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I wrote a grumpy comment on report feedback form and now I feel horrible!

(28 Posts)
KeziaCunningham Tue 16-Jul-13 23:20:56

Long story and a bit of history between me and teacher, but basically DD's report said she "can be laid back" in maths lessons, with a low effort mark. I interpreted this as fairly thinly veiled teacher code for "can't be arsed".

This is the first time this has been mentioned, so it felt a bit out of the blue.

I filled in the form this morning in a hurry, and wrote that I was surprised at this, and maybe if DD had been stretched a bit more instead of repeating last year's syllabus she would have been more engaged.

I was quite polite really, and didn't let rip like I wanted to, but DD said the teacher looked really upset and embarrassed.

Now I'm sitting here stewing about it and feeling really guilty. It was a great report apart from that and I feel like I've totally overreacted to one negative comment.

Teachers - are you used to parents giving feedback like this? Should I apologise or should I let it stand? I do agree that she should have been given more interesting work to do (she worked with the Y6's last year so did it all again this year with no extension work) I did complain a few times through the year and got fobbed off so it's not out of the blue that I feel this, but it is out of the blue that DD has been "Laid back".

kikid Tue 16-Jul-13 23:37:54

can they get low for effort but still be good academically? iyswim?
maybe as you think she is not being stretched?
you should apologise I think...

frazzledmamma Wed 17-Jul-13 00:08:11

Don't feel bad, some things need to be said!!

I've given lots of constructive feedback over the years, I'm like marmite in the staff room, some recognise that few people ACTUALLY say what needs to be said. Others think I'm a right royal pain in the butt!!

I got drawn over the coals a few years back for accusing teachers of copying and pasting on reports, they were - DS was not the child described and they agreed with me when we met to discuss!!

Interestingly this year the report format has changed to make it easier for teachers to give individual feedback, with less opportunity to copy and paste. Wonder where that idea came from :-)

It is SO great that you CARE about your childs education enough to say your piece, keep it up and I won't be the only one out there :-)

You can make it up next time by writing a glowing report feedback when they get it right (like I just have for DD's teachers). Providing credit is given where due as well as criticism I think you are quits at the karma bank. xx

kikid Wed 17-Jul-13 00:14:53

but, if your instinct is that you feel bad....

ravenAK Wed 17-Jul-13 00:23:08

Nope, YANBU.

I'm a teacher & I'd rather hear it.

I might not always agree with your take on things, but I'd definitely prefer to hear your POV if you aren't happy with my report.

Lizziegeorge Wed 17-Jul-13 05:29:54

Sometimes parents find the truth about their child hard to accept; children are often different at home. But ask yourself is your child helpful and busy at home or might this observation be true?

Dixiefish Wed 17-Jul-13 07:36:39

Sounds like what you said was justified - she's bound to be laid back if she's doing the same work second year running! I suppose it might have been nice to acknowledge the positive parts of the report as well in your feedback, but so long as you weren't rude I see no reason to apologise.

hopingforbest Wed 17-Jul-13 07:47:00

I'd be irritated if my child was given work from the previous year and then blamed for not bothering to engage with it!

Maybe you could have phrased it more politely - but I think your point was fair.

Floggingmolly Wed 17-Jul-13 08:20:33

Surely the teacher didn't read the feedback form in front of your dd? confused

Shamoy Wed 17-Jul-13 08:25:39

Sounds fair comment to me, I wouldn't apologise

adeucalione Wed 17-Jul-13 09:34:08

Parents complain if reports aren't honest, and then complain when they are. Teachers can't win.

I doubt that your child was doing the same work as last year - spiralling curriculum means that topics are repeated, but in greater depth.

I think that teachers should issue a questionnaire in Y1 - do you want an honest report that details the areas that your child could work on, or do you want glowing nonsense that describes your child as perfect for your own gratification?

I expect the teacher thought it was a lovely report, with only one vaguely negative element, and was saddened by your reply. I would go in and tell her what you've told us - the report was great and you wrote your reply in haste, which will make her more receptive to discussing any failings in her maths teaching.

daftdame Wed 17-Jul-13 10:23:21

adeucalione I think teachers can 'win'. I they outline anything that a child is finding difficult or that a child is not doing they should also outline the steps that they will be taking to resolve the issue. They need to show an appreciation of why a child is not performing...

daftdame Wed 17-Jul-13 10:27:25

^that should be 'If they outline...'

Putting everything down to a child's attitude does not tell the whole story here from what the OP has written. Even if a child's attitude is appalling steps can be made which foster the right learning attitudes within school.

DeWe Wed 17-Jul-13 12:02:58

I once got a B in effort (only A,B,C, and C meritted a trip to talk to the head) and an A in achievement. (year 11) I fully own that was perfectly justified. The teacher did write that I didn't need to put in more effort to stay at the top in that subject. I took it as a compliment. grin

I wonder if your dd went in with the attitude "I've done year 6 last year therefore this is a waste of time". And the teacher, who may have felt that she was stretching sideways, or your dd would benefit from going over again, found it frustrating that your dd wasn't working which will affect the rest of the group's attitude.

adeucalione Wed 17-Jul-13 12:22:39

daftdame - I don't agree. That depth of information is best reserved for a face-to-face meeting.

If teachers used reports as a means to outline everything that a child is finding difficult, the steps they will be taking to resolve any issues and to show an appreciation of why the child may be experiencing issues in certain subjects, you would need a wheelbarrow to heft the bloody thing home.

And let's not get overwrought here. The comment was that this pupil 'can be laid back' in maths lessons, along with a low effort grade. I doubt that this is down to insufficient challenge (preserve of every parent with a clever child that occasionally mucks about) but if it is then how marvellous that the problem has been brought to the parent's attention which is, after all, what the report is for. Sometimes your child is not as attentive as she might be in this subject. End of. At this late stage then the only complaint really is that it wasn't mentioned earlier.

Redlocks30 Wed 17-Jul-13 12:26:01

How did she phrase the 'laid back' bit? A laid-back approach isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think you were probably rather unkind. Was what you said true?

MadeOfStarDust Wed 17-Jul-13 12:40:14

Lots of kids do act all arsey and laid back in year 6 - and put little effort in .... they get a bit big for their boots being top of the school (been there twice... luckily my girls were - of course - angels hmm ) so how you can differentiate between the natural way of things and not being stretched by the work is a puzzle..

daftdame Wed 17-Jul-13 12:47:34

adeucalione I wouldn't necessarily expect much depth, it might just be '...but I have spoken to her about where she needs to pay more attention in order to improve'

My comment was also off the back of a couple of threads where a child had SEN and the negative comments concerned difficulties that were due that child's SEN, with no indicator that these difficulties were being tackled or the child supported, just a '...must try harder...'

However this is by the by, and although a similar situation, not quite the same as OP's.

Generally I do think criticisms should not be made without a show of appreciation of your own individual responsibility to help in the situation. This does not have to go into great detail but in my view is far more constructive than a 'throw away' criticism.

leftthehighlands Wed 17-Jul-13 14:16:37

"kikid Tue 16-Jul-13 23:37:54
can they get low for effort but still be good academically? iyswim?"

Yes they can, it is way of the teacher saying your child can get great grades without trying that hard they are capable of even more - it is verging on a compliment and/or they are coasting a little. I always remember years ago (25+) a boy in my school in his O-level mocks getting 100% and a "B" for effort - he was a genius and it was a way of saying O Levels were effortless for him.

cansu Wed 17-Jul-13 14:24:38

the teacher is reporting her observations to you and saying that your dd is laid back is quite a mild way of saying she doesn't always push herself with the work. I think your comment was quite unpleasant and unnecessary. If you have already raised the lack of challenge in the lesson then you have undoubtedly already had an answer to your concern. Maybe the teacher feels your dd did need to do some of the concepts again and maybe you dont have as accurate a picture as you think as you are relying on your dd interpretation of the work she is given. Personally I think the only result you will get is that the teacher will be less honest in her appraisal of your dd and probably of other children in the future. I am also guessing that if you had been told earlier in the year that your dd was 'laid back', you would have been upset and outraged then as well. perhaps this explains why the teacher chose not to seek your support.

ljny Wed 17-Jul-13 14:39:56

'I do agree that she should have been given more interesting work to do (she worked with the Y6's last year so did it all again this year with no extension work)

Your comment sounds quite fair.

The teacher (or the school) failed to give your DD challenging work. She'd done it all before. Hence, she was laid-back.

You raised it a few times during the year and were 'fobbed off'. You didn't bother to make a major fuss over it.

I find your comment totally justified and rather restrained compared to what I'd have said.

Your DD got a low effort mark because she was bored. The school should be upset.

Happymum22 Wed 17-Jul-13 15:03:17

Think it through again and work out where your concerns are or if your daughter is the type who would be a bit lazy, then go in and apologise that you wrote it in a rush, but make your point politely/ask for advise how you could help your DD.
Teacher probably will find it constructive criticism but no doubt will feel a bit rubbish about it at first. But you did raise this before and so it is her own fault for not reacting to you raising the issue..

GoshlyoHeavens Wed 17-Jul-13 15:07:48

Good for you - write something grumpy, every other fucker does.

I'd think 'good for her' about the comment 'can't be arsed'.

ExcuseTypos Wed 17-Jul-13 15:12:37

Of course your dd should have been given extension work, she must have been so bored during her lessons. The teacher wasnt doing her job properly as far as that is concerned.

You were correct to write what you did.

KeziaCunningham Wed 17-Jul-13 15:51:02

Hi everyone

Thanks for all the comments. Sorry I've not been able to get online since last night so only just came back to this.

To respond to some of the points raised, I did also write a positive comment first, about how pleased I was about her progress in literacy, so it was more balanced than my OP suggested, but of course she will have focused on the negative bit, same as I did.

Also DD did repeat the year. It might be a spiralling curriculum but she sat on the top table in a year 5/6 class last year (with the same teacher) and did the work the Y6s were doing, and did the same this year. She brought all her work home this week, and I recognised worksheets that she'd done last year. Of course it will have consolidated it and that won't have done her any harm, but given that she got most of it right last year, it wouldn't have hurt to give her a bit of something else to do, particularly as it turns out she'd been "laid back".

On the whole I feel loads better for posting on here. I live in fear of being seen as a pushy mum, and I'm not sure why because there are worse things to be accused of!

Anyway I'm off to the supermarket to buy the end of year teacher present. Maybe two bottles of wine this year!

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