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Does your own experience of school impact on how you handle your child's education?

(32 Posts)
ks Tue 02-Mar-04 09:06:19

Message withdrawn

JJ Tue 02-Mar-04 09:30:25

In another way. I didn't have negative experiences but had a very casual attitude to school, homework, etc. It's been extremely hard for me to take the homework, especially, seriously -- my son is in kindergarten (would be in Year 1 in the UK), so that's a factor, too.

I've noticed this in other things, as well. I'll let him try out anything and he's allowed to quit at will (with due thought, but I don't force him to do things he obviously hates just because he wanted to try them out). I was a bit fickle with stuff like that, too and think, in the end, it served me well. I did stick with some stuff, but it was fun to try out different sports, for example, for only a year or two.

Anyway, just rambling on....

aloha Tue 02-Mar-04 10:06:09

I actually feel quite upset at the thought of ds going to school and facing being shouted at, belittled, the sarcastic comments, the petty rules, the sadistic gym teachers, all the things I saw every single day at school (70s-80s). I know teachers say things have changed, and I really hope they are right. I really, really hated every single day of my education and going to work was utter bliss in comparison and still is.

ks Tue 02-Mar-04 10:38:01

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Marina Tue 02-Mar-04 11:10:52

Yes, ks. A bit like Aloha, I found a lot to dislike in my education, despite the fact I went to well-regarded state schools. The games teachers especially were nightmares at my secondary school and I hold them fully responsible for my continued loathing of team sports. It's not just flogging off playing fields that's turning children into couch potatoes, I suspect.
I can remember my parents openly despising my primary head (with good reason, he was a bully and a snob). That made us choose a school for ds where we had a chance to get to know the head first and get the measure of her and the ethos of the place. We also checked out the gym teacher, who happens to be a funky, cheerful young man and a far cry from my experiences of sarcastic harridans or brainless jocks.
Sadly, my own Reception teacher had serious problems in her life (two children with severe mental health problems, I know this now because a play was subsequently based on one of them, all very sad) and the inevitable stress made her deeply scary in a way I could not understand at the time. I truly hated my first year at school.

aloha Tue 02-Mar-04 11:17:07

I do think all the teachers on Mumsnet sound a far cry from the ones I had - a strange bunch of misfits and oddballs with the odd sweetie and a very rare inspirational maverick! It is very hard not to be influenced by you own experience - let alone entrust the most precious thing in your life to an institution that made you unhappy. As ds is only two, I do try not to think about it too much.

marialuisa Tue 02-Mar-04 11:20:29

I didn't like schol for a lot of reasons and being a quiet, bookish child in a school full of loudmouths (yep, those were the teachers) didn't help. DH struggled at school but for very different reasons. It's made me ultra careful about choosing a school for DD (we visited about 15 schools) and i'm very "watchful". Thankfully DD seems to be more assertive than me (even at age 3) and a lot more relaxed, so far so good.

I also had a problem with "conforming" for want of a better word, as far as I was concerned so long as I was getting As whether I turned up for classes was irrelevant. i think I was happiest when I transferred to a sixth form college where things were less regimented and you were responsible for your own learning (although I guess with league tables etc. they've probably tightened up too.)

Batters Tue 02-Mar-04 12:43:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

firestorm Tue 02-Mar-04 13:03:59

i detested school from start to finish, & this really does effect the way i view my daughters school today.
the primary she attends is actually one of my previous schools. (which was probably a bad idea, but living in an area with c**p schools it was the best one on offer & we were very lucky to get her in)
i just have to keep reminding myself that things have changed & she is generally happy there as are most of the children that attend (which was my main reason for choosing the school) but i do find it very hard not to pick fault with everything & panic at every small problem.

singingmum Tue 02-Mar-04 13:09:41

I found that school inhibited my personality and that anything I was good at was ignored.I was told by a nursery school teacher that my son was backwards as he couldn't hold a stencil still.The fact that at 3 he could read and write apparently counted for nothing so I took the only action I could I withdrew him from the school and now teach at home.Education hasn't changed enough to make it worth my son and now my daughters futures too.Maybe because my school years were such an oppressive time for me I reacted severely but I think it was the right decision for my family.What I don't understand is the willingness of some to put their children through often pure hell because they think they have to be 'normal'.
My sons teacher treated me like a fool when speaking to me and I realised that if she treated me in this manner then she probably treated the children the same.

suedonim Tue 02-Mar-04 13:36:41

The best years of our lives, eh??? I didn't enjoy school, just put up with it, I suppose and was glad to leave. Nothing terrible happened to me, I wasn't bullied or anything but I didn't like it.

School now is a whole different ball game and I think I could get used to playing on computers, going on art 'awaydays', making lots of things, doing projects and working at my own pace. Even while my children have been at school, (since 1980) there has been a sea change and teachers are so much more tuned in to children. Dd told me this morning that she loves school because it's fun, fun, fun.

tigermoth Tue 02-Mar-04 13:38:49

only time for a quick mesage but a reasounding 'no' to your question, ks.

I had both positive and negative experiences at school but consciously try to stop that influencing how I deal with my son's education.

My two sons are *so* different from me in personality. I was very shy and very in awe of authority and adults. They are the total opposite. For this reason I try and start with a clean slate. For me that is very important.

ks Tue 02-Mar-04 13:47:50

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Jimjams Tue 02-Mar-04 15:22:54

I loved school, but was terrified about sending ds1 to school as he is so difficult. I have been sooooooo pleased with school, and am amazed at how warm and caring it is (I loved school but don't remember my school days being like that).

I was terrified of the head teachers we had (although I respected them). The other day the head came into the office (she's very good but I must admit to finding her a bit scary) and ds1 bounded past her and started trying to get to the office computer keyboard. OK its for the wrong reasons but I rather liked his complete lack of inhibitions surrounding the head, and the fact he had no idea that he had any reason to see her differently than anyone else. She is very good with him- very warm.

I can imagine that ds2 is going to breeze through school as he seems to breeze through most things.

hmb Tue 02-Mar-04 15:42:22

Coming for the 'other ' side of this, I'll put my head about the parapet and be prepared to be shot at!

I am a teacher, and yes, I do recognise the teachers of old that you are describing, because I had some of them too. My experience as a teacher, and as a parent of school age children is that a lot has changed. It is true that not all teachers are perfect, they are only human after all, but things are better now.

As a teacher I am always mindful that parents may 'come to the table' with issues that arise out of their experiences in school. I am also aware that in some cases (and I stress the some) children are coming into school with preconcieved ideas about how teachers will treat them, based on the bad experiences that their parents have had during their education. I know that the vast majority of parents do not do this, but some do.

It can be very *very* difficult to help a child to learn when they have been told that school is a waste of time, that teachers are bullies and that 'Teachers only set homework because they are too lazy to do it in lessons' (the last being a direct quote from a nice lad in y10 who is on report for not doing hoemwork....I wonder why!)

Both sides want the best for the child, and both sides have to take into account the past history and goals of the other. Teachers must realise that parents may have issues, and parents must realise that in many many cases teachers are nice pleasent people who want to do their best for their pupils.

I see my work as a teacher as being a three way team between me, the pupil and the parent.

Issymum Tue 02-Mar-04 16:05:23

School, its discipline, goals and culture, were all easy for me. I loved it from the growing water and cress on blotting paper stage right through to doing 'A' levels in Latin and Ancient Greek. I work full-time as a lawyer and I'm sociable, confident and articulate. And everything about school for my daughter scares the hell out of me.

She's only just started nursery, but even there I feel nervous when talking with the teachers, out of touch with the process and expectations and simply terrified by the other mothers. Choosing a primary school is an ordeal. I've got no problem with the Ofsted reports and the other reams of documentation, but I'm definitely avoiding making school visits.

So, whether you had a good or bad experience at school, I think they are difficult for everybody to approach as an adult. It's maybe something to do with the balance of power between the school and the parent. Also, just stepping into a school corridor and smelling THAT smell, whisks you back to the status of a 7 year old and that's not an easy place from which to have an adult discourse with a terrifyingly competent head teacher.

I've just remembered, even my Dad, who was quite an eminent medical professor, was scared of my Latin teacher!

Issymum Tue 02-Mar-04 16:07:31

Even JimJams, our resident special needs expert and the scourge of Virgin, Local Authorities and incompetent bureaucrats, is scared of the head teacher!!

Jimjams Tue 02-Mar-04 18:28:26

lol,Issymum- dh has admitted that he finds her scary as well.

zebra Tue 02-Mar-04 18:43:32

I suspect the Guardian article is true for me...I didn't give a damn about school, but suddenly turned into high achiever at age 14. So I will probably be more relaxed than other high achieving parents if my kids also have a 'Take It or Leave It' response. At least up to the same kind of age. I also think academic achievement and "brains" are over-rated, most people who have PhDs would say the same! I'd be pretty satisfied if my kids were plumbers or cleaners or any honest work, if it meant they were happy.

zebra Tue 02-Mar-04 19:31:36

My niece has just finished at the school where I was badly bullied; guess what, she has been badly bullied, too! The head called it "A Rite of Passage", I kid you not.
I guess the difference is that I will be a lot more involved than my parents were, and pro-active, if bullying does start. My parents only sent me to that schoool because it was supposed to have special programmes for 'gifted' children'; the special programmes were rubbish. I'll certainly not hesitate to take my kids out of a school that is supposed to be 'excellent' if I think that's the best way to get away from bullies. Wish my parents had taken the same attitude with me.

expatkat Tue 02-Mar-04 20:05:31

Right on, Zebra!

expatkat Tue 02-Mar-04 20:08:43

Jimjams, as an American I never had any so-called head teachers & didn't even know what they were before moving to the UK. But now I've met a few, and let me say: I'm scared to death of them. Even without having a bank of bad memories.

JJ Tue 02-Mar-04 20:16:53

But you had principals? I have to admit, that after posting here earlier, I realized I had an evil teacher. He used to take me (just me) outside during lesson time to yell at me until I cried. I mean, I know I'm a pain, but.. The difference was that my parents stood up for me and got this guy reassigned and he was subsequently fired (it took a while in our district, luckily he wasn't tenured). He also hit a girl and I "told" on him. The principal did nothing. My parents did and took it to the school board.

I guess I have that same confidence with my kids. Should probably tell my mom that, huh?

Jimjams Tue 02-Mar-04 20:18:01

Agree with you about academic achievement being over-rated zebra (as someone with a PhD -it was an exercise in being able to cope with boredom- nothing to do with intelligence). I quite often say to DH "oh lok at you, fantastic O levels, ridiculous A levels, degree form world class uni, great results at law school- and you just LOVE being a lowyer" (he HATES it) Happiness is far more important, and plumbing is far more useful!

Jimjams Tue 02-Mar-04 20:18:36

they do have a certain aura don;t they expatkat :0

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