think you need to take it as an insult or quite so personally.

Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 17:25:00

I can well believe that he was adamant that his teacher had said he couldn't go to the loo, if that is what he had heard.

But that's not lying, that's misunderstanding.

Of course all children lie, including DS on occasion, but I just think that calling a child a liar is so loaded and in this instance especially so unnecessary - why didn't she just say he misunderstood?

PrimeDirective Tue 19-Jan-16 17:38:40

I completely agree with you, and it's extremely unhelpful to say a child has lied, when they have just misunderstood.

It also places the blame entirely on him rather than accepting some degree of responsibility for the misunderstanding.

I would mention it, because it will confuse and upset him even more if he finds himself in a similar situation again, and the staff need to be clearer in their communication to him.

NanaNina Tue 19-Jan-16 17:42:10

Regardless of what happened it is entirely inappropriate to say that a 5 year old child had lied - shocking. I agree with Rino why couldn't she have just said he misunderstood. Oh I see you're the OP Rino - are you going to have a word with this teacher about her use of language.

Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 17:45:44

I think I will call the school tomorrow and ask her to call me so she can tell
Me herself what happened. I will be clear that I don't think she forbid him to use the toilet but that I also do not think it appropriate to say he lied, when it is far more likely he simply misunderstood.

Think I'll have to reiterate again as well that he takes things very literally so he does misunderstand things on a fairly regular basis. She does know this already but perhaps needs to be reminded.

icklekid Tue 19-Jan-16 17:46:43

I would get dh to have a word with her or if she's too busy arrange for you to go and see her at 4 one afternoon. I think it sounds like you have more concerns than just this one incident and a conversation about what your ds struggles with and how you can work together to best support him.

Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 17:50:07

We have had that meeting ickle which is what led to the referal. I know she finds him tiring, because he prefers adults to chat to and always wants to be talking to her, so she has had to set him boundaries of when she can give him time and when she needs to give time to others, which is perfect.

Maybe she's just frustrated with him, but it's still not helpful

Youarentkiddingme Tue 19-Jan-16 17:53:57

In would definitely recommend a meeting with school. I've had the same with DS. His interpretation and explanations are because he takes everything so literally and I was insistent calling him a liar was counterproductive and even once asked a teacher if they had a witness to what they said because it was not fair to state he lied when it's her word against his.

steff13 Tue 19-Jan-16 17:54:30

So, he asked the teacher today to use the restroom, and she said, "no, go at break time?"

I'm not sure where the lie/misunderstanding came in. If that's what happened, then he's telling the truth.

CrohnicallyAspie Tue 19-Jan-16 17:59:14

YANBU. I bet your DS was technically telling the truth- at some point the teacher will have said something to all the children, like 'remember to go to the toilet at break time, I won't let you if you ask in lesson'

Therefore your DS didn't ask, as he 'knew' her answer would be 'no'.

But neither was the teacher lying, she didn't actually refuse your DD the toilet.

Saying your DS is lying is not helpful at all! But all could have been sorted if she had just explained to DS that she can sometimes make exceptions to rules (good lesson for him to learn) and even if she has previously said 'no', if he is desperate or feels unwell he can always tell her.

Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 18:00:42

Well yes steff I'm a bit baffled as well but because I know DS misunderstands I am trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. But yes, it's also possible he's telling the truth!! It's possible she was vague and said 'I'd prefer you to wait for break time if you can' and then instead of saying he couldn't wait he's tried to wait (and failed). That's the only explanation I can think of tbh

Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 18:02:36

He has a good memory as well so it's also possible that she's said in the past to the class or another child 'no not in lesson time' or something and so yeah he didn't bother to ask because he assumed the same would apply.

Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 18:03:56

If she said 'try to wait until break' he would hear 'no toilet in lessons ever'

CrohnicallyAspie Tue 19-Jan-16 18:04:16

It is hard though, I'm on the spectrum and still slip up and forget that I have quite a few more years experience than children and therefore know more about grey areas, where the rules don't fit 100%.

But having said that, I will always delve a little deeper if an autistic child is upset or disagreeing with another child, and try and find out what really happened because so often they're not actually 'wrong' and if I can help explain things then they've learned something.

Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 18:06:17

Yes I agree it's hard, I work with adults on the autistic spectrum and we spend a lot of time sorting out misunderstandings!

IoraRua Tue 19-Jan-16 18:08:00

Five year olds DO lie Nana, it's part of growing up.
I don't think the word lying was helpful to use in this case as it seems more like a misunderstanding. Yanbu, I think.

Also, while the teacher may be very aware of his difficulties it's still very possible for her to slip up - in a busy classroom remembering x needs literal explanations, y needs repetition and z needs to use specific warning phrases etc can be difficult when you are dealing with lots of problems.

PandaPop55 Tue 19-Jan-16 18:12:21

A similar thing happened with my DD. She had an accident at school as she needed to go but rather than tell the teacher she tried to hold on until break. She said the teacher had told the whole class they had to go at break or lunch. I had a chat with the teacher and he explained he had told the childen to go to the toilet at break, as the class was constantly being disrupted. He explained though that he had not said they could not go during class time and of course they could go if they really needed. He made sure to explain fully to DD he next day so she was clear it was fine to go if needed. Everyone was happy to accept it was just a misundrstanding. I would have been furious if anyone suggested dd had lied

Viviennemary Tue 19-Jan-16 18:24:36

The teacher doesn't sound very suitable to be in charge of small children. She shouldn't have accused your DS of lying. It's up to the teacher to make sure children understand what's required. You say there's another Y1 teacher. Could you ask that your DS be transferred to her class. I wouldn't be keen on having my son taught by this current one. She sounds horrible. Most teachers wouldn't call a child a liar to the parents.

LittleBeautyBelle Tue 19-Jan-16 18:31:32

I completely agree with you. The term "lying" had better be used accurately, or don't use it, in my opinion. For me, lying means deliberately not telling the truth, or deliberately lying (or omitting the truth) to benefit yourself or to harm someone else.

To call your child a liar in the situation you described is wrong. I can kind of relate, my ds's teacher last year did something similar. All the students have planners where each day the teacher will put if they did something wrong and what it is. One day ds's behavior slot for that day said "lying." Ds said he was talking when he wasn't supposed to, and since he had told the teacher on a previous occasion that he wouldn't talk again out of turn, then that meant he lied deliberately when he promised to try not to talk out of turn again.

I thought it unfair and was a bit upset at first.

After thinking about it, everybody knew how strict this particular teacher was, and she had a reputation for clamping down on the kids. I decided to look at it this way, that she was trying to teach him to keep his word, and that it is lying really to not keep your word. So, I let it go.

I will say that my gut feeling was that this teacher had good will toward my child so that helped me to let it go. Just one problem since, ds complained about how meanly she talked to him a couple of times. He had been used to being teacher's pet so I told him that not all teachers are going to be that congenial so he needed to learn to handle being in that situation.

In your situation though, you should probably talk to the school, it doesn't sound right. Yanbu at all. The teacher should know better than to call your son liar, she seems to be showing ill will toward him when it's obvious he is not lying.

Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 18:32:01

We've heard a few less things about this teacher but preferred to wit and see for ourselves- not prejudge etc. But yeah, now we're not so sure and we are starting to wonder if we should ask for him to be swapped

amarmai Tue 19-Jan-16 18:35:05

as she has been reprimanded for using unacceptable language already, it appears that she has gone on the attack because she has done it again. IMO she is is not well suited to teaching this age group and unprofessional in addition. Plus to tell a class of 5/6 year olds that they cannot use the washroom when they need to has to be a breach of teaching standards. I am sure you have informed her that your ds takes language literally but she has chosen not to believe this . She is in breach of professional standards on so many levels that you need to think carefully how to prioritize them in your complaint. But #1 is her causing your son to be humiliated by being in class with soiled clothing as a direct result of her ignorantly telling a class of 5/6 year olds to wait to go to the toilet at recess. She knows she was responsible for this accident and is blaming the victim- a child with ASD and calling him a liar. None of her actions and language can be professionally defended -so she sees the only way out is to lie. Other cc in the class will be able to corroborate what she said. Do you have any links to other parents as it's good to have proof.

Rinoachicken Tue 19-Jan-16 18:38:13

Thanks everyone, I'll definitely take it up with the school

ChampaleSocialist Tue 19-Jan-16 18:40:20

Is she a 14 year old babysitter? How did she pass teacher training? Her communication skills are awful.

Breadandwine Tue 19-Jan-16 18:51:46

Agree the teacher needs pulling into line.

On the subject of needing the toilet - I was dyslexic (still am), and I wet the bed until I was 11. Anyone with any sort of special needs is likely to want the toilet more often than the rest of the class. Teachers need to be aware of this.

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