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New teacher wants slightly different handwriting style and its upsetting DD

(82 Posts)
pinkunicornsarefluffy Mon 06-Feb-17 12:48:45

I am posting for some perspective, and wonder what other schools/teachers do. DD is in year 4, has been taught up to class 3 to do joined up handwriting and taught to add curls to her long letters, g's y's etc. A new teacher has joined the school in Class 4 and has told them that she does not like the curls and they are not allowed to do them.

DD has really struggled with her handwriting and this is making her very anxious as she keeps forgetting and then the teacher tells her off and makes her do it again, telling her "no curls".

I emailed the teacher and HT and got no response, so emailed again a week later and the HT replied and said she thought it had been dealt with and that the school use the Nelson method of handwriting. At parents evening the teacher said that she prefers the (something) Nelson (can't remember what she called it. I also asked HT what happens if Class 5 or 6 prefer curls and make them do it that way again.

I asked the HT if it is right that a teacher can come in and demand the children write differently to suit herself, but she didn't respond to that point. The current year 3's are still being taught with curls, so they will have the same problem when they reach class 4. As it happens, the class 5 teacher is also new and has told them that she prefers the other way but she will accept their way as long as she can read it.

I would have thought that all teachers across the school should stick to one policy that the school teaches, not what they prefer personally? or AIBU?

Really need some perspective/advice before contacting the HT again, as DD is coming home in tears on a regular basis about the handwriting. She has had several problems with the teacher already, which is what is holding me back as I don't want to be one of "those" parents who is in there repeatedly about stuff!

KingLooieCatz Mon 06-Feb-17 13:09:56

Sounds like madness. I can't imagine any teacher DS has ever had giving stuff about curls or no curls so long as it's legible and it gets done.

I wouldn't want to be that parent either but it's ridiculous that children are getting upset about it. I'm afraid it sounds like the right thing to do is insistent on clarification of the consistent handwriting policy across the whole school so that you can support your child appropriately, maybe putting the emphasis on being happy to help your child at home to practice hand writing but you want to be sure you are not reinforcing the wrong style.

fleurdelacourt Mon 06-Feb-17 13:41:05

A little perspective is needed all around? This is just handwriting in Y4 - why is your dd getting so upset? Are all the children similarly unhappy?

I'd go in to speak to the teacher if it really is a major issue for you - they may be unaware of the impact this is having on your dd? Emailing the headteacher repeatedly will make you one of 'those parents' I'm afraid.

BaronessBomburst Mon 06-Feb-17 13:48:13

Your handwriting style is a personal issue anyway, surely?
As long as it's correct and legible.
I'd keep emailing. It's a ridiculous thing for a teacher to complain about.
Mind you, I remember my school banning the double red underlining of titles in the early 80's so I may have a chip on my shoulder here. blush

multivac Mon 06-Feb-17 14:31:47

The school should have a coherent handwriting policy. Ask to see it.

HelenaGWells Mon 06-Feb-17 14:33:54

This is crazy they can't spend 4 years teaching kids to write a specific way then expect them to suddenly change over night because one teacher "doesn't like the way it looks"

ridinghighinapril Mon 06-Feb-17 14:44:07

A little perspective is needed all around? This is just handwriting in Y4 - why is your dd getting so upset? Are all the children similarly unhappy?

I think this is a bit harsh - OP's daughter is only 8 or 9y old. She has been taught one style for >3y and is now expected to switch. If someone demanded I change my style of writing I would struggle. She is also being repeatedly told off for this - no wonder she is upset and feels anxious.
I would feel pretty pissed off if it were one of my DC, even more so if the next year's teacher will expect another style. What a waste of teaching time not to mention detrimental to the child's confidence to be berated about this.

irvineoneohone Mon 06-Feb-17 14:48:00

I would be very angry if this happened at my ds' school. It will have huge impact on some children.
The school should have handwriting policy and should stick to it, or allow any style.

pinkunicornsarefluffy Mon 06-Feb-17 14:52:01

My point is that really, why teach them a certain way to Year 3, then allow a new teacher to come in and demand a different way in Year 4. The teacher told me that the school should have a policy and use Nelson, but she prefers Nelson "something, can't remember", which is slightly different. The HT said that there is no policy but that they follow Nelson.

Every day she is telling DD to write smaller, to not put curls. She then makes her redo it if there are curls. DD is really trying to concentrate hard on writing small and neat, and in doing so, forgets that this teacher won't allow the curls. She then comes home crying because teacher has told her off yet again for bad handwriting and doing curls.

The teacher is not liked by any of the children or the parents. She is very young, however she is very harsh towards the children. She shouts at them all the time and tells them that they are a terrible class. She told them that if they did bad work she would rip it up. Various parents have been in about various issues.

She tells the boys off for wearing stripey socks, where I think she should send a note home to the parents as the DC don't buy the clothes do they! She makes them all tuck their shirts/polo shirts in all the time, and even pull up their jumpers to show her if they are tucked in underneath when you can't even see it. DD hates wearing her polo shirt tucked into her trousers as she says it is uncomfortable.

NoCleanClothes Mon 06-Feb-17 15:01:45

That would piss me off too. What a ridiculous thing to tell a student off about. Unless it's illegible they should be able to write with their own handwriting style by now and if the school are going to insist on one particular style it should at least be consistent.

bojorojo Mon 06-Feb-17 15:02:32

Yes there should be a handwringing policy and yes the teacher should know what it is. It is a failure of the Head not to check classroom practice and he/she needs to do some monitoring and check books. Therefore tell the Head. It is not reasonable for a teacher to have their own policy because children do get confused.

We used to have a similar problem on transfer to junior school. When the junior got a decent Head they changed their policy to that of the infant school instead of maintaining a different policy for no good reason. Children try to please and it is disheartening to be corrected all the time when you thought you were making progress. I might speak to the school co-ordinator for literacy first, if you know who it is. They should be checking up too!

pinkunicornsarefluffy Mon 06-Feb-17 15:14:42

I only copied in the HT originally as the teacher hasn't replied in the past, and she didn't reply this time. I gave it a week and then emailed HT who instantly replied that she thought teacher had dealt with it hmm. She also said that the Deputy HT and the teacher would liase with me to show me the type of writing that they do, so I really don't think that she is getting my point.

It is now another week on again, so a fortnight since I made my initial enquiry/complaint, although I didn't really complain, I just asked why the school allowed different teachers to write differently.

I think I will email HT tonight seeing as it's been another week and ask when the deputy HT will be in touch and again ask why the class 4 teacher is changing the way that they have been taught.

It's hard to know where to draw the line in not letting them ignore me and harassment grin. I think a week between emails is quite long enough though.

jamdonut Mon 06-Feb-17 17:31:26

It is tricky.
We changed our handwriting at the start of the current school year to a cursive form that does use loops, when we didn't do them before!
It is hard work...All staff have had to change the way we write on the board, or model writing!
I have never seen had to use loops on g or y or f before ( I learned italic handwriting at school!)
It's not so bad for children in reception and year one as they are only just sorting out their writing, but this year's Year 2 are struggling with it a bit, as are the juniors. However, when it is done well, it does look very nice!.

Duckyneedsaclean Mon 06-Feb-17 17:36:14

I can't for the life of me understand why schools worry so much about handwriting styles. Enforced joined up writing etc. It's bizarre.

VocalDuck Mon 06-Feb-17 17:41:15

I would ask to go in and chat to the teacher and headmistress to get this resolved. Make a list of all the issues and calmly go through them and ensure you leave the meeting with a resolution. If the head is going to back the teacher, then you need to ensure something is put in place for all the pupils lower down the school to prevent them being taught a different way. It all sounds really ridiculous to me and I can't believe a school is allowing children to be upset by something so preventable.

TheFirie Mon 06-Feb-17 18:28:37

A little perspective is needed all around? This is just handwriting in Y4 - why is your dd getting so upset? Are all the children similarly unhappy

Really? What do you mean it is just handwriting? DS2 learned cursive writing in Spain, then we moved in Oz and one teacher would systematically send him back to rewrite the text again and again (5 times) because the L , B , G ...had loops. Easy to do when it is just a couple of words or sentences. Not so much if it is a whole page. So you don;t focus anymore of what you want to say, but on drawing (not writing) the letter perfectly one by one,

It ends up in tears.

In the end, to find a solution / collaboration I had a meeting with the teacher who told me that in her experience, it was impossible for a child in Y4 to change his handwriting (then why send him away FGS).

mrz Mon 06-Feb-17 18:30:28

The school should have a handwriting policy which all teachers should follow regardless of individual teachers personal preference. I hope the head can sort out the issue

CancellyMcChequeface Mon 06-Feb-17 18:46:43

This is absurd. If the writing is neat and legible then the style should be down to the individual child. Loops/no loops will make absolutely no difference to their future life and educational success.

I also think it's dreadful to make a child rewrite something just because of the handwriting. It teaches that the way the page looks is more important than its content. I remember being tearful over rewrites as a child 25 years ago - my motor skills were behind most of the class and I literally couldn't make it any neater. I didn't think this still went on in schools today.

pinkunicornsarefluffy Mon 06-Feb-17 18:51:39

DD has never had good motor skills and it her Reception teacher told me back then that she was having problems and if she didn't get it then she would have problems all through school.

She writes very big letters so the teacher is making her redo them small.

MiniMum97 Mon 06-Feb-17 19:37:29

Don't worry about "being that parent" what the fuck that means. It is your job to be your child's advocate. No-one rose is going to do it. This teacher sounds like a nightmare. Why is she shouting at the children and insisting on ridiculous handwriting rules? And not responding to parents emails - very unprofessional.

If this teacher is upsetting your child this much she will become increasingly anxious and distressed and may start becoming a school refuser. Or it at turn her off English forever. You need to insist on a meeting with the teacher and the head, take a list of your concerns and make sure you come away with an acceptable agreed way forward. Stay calm, be insistent and clear and don't accept anything you are not happy with. It would also be good idea to book in a follow-up meeting to review progress. They won't want to do this so you will need to be insistent and try to frame it in a way that makes it seems beneficial for them/everyone.

I say the above as a parent who had to battle with my Ds's schools over the years to ensure he received the support he needed as he had special needs. Got a bit of a pro at it by the end! Although it continued to be emotionally exhausting and draining.

Good luck!

GU24Mum Mon 06-Feb-17 20:13:24

Assuming the class has been taught a method of handwriting (ie they aren't just putting random loops on letters), it seems crazy to try to change the handwriting scheme now - and I'd think especially odd to change from cursive back to something else. The Nelson Thornes seems to be a way of linking print script which is very different from cursive. Either would be fine but the school should stick to one and not change when the children have got used to a certain method.

mrz Mon 06-Feb-17 20:26:06

Cursive just means any joined handwriting style some are very plain like Nelson some very ornate all are cursive if joined

pinkunicornsarefluffy Mon 06-Feb-17 20:47:50

It's joined up, but they were taught to join j; y; g; p; q; and b; x; and now they are not allowed to join them and not allowed to loop the tails "curls" as DD says.

It seems such a little thing but it is really affecting her.

HelsBels5000 Mon 06-Feb-17 20:52:42

I would write a proper complaint letter to the HT about this, outlining your correspondence and the lack of response from class teacher, the difficulties with consistency between the different year groups and ask what is going to be done. If you are not satisfied with the response, ask to be referred to the complaints Governor.

tulippa Mon 06-Feb-17 22:05:01

If there is not a fixed handwriting policy that everyone must stick to (and it doesn't sound like there is if the HT is happy for the new teacher to use their own version) then the teacher should be happy with any handwriting style as long as it is legible and allows the child to write fluently. Usually though most schools do have a handwriting policy that everyone is encouraged to adhere to as it stops difficulties like your DD is experiencing and allows children to easily express their ideas. I would not let this go OP.

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