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Child unhappy with teacher

(19 Posts)
sunmonkey Fri 15-Mar-13 12:00:23

My Son is turning 5 in 6 weeks. He has been at school since aged 4 as they start early here in Holland. We just got back after two weeks away visiting family. Some was during the holidays but anyway a whole two weeks away - (allowed out of school till aged 5). On Monday we had a 'parents evening' chat where the teacher told I should think about a speech therapist because he has a high voice. Also about his test scores for which he scored an A for language and Maths, so the Dutch is not a factor.
Since that day, every morning so far my son has told me that his teacher was 'mean' to him, refused to do up his zip (in his school report I got a few weeks ago it says - ask me more often to help me with your zip as I see you are struggling') , not let him finish his drink at lunch time and (found out from another child in the class) that he didn't get a 'good behavior' stamp on his hand for tidying up (which he did help with). But was denied along with another child for arguing over paper when making their dinosaur.
Then yesterday he told me she threw his dinosaur picture in the bin (of which he was very proud and claimed he'd made eight pieces of). She threw away the same child he'd got into trouble with before as well and he cried.
Am not sure why, but starting to feel he's being singled out and if his behavior is so bad - why not talk to me in the parents evening about it. He's got her for another year after this. I feel so sad that he doesn't get on with his teacher at such a young age.

sunmonkey Fri 15-Mar-13 12:02:54

I will be asking her for an appointment chat about the picture thing today, but advice about to handle the talk is appreciated... he also had to sit with his arms crossed afterwards, I did find out from him it was because every time she looked at him he was talking.

AMumInScotland Fri 15-Mar-13 12:18:47

It's best to start off calmly and ask about what happened, because most often when you hear the teacher's explanations of these kinds of incidents they have a very different look than the version a 4 (or 5 or whatever) year old gives you. I don't mean your child would be dishonest, but his emotional response to events will mean that he tells you the way it felt to him, which will colour what he tells you.

So I'd say "He came home very upset about what happened over his dinosaur picture, and I wasn't sure what had happened or why" and give the teacher a chance to tell you it from an adult perspective.

Young children often feel teachers are being unfair, or are singling them out. But usually it's just that the child notices when he is the one being told off, and not when it is someone else, and she probably doesn't treat him any differently from the others.

adeucalione Fri 15-Mar-13 12:19:30

The only thing I would want to discuss would be the fact that his dinosaur picture was thrown away - was this something they did in class, or something he drew on scrap paper during a rainy playtime?

The other stuff - not zipping his coat up, not letting him finish his drink and not giving him a behaviour stamp - sounds quite trivial and can almost certainly be easily explained, given that 4yo children are adept at spinning a story that shows them in the best light grin

For example, maybe he was warned several times that he needed to hurry up with his drink, maybe his memory of how helpful he was during tidy-up time is selective, and maybe she had a queue of children all wanting their coats zipped up and he somehow got unintentionally overlooked.

My guess is that his behaviour is not anywhere near bad enough for it to be mentioned at parents evening, but that he is occasionally playing up as 4yo children tend to do, and he is not keen on the consequences.

sunmonkey Fri 15-Mar-13 12:25:56

Hi thanks all for the response. He is my only child, so I agree that I need to try not to be too emotional over his reactions (which are emotional!). I can't ignore what he is saying as he expressly asked me to talk to her over the zip incident - he even said 'Today before class starts, not after'. I am confused as she seems nice enough (if a little bit shy even), but yes he is painting a picture of a monster. What about the high voice thing though. I hope she's not mentioning it to him in class too much. He only has it when he's excited, other wise its quite a range (very deep if playing and ''acting' out stories' )

learnandsay Fri 15-Mar-13 12:31:51

On winter days I've felt cross that the teacher and TA haven't made more effort to wrap the children up before sending them home. The explanation I've had from the TA is they've got to learn to do it themselves. I haven't actually said anything but I got really angry once when my daughter was sent outside in the snow with her coat wrapped round her waist because its zip had gotten stuck. Another thing which made me a bit cross on a similar snowy day was a parent helper at the end of the day who spent ages wrapping her child up in the cloakroom and ignored all the other children. Needless to say they all came piling out into the snow in their usual state of random readiness.

I wouldn't say the teacher and TA are mean exactly. I know how long it takes to get two children wrapped up. I can't imagine how long it would take to wrap up thirty. But still, there should be some kind of a balance. On days of -6 temperature you don't want your child coming outside without a coat.

PastSellByDate Fri 15-Mar-13 12:37:15


Not totally clear but sounds like your DS is in school in Holland - and as an aside we also start school here, year turning 5 (so at 4).

I presume he's still in his first year of school. But perhaps you mean he's in his second year of school.

If first year (so = kindergarten or reception here in England): It's so incredibly hard to know what's going on. He won't have the verbal skills to say what is happening in class. I think there is a worry there for you but can't be certain whether he's upset over nothing or he is being singled out.

I'd play innocent and ask about the zipper thing - it could be that there is a simple explanation. She does want to help but he asked her at a bad time (when she was speaking to another parent or busy helping another child). Often very young children don't appreciate someone is busy doing something else and can be very hurt if you say no.

If this is his second year at school (= year 1 in England) - then this could be that they are gradually trying to shift to a more independent pupil and more formal learning. She may be doing this to everybody and so isn't particularly picking on your son.

One thing that does occur - if you have missed school time, you can come back and feel really out of touch (a week is a long time in school, not just politics). DD1 was off sick for two weeks and found returning to school really odd. There were all sorts of things going on in class, in playtime, with friends that she didn't quite understand. Fortunately they then almost immediately broke up for a long holiday - so she started fresh & feeling better in herself the following term.

In terms of the ripped up picture - DDs have had this - (see lefthanded feed). Awful for a child, especially if they've put a lot of their heart and soul into the work. Again maybe mention that your son is saying you threw out his art work - and play innocent, surely he's misunderstood. however, he's still upset about it so you wanted to know more about what happened to help him understand what's going on.

I hope there is a simple explanation and that this little wrinkle in things school smooths itself out shortly for your DS.

Not sure about the high voice requiring speech therapy. Boys often have artificially high voices that lower considerably after puberty. I suppose the question is better put to your parents (if still around) and whether this seems a particularly high voice in a boy (especially if you or your DP have brothers). Take the suggestion as sincerely meant - and ask what they recommend you do next or will they arrange a speech therapist in school. (My DD2 often ignored her teacher and they worried she had ear problems. We had her tested and found out she didn't have a problem. I think the teacher was a bit hurt that DD2 was just not listening to her, but the teacher devised a kind of sing song way of calling DD2s name that DD2 would instantly respond to (and made DD2 feel special) and the problem was solved. Eventually she just learned that not listening meant you don't understand what's going on, so she tried harder to listen).


sunmonkey Fri 15-Mar-13 12:40:36

Its been freezing cold winds here and its snowing right now. I found o9ut from my son that there has been no TA this week as her children are sick...I think his teacher has been stretched. She also told me as I did ask why she simply said 'No' to him about his zip, that she is also trying to get them to do it on their own. In this weather though, they could ask a bigger child to help otr something. My son said it was punishment as he had been playing somewhere he shouldn't be (just outside the class room). Anyway, I agree with you that its pretty harsh not to help in the winter.

sunmonkey Fri 15-Mar-13 12:56:19

Thanks for the detailed post pastsellbydate will have a look at the feed. I think its a horrible thing to do personally - throw away anything the child has spent time working on if its the case. She also said in our chat that tasks are not important this year for him - it was all about play. He started school the day after he turned 4, so its coming up to a year in may. I think he must be being punished for just not listening and being away has not helped probably. He's got a full 7 week run so hopefully things will settle down again. I will still try to be calm about the picture incident.

sunmonkey Fri 15-Mar-13 13:14:02

To pastsellbydate I can't find the thread about the picture that you mentioned. Can you show me where it is?

sunmonkey Fri 15-Mar-13 20:26:15

I tried to ask the teacher for a meeting but she said she had no time till the week after next. So I asked her quickly there and then about the picture and she said (in Dutch of course) 'all is ok with his picture now, ask DS, he will let you know what happened today' so she is relying on him to let me know the events of the day which I guess shows she has faith in him...
He told me that he got his picture back and was allowed to finish it and so did the other boy who cried. One other boy did not though, poor thing.
I feel better about the situation, but think she is way to busy and will try her when things are calmer. Since he and the same boy got into trouble together whilst doing tasks, I will just ask if she can make sure they are sitting apart next time. Its not his best friend in the class anyway.
He did come home with wet trousers today though and said he was to scared to tell the teacher in case she got cross. I wish he trusted her instead - should he really be scared of her at his age?

wild Fri 15-Mar-13 22:01:34

I think you are worrying way too much. I teach this age group and they all have a go at doing up their own zips. And I have high expectations of their behaviour, if they were squabbling when they should have been tidying, not getting a sticker is fair enough imo.
Perhaps you could clarify the need for SALT referral, though. And agree she doesn't sound very approachable if you have to wait a week for a chat.

SolomanDaisy Sat 16-Mar-13 11:21:31

Which type of school is he at? I think the approach to self-help, for example, can be different at the montessori and vrije schools.

LeeCoakley Sat 16-Mar-13 14:08:10

Just picking up on the zip bit here. If your child's zip is too difficult for him to do up (and I assume you have practised this with him at home) then maybe he should be wearing something that he can do up independently.

When I worked in reception we practised with the children doing up their own zips before lunch and within 3 days most could do it. We carried on helping the others as long as they made an effort and didn't just stand there waiting. It's like shoes and other clothing, they should be practical and easy for children to independently do up themselves. Adults don't mind helping in the cases of real difficulty. You'd be amazed at how many 4 year olds sent to school with gloves and just hand them to an adult to put them on for them. Children with mittens just pull them on and go out to play!

sunmonkey Sun 17-Mar-13 12:28:58

Thanks for the replies. LeeCoakley The coat was difficult that day as I had zipped away the liner from the coat. We fixed it on properly the next day. It was more the way in which he reported it back to me - first saying she was mean, then saying he asked her to help and she just said 'NEE!' (crossly). Then when I asked why, he said cos we were late. So I said, well if the teacher is trying to get all the children together you must listen to her. Then he says, its because we were still playing and I didn't know - so he thought it was punishment and so did I. As it turned out, when I asked her she said they were playing in an area they were not supposed to. He did his own zip up today, so at least I know he can do it now.
wild Its not a sticker they get, its a stamp on their hand. The day after the zip and "teacher mean to me' comment, I asked how the day was. He said the teacher was really happy because everyone tidied up really well including him. So I was pleased. The next day a mother told me that her son said he did not get a stamp on his hand for helping. When I asked my son, he said he did help tidy up, but he didn't get a stamp on his hand because he had had an argument over gold paper with another child who wasn't sharing it with their group (the one I think he should sit apart from). And that children only got a stamp on their hand if they have been good all day long. He was very proudly describing how he'd made a nice dinosaur picture with 8 'pieces' on it. The day after he told me she had threw his picture in the bin, he said it was because it wasn't finished in time. So when I asked her on Friday for a chat about the picture, she just said she had no time at all next week, told me to ask him about it and that was it. She does seem to be going through a stressed out phase, I haven't seen her like this before. I was just surprised as I had only had our parent/teacher chat on Monday a few days earlier and she had mentioned nothing over naughty behavior. We just talked about his test results, report and his voice (which she deemed to be quite high pitched). It is high pitched when he gets excited - but thats about it. But maybe his Dutch is more high pitched than his English, I don't think its a problem myself though.
However, I will see a speech therapist if she thinks its really necessary just to get a professional assessment.
SolomanDaisy its just a normal Government curriculum school but independently run. The Head Teacher started it 7 years ago with 11 children and now it has 200+. They do talk a lot about encouraging independence etc. on their website. However I have friends whose children are at the local Montessori and its not at all the same. The main thing is that he's not behaving really badly and he loves his friends there. Just think he's a bit intimidated by the teacher but thats what they are supposed to be other wise shes not doing her job. I loved my teachers at primary school though and it would be nice to hear that he did too. Especially as he has another year and a half with her.

sunmonkey Tue 19-Mar-13 10:58:25

I just found out today that she used to be a teacher in a higher group, not sure what one, but she hasn't been teaching reception for long. And she was heard boasting about how strict she is. I have got an appointment to see her on Monday anyway. I think its strange that she should ask me to let my son explain what happened over the picture. I saw it on the wall today, it looks very nice and he was really proud of it, explaining how he made it etc. and the other boys as well, so I'm glad she let them finish it. It did look crumpled, unlike the rest though!

sunmonkey Tue 19-Mar-13 19:53:30

So today he was sat outside the class for being naughty and then she pushed him onto a chair! He's only been back at school a week and he's been in trouble nearly every day. He used to like his teacher and gets on with most people - adults and kids. Is this normal now he's 5 in 6 weeks time? Or is it her? With me he's helpful, fun to be with, chatty and sweet. I don't understand...

SolomanDaisy Wed 20-Mar-13 15:27:34

I have no idea, but didn't want you to think noone was listening! A four year old sitting outside a classroom doesn't sound great. Are there any other schools available?

sunmonkey Wed 20-Mar-13 22:13:59

Thankyou SolomanDaisy. I tried to talk to him about his behavior yesterday and that if he doesn't want to get into trouble, he should try listening to the teacher and behaving better in class. I also asked him if he would prefer another teacher and he said they were all the same! Today they had a 'teacher swap' day though. It was only for half a day as school finishes at 12.30pm here on a Wednesday. His 'new' teacher was from the group 5 class. And he said she was really nice. So today was a good day. After speaking to a Dad today with two brothers in his Judo class and in his class at school, he said the older one (now in group 3 so no longer in his class) always has goos, bad and medium days and said, yes he seems sweet and unassuming but its good to hear he is being more challenging and means hes seeing how far he can go with his boundaries. I think he responds better to encouragement though and a welcoming approach. I think his behavior gets worse the stricter or 'colder' she is...oh well, lets see what tomorrow brings.

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