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Children determining sanctions? Is this a thing?

(41 Posts)
Everyoneafter3 Thu 23-Mar-17 07:40:28

Asking before I email school yet again...

Dd (Y4) has a job share this year. She and many of her friends have been having a terrible time with one half of the job share. There is no praise as far as I can tell: no merits; no positive feedback from homework. The well behaved, bright children are largely ignored in every sense (not just getting this from my dd: lots are struggling). I annoyed the teacher a while back as I politely requested dd be allowed to collect her violin at the end of the day when she has it in for lessons: dd was asking to get it and was told no, ask again and it's the 'sad side'.

Anyway, it's the 'sad side' where we seem to have issues. Dd had told me that this teacher leaves the decision as to who goes on the sad side up to the children. One child will be elected by the teacher to stand at the front and put anyone 'misbehaving' on the sad side. So dd has now been on the sad side for talking - in a lesson where talking quietly had been permitted. It's happened to others. Dd was once in the position of standing at the front and told me she just couldn't put anyone on the sad side: it was "mean" and "unfair".

Before I ask the school if this is actually happening or my dd has misinterpreted something, is this an actual tactic? Being put on the 'happy side' is decided by the teacher.

IamFriedSpam Thu 23-Mar-17 09:05:05


I've never heard of this happening and would be fairly horrified if it was happening at my DC's school!

FrayedHem Thu 23-Mar-17 09:21:22

shock My DC are in a fairly awful school(!) and even they wouldn't do this. I can't even really understand how it works. Does the sad face nominator get chosen at the beginning of the day, or do they just have to make a judgement call when picked? But either way, I would not be happy about this system.

Everyoneafter3 Thu 23-Mar-17 10:00:26

I can't quite fathom it either tbh but it I do know that dd is increasingly unhappy with school for the part of the week when she has the job share: the change in her demeanour is quite staggering!

Everyoneafter3 Thu 23-Mar-17 10:10:47

I emailed school. I don't care about being that parent...

FrayedHem Thu 23-Mar-17 10:11:41

It's hard when you see your child becoming dejected. Is the happy/sad side used by both teachers but just one of them using the classmate as judge system? Is the other teacher giving more feedback and praise?

kesstrel Thu 23-Mar-17 10:17:12

That's appalling. How upsetting for the poor children who are forced to do this, and how destructive of good relations with others in the class.

Everyoneafter3 Thu 23-Mar-17 10:19:17

Yes, the other teacher is better, definitely, and openly admits her job share partner doesn't give enough praise.

Apologies for the drop feed but the problem teacher also literally makes up her own rules. An example might be if they are going on a school trip. The uniform policy for trips is very specific and is reiterated for each trip. This teacher told them something completely different, cue lots of worried children thinking if they didn't follow her they'd get in trouble sad (we ignored her on this - after five years and constant reminders we do know the drill...!).

Everyoneafter3 Thu 23-Mar-17 10:20:22

Btw thank you so much for the reassurance that I'm not ott to question this. I have approached is as saying dd tells me xyz is happening, but could you please confirm this is the case etc.

FrayedHem Thu 23-Mar-17 10:23:09

I hope the school are responsive. It sounds like management could do with taking a closer look at what is going on in that class generally.

EduCated Thu 23-Mar-17 10:29:40

I have heard of schools getting the children to agree on appropriate consequences for misbehaviour, but very much in a structured and supported way, and usually detached from the child who's been naughty, if that makes sense? So they decide on the suitable consequences for messing about in lessons, rather than deciding on a punishment for specific children.

This sounds awful.

Postagestamppat Thu 23-Mar-17 10:44:27

As a message of caution, be careful what you believe when you daughter tells you. I am not suggesting that you daughter is lying but a child's perception of reality can be very different to what actually happened. As a teacher I have seen this many times. I advise you to get your facts absolutely straight before going in.

Everyoneafter3 Thu 23-Mar-17 11:33:01

Oh I do get that, and indeed what I've asked for from school is clarification of what dd has told me on the basis that there's been a misunderstanding somewhere.

This teacher is truly appalling unfortunately and refuses to speak to parents (waves them in from the classroom door so you can't even grab her).

Michaelahpurple Thu 23-Mar-17 16:56:15

I'm with the last poster. I would suggest an approach on the line of "I wanted to come and see you to sort out a misunderstanding on my Ds's part which is really upsetting her. She thinks that children are
Being nominated to determine who deserves to be "sad sided". Now, clearly that would be ludicrous and I appropriate so she must have the wrong end of the stick, so can you please explain for me what the system actually is so we can get to bottom of why she is unhappy. Covers all bases - stops you bring out on a limb and expresses your feelings about what your daughter believes is happening.

Everyoneafter3 Thu 23-Mar-17 17:21:41

I've definitely come at this with an "I'm certain she's wrong so please could you confirm?" approach.

There is no chance whatsoever with meeting with the teacher: she is completely unapproachable.

FrayedHem Thu 23-Mar-17 20:27:49

There's more than "just" the weird sad-siding going on and I think you've approached it sensibly. If the teacher isn't approachable, emailing asking for clarification is the right call.

screamingeels Fri 24-Mar-17 08:06:23

I guess you'll get the full answer from the school, but my DS's class do something that sounds a little like this. The 'star of the day' gets to put the ticks and merits on the behaviour chart - teacher actually awards them. There is a lot of grumbling from my DS that some of stars cheat and give their friends extra.
I think it's a responsibility reward similar to being given power to weild blackboard rubber when I was at school in the dark ages.

Trifleorbust Fri 24-Mar-17 09:01:05

the other teacher is better, definitely, and openly admits her job share partner doesn't give enough praise.

Well that is unprofessional, isn't it?

Now I am going to go against the grain here: provided the teacher sets up very clear rules as to what merits a name going on 'the sad side', I honestly don't see the issue. In my classroom I might say 'absolutely no talking for any reason during this task' and then anyone who talks for any reason would go on 'the sad side'. In a situation that cut and dried, it would be appropriate for a child to write names on the board if needed while I supervised the work. I think it helps to show that the rules are impartial and teaches the children that we are a learning community, not a dictatorship.

Where it becomes problematic is where the rules are fuzzy, or where the situation itself requires more insight. For example, if there is a student with SN in the class who cannot help shouting out at times and has behaviour dealt with slightly differently, it wouldn't be appropriate to expect children to make those more nuanced judgements.

Probably not a popular view!

IamFriedSpam Fri 24-Mar-17 09:20:57

Probably not a popular view!

For good reason! There are obviously lots of negative consequences by taking this approach (as you can see from the OP) and it doesn't seem like it achieves anything. I would definitely complain if you were either of my DC's teacher and did this! (I assume you're a retired teacher and no longer teaching though).

Trifleorbust Fri 24-Mar-17 09:24:43


Why would you assume that? confused

Trifleorbust Fri 24-Mar-17 09:26:21


And it does achieve something. It teaches students that we are all responsible for the quality of the learning environment. If a student is talking when they shouldn't be, it shouldn't make a difference whose hand enters their name on the list - they know they did it, so they should accept the consequence.

MrsELM21 Fri 24-Mar-17 09:29:49

Sounds awful and completely wrong, begin your email!

bojorojo Fri 24-Mar-17 20:03:06

Sounds like institutionalised bullying to me! Is it in the behaviour policy? Is this used throughout the school? If it is just one teacher, it is not policy. Obviously children are expected to do what they are told but the teacher controls and manages the class, not the children. It is a bit like Roman Emperors condemning gladiators to death. Child power used for all the wrong reasons.

Check the policy on the web site. I wouldn't bother with the teacher - see the Head or Deputy. Schools normally make behaviour policies very clear to children and parents and they are school-wide. I hope you get a resolution.

PopCakes Sat 25-Mar-17 08:16:47

they know they did it, so they should accept the consequence. You're being disingenuous here That would be the same consequence whether it was applied by a teacher or another child so you've still failed to give any benefit for using this.

I've seen your posts for a while (more a lurker than a poster because I only just got a laptop and don't type on my phone) but I also doubted you were a (at least a current) teacher because you post all day on mumsnet and always express views that are the polar opposite of current good practise).

FrayedHem Sat 25-Mar-17 10:37:43

Now I am going to go against the grain here: provided the teacher sets up very clear rules as to what merits a name going on 'the sad side'

This is the crux of the OP's post. The rules aren't clear to her DC and is interpreting it as a system where one child is chosen to name someone to go on the sad-side, which is why she is asking for clarification. Very different to an agreed rule of any child being able to add names to the board for breaking class rules, and I assume it isn't limited to one name on the board a day?

If the OP's DD is correct, do you really think picking a child at random then asking them to stand in front of the class to nominate a child for the sad-side is a good system?

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