Another teacher complaint one(99 Posts)
I was going to piggy-back on the currently active thread about a teacher picking on a pupil, but it seemed after reading a few pages that the advice might be different so here goes:
DD (7) feels she is being unfairly targeted by her teacher for minor misdemeanours. She is one of a small number of pupils she claims the teacher 'doesn't like' and singles out for punishment. Another parent in the class has independently told me that her child has told her the same thing, her child is not one of the ones targeted but told her parents that my child was. I know another parent who made a similar complaint last year about the same teacher and a complaint to the head has already been dealt with this year about her treatment of the whole class (from another parent, nothing to do with me).
I have tried to do what I can at home to reinforce good behaviour for DD (both carrot and stick approaches) and have discussed with her several times that if she doesn't do anything wrong, she can't be punished, so to try to keep her nose clean and not step out of line. I have also told her that I'm monitoring all the punishments she gets so that I can decide for myself whether it is unfair or not.
I don't want to claim that she's a perfect child and never puts a foot wrong, but she has not in the past been any worse than any other child of her age and yet is now receiving the brunt of the sanctions. Last year, for example, she got an official sanction once in the year (and I thought her teacher was quite decent and strict last year, definitely not a push over), this year she has already had four since September. I have no problem with her being sanctioned if she has genuinely misbehaved, but I want it to be in line with the punishments others in the class receive, not singling her out.
As an example, another child in the class told the teacher in front of the whole class that she was wrong about a fact (which she was and genuinely didn't know it) and got no punishment. My daughter (on a different day) told the teacher that she had missed out a step in the document she was explaining (which she had) and was shouted at not to interrupt and called rude and was put on warning for a sanction.
The only thing I can get from the teacher, who has complained to me about dd's behaviour, is that she questions adults and children. The teacher labelled this as 'rude' 'completely unacceptable', 'insolent', 'would not be tolerated' etc. but I wasn't able to judge whether she has genuinely been insolent or not since I wasn't given any specific examples. I asked dd herself to give me examples and one of them sounded fair enough (as in, I would have considered it rude): she questioned why the teacher was giving out merits for a very easy task, but all the others just sounded like she had been asking a real question about the work e.g. did she have to write in full sentences on a comprehension test?
She has lost her lunchbreak twice to re-do work because it didn't fulfil the rubric (leave a line between statements). On one occasion she had 4 pages torn out of her book by the teacher and had to re-write them. Not because the work was wrong but because she hadn't followed the instructions about where to leave lines. Again, I didn't undermine the teacher on this, just told dd that she should listen more carefully in the future, but it did seem petty.
She has been moved to sit at the front of the classroom next to the teacher for an indefinite period (presumably until someone else does something worse), lost her break and received a sanction for pushing another child's cardigan off her chair. Again, I'm not saying it was appropriate behaviour, but it does seem to have been unnecessarily harshly dealt with.
DD is getting very despondent and defensive, to the stage where she wants to give up trying to do right because she's going to get shouted at anyway. She has been in tears begging me to move her school or home school her. She has been almost completely put off school and I worry that she's on the verge of refusing.
So, finally getting to the point: AIBU to take some action or is dd really just out of line? If I do something, then what? Complain directly to the teacher or higher up? If IABU then how do I sort dd out? I appreciate that her behaviour at the moment is sometimes rude (e.g. the question about merits) but the friction with the teacher is only going to make it worse, not better, so I'll need some way to correct her myself.
YABU. Your DD sounds continually disruptive and doesn't listen to instructions. Try supporting the school and following up at home rather than railing against the school. Sounds like she's pushing boundaries. Teachers have one hour to teach a lesson and if a child is being disruptive and doesn't listen, can impact the whole class and the timing of the lesson. You don't know who else is playing up in the lesson and how they are dealt with, even your DD won't know or see everything. Leave the teacher to get on with their job there's too much teacher bashing on here at the moment
Another thinking it sounds like classic low level disruption. Saying you'll decide what's fair sends a message that the punishments are negotiable. Moving to the front is a real opportunity to concentrate, do better. Which subjects does she enjoy? What would she like her teacher to know about her? I wonder what support her teacher is getting with behaviour management?
On one occasion she had 4 pages torn out of her book by the teacher and had to re-write them
Noone should be having pages torn out. How disrespectful.
Discuss with the teacher and get her PoV first. Say along the lines of you wanting to help your DD get it right. Then make your mind up.
But I don't think your DD is entirely in the wrong, because tearing work out of a 7 year-olds book is over the top. Keeping it there as a comparison would be more productive.
And yes, teachers can pick on children. It's rare but it happens. Give a dog a bad name, and all that...
I think the teacher may be going for a zero tolerance policy on low level disruption, before it turns into something else.
Don't like pages being torn out of books though.
To be honest if your child has gone from being happy and well behaved generally in line with expectations of her peers at school then I'd be asking serious questions as to what is going on within the classroom.
I'd suggest that every time your daughter tells you about something that sounds unreasonable, you approach the teacher politely to get her side of the story, making it clear that you want to back her up if your DD has got things wrong. If it actually is unreasonable, query it. Likewise if she's not treating other children the same way. She'll probably pick up quite quickly that you're keeping an eye on things and modify her approach.
She has lost her lunchbreak twice to re-do work because it didn't fulfil the rubric (leave a line between statements)
Again over the top. Children need their breaks to reset their emotional thermostat. Sounds like the teacher needs to reset hers too!
The thing is it sounds like DD is a low level disrupter, which may seem very petty and unfair but has such a significant effect on other children's learning. The difference in the two children pointing out a mistake doesn't come from her pointing it out but more than likely shouting out and interrupting.
I don't agree with tearing pages out but I have this same problem with my A level students. Its not hard to follow instructions (is there a chance DD was talking etc whilst instructions were given out) and it makes it so difficult to mark and give feedback when this space isn't left. At my school we have random book checks to make sure that the children are setting their books out correctly, and there are consequences for us as staff, not the pupils if it is incorrect.
I would suggest a meeting with the teacher and DD to work with both sides about making things easier, but if you undermine the teacher in front of DD (not agreeing or following through with sanctions) you are only making the situation harder for both the teacher and DD.
I'd be asking to speak to the teacher but frame it in a "dd is unhappy at school - how does she seem in class?".
Fwiw Dd1 had problems with her Y4 teacher. The teacher refused on several occasions to allow her to collect her violin to take it home and told her off for asking. I had words about that and at that moment I couldn't give a shit about being "that parent". The teacher claimed not to realise dd practiced between lessons. Dd was, imo, treated unfairly by that teacher.
I don’t want to be unkind but re-read what you’ve written:
She habitually doesn’t pay attention to instructions (is she chatting?)
She shouts out in class.
She repeatedly challenges the teacher.
She sounds like a pain the in neck tbh and disruptive to other pupils.
She responds to sanctions by crying and begging for you to rescue her (and you are considering doing just that)
She’s not a victim. She’s just not behaving properly in class.
I’m a bit concerned that the bar you set for her behaviour is that she’s “not worse than anyone else”. That’s a pretty low bar.
I’d have been appalled at my D.C. exhibiting any one of those behaviours let alone all of them.
You need to be stricter and back up the teacher I’m afraid. Her learning will be compromised if she continues this way.
I have to say, it may also impact her peer relationships. That kind of behaviour in class drives my D.C. up the wall. Nobody enjoys the lesson if one person if annoying the teacher.
To be honest it's almost impossible to tell if YABU. Maybe if you were a fly on the wall in the lessons you'd still think the teacher was being unfair. But it's entirely possible that you'd think "Oh shit. The teacher was right. Dd is actually being a pain in the arse."
With things like correcting the teacher, it's all in the manner of delivery. If your dd is doing this regularly and in a cheeky, disrespectful or nagging way, then I'm not surprised the teacher is punishing her. And if the correcting is also combined with regular and deliberate low level disruption (like pushing a child's cardigan off her chair), then very much YABU. Ultimately you'll have to decide whether to trust your dd's version of events or the teacher's. Most kids who are getting in trouble would swear black was white if it got them off the hook.
You probably have no idea how disrupting this kind of low level misbehaviour is. It affects everyone's learning.
You need to support the teacher and the school with this. If you really think that a teacher is 'picking' on your daughter then request a meeting to discuss the issues.
But please have a think about this. Do you seriously think that an adult, who has chosen the teaching profession despite all the problems it brings with it, has decided that she doesn't like a 7 year old child? And is disciplining on her for no other reason?
I think yanbu particularly due to some heavy handed sanctions and the teacher's previous form.
maddening “teacher’s previous form” is nothing more than playground gossip.
I myself suffered the same thing at school, not from one teacher. I could never work out the reason why, until i was older.
I would support your child over the school, the school will wave goodbye in a few years, you won’t.
You cant really proceed without hearing the teacher’s side. What is clear is your dd is unhappy at school which needs to be addressed immediately. I would recommend requesting a meeting with the teacher, entirely non-confrontational but saying your daughter is coming home unhappy and you want to resolve issues.
I had a similar experience with ds in his reception class with a teacher who refused to accept his obvious asd traits as what thry were (i was in progress of getting ADOS assessment for him) and she decided he was the “naughty kid”. I think just knowing I was ready to question her behaviour if necessary helped to prevent any excessive disciplinary processes, he had a better term with her after that.
For the recored i was a well behaved child.
I think the best idea above is going in and saying that you've noticed your child is unhappy at school and is becoming reluctant to attend and you wondered how things were going in school and can you work together to tackle it.
Your daughter could be being disruptive or the teacher could be a bit mean but it's going to be quite hard to know. The expectation on behaviour do increase with age and key stage and vary from teacher to teacher. If she is a bit mean, I don't think saying going in and basically saying you don't like her classroom management is going to help your daughter iyswim.
I would support your child over the school, the school will wave goodbye in a few years, you won't
Sorry but that is ridiculous.
By all means if the school is on the wrong but if the DD is being disruptive you are basically don't care.
What sort of lesson is that?
have you had any communication from an adult at school about this?
This is my absolute pet peeve. I absolutely support school and their sanctions if my DC is disruptive but will not rely on the word of a child to understand what is going on. How can parents properly support a school if they dont know what the issue is? Schools need to improve communications - ie less fluff and more substance. That would help parents know expectations, what sanctions might be used, if there is a particular issue in 1 class, subject, week etc.
You have described a very similar child in my class, and I have to say, she is very distracting to the other children and it is constant. She doesn't listen; she doesn't follow instructions; her work has had to be redone due to failures to follow simple instructions that everyone else managed to follow; she is constantly out of her chair and in front of you to ask questions; and she has a habit of lying about various things. But her mum thinks the sun shines out of her butt, and would never believe that this constant level of low disruption can be really difficult to have in the room.
Believe me, we praise the good stuff. An we encourage the good behaviour. And we ding the other children as necessary, too, for poor choices. But it is very, very trying.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.