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Any advice on the most effective way to deal with a bad teacher

(210 Posts)
threesenough Sun 20-May-12 07:36:47

I need advice. My dd's teacher is failing her whole class. I think she has been a good teacher in the past but I - and other parents I have spoken to - feel that she has been in her job too long and has become jaded and can't be bothered.
In every other year at school my dds has enthused about her teachers and in turn teachers have told me how much she loves learning. This year she has become disengaged, bored, despondent. It can only be down to a poor teacher. Next year we are faced with another notoriously poor teacher. In that case I know of mums who petitioned to have her removed or at least shifted to teach a different year that was less crucial to children's educational development (! Not sure which year that could be!!!). Nothing was done.
I feel really powerless to counteract the adverse effects that the combination of two lazy teachers can have on so many children in Y4 and Y5. Other parents who have already been through this stage at our school refer to this as 'the lost years' or 'the wilderness years'.
What is the most effective way to address this issue?Can anyone advise?

rainbowinthesky Sun 20-May-12 07:41:17

What evidence do you have that she is a failing teacher? Have you discussed the change in your dd's attitude with the teacher? What does she say?

rainbowinthesky Sun 20-May-12 07:41:54

At the moment it sounds like you only have gossip to go on.

Grockle Sun 20-May-12 07:45:34

In what way is the teacher poor and lazy?

exoticfruits Sun 20-May-12 07:47:17

Have you been in and had a meeting with the Head?

PotteringAlong Sun 20-May-12 07:55:50

"she is failing the whole class"

You have no way of knowing that and if you say that to the head they will dismiss it as conjecture and gossip. If you have concerns about the education of your child you need to go and speak to the school - what are you worried your DD is falling behind on / not engaging with? Have you spoken to the class teacher? The head will want to know if you have and if not why not. Get your list, ask and if nothing gets done move up. keep it specific to your child / actual concerns rather than sweeping generalisations though.

Feenie Sun 20-May-12 08:15:48

I - and other parents I have spoken to - feel that she has been in her job too long and has become jaded and can't be bothered.

How could you - and other parents you have gossiped with spoken to - possibly ever know this to be fact?

QueenEdith Sun 20-May-12 08:24:43

Actually, depending on how many children you have, after a number of years witnessing from the sidelines I think you do get a feel for which teachers are excellent, the majority which are fine, and those who are failing. Teachers know who is who amongst their peers, and I think it is totally wrong to assume that parents cannot spot it either after a few years.

If next year's teacher has provoked complaints and petitions year on year, and the school has not acted, then there isn't much you can do. It might be worth asking for DD to go to a different form group to swerve this teacher; but if the teacher is poor, then every parent will make this request.

Moving schools is the only answer - do you have any options to do that?

amillionyears Sun 20-May-12 08:47:06

threesenough.You have my sympathies.having had lots of kids, and by definition lots of teachers, if you are in a school long enough, the other parents who have also been involved a long time, do get an insight into poor teachers.
Another teacher once confided to me, that other teachers are aware, and so are the school Governors.And the worst offenders are the ones that have been there the longest,may indeed have been good teachers in the past, but got jaded.And they dont move,because they are well aware they wouldnt get a job elsewhere.
He says, in the past they have not been sacked.
I think I am right in saying that this situation is now being look at higher levels.I think Mr Gove has been talking about this?
For you now,it may be worth a group of parents sending a joint letter to the school governors voicing your joint concerns.At least then would then the school would be officially aware.The official part is important.And the school Governors would have to act in some way.They would not be able to ignore it.Not sure whether you would get the outcome you are possibly after.Good luck.

Feenie Sun 20-May-12 08:57:12

But the OP would get absolutely nowhere writing a letter to the governors based on the gossip written here. I'n not denying that there are bad teachers, unfortunately there are a small number, as in any profession. But I have yet to hear any facts/evidence to back this up. Perhaps the Head would welcome some evidence to help their case, if the teacher is really bad. But he/she won't get any from the OP as it stands, and will be obliged to protect his/her employee from any kind of perceived witch hunt - which is what it will turn into unless the OP can talk sensibly about this, and not just chuck in her opinion based on nothing at all.

And the repeated suggestion that older teachers who stay in one place must be jaded is pissing me off.

turnigitonitshead Sun 20-May-12 08:57:42

you have little evidance this is the teachers fault, sounds like gossip, I would be very carefull pointingb the finger for the good of of all the class and other parents, your dd is you concern no one else, so albeit talk with the head about your concerns and ask for stratogies to help your child, if you are still unhappy discuss further or remove your child. You will only if its the teacher if she fails to support your dd.

turnigitonitshead Sun 20-May-12 09:00:15

there are teachers in my dds school who have been in post for longer than 35 years many of them taught me and remain to be fantasitc teachers.

turnigitonitshead Sun 20-May-12 09:01:05

ahemm 25 years slight over exageration in my typing error these.

Hassled Sun 20-May-12 09:01:15

I sympathise - my DS3 basically lost Year4 due to an incompetent and uninspiring teacher. But yes - talk to the Head. Be specific - no vague "she's bored" comments - give specific examples of when/why/how etc. The Head will know through pupil tracking etc whether your perception matches the reality of how well the class is progressing.

BeingFluffy Sun 20-May-12 09:04:27

I would move schools. If the Head and Governors are unwilling to act they are either inept managers or there is not really a problem.

I think bullying of teachers by raising petitions is absolutely horrifying to be honest. That is not going to force the Head to act if there is not really a problem and it will destroy the teacher's confidence and motivation even further.

Feenie Sun 20-May-12 09:11:27

That's right - and the Head will be obliged to act to protect the teacher from bullying parents (and rightly so), instead of listening to any genuine concerns.

IDontDoIroning Sun 20-May-12 09:33:31

It is extremely difficult to get rid of a bad teacher using capability procedures as all the odds are stacked in their favour. However it is possible provided you have a good head and deputy support from the lea and hr and supportive Governors.
I am a governor and we had a teacher who basically spent the first half term "getting to know the dc" second half term doing "Xmas plays and other activities" third half term treading water, 4 th half term starting to deflect little niggles from parents, 5 th half term deflecting more niggles or bigger complaints and the last half term waiting to hand the dc over to the next teacher. And the cycle started all over again....
The head knew this but basically didn't want to address it as it is such a difficult process in a close knit school environment, but had to as issues escalated, so she did the bare minimum to start a process on disciplinary / capability. She then retired and the new head tackled it but it took 18 months although thankfully he went on the sick for most of it and the dc had very good supply teachers instead.
It is so difficult as they go to the union at the drop of a hat, alledge they are being bullied, put in grievances etc and with a weak head it is just easier to put them in a year 4 or year 5 class and hope that the dc don't go backwards and pile the pressure on the yr 6 teacher to make back the progress. Bright dc cope but others may never make back that lost progress and it follows them through the rest of their education regrettably.
As specific advice.
I suggest you speak to the teacher with your concerns initially. If you can focus on teaching and learning, homework, the progress your dc has/hasn't made etc. follow it up with a letter. If other parents feel the same you can tell them what you are doing but I would avoid the mass protests as it looks like a witch hunt. It is far better if you each deal with your own child. Put it in writing and then if you aren't happy go to the head, keep doing this.
It it likely that ht is well aware of the issues but may not have enough evidence or it may be that the teacher is just doing enough to get by. She will have to deal with your issues and if she is getting several of theses independently from other parents it will soon be impossible for her not to either have the evidence to move forward or for it to be impossible to ignore. Obvioulsy if ht does nothing your next avenue wil be the governors and the lea.
With regard to this years teacher it may be too late for this class but it may be worth starting the ball rolling anyway as you never know what issues are going on internally.
With regard to next year If you remain at this school you need to start as you mean to go on and start raising issues (if you have any) early, refuse to be fobbed off and go to the head with anything you aren't happy with.

I have to say I have a great deal of respect for teachers generally but there are a few who don't do a good job and the system makes it very hard to remove them. I have recently been on a short listing panel and we had 87 applications mostly from young graduates looking for their first job some of whom were working as teaching assistants as they couldnt find a job and this makes me very sad.

orangeandlemons Sun 20-May-12 09:43:11

What are you basing your evidence on? All teachers are subject to performance management every year, and are observed during classroom teaching, and results and pupil progress are analysed.

If the teacher is consistently failing this would have been picked up under performance management. She may have been in her "job too long" BUT this will give her a lot of classroom experience.

You cannot at the moment sack a teacher for being unispiring, most of us try to do a difficult job in impossible circumstances.

Sounds like parental bullying to me

amillionyears Sun 20-May-12 09:49:40

As IDontdoIroning said,if other parents also wrote in individually with facts regarding their DCs possible lack of progress with this teacher,something may get done.

amillionyears Sun 20-May-12 09:51:23

Are parents allowed to see the performance management of the teachers,or is that confidential?Are school Governors allowed to see it?

Feenie Sun 20-May-12 09:55:00

It's confidential - the Performance Management Committee get to see it, but that's it.

fuckarama Sun 20-May-12 09:58:03

"It can only be down to a poor teacher"

Didn't read any further than that.

So, it can't be down to your precious little DD is growing up and can't be bothered? Because she wants to be out playing? Or doing something else.

Stop standing around gossiping with other parents about how crap the teachers are and take a long hard look at your DD and her attitude.

When you think you have it perfect, go in and talk to the teacher. On your own. Without cronies.

amillionyears Sun 20-May-12 09:58:42

Who is on the Performance Management Committee?

amillionyears Sun 20-May-12 10:01:49

I am quite frankly a bit schocked by some comments on here.
I personally do not have anything to lose by posting on here.All my DCs have been through the school system.And on the whole it was good.
But I can see how parents quickly back down from trying to sort out this ongoing problem.
I have to ask, are any of the said posters teachers?

Hassled Sun 20-May-12 10:03:24

Governors are usually only involved in the performance management of the HT, and then it will be a small select group of them - the Chair and a couple others. The performance management of the staff is dealt with by the Head/Deputy. If there were capability issues the Chair at least would be aware, but not otherwise.

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