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Do I have a word with the teacher?

(119 Posts)
Aliz07 Tue 31-May-11 11:36:06

A bit of a difficult one! DD (year 6) auditioned for the school play. She hasn't been given a part. She's very upset as quite a few children who didn't audition have been given parts.

Every year she's auditioned but never been given a part. I think part of the problem may be that unfortunately she doesn't stand out. She's quite shy/quiet in class, has never been in trouble and probably doesn't register much on the teacher's radar, if that makes sense.

Part of me wants to speak to the teacher and ask why, on the otherhand I don't want to make trouble.

I'm quite sad for her. It's her last chance in primary school and she's left out yet again. She's very upset, especially as all her group of friends are participating. She just never seems to get picked for anything and she's feeling that it's not worth trying anymore.

scurryfunge Tue 31-May-11 11:38:43

It seems a bit mean if some who have not auditioned have been given parts. I would just ask the teacher if there is any role she could have (even a back stage one ) to make her feel included.

Sillyness Tue 31-May-11 11:40:45

I worked as a primary school teacher and previously as an actress so i have quite an opinion on this and basically - yes, i would speak to the teacher!

sarahfreck Tue 31-May-11 11:42:54

I think you could have a word with the teacher as long as you make sure it doesn't come across as a pfb "why isn't my child the star?" question. Could you preface it with "I realise not everyone can be picked and I'm not asking you to change things but I just wanted you to know how dd is feeling. She was particularly upset that some children who hadn't auditioned had been given parts." Could she be the producer's stage assistant or "right hand girl" and help backstage? Could be worth asking?

Hassled Tue 31-May-11 11:44:34

Yes, definately. You won't come across as pushy - just concerned. And it's pretty rubbish of them, tbh.

Aliz07 Tue 31-May-11 11:46:08

I was quite surprised that children who didn't audition were given parts. I'm tempted to ask for advice as to how she could improve her chances.

I don't want to complain as such but every year they feed her a platitude about getting a part the following year and yet again she's been left out.

syrupfairy Tue 31-May-11 11:56:21

yes speak to them seems so unfair if children who have not auditioned get parts. if they said to her she would get something next year then they should follow through.

AC67 Tue 31-May-11 12:01:26

I would also speak to the teacher - I am very lucky that my ( very shy withdrawn) child's wonderful teacher actually encouraged him to be involved in the school play - the impact on his confidence and self esteem is huge - I think it is worth a quite non-confrontational discussion with your teacher to understand what went on and if there is anyway your child can be included.

Aliz07 Tue 31-May-11 12:05:29

DD says that certain children "always get parts because they've got low self esteem". I'm not sure how true that is but some children have been in every single show since year 2.

I just don't really know what to say to DD. I know she has to learn that life's not fair but she feels it's not worth trying with anything in school as she doesn't get any recognition for it.

AC67 Tue 31-May-11 12:18:50

I am sorry - that sounds very unfair and you are right that life isn't fair but at 10/11 if a child tries hard for something it is also important to see that putting in effort has its rewards- I realyl would try to address it with the teacher to see what can be done - I hope you have soem sucess. If your child realyl wants to be in plays is there an after school drama club or even something locally that you could enroll her to so at least she gets to be involved someplace?

AlmightyCitrus Tue 31-May-11 12:28:03

I'd say something to the teacher. There may be a good reason why she doesn't have a good part. Even if they say it's because she is rubbish at acting/speaking, then at least you know.
My year 6 DD has been in school productions since year 3. She is popular with the teachers and a great public speaker (and a huge girly swat). Last year she couldn't make all the rehearsals, so didn't have a particularly brilliant part, but the teacher said to my face that she would make sure she got a major part in this years. So, I was somewhat surprised when she told me she was......doing the sound. She is gutted. I tried to get her to quit, but she seems to think that some involvement is better than none at all. Apparently they wanted someone "sensible" to operate the "equipment" (old stereo).

Ah well, at least I don't have to sit through it this year.

MumblingRagDoll Tue 31-May-11 12:31:25

Same as Sillyness...I have also worked as a drama teacher and before that as an actor. So yes...have a word...what sticks out to me is the fact that chldren who did not audition being given a role and not your DD who cared enough to try out.

She could have been given should not matter if she is quiet/shy/bad at pronunciation....she SHOULD be given a go. That's how they learn.

Aliz07 Tue 31-May-11 12:46:34

I am going to speak to the teacher. I did worry that I would seem precious, you've all convinced me it's reasonable to ask.

Of course there is the possibility they think she's crap, fair enough. But for her sake I think we need to find out why she's always left out when it comes to selection for anything in the school.

Thanks, I'll let you know what happens smile

Rosa Tue 31-May-11 12:50:23

Sorry but I think that wherever possible all children should be given a part ...whether its a walk on part/ speaking / acting part , helping with the scenery / costumes or whatever to encourage them even if they are shy/ out going or whatever. In your dd case I would speak to the teacher and see if at this stage she could help in other areas. In my school all parts were given understudies and there was always an 'understudy' show as well so more people had a go .... Pretty fair I thought .

pozzled Tue 31-May-11 12:58:45

I hope you have a good response from the teacher. I've been involved in Y6 school plays a few times and we always try really hard to keep all the children happy. Of course they can't all have a starring role, but if someone auditioned for a big part I would at least make sure that they had an interesting bit part with a few lines- something they could still be proud of. And every single child takes part, even if it is backstage, or singing in the chorus. So I think that giving a part to a child who didn't audition, in place of someone who did, is not in. (Although, it does occur to me that those with parts who didn't audition may have had a good reason- off sick on the day or whatever rather than just not bothering.)

Miggsie Tue 31-May-11 13:06:19

Yes, say something!
I took DD out of her last school, many reasons but a major one was her lack of any sort of part in the school play, made worse by her being specifically auditioned for the 2 lead girl parts, only to not get a part AT ALL while all the other girls auditioned got something, and the girl cast in the lead singing role couldn't sing...which really upset DD, as DD can sing, except the girl cast was the daughter of the head of the PTA, who also always wins the school fancy dress competitions...
This was so blatantly unfair even a 7 yo could spot it. Then DD got a minor part in the play and had to watch the girls cast singing off key and forgetting their lines every rehearsal which upset her so much she didn't want to go to school any more.

I really regret I never challenged the teachers on it.

DeWe Tue 31-May-11 13:13:22

I would approach it with the attitude of "she's a bit upset because she thinks that some children who didn't audition got a part". It may be that they say actually they did audition at a different time, or as pozzled said they were ill or something.
And I'd go in with the attitude that there might be a reasonable reason, and ready to hear it, but if there isn't a reason then try and get your teacher on the side by asking how you together can work it out.

treas Wed 01-Jun-11 12:50:39

Do say something - I auditioned as a narrator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and ended up as an Oompa-Loompa. The girl who got the narrator part didn't even audition - I'm still bitter now!!

IloveJudgeJudy Wed 01-Jun-11 18:30:59

Just spoken to DD (14). She thinks that's very harsh, especially as it's her last year at primary and especially as she's auditioned every year. I would ask why, but be prepared for the teacher/s to be harsh as your DD hasn't been given a part. It sounds as if they're being harsh.

DS (12) thinks it's harsh that DC who haven't auditioned have been given parts. The whole process has to be seen to be fair as well as being fair.

My younger DS always got given good parts in all plays at primary, but he did always have to audition and he never dried up on stage as some DC did, but all DC who wanted to have a part always got given a part. My other two older DC did not always get given good parts, but they always got a part.

We wish your DD good luck and hope that she gets a part.

ninani Thu 02-Jun-11 11:44:17

It's also about the feeling of participation. How have they made sure that she has felt included when all these years they have been constantly excluding her? Is it about the children having fun and learning how to do different things or about having perfect performance? Then you might as well go to the West End. Why do you need a school performance? What do they want to achieve by consistently putting the same children to play? So the same "nice", smiley faces get their part without even trying to prove themselves because of their attitude otherwose it will hurt their feelings if for one year they don't get a role?


captainbarnacle Thu 02-Jun-11 11:49:32

Speak to the teacher. But don't compare her to other children - that sounds like a childish winge. Say that your DD has auditioned every year for a part and has constantly been told that next year she'll get one. Point out that this is her final year and she's very upset that she has never had a part in the school play - even though she has the resilience to keep going back to audition. That's a much more mature response IMO.

Aliz07 Tue 07-Jun-11 10:18:04

Just thought I would update on this.

DD and I went to see her teacher after school yesterday. I'd told her that she needs to let the teacher know how she's feeling.

DD told her she's feeling a bit left out and (in her words) overlooked in the school. First of all the teacher said "oh ## you can't always get picked" to which DD replied "but miss I've never been picked". Teacher was a bit defensive then and said basically there are some "brilliant actors" amongst the year group whose ability needs to be recognised. The teachers had several children in their 'talented' book who didn't need to audition.

DD then broke down and lots of things (most of which I wasn't aware of) were said, a couple were:

1. She was the only child out of six 'helpers' on a trip with the infants not to receive a thank you note from the school for helping out. Teacher said she'd 'forgotten' DD had been a helper.

2. She's never once received a 'well done' note from the teacher, that she works hard, doesn't get into trouble but doesn't feel like the teacher ever even looks at her work or notices that she's there. (She's had this teacher for two years).

3. She feels that 'there's no point' in her trying hard as noone notices what she does anyway.

The teacher's response was that she's got some very badly behaved children in her class who take up a lot of time and that my daughter can't expect to get 'attention all the time'. At this point I intervened and said "but from her point of view she thinks you don't even notice she's there. I think she feels left out". She says my daughter is too quiet in class. Then she said there was no point in continuing the conversation as my daughter was obviously just attention seeking and expecting too much.

To be honest I'm very angry, there was no attempt to acknowledge how upset DD is and the teacher was so dismissive of her feelings. DD said she wishes she didn't have to attend for the rest of the term as she really doesn't think it's worth it anymore. I've told her that high school will be a fresh start for her but tbh I'm really angry with the teacher.

Sorry about the essay blush

earlyriser Tue 07-Jun-11 10:29:29

That is truly awful. I'd be going to the head with this to be honest.

pozzled Tue 07-Jun-11 10:34:06

That is pretty shocking. I hope the teacher is feeling very ashamed of herself. The truth is that some children can be harder to 'notice' in class than others, and as a teacher you need to make a real effort to reward everyone. But blaming the child for being too quiet, and 'expecting too much' is not on. I'm especially hurt on your DD's behalf by her not receiving a thank you note for the trip- in that kind of situation you make damn sure that you have included everyone involved, leaving one child out is a really cruel mistake. And to feel she never looks at her work- have you had a look at your DD's books? Are they marked up to date, with at least a sprinkling of personal comments rather than just a tick? How often does the teacher work in a small group with your DD? All children should feel they have some personal contact and encouragement.

It could be that things are not quite as bad as they sound, if your DD has been really shaken by missing out on the play she may be building all the other minor things up in her mind IYKWIM. But from what you have said I would be quite tempted to follow up your conversation with either a letter to the teacher or a quiet chat with one of the management team. Your DD may not have long to go, but it might stop another child from feeling the same way next year.

piprabbit Tue 07-Jun-11 10:34:52

I'm so shocked and angry about the teachers response - she should have been mortified that any child in her class could justifiably make any of the claims your DD has been able to make.

I think it needs escalating - so speak to the Head. I'd be tempted to start by sending the Head a copy of you most recent post - seems to be a pretty good summary of an awful situation.

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