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Year 6 Teaching Advice Please - DD Upset by New Teachers Attitude Towards Her...

(21 Posts)
Rockinhippy Tue 10-Sep-13 17:29:39

My DD has a new year 6 Teacher, she has had her in the past as an occasional supply teacher & it does seem that she has it in for DD & seems she likes to like to undermine DD - I ended up having to complain about one incident early last year after posting for advice on here & been advised to do so. (She told DD that if she was her normal teacher, she would not be in top group as she didn't deserve the place - DD was very ill at the time, suffering badly with headaches from a neck injury, finding it painful to write & still at school doing her very best, she was heartbroken)

DD is according to every other teacher she has had, a "model pupil" she loves to learn, is in top sets, G&T etc & has a perfectionist streak a mile wide, so no-one is as hard on DD as she is on herself - she also has a diagnosed medical problem (EDS) that causes anxiety, aches & pains, headaches, IBS & much more, so the last thing that she needs us unnecessary stress as it makes her more ill -

DD was really looking forward to going back to school so much, she has had some pretty awful bullying problems this last few years & the ring leader has just left the school, so she was really looking forward to enjoying school & not getting picked on - I couldn't understand until this evening when DD broke down in tears on the way to the library, why she has been so anxious & not sleeping well at all.

DD tells me that First thing she got when walking into class this morning was to be told by this teacher that her "work yesterday was way below the teachers personal standards & that she might even rethink her grouping as she wasn't up to her expectations for top group" - it was a price if written work & DD had been proud that she had managed to do do much as writing is something she struggles with due to pain in her hands

She also insisted to DD that her end of term Maths grade was below what it actually was & that she didn't deserve to be in an above top set - DD was so upset at been called a liar that she went & asked last terms teacher who agreed DD was right - the day DD had taken the exam she had been very ill & took it with an injury, her teacher had said afterwards that she would have easily got a grade 5 had she not been in pain.

DD has told me several more stories & now owns up that this is what has been worrying her so much, she feels this teacher is just doesn't like her, though she does own up that the teacher is generally grumpy with all the class, she targets her more & all DD has told me is the same sort of undermining behaviour -

DD is very honest, takes her school work very very seriously & is generally known to be very mature for her age, loves help out in class etc & rarely complains about any teachers, bar the odd, X was in a bit if a mood today - shes generally very understanding of the pressure teachers are under & has never repeatedly complained about any teacher before - so I don't doubt her story at all.

She has said that she knows year 6 is tougher as its preparing them for high school, so she's now worrying that this is what high school will be like.

Surely the ethos of building confidence, not undermining it as this teacher is doing with DD doesn't change in year 6 does it

Advice please


Quincejelly Tue 10-Sep-13 17:35:48

If dd were put down a group, would she have a different teacher? - i.e not this one?
If going down a group would mean she would get a decent teacher who supports her pupils to do their best work ... I would speak to this teacher and (with dd´s blessing beforehand of course), ask for dd to be put down to a "lower ability" group (which would probably be higher ability due to better quality teaching - as you could explain to dd beforehand)!

Rockinhippy Tue 10-Sep-13 17:48:26

Thanks for the reply quince unfortunately not, it's a single class per year school, though there are 2 teachers so thankfully DD doesn't have her all the time, but it's enough of the time to be making her really anxious & upset about it

Quincejelly Tue 10-Sep-13 17:59:22

Then it sounds like you´re going to have to speak to the teacher?? ... I think I would try to explain to her about dds illness and be clear to her that she has been making dd very upset.
I would also make the point to her that dd has to make so much extra effort to write such that writing a lot IS high ability already.
I would also make clear that if the teacher feels dd should better be in a lower ability group, she should put her there. It does no one any good for the teacher to be somehow "accusing" dd of being in the wrong group!

TheBuskersDog Tue 10-Sep-13 18:06:02

Agree with the previous poster that the teacher should put your daughter on the table she thinks she belongs on, she should not be talking to her about top group/table and threatening to move her.

FlatsInDagenham Tue 10-Sep-13 18:09:27

Can you clarify this part:

She also insisted to DD that her end of term Maths grade was below what it actually was & that she didn't deserve to be in an above top set - DD was so upset at been called a liar that she went & asked last terms teacher who agreed DD was right - the day DD had taken the exam she had been very ill & took it with an injury, her teacher had said afterwards that she would have easily got a grade 5 had she not been in pain.

So did DD achieve the grade that her Year 6 teacher had said (albeit not necessarily a true reflection of her ability due to her illness on the day)?

The thing is, you and she come across as very preoccupied that she must be in top sets - I really don't mean to offend but if DD finds things as difficult as you describe (due to her health complications) then perhaps the pace of the next group would suit her better right now? And if it soon becomes obvious that the work is too easy for her, she will be moved back up.

Being in the 2nd group isn't the end of the world. When I was in 3rd year juniors (year 5?) I was moved from top to middle group (due to behaviour blush) and I was devastated for about 10 minutes but then settled in and actually enjoyed it - made a nice change to sit with some different people. I did move back up when my behaviour improved.

Also, how about having a chat with the other teacher to see whether they think she is in the correct group or not?

Having said all that, the teacher in question sounds like she has a very insensitive approach to your DD at the very least and she does need to be made aware of the negative affect she is having on DDs enjoyment of school.

sittinginthesun Tue 10-Sep-13 18:30:05

I think you need to make an appointment to talk to the teacher, and then approach it in a calm, positive manner. Explain to her that your dd is upset, and that you are trying to get to the bottom of why.

Don't go in guns blazing, be prepared to listen, but be firm. If you give her a chance to explain without her getting defensive, then you may get her guard down a bit.

If she tries to undermine/argue with you, then at least you'll know what she's like, and you have the option of taking it to the Head.

Rockinhippy Tue 10-Sep-13 18:33:24

Thank you all,

Excuse me not quoting names, migraine coming on so struggling & want to reply whilst I still can

Yes DD DID get the 4a grade, not the 4b this teacher insisted that she did get.

& No not obsessed with top set at all, if she really deserved to be dropped down a group, then I would be more than happy with that as it would be less pressure on her IYSWIM

That was more my clumsy way of getting across how capable DD actually is, she's not at all over stretched & bar the physical pain of writing long pieces, she finds the work easy, but enjoys it - her other class teacher who has taught her before is very happy with her work, in fact she has come home several times really really happy, that he has noticed how much her writing has improved -

he is complimenting her on the same work this teacher is putting her down for.

Writing is the only thing DD has been behind herself with, not behind the class, still ahead, just behind the rest of her attainments if that makes sense, but it's purely down to pain in her hands, something that has improved with special pens & she will be getting other equipment next week.

DD has a CAF in place so that her health problems are not brushed aside, & the school have always been fantastic, even before she was diagnosed, so I am pretty sure that this teacher would have had the info given to her as regards DDs problems.

But I think you are right, I do need to go in & discuss this with her, though I'm not really getting where she is coming from at all.

Rockinhippy Tue 10-Sep-13 18:37:40

Just a thought - in maths DD is the only one in her group - part of me wonders if this could be why she wants to lower her maths group, more effort for her to teach perhaps - it wouldn't explain the literacy put downs though confused

clam Tue 10-Sep-13 19:27:08

I confess that I often read these threads expecting to "side" with the teacher and wondering if perhaps the parent is being a little bit precious or over-thinking things.
On this one however, I think the teacher sounds a bit of a cow! Or at the very least, I'd like to know how on earth she thinks these sorts of comments are meant to inspire any child to perform their best.
I think you need to have a word with her. And if you still think she's being a cow, go to the Head.

TheBuskersDog Tue 10-Sep-13 20:41:14

Your daughter on her own is the top group? Then there is a second group?

Lottiedoubtie Tue 10-Sep-13 20:46:54

You need to calmly talk to the teacher and then you will know what you are dealing with. Adult to adult you will be able to ascertain more of the facts.

tethersend Tue 10-Sep-13 22:05:36

I would request a meeting with the teacher, but would also ask to meet with your DD's previous teacher or the maths/literacy coordinator at the same time. I would then approach them both with your concerns that DD's attainment has recently suffered, and ask what strategies they are going to use to address this. I would keep the focus on the surprising discrepancy between your DD's attainment throughout the entirety of her previous school life and her attainment this academic year. This should highlight the problem (ie, the teacher is being vindictive) without you accusing the teacher of anything.

If these teacher's concerns are genuine, then she should be contacting you to discuss this uncharacteristic dip in her achievement. If they aren't, then she needs to be challenged as to why she is creating such anxiety for your DD.

tethersend Tue 10-Sep-13 22:06:48

The SENCo may also be a good person to attend the meeting- anyone who knows your DD and has a good idea of her ability.

cory Wed 11-Sep-13 06:53:35

I think this is the point at which you should start asking the school what they are doing to support your dd's SN. After all, her EDS is a purely physical disability and has nothing to do with her ability so should not affect her setting.

It is for the SENCO and you to work out together what measures can be taken to provide for her physical needs (laptop? scribe? extra time in exams?), not for her to accept lower grades because her needs are not being managed. It would be like expecting a blind child to accept bottom marks in reading because she can't see. The best person to advise would be an OT with experience of schools. We had one come in for dd (who also has EDS) and she was very helpful.

At work we have postgraduate students with all sorts of disabilities: the deal is that they supply the brains and we supply the disability support.

Purpleprickles Wed 11-Sep-13 07:08:11

I cannot stand the teaching approach of threatening a child with failure to make them work harder. I say this as a teacher myself. I think Tethersend's advice is perfect. Please ask for this joint meeting. If you are still unhappy afterwards don't be afraid to take this to the Head. Sadly some Year 6 teachers seem to forget that although their pupils are the eldest in the school they are still children.

I really hope that school life improves for your DD.

Rockinhippy Wed 11-Sep-13 14:40:37

Thanks everyone, glad to see year 6 is not really do different smile

Got to admit I am just not getting this teachers attitude at all, I come from a teaching family, have several teacher friends too & even the much older retired ones always came from the nurturing & encouraging angle, rather than fear, but DD has always been so honest, to the point of bordering on AS spectrum type honesty & when I say mature, she really is very mature for her age, always very astute with understanding people too, so I'd be very very surprised if she's misreading this, as even when she's been accused of doing do on the odd occasion in the past, she was proven to be right.

theBusker I was a bit puzzled by that, but turned out that she's not sat on her own, just gets more challenging work to do, which did make me wonder if its the extra work this teacher needs to do to prepare for one DC that she has a problem with, but that won't really explain the general attitude & targeting DD with undermining comments before she's even got her coat off confused - I would hope that she's just one that thinks pushing DD to challenge herself more is good for her, but in DDs circumstances it really isn't - besides, I would have thought that more appropriated if she was falling behind, not way ahead.

It would be very easy for me to speak to the head as I get on very well with her & often chat if i bump into her, she's a lovely person, very easy to approach, but I agree I need to give this new teacher a chance & speak to her myself first & get a feel for her attitude first hand.

First off though I have decided to speak to DDs other class teacher, I need to update him as regards some other things he's told DD he's a bit confused by anyway, so seems a good opportunity to get his opinion on DDs performance this term - it's only a few days into term though, so I'd be surprised if there are any real changes & even if they were I would expect it to be a bit soon to really knowconfused DD hasn't been sleeping well, a large part i now know is because she's very anxious about this teachers attitude, so that would affect her in class as she's just plain exhausted, but we've had that most of last school year too, for different reasons & it didn't stop her working hard & still doing very well.

SENCO isn't someone who knows DD at all, ironically I only spoke to them myself for the first time yesterday & neither of us have met her, got to be honest I was prettybunimpressed as I had to chase up DD getting equiptment that her OT had said she needed in school - turns out the SENCO did have all the info (I got my copies before the end of last term, but we've had a family bereavement to deal with, so missed the end of term) but told me hebhad decided to only give her part of it & "see how she goes" - DD had been given nothing & it's not their call to override a medical assessment & advice, which is basically what they were telling me was happening, I had to be very firm to get her to understand the equiptment needed works together & there could be no cutting corners if it was to help DD with her work, she agreed in the end, then telling me she had already ordered it, which was the opposite if what she first told me hmm

cory thanks so much for that insight, you are so right, but I just hadn't thought of pushing for extra time for DD with exams, very relevant as even without one of her frequent injuries to contend with, her hands hurt her as does her neck & head if she gets stressed, all slowing her down - & DD is already concerned about SATs as she has said she knows she could do even better if she just had a little more time - the DC who has now left, but she a lot of trouble with as regards bullying, was the other Maths bright spark & really rubbed DDs nose in the fact that she got a slightly higher mark in end of term exams, I think that's why it was talked about so much at the time & her teacher made a point of telling DD that without the injury & pain she was in, she would have at least got the same grade - with a little extra time, she probably would have - so I will get that in place before SATS - I am sure it will massively take the pressure off DD -
thank you smile

tethers great advice, thank you

Thank you all for the replies smile

Rockinhippy Tue 08-Oct-13 12:03:14

I just wanted to update in this as I know we all love an update smile

I eventually went in to speak to the teacher having not had a response to my asking her to call & arrange a meeting - both head & deputy had already had a chat with her by that point & it was discussed at DDs CAF meeting, the head reassuring me that she is actually a fantastic teacher & a lovely woman & she was sure it was DDs anxiety over the incident last year that was the route if the problem, but that now the teacher knew she was sure things would improve - it did & it didn't - DD still felt victimised, but not do often

So I went in & spoke to her - in fairness she did actually come across well, she has even been reading up thoroughly on DDs medical condition so as to know how best to deal with her - I was pretty impressed by that - though do feel speaking to us may have been more useful as the condition EDS can fluctuate do much & vary so much from person to person.

I don't mince my words, but I'm always polite, but to the point & tell it as it is, telling if there were problems with DDs learning, then i needed to know, not to belittle DD as that was how DD was perceiving things & she was very stressed by it & I was the one having to mop up the flak from that with sleepless nights & DD being ill. & that her school records support that she has always been a model pupil & reminding her of the incident last year & how that is perhaps colouring DDs expectations of her

- this got a very shocked & visibly worried reaction from her, so I did come away thinking that she hadn't meant things to come across quite so badly as they had, but several comments she did make did make me realise that DDs reaction was understandable as she to my mind had some pretty odd methods.

For example my telling her of the incident last year & other more recent incidents where DD has been very anxious having been told off unfairly - got "oh, I do sometimes pull a good DC up on behaviour, as it helps shock the badly behaved ones to fall into line" confused - is this normal practice ?? - sounds very odd to me.

She did mention that DD chatters & has been told off for that - DD has complained that she's been told off for discussing her work with the group - which is something they have always been encouraged to do - though I did acknowledge that DD can like to chatter, but perhaps letting the class know she expects silence whilst they work rather than the discussion they are used to would be helpful to them all to know if the ground rules have changed.

She has also said that she was trying to make sure that DD was okay & understanding the work on the days she hadn't written as much as expected - to DD this was out & out criticism & put down & to be honest hadn't been best handled by the teacher at all.

The general feel I got was that she's been extra firm because she was expecting a very difficult class & needed to pull them all into line & she had had bad experiences whilst teaching them as a supply - it was, but not any more due to several leaving, thankfully the trouble makers, so it is now ( according to the other teacher) a dream class to teach.

Since then I have reminded DD that chatting in class unless its work & allowed isn't really in & wouldn't be helping herself with this teacher & that perhaps having more open mind that things will now change & if she asks why DD hasn't written as much etc, to see it as the teacher being concerned & checking DD has really understood & is trying to help, nit be nasty to her.

So far it's now going well - teachers attitude to DD has now changed, DD feels much happier, is sleeping better & no stomach upsets since I spoke to the teacher - DD has even owned up that the teacher has helped her with a few things & she feels generally happier with her now -

phew smile

PenguinBear Tue 08-Oct-13 18:42:50

Lovely update op, glad things are better now smile

Rockinhippy Tue 08-Oct-13 21:15:01

smile - shes just come in telling me they've finally got her special cushion today to go with her writing slope - SENCO pretty rubbish taking so long & several reminders to dirt it out, but shevfinally has it & she is really happy that's she noticed within an hour that its helped her headaches & she can write lots more too -

so thankfully it's looking much better all round for the rest of the year smile

tethersend Tue 08-Oct-13 23:16:09

What a great update- and well done Rockinhippy.

Expertly handled smile

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