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To not attend parents evening?

(38 Posts)
chuffinalong Tue 08-Mar-16 19:14:29

Hi, my daughter has SEN's but is in her last year at a mainstream primary. She'll be attending a special secondary in September.
The last parents evening we had was with her new teacher who is newly qualified and new to the school. We left feeling totally deflated! She had nothing positive to say what so ever! Every parents evening we've had for our daughter has been wonderfully positive. There have been some "we need to work on's..." But they are productive and helpful in putting measures in place and sharing ideas etc. I felt that I had to bring up some positives, to which she just muttered "hmm" then turned it around to negaitive again. After we left, my husband said he's not going to another parents evening with her ever again.
I spoke to some other parents who all said the same, that there was nothing positive and felt it was a waste of time.
This time the parents evenings were split into 2 days, so some people have had their appointments all ready, and speaking to them, it seems things haven't improved.
Is it being unreasonable not to go this time? Or should I go and face the music on my own? It was such an uncomfortable experience the first time around, but I do need to discuss some issues regarding her personal care, that I really won't feel comfortable talking to her about in a hall full of people... Not sure what to do.

PhilPhilConnors Tue 08-Mar-16 19:18:41

YANBU, but I would be tempted to go and give her some honest feedback, it may help her communication skills with parents.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Tue 08-Mar-16 19:19:26

Presumably you're in regular contact with the SENCO and know how she's doing? If so yanbu

Even the worst behaved child (please forgive me I don't mean to imply you DD is just badly behaved) has something positive about them. And the teacher shouldn't wait for parents evening if there is a major issue negatively anyway.

Sounds like the teacher needs guidance from more senior teachers on how to run parents evening

RubbleBubble00 Tue 08-Mar-16 19:22:54

I'd go just to ask her some questions and ask her directly if she has anything positive to say if she does a negative tirade.

chuffinalong Tue 08-Mar-16 19:24:48

Thank you both. smile No my daughter is very well behaved at school anyway and they always comment about her manners, helpfulness imagination, anything really. Her last teacher said she was such a ray of sunshine in the class. I think the saddest thing is that she quite likes the teacher and kept asking what she said, because there has always been something nice to tell her. I couldn't really tell her anything this time which made her quite upset and confused. I had to say that she was more focused on the grades this time as you're in your last year. sad

chuffinalong Tue 08-Mar-16 19:27:56

Oh and yes, we are kept up to date by the school SENCO and her lovely one to one lady talks to us briefly every day.

Mij Tue 08-Mar-16 19:34:33

This is sad, sorry to hear. I'd be tempted to go and be honest about the feedback you've had before (and how helpful it is to hear positives, particularly for your DD!) and then also talk to her head of year, who should be supporting her as a new teacher, as she needs to know, and the teacher needs to know that this isn't a productive way to deal with parents. Good luck.

chuffinalong Tue 08-Mar-16 19:39:06

Thank you, I think I will go and just end with "Do you have any positive feedback at all that I could pass onto L? as she always asks what was said and it'd be a shame to not have anything positive to pass on again." I could add "especially as she tries so hard..." But I'd have to be feeling rather brave to add the last bit. wink

chuffinalong Tue 08-Mar-16 19:41:15

It is a very small school with one class per year group, so it would be the head I'd have to talk too. I wouldn't want her to know it was us, as I don't want to make things awkward for my daughter. She does need guidance though.

Mistigri Tue 08-Mar-16 19:42:37

Quite honestly I wouldn't go, but if you do, then I would go armed with questions and be prepared to be proactive.

If it were me, I would book a separate, private meeting to discuss those issues you cannot discuss appropriately in a crowded hall.

Sirzy Tue 08-Mar-16 19:43:43

In that case I don't think your being unreasonable, I am normally one for going if st all possible but it doesn't sound like his will be a helpful process and more likely one which will lead to anger and frustration,

Mistigri Tue 08-Mar-16 19:46:07

Also, if you get a stream of negatives, turn it around: what do YOU propose to put in place to resolve this issue? I find that this tends to either produce a constructive discussion, or cuts short any glass-half-empty complaining.

Leslieknope45 Tue 08-Mar-16 19:47:26

I would certainly go and be quite honest about the fact that you don't need to just hear negative things.
When I was an NQT I didn't have a clue about what to say about parents evenings and I just copied the structure of the teacher next to me- positive, assessments, something to work on, ending positive. If no one has told her, she might not realise how poorly she is communicating.

IthinkIamsinking Tue 08-Mar-16 19:49:42

If she is an NQT she will need some guidance/feedback. Navigating parents evenings are a skill that teachers can only really develop over time and they can be horribly stressful for inexperienced teachers. It would be worth making an appointment and discussing your concerns about the parents evening meeting with the teacher. As an NQT she will have a mentor so might be worth dropping an email to the head to see if her mentor could be involved with your meeting.

IthinkIamsinking Tue 08-Mar-16 19:52:17

or cuts short any glass-half-empty complaining.

The teacher is an NQT. Shame you describe her feedback in that manner. Like any public facing profession it can take time to develop a very particular skill set.

TeddTess Tue 08-Mar-16 19:53:47

i think NQTs should record their parents' evenings and they should be scrutinised one by one with a trainer.

i had a terrible one with DD1
she was a top performer but honestly i came out feeling like she had regressed 5 years.

i hope she has improved! (teacher, not DD!)

IthinkIamsinking Tue 08-Mar-16 19:55:16

Ideally NQT's should have a more experienced member of staff with them when conducting parents evenings.

HelsBels3000 Tue 08-Mar-16 19:55:17

I would definitely have a quiet word with the Head on your way out about some guidance on Parents Evening feedback for NQTs. Maybe the teacher needs mentoring on this.

chuffinalong Tue 08-Mar-16 19:56:18

Thank you both. I can quite imagine how stressful parents evenings can be! I wouldn't like to do them. I'd like her to get the support and guidance she needs rather than just having a moan to the head.

She needs to learn how to deliver what I call a shit sandwich. If you have something negative to say, you start with something positive, deliver the negative then finish with a positive. grin

Mistigri Tue 08-Mar-16 20:01:04

It's not up to parents to teach NQTs how to communicate.

However, my experience is that you encounter "glass half empty" type comments at all levels of experience (and not just in teaching...), and they are very effectively dealt with by moving the discussion quickly onto the teacher's proposed solutions. Often you find that when you do this, the "problem" suddenly becomes not really a problem at all. It's a useful non-aggressive way for both sides to work out when a problem is really a problem smile

IthinkIamsinking Tue 08-Mar-16 20:01:51

I had a parents evening once where one of the teachers spent the whole time slot addressing my DD's sister who had just happened to come along with us. My DD hissed at me to not say anything as the teacher was a much older man nearing retirement who was quite doddery and she felt sorry for him smile

PerettiChelsea Tue 08-Mar-16 20:03:45

I've had a very similar experience & just like your dh I said on the way out 'never going back'! And I didn't, did raise a few eyebrows though, they kept sending me the form! It wasn't so much negative as just meh. She kept calling dd by the wrong name and just didn't have anything to say really, she wanted us to talk. Awful teachef all year as it turned out

IthinkIamsinking Tue 08-Mar-16 20:04:35

It's not up to parents to teach NQTs how to communicate

Who said it was?

CocktailQueen Tue 08-Mar-16 20:06:05

I'd feed back to the teacher or the HT. If every parent is saying the same thing then there's something wrong with the teacher's communication skills. She should be being mentored by a senior member of staff.

Mind you, I'm not keen on the opposite either - 'your child is a pleasure to teach! everything is perfect!' when they're clearly the devil incarnate.

Talk to the teacher - say you felt very disheartened by the parents eve and could she really not think of one positive thing to tell your dd? Because dc ask what their teacher has said, don't they?

IthinkIamsinking Tue 08-Mar-16 20:06:58

say you felt very disheartened by the parents eve and could she really not think of one positive thing to tell your dd

Good approach

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