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DS not coping with teacher

(54 Posts)
jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 12:19:30

DS (age 10) is in year 6 at primary school and I’ve been having problems with him for the last couple of months that are getting worse each week. He seems to have lost his self-confidence and I think its down to his overly critical teacher who is at the end of her career.

I don't know what to do though. I've tried talking to him to make him see sense but it only works for a while and then something else happens. I suspect she thinks that sniping at the children will make them try harder but in DS's case, he is just giving up (on himself). Its a shame because he's never struggled with the work but now he believes that he's just not good enough.

She's only part-time and some other parents have made written complaints but I don't think the head can do anything and anyway she'll probably retire soon.

Any thoughts?

learnandsay Mon 28-Jan-13 12:20:44


jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 12:24:17

Sorry, a bit more... the loss of self-confidence is spreading out into other areas of his life. He is falling out with his friends, declaring himself useless at the the things he loves e.g. football and generally he just seems an unhappy child. Its a total personality transformation.

I talk to him and we get the child that we know back for a day or two, but then he sees her again and it all starts again.

jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 12:25:42

complain to whom? The teacher won't lower herself to say "good morning " to the parents when they bump into her in the street or in the school and the head can't do anything.

JammySplodger Mon 28-Jan-13 12:27:58

Can you meet with your head teacher? Given it's only January, he's still got a fair bit of the school year left with her and if it's only going to get worse, it would be worth steppinng in now.

Just wondering, do you think it's definitely to do with her, could there be anything else bothering him?

JammySplodger Mon 28-Jan-13 12:29:10

Complain / speak to the governers if needed. the school office should tell you who they are, if there are several parents saying then same thing then they really ought to do something.

throckenholt Mon 28-Jan-13 12:33:06

I would try and talk to the head (maybe with some other similarly minded parents) - she can't just abdicate repsonsibility.

If he is due to go to senior school in September, and you don't think complaining is going to make a difference - you could consider home ed for the time between now and Sept (if work commitments allow it).

Ideally you would keep it low key - let him recover his self confidence - work a bit on reading, writing and maths, but don't push it - let him follow things that interest him (as long as it is not playing computer games all day grin).

The other option would be to change schools - but not ideal for a couple of terms.

vertex Mon 28-Jan-13 12:35:09

First thing to do is contact the LEA and ask to speak to someone in pupil support and explain the situation.

Secondly, and please do not take this the wrong way. Make an appointment with GP and ask to be referred to a Child Physcologist, there is no stigma to this; a child physcologist has the means to talk to your DS and find out what is at the root of the problem. Once this is addressed can then set about exercises to assist in regaining confidence and 'handling' negative comments from his teacher

jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 12:35:52

I think it is her because I've eliminated just about everything else. The only other thing could be hormones, but its too early for that, isn't it?

Ofsted said in their report that the teaching in year 6 was outstanding. I don't get it. Can it be that her methods work on most children?

She puts red Xs all over his work and writes "you must do better" at the bottom. This is according to DS. I've sent a note into school asking to see these books to be sure that he's not exaggerating (although obviously i didn't give that as the reason on the note).

jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 12:43:42

I could home school because I am a SAHM. I did actually think toy with the idea this weekend because I don't think he is going to last until July. I can't decide if it would do more harm than good because it will give him a message that he can't take it?? On the other hand, leaving him under her influence doesn't seem like a healthy thing either. I just don't know.

I was wondering though if it will continue until July or just until the SATS are done? The school did really badly on SATS last year whereas it usually does very well. Maybe the teacher is determined to end her career on a high?

If I withdraw DS, then the school will lose 3% of the level 5s, although at the rate things are going, i don't think he'll have enough confidence to write enough to get level 4s!

Panzee Mon 28-Jan-13 12:47:24

I'm not saying its not the teacher but it isn't too early for hormones. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 12:50:12

Will the head be informed if I contact the lEA? If yes, then I need to contact her first. I am reluctant to bring a complaint to the school because I do not want to provoke theminto closing ranks. I have another child with a few years still to go in the school, so I am hoping to mainain a good relationship.

With any luck this woman will be retired before my other child gets to year 6.

learnandsay Mon 28-Jan-13 12:51:17

sats scores are not your problem. Let the school worry about those. You worry about your son. If you can home educate him then why not?

BeckAndCall Mon 28-Jan-13 12:54:05

You don't say you've actually talked to the teacher to see what she thinks? Make an appointment to talk to her and look at his work with her. She may have a different take on it.

Have you ruled out physical things like hearing and poor eye sight which might mean he's not picking up what she's saying or explaining?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Mon 28-Jan-13 12:54:16

Can he switch to another class?

I can't imagine that taking him out of school now will help prepare him for secondary. It seems to me that being at home until September and then starting a whole new school with much bigger kids than him would just be terrifying for him.
If he could go back to primary in September that might be ok, but suddenly going onto secondary after being at home for 8 months would be awful!

learnandsay Mon 28-Jan-13 12:54:35

Hopefully the head and other teachers are more professional than that. You can't let your child suffer at school due to a set of unfounded fears that unprofessional teachers will take out their grudges against other members of your family. There are recognised methods of complaining in schools. They're there to be used by unhappy parents. That's what they are for.

jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 13:09:49

No, I haven't spoken to her yet. From my previous experience of her and everything I have heard from other parents, I don't think it will resolve things. She's not a bad person but she makes it clear that she really does not like parents and she fails to hide her impatience!
I will talk to her if I need to progress this (and I think I will) but I doubt that it will resolve things.

Its all just really weird. Two weeks ago she sent home a SATS paper that DS had done. She'd written "FAIL" on the front in big letters. DS was upset (because he's never failed anything before). So, I sat down with him and started to go through it so that I could help him understand where he was going wrong. I was very surprised to find that she'd completely mis-marked it and he'd scored twice as much as she'd written. So, he'd really passed.

It was my degree subject but she made me doubt myself, so i even checked his answers against the marking scheme.

Then I wrote a letter to her asking her to re-mark certain questions. And saying I was asking because DS was distressed by the "fail" and that she'd said he'd be removed from G&T as a result. She responded by telling DS that the mark didn't matter anyway and claiming that it was his mistake because she'd never said anything about a fail or the consequences for G&T.

So, now I've sent two notes into school in the space of a month (nothing ever before) and I want to think very carefully and be sure of my ground before I do anything more.

vertex Mon 28-Jan-13 13:09:55

If you contact LEA support team they will talk you through options but ultimately they will have to contact the school, however, they will do this in a positive manner and the head should respond accordingly. The school are not going to introduce bias against your other child they would dare not risk the potential fallout from doing so.

learnandsay Mon 28-Jan-13 13:12:46

If you've still got the sats paper then photocopy it and use it in your complaint.

GooseyLoosey Mon 28-Jan-13 13:15:32

If it is just one subject, would a tutor help? We did this for dd and explained that the reason for it was to convince her that she could do it, not because we thought she couldn't. It only lasted for about 6 months, but did seem to help.

jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 13:16:14

Unfortunately, its a one form entry school, so there isn't any other year 6 class to move to.

In my dream world, the head will get so fed up of all the complaints that she'll assign the teacher to something else - a special project or anything with limited exposure to children - and teach year 6 part-time herself!

jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 13:17:27

I sent the SATS paper back in with the letter, but I took photocopies first. Long established habit from my previous career.

jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 13:19:21

GooseyLoosey - today its just one subject but if you'd heard DS on Saturday, it was every single subject in school and every activity out of it. He's really hard on himself and it makes me want to cry when I see him beating himself up like that.

jrrtolkien Mon 28-Jan-13 13:23:36

It isn't even really that one subject (Reading) - he's been working at level 5 on it for a year now and he's never struggled in it before. Its just that this is the latest thing that this teacher has been marking as 80% wrong and then not telling him what he should have done. The problem is DS now doesn't have the confidence to write the answers that he thinks should be correct.

throckenholt Mon 28-Jan-13 13:24:34

I think you really do need to talk to the head. Undermining the kids confidence is going to nothing for their sats performance ! That is not your problem - but teaching your child to hate school and think he is useless very definitely is your problem.

Be frank with the head - say you don't think the teacher is going to change her attitude if you talk to her (given your experience of the SATS test paper). Say you are very worried about the way your DS is being affected and if something doesn't change very soon you would have to consider other options. Point out you have other kids at the school and a long relationship with it - and you have been happy with it all up until this.

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