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Unhappy with written feedback from teacher

(14 Posts)
ThatsYouThatIs Wed 10-Oct-12 13:11:52

Last night, DS1 (10) told me that his teacher (who started at the school in September) has told him to write out his homework again as it wasn't neat enough. DS has real issues with writing and even his neatest writing isn't very neat for his age group. I had no issue with this as I thought it would be good practise for him. Then I saw what the teacher had written underneath his homework.

The comment was 'This presentation is absolutely disgraceful. I will NEVER mark work that looks like this. Your care and attention are insulting and I can barely read your comprehension.'

I was quite shocked by this, especially as DH and I have spoken to the school about the issues DS is having with his homework (including asking his teacher to ring us about problems with homework the day before this comment came home). What takes others in his class about 30 minutes to do is taking DS 2-3 hours, as a minimum, to do. He also has issues with concentration, which is something the school have said is a problem in school as well. He is currently under CAMHS for this.

I know I can be very protective of DS but surely this isn't an acceptable comment for a teacher to write? Or am I overreacting?

Sparklingbrook Wed 10-Oct-12 13:17:00

Hi Thats. I have a 10 year old DS and I wouldn't be happy. not exactly encouraging and supportive.

I would be talking to the Head I think.

BirdyBedtime Wed 10-Oct-12 13:20:29

I agree - if one of my DCs came home with a written comment like that I'd be straight in touch with the head. It's completely unprofessional, unsupportive and downright mean. Even if that is what she thought surely she could have written it more like:

Your presentation really isn't up to standard and needs some work as I am finding it hard to mark. You need to try and concentrate and pay attention to detail to bring the work up to standard.

Even that would be harsh but at least more professional. But if the school are aware there are wider problems then anything like this should be tackled with the parents IMO.

Hope you get an apology.

FolkGhoul Wed 10-Oct-12 13:22:07

Talk to the Head.

Not acceptable.

Sparklingbrook Wed 10-Oct-12 13:23:32

Exactly Birdy it could have been put very differently. Or given that he is having issues that the teacher should be aware of not written anything at all, but had a chat with him?

It reminds me of a teacher DS1 had in Year 2 she told him'Do not bring any work to me unless it's right'. His self esteem reached such a low we had to get him a tutor. sad

steppemum Wed 10-Oct-12 13:28:32

really feels as if the teacher has missed the point about his writing?

suggestion for you and her in future. Can you sign a homework book or something to show that he has put his best effort in? To show he has sat and worked hard etc., even if final result isn't great?

I would have a word. take the book and say you had just been talking to school (did you talk to her or the head? It may be that head hasn't fed back to her before this was marked).
Not very professional language at all. Bit surprised at this age

PastSellByDate Wed 10-Oct-12 13:52:36

Hi Thats

I'd suggest speaking to the teacher first. It may be that she/he marked the work before this conversation with you. It also may be that she/he was in a bad mood, tired and possibly fed up with sloppy work from the class as a whole and therefore wrote a comment in a fit of pique which in a calmer and more supportive mood, they might not have.

I'd explain just how hard your DS finds writing and how long the work took - and ask if it would help if you indicated how long the work took and initial it (as steppemum has suggested) so that the teacher can have a clearer idea regarding the effort put in.

Try to remember that from the teachers point of view the one 'unknown' is how much effort & time was put in on a piece of work - it is often very easy to assume that poor handwriting is 'sloppy work' or rushed. So your DS's work needs to be appropriately flagged in order to remind the teacher that there is a 'writing issue' at play here.

Hopefully that will mean that you and the teacher can work, gradually to help your DS through this, if possible.

The good news is that you can get through life with awful handwriting! So I'd invest in touch typing (or use BBC game: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/) to build those skills - because after a certain point you rarely write.

HTH

ThatsYouThatIs Wed 10-Oct-12 15:33:29

Thanks for your comments. They've made me feel better smile

DH has spoken to the headteacher and she has spoken to DS's teacher about the issues. It has been agreed that DS (and the rest of the class) will now get longer to complete homework which will ease the pressure on DS a bit.

The school has agreed that the tone and language weren't appropriate and won't be used in future.

DH and I are meeting with the teacher soon to go through the issues and work out how to support DS. The teacher seems enthusiastic and I think he wanted to push some of the children he thought were coasting and included DS in this group as apparently DS has been concentrating quite well this term and the teacher didn't know DS's history.

The teacher must be doing something right though as this is the first time DS has managed to concentrate in class without any issues since he started! I'm going to speak to him to see what's made this difference as I doubt DS has suddenly changed overnight. DS did say that the classroom is more peaceful this year so maybe that's got something to do with it.

clam Wed 10-Oct-12 18:57:02

Er, why didn't the teacher know your ds's history? I'd be questionning the school's transition process if that's the case.

I'm not teacher-bashing here - I am one myself - but I think that that written comment was nothing short of disgraceful. Hopefully, your interaction with the Head will have made the teacher think twice before writing anything so unprofessional ever again.

talkingnonsense Wed 10-Oct-12 19:01:02

However.. A harsh teacher may well be why the classroom is peaceful and your ds can concentrate- if ds presents as able it would be easy for the teacher to assume it was sloppy work and want to clamp down hard ( though it does seem very hard- would love to write that on some of my own ds's work though!)

redwhiteandblueeyedsusan Wed 10-Oct-12 19:22:40

unprofessional. you do not know the home circumstances in which homework is done. some children do not have support, have to do homework in front of the tv on their knee or with family distractions.

Sparklingbrook Wed 10-Oct-12 19:27:05

But a 'harsh teacher' is what made my DS fall apart. sad

clam Wed 10-Oct-12 19:34:49

I don't think "harsh" should be confused with "firm." You can run a tight ship behaviour-wise without using that kind of unpleasant tone. It's just not necessary.

I seem to have acquired a bit of a reputation for being strict. But once kids arrive in my class, some a bit apprehensive, virtually all of them realise I'm OK! You have to mix it with humour and kindness. The kids welcome seeing the "naughty" kids not getting away with poor behaviour. The sweet-natured, always-biddable lovely kids never experience my wrath personally. And once we've established the boundaries, we can relax and enjoy ourselves. After that, a raised eyebrow here and there is all it needs, usually.

snowmummy Wed 10-Oct-12 19:54:54

Oh I was going to say that its sounds like the teacher doesn't yet know the class too well, and whilst not good, might be understandable if it was a secondary school where they only see the class maybe a couple of times a week. Not acceptable in a primary school at all.

Also, does he spend hours on homework? If he has problems, surely his homework should be differentiated so that he only has to spend a reasonable amount of time completing it. There's no way I'd let mine spend 2-3 hours on a piece of homework.

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