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Teachers being honest

(21 Posts)
RoadArt Fri 10-Jun-11 22:41:04

i am having a refreshing change this year with our teacher. My Dc has always been deemed "above average" so whenever I have raised concerns about a number of things she doesn't understand, can't do, is doing wrong etc., I have always been fobbed off with it doesnt matter, she'll get there, she is going g great, etc etc.

This year, the teacher has identified all the same issues that I have previously raised (without my intervention) and is working with dc to rectify them, and is also telling me all the things that she can do, is doing wrong etc. She has also told me lots of things she isn't doing properly or as well as she would have expected, and while some of it feels like a kick in the teeth because these issues have never been mentioned in previous years when they could have been worked on, it is great to have an honest view of where my Dc is really at.

FebreezeYourJeans Fri 10-Jun-11 22:56:19

I appreciate having a teacher who tells it like it is, I have one of these this year and she has sat on my very bright but intrinsically lazy dd very hard. She's (teacher) been firm with her expectations but without ever humiliating her (DD) and it's done her the world of good.

IndigoBell Sat 11-Jun-11 07:06:25

RoadArt, you are so lucky, I'm very jealous.......

RoadArt Sat 11-Jun-11 08:49:52

Hi IndigoBell. Its a refreshing change, believe me!. It is actually really nice to actually get someone telling you as it is. Some parents dont like the honesty, but I do. This is the only teacher in the school that is like this though, so sadly it wont continue.

cory Sat 11-Jun-11 09:41:43

I like it when honesty takes the shape of targets: "coryds needs to work on his timetables", or (if the need arose) "corydd needs to think carefully about how she speaks to teachers". Or plain statements of fact: "coryds was disruptive in class and has been punished; if he does it again X will follow"

But there is a type of honesty that is not productive: "I find it inconvenient to have a disabled child in my class and you can't expect me to pretend I like it", "I wish we could go back to being a girls' school as boys are more trouble and not what we've been used to"

I do appreciate that truth-telling is a virtue, and undeniably both of those latter statements are the truth as far as some teachers/headteachers are concerned, but as parents we don't need to know everything that goes through someone's head, do we?

We all need some white lies.

MigratingCoconuts Sat 11-Jun-11 14:08:55

As a teacher myself, i tend to see through the teacher speak all too readily and am almost looking to try to decode what is being said....I'd rather the honesty too.

My teacher friend got told that her son has a 'big personailty' by pre-school this week...and we all know what that means grin

mrz Sat 11-Jun-11 14:41:13

Most of our staff are honest (some might say blunt) but one member of staff wants desperately to be lovedliked by parents so always says how wonderful and clever every child is ...

emptyshell Sat 11-Jun-11 14:55:44

Why would I not be honest? That does neither side any favours whatsoever.

I've inherited classes where things have been sugar coated all the way through the school - child's perfect, nothing to work for, no targets, all's brilliant.... sooner or later someone has to mention targets for improvement and the like - it's an utterly ridiculous situation to be in and I refused to play ball on it.

I'll look for the positives, I'll pitch things in a positive way - but no, I'm not going to claim perfection and not look for a way forward (which is what WAS happening in this particular school - see the private V state thread for slightly more detail lol) because how the hell do you expect a child to improve if they're not told HOW to do so?!

The parent whom I told that, yes their son was academically bang on target but I felt he was slacking off a bit and with some more effort and a push was capable of achieving much more was actually happy that someone had finally accepted he was dossing about doing the bare minimum and needed a small boot up his rear to get to what he was capable of really (obviously couched in teacher speak but we both agreed on that point!)... the child sat in on the consultation was somewhat less impressed on that front - but nothing has more potential to cause mayhem in a school than a bright kid with too much time on their hands... I know because I WAS that kid and I was a little sod to teach!

munstersmum Sat 11-Jun-11 15:01:20

All in favour of an honest to verging on blunt dialogue. Cos I'll sure as eggs be honest if I want to raise a query with the teacher.

thejaffacakesareonme Sat 11-Jun-11 15:13:30

Another one in favour of blunt speech. As someone else has said, things are often couched in teacher speak. I am not a teacher and I find it difficult to decode. I'd much rather that someone told me straight. If I don't know that something is a potential problem I can't do anything about helping the school to remedy it.

cory Sat 11-Jun-11 15:43:46

Repeats: appreciate some types of blunt communication, not other types.

Especially as I have never found the nerve to adopt the blunt to the point of honesty approach when talking to the teacher.

So much easier to say, "yes, I am sure corydd appreciates your subject" than "considering how much misinformation you peddle, I have advised corydd to do her own reading on this topic" or "coryds finds you the most boring teacher in the school".

I mean, that kind of bluntness wouldn't really be a virtue, would it? Much better to wrap it up a bit to make it palatable, "yes, we are very anxious to support corydd's learning at home".

How much honesty can fallible human beings take?

cory Sat 11-Jun-11 15:45:19

Note that my example of having been told in dd's hearing how very inconvenient it is to have a disabled child in the class is a RL one. Which has made me slightly wary of over-much honesty.

RoadArt Sat 11-Jun-11 16:25:23

Emptyshell ~ spot on -- you could be my teacher. Luckily though she doesn't hv behaviour problems

FebreezeYourJeans Sun 12-Jun-11 05:50:20

Cory, we are talking about constructive straight talking, your examples are undeniably unprofessional and rude!

jugglingwiththreeshoes Sun 12-Jun-11 06:18:02

I'm sorry to hear that a teacher said that to you and your DD Cory - that's very unprofessional and unsupportive. I hope you were both OK and not upset by it.

bobala Sun 12-Jun-11 08:23:12

as a teacher the hardest thing is taking over a class when the previous teacher has not been honest - the 1st Parents evening is then awful as you have parents saying 'but she was top of the class in reading last year' when their poor child is clearly struggling and even needs extra support. I am always honest and would much rather my DSs teachers were honest with me too -although now they are in secondary school I rarely ever hear anything from their teachers in the 1st place!

mrz Sun 12-Jun-11 10:43:36

I agree ... I know September is going to be a shock for some parents

Bunbaker Sun 12-Jun-11 10:56:54

I know exactly what you mean. We have had this with DD who always found maths her hardest subject. The teachers always told me that she was where she should be and because she was so good at everything else it made her maths look bad. Her current teacher has been refreshingly honest and has worked with her to improve her maths and surprised me at the last parents evening by saying that she was one of two pupils who had jumped up two grades for her projected SATS results.

I will find out in the next few weeks whether this is actually true.

cory Sun 12-Jun-11 11:26:47

I do appreciate professional straight talking, folks, I really do. And I don't like fluffiness. I would be very upset if my dcs misbehaved and teachers felt they couldn't tell me.

Thought sometimes I wonder how school teachers would react if I gave as much honest blunt feedback to them re their teaching as I am asking them to give to me re my child's learning.

How would you cope with hearing that a parent is concerned that their child's French accent has deteriorated since they entered this class because she is picking up the teacher's pronunciation?

(genuine occurence, and no I did not have the nerve; I just smiled weakly when teacher gave examples of the French pronunciation she wanted dd to learn)

How would you like to be told that a parent would appreciate it if you checked your facts before going in to give a history lesson?

(another regular problem)

I mean, you couldn't, could you?

As an academic teacher I am used to this sort of thing in the shape of regular student evaluations which can be both blunt and honest (sob) and which we have to discuss and take seriously, but I find school teachers are very sensitive to anything that sounds like criticism. I have never been as blunt as the above examples might suggest, though; I can't bring myself to hurt someone who might genuinely be hurt.

RoadArt Sun 12-Jun-11 20:33:25

Sounds like we all agree that teachers should be able to tell it as it is rather than have to produce nice positive feedback that doesnt tell you anything!

In our case, I have learnt so much of where my DC is truly at, some of which I knew but teachers previously didnt agree, and other areas that have been quite a shock.

Elibean Sun 12-Jun-11 20:54:27

shock at some parents not being given things for dc to work towards - I think its standard for all children at dd's school? Goals, targets, whatever they are called.
Much more helpful than just being told 'dd is working to level 3 on this, a good level 2 on that, etc etc' which frankly meant nothing at all to me at the time.

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