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Grrrrrrrrr Teacher "friend" called me a precious parent...

(28 Posts)
HenriettaJones Sat 09-Jul-11 15:09:38

Was having a chat with a friend who is a teacher, I said I was really pleased with my son's school, and she said that's great, and then started talking about how annoying parents are for complaining all the time and how it spoils the positive comments she receives.

Obviously my observation/people reading skills need some improvement, as I casually said that the only issue I have ever had with the school was the induction period in reception. To which she contemptously and dismissively said "Oh, precious parent!"

I'm still seething, and wish I had come up with a quick retort, but instead found myself justifying what I had said in a fairly pathetic manner.

Just needed to let it out really angry

CQrrrneee Sat 09-Jul-11 15:11:29

defensive teacher!

doozle Sat 09-Jul-11 15:12:06

Sounds like she was making a bit of a joke of it rather than slating you.

HenriettaJones Sat 09-Jul-11 15:15:33

Believe me it was a snipe.

CQ I so wish I had said that to her!

gabid Sat 09-Jul-11 15:15:53

Has she got kids?

HenriettaJones Sat 09-Jul-11 15:22:00

No, she hasn't got kids.

gabid Sat 09-Jul-11 15:32:34

Ah, I think before you have kids you have no idea how much you love and care about them, and how sad and disappointing it is when something as important as school goes wrong for them. You just want to give them the best start possible and if I worry about something I will go and speak to DS's (Y1) teacher - I don't care if she thinks I am fussing.

And yes, I used to be a teacher too (secondary).

HenriettaJones Sat 09-Jul-11 15:49:04

Yeah I think that's it. She just doesn't get it. I'm just pleased she's in Key Stage 2 so hopefully her pupils are toughened up a bit before they get to her!

TBH I probably feel guilty because I never actually spoke to the staff at the school. (Probably for fear of encountering a response like that of my "friend"!)

lulu05 Sat 09-Jul-11 17:29:05

I have this with a very good friend who is an infant school teacher. i believe she is a very good teacher but she isn't a parent and really lacks empathy with parents. She has called me 'precious' and 'pushy' before in an attempt at humour but I could tell she actually meant it.

emptyshell Sat 09-Jul-11 17:50:36

Oh fuck off with this claptrap again.

OK - so would you object very strongly to being told you do an inferior job at your career because you have children or would you (quite rightly) be up in arms with anger at your professionalism being bashed because of your reproductive status? Yet it's perfectly ok for you to constantly take pops at those without for it?

I could tell you about the ex-colleague who admitted to me she'd made assessment levels up off the top of her head because she didn't give a stuff about her job and wanted to get home to her kids - is she the better teacher still automatically? (yes an isolated case before anyone rips my head off about it)

My kids... well one I miscarried down the toilet, and the dead in-utero twins are in a hospital surgical waste bag somewhere - I'm sorry I couldn't persuade my uterus to fulfil my requirements as a teacher. Somehow along the line - the schools I worked in, and Ofsted managed to see past the fruit of my uterus and judge me as doing a bloody good job. Sorry I couldn't arrange to carry a pregnancy to term just to make me competent at my job in your eyes.

You have utterly utterly no idea just how incredibly offensive, unacceptable and distressing it is to be judged on that basis alone. And yes there's swearing in this post - with my history, and the pain it's caused me over 8 years of fertility problems and repeated miscarriages - the fact that then I'm expected to smile cheerfully while I have my worthlessness flaunted in front of me and get told I'm shit at my job because of it - that's crap.

You'd be livid if someone demanded to know if you had kids and evaluated you accordingly - don't do it to those without. Incidentally - most of those "worthy" teachers who DO have kids - probably started teaching without them. Does that mean they were crap and suddenly had a moment as they gave birth that they became good? Nope - if they were good'uns to start with they stayed good'uns, if they were shit and in it for the money - they stayed shit and in it for the money.

KenDoddsDadsDog Sat 09-Jul-11 18:20:04

Sounds like your friend is being precious not you!
But there are good teachers with no children and rubbish teachers with lots of children. My sister has none, yet works really hard to improve the welfare of the children in her pastoral care.
Emptyshell, sorry for your losses.

mrz Sat 09-Jul-11 18:24:06

i am a teacher and mum of two and I agree with empty-shell.
Being a parent doesn't automatically make you a better teacher or even more understanding of parents, just as not being a parent excludes you from being good at your job and having empathy.

Goblinchild Sat 09-Jul-11 18:48:06

The teachers in our school that don't have children often manage to do a far better job with regards to research, planning and resources to me. They don't have to juggle their own children's needs and the pressures that entails alongside the job.
Some of the most amazing teachers I've worked with have been childless, some of the more intolerant ones have been parents as well who feel that they have done all that was needed to support their own children and don't understansdd or sympathise when another parent is struggling with theirs.
And vice versa.
Emptyshell, I can't begin to imagine what you have had to overcome to still be able to function on a daily basis. sad

Rosebud05 Sat 09-Jul-11 21:01:37

I agree with emptyshell. (So very sorry for your losses, it's awful, unbearable.)

I know the 'oh they don't get it because they don't have kids' brigade don't intend to come over as smug and superior to women who haven't been fortunate enough to conceive/carry a pregnancy to term, but they so very often do.

An ex-friend gleefully recounted how she'd asked a women in the P & C parking 'where's your baby or child?' as though she'd cleverly found someone out rather than potentially piercing the heart of someone who had lost a child or miscarried.

Bit tangental, but women cry 'sexual discrimination' if their pregnancy/children are counted against then at work, so it's very hypocritical to judge people on their childlessness, intentional or otherwise.

MigratingCoconuts Sat 09-Jul-11 21:09:24

I do agree with what emptyshell says.

Can I add though, that the dimension that having young kids has added to me is the knowledge of what it is like to not understand anything about the system at all and not 'getting' what is going on.

I am a secondary teacher and I did not fully appreciate what a totally alien landscape primary education is to me and how out of my depth I would feel as a parent.

It has given me a new perspective on how parents of year 7 pupils might feel and I now take extra, extra care to make sure that I don't take for granted what is totally new to them.

I kind of felt that is more what op meant when talking about the precious parent comment.

Elibean Sat 09-Jul-11 21:09:59

I agree with Emptyshell too - no relationship between parental status (if there is such an expression) and teaching style/empathy levels, IME.

OP, sounds to me as though your friend already had an axe to grind with 'annoying parents' - something probably got to her recently, so she was just in a bad mood and irritated with parents generally. Sounds like it was partly a timing thing, iyswim.

That said, would have stung me too - but please please don't let her put you off talking to the teachers at your dc's school: all the Foundation teachers I know are very sympathetic to parents!

HenriettaJones Sat 09-Jul-11 23:16:28

emptyshell and others, this was never intended as a thread about the ("claptrap" of the) virtues of those with kids and the inferiority of those without. The things you accuse me of I haven't said and I do not feel.

There are a multitude of skills one needs to be a teacher, and most of those are probably irrelevant to whether a teacher has kids or not (and I agree, things like planning etc prob benefit with teachers that don't have kids)

But what this thread is about is transition, change, emotion, pastoral care, separation etc etc. Not exclusively the realm of mothers for sure, but having kids does tend to change one's perspective on those particular aspects of leaving a child at school. (Or another example, I was so against co-sleeping before I had DS, then mysteriously that principle had disappeared the moment he was born, it's a shift in perspective, not an inferior/superior right/wrong thing.) That's not too say that teachers who are parents are always sympathetic, or that teachers who are not parents are never sympathetic, it was more one possible explanation to my friend's lack of sympathy - in the old fashioned sense of the word.

In reference to my friend, I responded to the question of her not being a parent as a "yeah, I guess her point of view is different" kind of thing, not as a "she's so unworthy for not having become a mother and therefore I'll dismiss her opinion." IYSWIM.
She doesn't get it. She might still not get it if she has kids. But she certainly doesn't get it at the moment.

HenriettaJones Sat 09-Jul-11 23:17:17

*not to say

suzikettles Sat 09-Jul-11 23:24:22

I think though, what an infants teacher may get that we "precious parents" don't (another parent with dc starting school here), is that most of our children will settle happily into school and the worries are mainly ours, not those of the children.

Their job is to do the best they can for the child, not the parent.

I know that most of the worries I've had about ds - his school is brand new and not yet open so there hasn't been a lot of advanced info - have been assuaged by my mum who is a retired primary teacher who has seen hundreds of 4 and 5 year olds transition into school with less trouble than their parents. She may have better communication skills than your friend though wink

HenriettaJones Sat 09-Jul-11 23:35:23

I was going to give a long and lengthy description about what I judged to be the faults with the transition, but then realised that that's the whole point - the assumption that it is me being precious - rather than actually having observed just one weakness in a very good school.

MigratingCoconuts Sun 10-Jul-11 08:20:04

I agree with your points about weaknesses in transition that parents see and the school doesn't simply becuase the school is so used to what it is doing that it does not see that there is anything wanting.

gabid Sun 10-Jul-11 11:26:22

emptyshell - I am so sorry for what happened to you. I did have similar problems. At a scan we saw this perfect baby, arms, legs, head ... but no heartbeat. Then two more lost with heavy bleading and rushed to hospital, then for a long time I thought that's it, its not happening any more. Then pregnant, light bleading again, rushed to the doctor, saw an ancient fossil of a doctor who told me to go home and when it gets heavy to call an ambulance. Saw another doctor the next day, got it checked out and all was fine - now I have 2 lovely kids. Don't give up hope!!!

I never meant to judge the skill and professionalism of teachers without kids. I spoke to DS's teacher a number of times during the year about issues relating to DS and not the teacher. I think especially teachers of infant age school children should be able to empathise with parents and not dismiss their worries, which I thought was unprofessional of OP's friend.

gabid Sun 10-Jul-11 11:34:07

Yes, communication skills that's what the problem is, maybe, OP's friend could have just listened to the worries and ackgnowledged them. If we never question what we do we can't improve and may sound rather arrogant.

slartybartfast Sun 10-Jul-11 11:44:32

i spose thats because she is her friend that she felt she could come out with that comment.
are you seethign op, because she was Right?

HenriettaJones Sun 10-Jul-11 12:53:55

Thanks Gabid and MigratingCoconuts smile
slarty, perhaps "friend" is too generous a term in this case, but her scathing manner certainly isn't one I'd adopt to any friend.
Actually, as I said earlier, I think I'm seething because I'm not precious enough - the fear of being precious has stopped me from speaking to the teachers, when perhaps - only perhaps - it may have been helpful for DS.
But in terms of right and wrong, if it has to be that black and white, I would say that the fact that the school has since changed it's induction and transition arrangements suggests that I was right.
And that's why I think DS is at an amazing, reflective, positive school. Which is the point I had originally made to my "friend".

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