When parents aren't brave ....(14 Posts)
Today I read with great interest "Do I have a word with the teacher?" and spent a lot of the day wondering why it is that most of us find is SO SO difficult to give feedback to teachers or school which might be negative. If you read this other thread, you will see that when Brave Parent tackled the problematic teacher behaviour, lots of other parents at the school revealed similar, but unreported, concerns or experiences about the teacher.
Just wondering if there are any good feedback systems in place in your schools so that those of us who aren't Brave Parents can find a way of giving feedback. I've suggested a Suggestions Box in our school and a parent rep in each class, or a parent council. Any other ideas?
Several times a year we send questionnaires or feedback forms home. They can be returned anonymously or named if you want specific or personalised feedback. One is linked to the school's annual developement plan, asking for opinions on the leadership teams' and governors' priorities, one is end of year feedback and the others are linked to the termly curriculum information evenings we run.
We also have parent governors with a high profile in the playground who can take forwards suggestions.
You just have to be 'brave' and not be afraid to tackle a problem head on when it occurs, whether re teachers or anything else come to that.
MuggleMum - I agree with FunnysInTheGarden. Being brave doesn't have to mean being rude or being confrontational.
If you feel better putting a note in the homework book / home diary or if you feel happier catching the teacher for a 2 minute chat at the end of the day rather than making official appointments then try that. Sometimes you will need to raise something that might not affect other parents or that cannot wait for feedback forms. Honestly if you saw some of the complaints (and some of the rude approaches) that teachers deal with on a weekly basis, you would not feel at all shy about poiltely raising something that genuinely worried you.
I think the thread you mentioned is a fantastic example of good parenting. As a teacher though, the school's biggest problem is sifting legitimate complaints from unreasonable ones. I recieve a regularly weekly set of emails from parents and surprisingly, I do prefer dealing with thoughtful, honest, polite parents.
When my dd was in year 2 it became increasingly obvious that she was doing hardly any 'work' in class. From what my dd said she spent most days doing 'learning activities' all day and having very little teacher input. You can go and look at pupil work and so I popped in after school one day and discovered that dd had done no written work at all for a whole month. I asked the teacher why and she just looked embarrassed.
I can't believe now how much soul searching I did before finally writing a letter of complaint. The head is quite aggressively in favour of 'learning through play' and I knew she had not been sympathetic to a previous complaint. In the end I wrote a very carefully worded letter and got back a very positive response. From then on dd's teaching was much better and it was totally the right thing to have done.
We have a parent rep and parent council at our school, however these seem to be for broader issues.
I think it is our job as parents to be brave, but perhaps knowing when is the harder thing. We are so close to our children we often wonder if we are being over-protective/over-reacting and also don't want to rock the boat for them as they need to carry on with said teacher/said fellow pupils.
Having a child has forced me to be brave, but I agree with Tgger, sometimes it's difficult to know when it's right to stick your head above the parapet.
I think if an issue is really bothering you, then it is right to address it. No matter whether other folk would think you precious. It is your child and you and they need to be happy.
Am I alone in being a bit at the use of 'brave' in the context of this thread. If the OP posted tongue in cheek then I apologise. If he/she really thinks that giving negative feedback to a teacher is being 'brave' then I'm doubly .
MollieO - It may surprise you, but a lot of people find this kind of thing difficult (me included).
Ixia I agree that it is difficult but giving feedback isn't really being 'brave' is it? Coping with the death of a child or a serious illness or disability of a child is being brave. Telling the teacher that little George would like his reading book changed more frequently isn't.
I understand the concept but I question the choice of language. Like I said earlier if the OP meant the term to be light hearted tongue in cheek then I apologise. If it was meant seriously then I stand by my sentiment.
If you won't tackle the teacher head-on you're not doing your job probably - it's our duty to make sure our kids are getting what they need. It's not being brave it's called being a parent. One (male) teacher asked me whether I was going to be "one of those fussy mothers". Damn right I am if you're not doing your job properly!
The reason you need to be 'brave', is because the worse the teacher is the more defensive, and even devious, they'll be.
So if you have a good teacher they won't mind at all if you approach them, but then again you probably won't have much reason to approach them....
But if you have a teacher who isn't coping or who isn't very good then you will have good reason to approach them, and they're unlikely to be receptive to you......
And of course the same applies the higher up the school. A good HT you can approach with any concerns. A bad HT will get defensive or aggressive when you approach them......
Join the discussion
Please login first.