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teacher refused my request to be a parent helper - why?!

(82 Posts)
tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 00:07:18

My year 1 son's class are going to a local park for two hours tomorrow. The teacher said parents could attend. We were given only a few days notice, but as my son really wants me to go on a trip, and I promised him I would try, I arranged to have time off from work. Job done, I thought.

I spoke to the teacher in passing this morning. She said she was not sure I could go as lots of parents wanted to attend (huh?). I told her not to worry about me taking up a seat on the coach as I would be driving there in my car.

The teacher put a note in my son's bookbag. I read it this evening. The note says I cannot go due to demand for places. What on earth is that all about!! The children are walking in the park, looking at various plants and animals. Why can only a set number of parents walk along with them? It is a park, for goodness sake!

Please give me a plausible explanation. I am going to query why I have been refused admission tomorrow at 9.00 am, so any replies before then would be really appreciated.

serenity Wed 11-May-05 00:10:37

A park is a public place, I'd just go anyway tbh. They can't say parents can attend and then turn around and change their minds, I'd be very if I'd made special arrangements too.

tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 00:20:09

yes, as you say, a park is a public place. The group will be outside most of the time (there is hardly and shelter - I know the park well). But I don't want to lurk where I am not welcome. I just cannot understand why parent numbers are being limited. The teacher knows my son is not too happy at school, and I told her this morning he really wanted me to be there. I don't expect this to swing it, but I cannot see why only some parents can attend. I must say, the teacher's communication skills are not ace. Why couldn't she have given me a sensible reason in her note?on

serenity Wed 11-May-05 00:25:43

Maybe they didn't expect to have much interest from the parents, and have been surprised by how many people want to go? Maybe she just sent these notes out to everyone, without thinking things through?

Talk to her tomorrow, tell her you've taken time off work and that your DS is going to be upset, which will set back any progress you've made settling him in!?

Janh Wed 11-May-05 00:29:38

Hi, tigermoth - not sure if what I'm going to say is right but it is an explanation, just from my experience as a parent, nothing official.

When there is a school trip (even just a local one like this) which parents go on, they divide the children into small groups and allocate each group to an accompanying parent (it really makes it much easier to keep track of all the children if each adult is responsible for only a few) and obviously, from a logistics pov, they do this as soon as they have enough parent volunteers for the number of groups.

So, even though you only heard a few days ago, enough parents must have volunteered before you did for the groups to be assigned and the organisation to be sorted.

I think in your situation I would go into school as early as poss tomorrow and explain that DS2 wants you to be there and that you had arranged time off from work because you want to help - not realising that groups had already been sorted - but could you please accompany the group (under your own steam) as an extra because DS2 was hoping you could.

(Also, IME, there is a tendency to rely on the same parents (generally SAHMs) on a regular basis because the school knows they will be available; when I was a parent gov I occasionally had working mums complaining because they hadn't been allowed to help on a trip, when arranging the time off etc was a big deal for them as it is for you and they felt that SAHMs were being favoured over them. I honestly think it's just familiarity and convenience from the teachers' pov.)

HTH and you can go along

tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 00:31:32

well, I will definitely be telling her my son will be disappointed. I need to have a plausible reason to tell ds why I cannot go on the trip. I have found it hard to get along with this particular teacher - this is just the latest of several things that have set me on edge. I don't think she is good at parent relationships.

Jampots Wed 11-May-05 00:31:53

I suspect the teacher may have already grouped the children with their group leader and this will just confuse the issue. My ds's school seems to use more classroom assistants to go on school trips now instead of using parents but then they also refuse parents' help in their child's class too. Dont be too offended and offer to help on the next one now!

Janh Wed 11-May-05 00:33:52

I think there may be some kind of public liability insurance issue too if extra people go along. These things are terribly complicated these days

tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 00:34:24

Janh, the thing is, I had already offered to accompany the group under my own steam ( ie I would drive down to the park, meet them there) but even when I mentioned this to the teacher this morning, I could see this did not change things.

serenity Wed 11-May-05 00:35:08

Have to say that is how it works in our school, except it's the mums who volunteer in the school (who know about the trips first) who get to go on the trips. I get a bit p'ed off with it as I have DD so can't do that, but I'm happy to go on the outings if I get a chance. Other Mums do get to take younger siblings, so that's not the barrier, it's just that they get in there first!

Is it obvious I'm a bit bitter about this, and am fuming on your behalf because of it

Janh Wed 11-May-05 00:39:39

Sorry, tigermoth, your second post wasn't there when I started. DS2 will have been put into a group with a helper (parent or classroom assistant) and the teacher is probably worried that if you are there he won't stay in his group...I'm sorry, I didn't know he wasn't happily settled at school. This isn't going to help, is it?

tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 00:45:57

I did wonder at the short notice. I swear I only got the letter about the trip on Friday evening. I know when my son was in reception year, any parent was welcome to attend small local walkabouts. If lots of parents showed up, the groups of children they looked after just got smaller.

I really hadn't thought that it's possible some mums find out earlier and bag a place first. I thought the teacher took names out of a hat! how naive of me.

I will tactfully ask if she allocates groups to parents way in advance. If so, as I am at work, could she please give me more notice of future trips. I bet she won't, though.

tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 00:50:20

I think you might be right about the teacher fearing my presence will distract my son. But at the very worst, it means I would have to pair up with him for the two hours. If it means he is happier, what harm really is there in that? The alternative is that he will be disappointed I am not there, and this will make him behave badly
anyway.

ds is sort of settled at school. He likes playtimes, hates lessons!

Janh Wed 11-May-05 00:51:51

But they are going in a coach for this one? That might make a difference...

As far as the mums-in-school getting first choice is concerned, I'm sure it's not favouritism, it's just convenience; the teachers have so much admin these days they want to get things wrapped up ASAP, so any mum around school will probably be asked if she wants to go, before a letter goes home.

tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 01:03:05

oh well, I will find out more tomorrow. My son keeps saying he wants me to be at school with him. He wants me to be his teacher I know I cannot satisfy that request, which is partly why I am feeling wound up about this. I just wish somehow, the teacher could make him like her more.

tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 01:05:42

janh, you're probably right, it's convenience not favouritism. Still, as I work a 15 minute drive away from school, and have flexihours, I am not that distant a working parent. Perhaps I need to stress this more.

kid Wed 11-May-05 07:09:48

Hope you can sort it out with the teacher this morning. I can't see how they can send out a letter saying parents are welcome to come ane then change their mind about it. If they meant 4 parents could attend then they should have stated that on the letter.
One good thing, at least the school is organised. DD is in Year 1 and on trips, they are still fussing on the morning as to whether they have enough adults to help! I personally always attend her trips, never been told I can't go and don't think DD would go if I couldn't!

Good luck for this morning

tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 07:23:14

thanks, kid. The sun is shining here. It is perfect park weather...

kid Wed 11-May-05 07:25:47

How about turn up at the school with your packed lunch (assuming you need one) and deny recieving the letter! Just say as you hadn't heard anything you assumed it was okay to attend!
Surely the teacher wouldn't turn you away!
DD is always loosing her letters!

WideWebWitch Wed 11-May-05 07:53:29

how annoying tigermoth, hope you manage to go ok.

sobernow Wed 11-May-05 08:05:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mud Wed 11-May-05 08:09:55

I can see how that is frustrating and I would say verbatim what JanH advises - that sets completely the right tone. I also think you should be totally honest about your feelings to the teacher in a kind of 'I know this is silly but I feel / felt ..', how else would she know?

one thing to bear in mind is that these school trips are not jollies they are bloody hard work where you have to personally look after a group of 5 or 6 kids many of whom you've never met before and all of whom have different standards of behaviour and understanding than your own child

I would also say it isn't a mother and child outing, sometimes your child can act up purely because you are there

I would gladly give up any place on any outing at all to someone else - they are a nightmare and not the fun you think they are. And as a mother who volunteers frequently, because I have the opportunity to I would also say I wish a lot of other mothers would get off their asses and do what you have done because its always the same old faces

tigermoth Wed 11-May-05 08:27:58

I know the school have recenlty asked parent helpers not to have their own child in a group. Myu son knows this too, but just wants to see my face. I have been on school trips before and looked after groups. Not regularly, but sometimes, so I know it is not a jolly, (but I still find it fun and very illuminating to see the class in action).

Occurred to me just now - if working parents are welcome, why did the teacher not pick the final group till the day before the trip? if working parents are to go on these things, they need to give some notice at work. I am assuming because it#s just a 2 hour local trip, the teacher didn't plan in much in advance.

Fio2 Wed 11-May-05 08:32:18

maybe she spotted the bottle of voddie in your bag tigermoth

seriously though, maybe they just had too many helpers?

Mud Wed 11-May-05 08:34:05

it is easier to work with people who already know the children and have done this kind of thing before

I don't know why you're getting so aggreived about it, apart from the discussion with your DS that is, but it seems to me, and apologies if I am wrong, that you are winding yourself up in a state of negativity over something that really is nothing

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