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Inappropriate questions?

(25 Posts)
WoodBetweenTheWorlds Sun 18-Sep-11 12:18:38

I am a regular but have namechanged.

DD is in year 2, and I have so far been delighted with her experiences at school. I am not one of those parents who readily finds fault with the teachers, and I generally respect their professional judgement. But I am disturbed by something that her new teacher has done, and want to know what others think.

Essentially, it seems that the teacher has been conducting one to one interviews with each of the children in her class, asking them general questions about them, about their friends and what they enjoy etc. All well and good. However, she has also been asking each child if there are children who they don't like, and who in the class is "naughty". Although these questions have been asked individually, it is within earshot of the other children, and my dd has overheard quite a lot of kids giving their responses.

DD hasn't overheard anything unpleasant about herself, but it worries me that other children may have done, and I wonder what that would do to their self-esteem or self-image. In my view, teachers should be discouraging labels such as "naughty", not perpetuating them. And surely they can see for themselves where any behavioural issues may lie, without having to ask the children? confused

I really don't understand the benefits of this line of questioning, and it has led me to doubt the teacher's judgement at the start of the academic year, when what I really want is to be able to respect her judgement and work with her. I suppose I should add that dd is perfectly happy so far and enjoying the new school year, so perhaps I am overreacting. But I can't help feeling a bit hmm about this issue, and a bit sad for any kids who may have heard the other children talking about them.

Before anybody asks, I know that dd hasn't got the wrong end of the stick, because several other DCs have mentioned this to their parents. I am reluctant to say anything to the teacher as I don't want to get labelled as a PITA parent, but still, I'm not very happy.

carocaro Sun 18-Sep-11 12:44:16

I think they do it on this one to one to get to know the children better and to see if they have any worries, including those about particular children and using the word naughty covers a multitude of things/behviours that other children do, in a simple, easy to understand context for their age.

Children are naughty and I see nothing wrong with the use of the word if appropriate eg: Ben tipped painted over Emma's head I would say is naughty. Is is also good to ask about children the are not keen on/don't like to get an idea of relationships.

I think you are totally over reacting, you were not in the class room and you did not actually hear what was said. You daughter may not have heard correctly everything and you cannot be sure she has not got in wrong. If you go in guns blazing you will be known as a PITA parent.

I like this one to one approach, in DS class a few years ago they did this and it transpired another boys was regularly being other kids fingers back at lunchtime as he said he was allowed (his Mum was a teacher in another year) hence no child said anything but it came out in a one to one session.

Be concerned for your own child and keep you nose out of everyone elses child and business, it reallys is not your place to become inolved with other kids. You say you are not one of those parents, yet you have name changed on here to ask a simple question and discussed it with other parents, why?

Instead of name changing and gossiping about what other kids may or may not do and think with other parents, talk to the teacher like an adult. This is how playground rumour, gossip and unpleasantness starts, stop gossiping and get in the classroom and ask.

And no I am not a teacher, but a parent.

carocaro Sun 18-Sep-11 12:46:40

"I really don't understand the benefits of this line of questioning, and it has led me to doubt the teacher's judgement at the start of the academic year"

The one and first thing 10 days in and you have pounced on the teacher, without talking to her first and gossiped with other parents you really should be quite ashamed.

"Line of questioning" not a police cell interview but a chat between teacher and pupil, honestly, be ashamed again!

Itsjustafleshwound Sun 18-Sep-11 12:52:50

I can kind of see where the teacher is coming from - I would like to believe that teachers do have a handle on their 'new' class by talking to former teachers and TAs. Perhaps it is just a way to validate what she has already been told and having a one-2-one with each child makes it easier for those less inclined to speak-up to be heard??

<<trying to be charitable>>

I wouldn't worry too much about other children - did your DD actually say to you that she was upset??

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Sun 18-Sep-11 12:59:29

Thanks for your views, carocaro. It's good to get another perspective, and maybe you're right, I could be overreacting.

However, I am not at all ashamed of questioning what this teacher has done, and i am still uncomfortable about it. As I said earlier, I am not one to jump in and criticise the teacher without good reason, and I am not planning to go in with all guns blazing. I know that teachers do an incredibly hard job, and for the most part, I think they do it brilliantly. That doesn't stop me from having doubts about this particular approach.

I don't really see the point of the questions that were asked, but I am more unhappy about the fact that they were asked within earshot of the other children. I still feel that this is inappropriate, but if the majority view is that it's fine to encourage kids to voice their dislikes about each other in this way, then perhaps I will have to accept that I may be over-sensitive. As a child, I think I'd have been gutted to have heard myself talked about in this way.

nickschick Sun 18-Sep-11 13:05:09

I agree I think its getting an overall opinion of the children in the class and assesing their 'social place' I seem to recall that ds2 had something similar (and he is/was naughty grin) by discussing with his friends the naughty behaviour she was able to help them understand how although being naughty had made ds2 very popular if they were very good friends then really they should encourage ds2 to not do the stuff that labelled him naughty.

(ds2 found the biscuit stash and shared all the biscuits out with his friends - the teacher only realised when ds2 gave her a biscuit too hmm in his defence he wasnt being naughty he was allowed at home to take a biscuit and if he had friends around to play he knew he was to share the biscuits fairly)

I think the teacher explained to him this wasnt acceptable and some other people described him as funny,helpful and kind and far better to base his skills on those traits.

ChippingIn Sun 18-Sep-11 13:05:13

It does seem a strange thing to do. I wouldn't be too happy either. As you say, not so much for your DD as she didn't hear anything negative about herself, but the children that did and the teacher should surely be promoting harmony & friendship in the classroom not tittle tattling & gossiping about the 'naughty' kids.

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Sun 18-Sep-11 13:07:40

Fleshwound, she wasn't really upset. She was just surprised to find that another child in the class was so disliked - shy, quiet girl who dd likes well enough but doesn't often play with. Apparently some of the other kids find her "boring".

This doesn't directly harm my dd, but it does sow the seeds in her mind that there may be something to dislike about this other child, and I don't think that's fair. And yes, it's none of my business, but I would hate to think of the other child hearing herself described in this way.

Maybe I am overreacting because we have had such great experiences in the school so far. I couldn't fault dd's teacher last year, and the previous year was great too. Hopefully this is just a minor blip and I don't plan to make a big deal of it. But I can't help but feel that it was a lapse of judgement to conduct the one to one conversations in this way.

puzzlesum Sun 18-Sep-11 13:10:11

I have a year 2 ds and I would not be happy to hear that he had been spoken to - or about - like this, particularly not in front of the other children.

I'm sure the teacher meant for the best, but I would have expected general expectations about behaviour to be set to the class as a whole, and specific concerns to be raised during handover from previous teachers and observations by the teachers and TAs.

If there was no repeat of it, I'd probably wait til parents' evening to mention it with mild concern. I'm also not one to go in for criticism but this feels like an unusual approach. Mind you, I'd like to try it in my office, that could be amusing.

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Sun 18-Sep-11 13:14:36

grin @ puzzlesum. I'd like to try it in the office as well, but as the manager of my unit, I'm pretty sure that I already know which members of staff would be labelled as the "naughty" ones. I guess I expect the teachers to know this too!

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Sun 18-Sep-11 13:19:45

Oh, I meant to say, the only reason I have namechanged is because I have no wish to out myself in RL. Not because I am ashamed of having a view on this issue!smile

2BoysTooLoud Sun 18-Sep-11 13:40:44

I would find the question about 'naughty' kids odd too. I don't think it is a great way of creating harmony in the class. You know it is something I might query to the teacher in a gentle way if it had worried my daughter.

carocaro Sun 18-Sep-11 14:25:39

"As I said earlier, I am not one to jump in and criticise the teacher without good reason" "But I can't help but feel that it was a lapse of judgement to conduct the one to one conversations in this way" - you sound so snooty and superior and I am glad that you are not a parent in my year(s) who give the teachers a little bit more credit that they can actually do their job and have the decency to talk to them about any issues rather than spread gossip or be so certain you are right and they are wrong. It's the way you speak 'couldn't fault her teacher last year' like you are constantly looking for something to nit pick.

There is never good reason to as you put it, jump in and criticise the teacher, but you have shot yourself in the foot already by using that language! You have no reason to be critical because you have no spoken to her about anything, so you have already decided she is in the wrong as you want to criticise her with what you feel is good reason. And quite frankly, shit stirring with the other parents.

"I don't really see the point of the questions that were asked, but I am more unhappy about the fact that they were asked within earshot of the other children" - You don't know this for sure, your daughter could be a nosey parker listening in instead of getting on with what she was supposed to be doing. No child was spoken to in front of other children, just your daughter ear wigging on conversations that were none of her business.

"However, I am not at all ashamed of questioning what this teacher has done, and i am still uncomfortable about it" - I never said that, of course you can talk to the teacher, but you have not have you? Your behavior of shit stirring with other parents and only beleiving one side of the story is something you should be ashamed of.

It's not your class room is it? You need to stop your past insecurities about school wash over your daughter and discolour her experince. And many a parent does come to realise that SHOCK HORROR their children get it wrong sometimes and may be the 'naughty one' now and again.

"but it does sow the seeds in her mind that there may be something to dislike about this other child, and I don't think that's fair" - so you need to teach her to have her own opinions and not be so sheep like.

Worried abot outing yourself in real life, so silly, there must be 1,000 of Mums on Y2 daughters in here, no reason really.

Go in and speak to the teacher and then come back on and post, a balanced view eg: the other side of the story.

2BoysTooLoud Sun 18-Sep-11 14:34:15

Harsh carocaro, harsh!!
Probably best op to have a quiet word with the teacher in a querying way rather than a all guns blazing.
My 6 year old sometimes comes out with some odd stuff that is not always 100% accurate.
As for ear wigging - most 6/7 year olds probably would if they could I think.

flimflammery Sun 18-Sep-11 14:46:34

Blimey, carocaro, the OP seems to have touched a raw nerve with you. You have jumped to about 1001 conclusions.
OP, I agree I would be uncomfortable with it being within earshot of other children. But as your DD was not directly affected, I don't think it would be worth your speaking to the teacher.

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Sun 18-Sep-11 14:52:08

FFS carocaro - what's your problem? Are you sure you're not the teacher? grin

Your analysis of my language is admirable but you don't know me and you haven't got a clue about what my attitude towards teachers is, so quit the amateur psychology, please.

Yes, I dare to have an opinion about what this teacher has done, and I also happen to believe that teachers are human shock and sometimes get it wrong. I have already said that I have no intention of going in with all guns blazing, but may discuss it with the teacher at an appropriate opportunity, if I think it's worthwhile. If I am using MN to help measure whether my response is reasonable, that hardly amounts to spreading rumours about an unnamed teacher at an unnamed school. Nothing you have said persuades me that I am being unreasonable - tbh, the excessive aggression in your posts just makes you sound like a bit of a loon.

As for the conversations with other parents, they mentioned it to me actually, but regardless, I am not going to apologise for talking to other parents about legitimate concerns that we may share about our kids. We have had just as many conversations about how great the teachers are, and I don't see why this should be a taboo subject. If, having given the matter due consideration, I feel it is worth raising with the teacher, then I will do so.

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Sun 18-Sep-11 14:54:48

Flimflammery, that's basically the way that I'm leaning - I am not very happy about the approach, but as dd hasn't been directly affected, I am reluctant to say anything.

dearheart Sun 18-Sep-11 15:57:08

* carocaro* "The one and first thing 10 days in and you have pounced on the teacher, without talking to her first and gossiped with other parents you really should be quite ashamed."

"And quite frankly, shit stirring with the other parents."

WOW! How is talking to other parents about their dcs' experience wrong? It's a good way of checking what your own dc is telling you.

livinonaprayer Sun 18-Sep-11 18:50:23

I wouldn't like any of my DCs to be 'questioned' like this and labelling the children is wrong IMO. I have always been taught to talk about the behaviour being 'naughty' for example than label a child, and to ask other class members to do so makes me feel a bit sad tbh.
Think the one to one chat is quite a nice idea but the language here was inappropriate I feel.
That said it is worth clarifying things first as sometimes children don't explain things exactly as they happened IYSWIM.

Erebus Sun 18-Sep-11 19:38:03

A friend told me that in her DS's (Australian, private) Y4 they were doing a project on bullying. Each child was asked to write the name of the child they thought was a 'bully' on an anonymous piece of paper and hand it in, ditto the name of the 'nicest' child in the class. The results were never 'published' at all, but the DCs thought it was a great idea- a means of alerting the teacher of who was really causing the aggro, amongst other things!

applecrumbleandcream Sun 18-Sep-11 20:32:21

Erebus that is a really good idea!!

I wouldn't really have a problem with this 'questioning' to get to know the children and see if they are having any problems if it was done privately and out of earshot of other children, but this kind of one to one with the teacher and other children around doesn't sit well with me. Totally inappropriate and just sounds as though it would stir up trouble.

Could you imagine if this happened in the workplace and the boss questioned your colleagues about you whilst you were sat there listening?

Jezabelle Sun 18-Sep-11 21:46:45

I would be unhappy if this was my dds class. It is possible to assertain relationships between the children and how they behave in a far more appropriate and ethical way.

And what is carocaro's problem?! she appears to have a humungous chip on her shoulder about something! I like to give my dds teachers the benefit of the doubt, but feel I am perfectly within my rights to question their practices if I am uncomfortable about something. My children are, after all, important to me! I'm guessing that's the same with most people!

sugartongue Mon 19-Sep-11 11:21:17

I'm appalled that a teacher would do this! it is totally unacceptable. Was there no handover between this teacher and last year's teacher? and how about actually getting to know the kids herself?! This kind of behaviour in a teacher just reinforces the idea that kids have labels and what chance does a child have to get out of a "box" they've been put in?! Definitely not ok, but don't see what can be done after the event.

carocaro Tue 20-Sep-11 20:43:33

If I am a loon you have given your daughter a princess complex and you are one of those people 'who would never gossip, but' Your OP certainly never gave the teacher the benefit of the doubt before you had decided she was very guilty. You even name changed, why? Because you know you were being a gossip. Any parent with an ounce of decency would talk to the teacher first and foremost. It is terrible you are teaching your daughter that you must only listen to one side of the story and make judgement set in stone.

From what may have been simple quiet chats between the teacher and pupil have turned into harsh questioning with nasty labelling. Which is it? Oh you don't know! Of course I don't know you, but have responded to what you have posted. Eerrr it's how it works?!

Don't post if you can't handle people disagreeing with you and trying to dismiss opinion as amateur psychology. If you want people to fawn over you and blow smoke up your backside post on another board.

How do you think the teacher would feel if she found that an escalated wild rumour had spread through the playground and not one parent had bothered to come and talk to her. Put yourself in her shoes. You'd feel shit and I would not like to be you when she finds out where it came from.

Of course you have the right to talk with a teacher, but no one has the right to 'question them' - are they under arrest? You still have not had the nerve to talk to the teacher. Don't name change and gossip, grow up and talk to the teacher FGS. Please.

All very "Daily Mail" scare mongering - "teachers interrogate children in front of classmates labelling each one something vile scarring them for life. Parents respond by name changing on MN and refusing to talk to teachers"

When all that was needed was a quick chat after school. you live and learn.

Jezabelle Thu 22-Sep-11 20:38:07


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