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Parents Evening

(20 Posts)
sallythesheep73 Mon 06-Nov-17 11:45:39

We have parents evening this week.

Our relationship with the HT has not been great and there is frustration on both sides... Things reached a low point at the end of last term when DH had a meeting with the male Head who said our DS1 was insecure in his friendships and anxious about socialising etc. This came to a big shock to us. We have been going to parents evenings for 3 years and the teachers have always said how happy DS1 is, how much they help the other kids and what a positive contribution they make in class. DS1 always says how happy he is and talks about playing with his friends, we've not had any issues. I have asked family friends with kids and they say they cant see a problem.

Are we blind? Or was the HT lashing out? The snag is during my parents evening I may have to see HT (he is DS2's form teacher). Do I hope this isnt brought up? What if he brings it up? DH is refusing to come...

sallythesheep73 Mon 06-Nov-17 11:47:48

I should add I havent slept well for 2 nights worrying about this - ridiculous!!

irvineoneohone Mon 06-Nov-17 11:58:30

"DS1 was insecure in his friendships and anxious about socialising etc."

How can this comment be causing your dh to refuse to come?It's just an observation, from HT's pov. Is there a reason for HT to make things up to annoy you? Even if so, it doesn't make sense for HT to be "lashing out" as you say , tbh.
This whole thread doesn't really make sense to me tbh, sorry.

2014newme Mon 06-Nov-17 12:00:24

Wow I've never spoken to the HT. Is there
A reason they're at your parents evening?

2014newme Mon 06-Nov-17 12:01:20

Ah I see they're the form teacher. Is it a very tiny school?

sallythesheep73 Mon 06-Nov-17 12:04:50

Yes the school is very tiny...

If it were true how come the class teachers haven't mentioned it in the last 3 years? Wouldn't our child exhibit some of these anxieties at home? How can we have not noticed?

SaturnUranus Mon 06-Nov-17 12:05:56

I'm not entirely sure why it's such a contentious issue but if the subject is brought up, I would just ask how the school plan to support your DS with this.

Some schools have lunchtime clubs where they use different activities to encourage children's social skills. Others have buddy systems to encourage more interaction.

I would also ask for clarification of the actual perceived issue. Are they concerned about things like group work in the classroom, or is it more about friendships in the playground? Find out as much as you can and take it from there.

Good luck. flowers

Wolfiefan Mon 06-Nov-17 12:06:22

Why didn't you ask the HT at the time what they had observed and what they/you should do about it? I don't get the "lashing out" comment.

irvineoneohone Mon 06-Nov-17 12:11:03

You say HT is ds2's form tutor. So I can totally understand him commenting about ds2.
So how did it came about for HT's to comment about your DS1?
It just sound unusual for HT to come to comment about one particular child he is not directly in charge of.

sallythesheep73 Mon 06-Nov-17 12:11:29

Well my take on it the HT got frustrated with my husband and came out with this comment as we find no evidence of it. DS1 has been to nursery since age 1 and never had issues with chums. We've always been told what a social butterfly he is. So it came out of the blue. DH came home from the meeting very upset so hadn't really had a rational discussion with HT re his evidence for said comment.

DS usually has a leading role in class / school plays and is asked to look after new children so I find it incongruous that there is an issue!?

Surely if it were true the class teachers would have mentioned it in the previous 6 parents evenings?? It just doesnt make sense to me.

sallythesheep73 Mon 06-Nov-17 12:12:53

Quite irvineoneohone HT has never been DS1's teacher so the fact they would have spotted something that no one else has seen would seem weird?

If they said it about DS2 it would still be a surprise but atleast the context would be there.

SaturnUranus Mon 06-Nov-17 12:15:00

If there is an issue, it may be that it's only coming to light now because of the way the nature of friendships can change as a child gets older.

In Reception and Year 1, playground interaction tends to involve a lot of physical play. It's relatively straightforward for other children to join in and the rules of friendship are relatively straightforward.

As they get older, the rules can become more complex and there tends to be a lot more 'falling-out' because of it. I'm not sure how old your DS1 is but it tends to be in KS2 when some of the social difficulties tend to come to light.

I'm not saying that this is necessarily what has happened with your DS, but it's an example of why no one may have mentioned issues before.

sallythesheep73 Mon 06-Nov-17 12:17:04

Sorry I should have said DS1 is year 3. So meeting with HT and DH occurred about 2 weeks after parents evening when the class teacher hadn't said anything other than DS1 was very happy etc.

irvineoneohone Mon 06-Nov-17 12:25:55

Why did your DH needed to have meeting with HT in the first place?
If there was no issue from class teacher 2 weeks earlier, I just couldn't understand why your dh had meeting with HT.

sallythesheep73 Mon 06-Nov-17 12:36:52

irvineoneohone we had a number of fraught meetings with the HT at the end of last term due to amongst others safeguarding concerns re access to the internet (which HT admitted was 100% the school's fault and also class teacher had not supervised as they should have) so honestly it is not all our fault!!

Wolfiefan Mon 06-Nov-17 12:43:55

I don't get why any of this is "fraught" TBH.

irvineoneohone Mon 06-Nov-17 12:48:32

Then HT actually had an issue with you(not you, but them), to possibly trying to make it your issue by saying those things. .
Not saying it's your fault at all. Without knowing background, it just seemed odd.

brilliotic Mon 06-Nov-17 13:46:28

It sounds to me like your HT is very insecure and defensive. Hence when there was an issue that was the school's 'fault', interactions became fraught. IME interactions often are full of tension if one side is defensive. The other side feels it is necessary to say something, and tries to do it in as gentle and positive way as possible because they don't want to set the other side off, but the defensive person still feels attacked and, despite knowing they did wrong, is afraid of admitting it, so lashes out. Even worse if they DID have to admit it - they then have a strong need to distract from their own failings and direct the attention elsewhere. And if the other side had been trying to be gentle and positive in their criticism, they will feel bewildered by this reaction and easy to get cross. They may have wanted only to provide feedback so that the same issue can be avoided in the future, but this cannot happen if the other reacts so defensively. That's frustrating because you haven't achieved any improvement, but have had the experience of an uncomfortably confrontational interaction despite only wanting to help. I can see why you would want to avoid any avoidable interaction in the future.

It's kind of the opposite of a culture that allows mistakes and learns from them.

OP if this is the case, take a step back, try to perceive the HT as a human who not only makes mistakes, but also has a 'fault' in his defensiveness (I am sure you aren't perfect either!). Can you see around that, and perceive his strengths? Which I am sure exist also. That's what I try to do with our hugely defensive HT. E.g. one thing I appreciate her for is that her defensiveness includes the teaching staff; which means that the teachers get to do their jobs free from 'confrontations' with parents who think they know better (which at times includes me; but I'm glad they don't get embroiled in negotiations every time a parent thinks that and accept it means the same rules apply to me).

Then go to that parents evening with the aim to talk to your children's teachers, and if you see the HT, be polite to him. If he should initiate any conversation about your children, don't feel you have to either accept what he says as fact OR need to dispute it then and there; just ask for elaboration and prepare some phrases such as 'I hadn't noticed any of that, I'll have a think about it' or 'Thank you for sharing your observations, I will discuss with DC's teacher to see what they think.'

At the end of the day, what does it matter if the HT thinks your child is shy or whatever? You think about it, consider other people's opinions (the child's teacher), discuss with your DH, and either decide they were right and so move on to what you can do about it, or simply move on. You don't need to convince the HT (or even get him to admit) that he was wrong.

sallythesheep73 Mon 06-Nov-17 14:17:27

Thank you brilliotic - that really helps.

This: ''Thank you for sharing your observations, I will discuss with DC's teacher to see what they think.'' is a good plan. You are right I don't need to accept HT's diagnosis as the truth. I shall keep an open mind. I certainly see that he has strengths but like all of us weaknesses too and the school is coming under a lot of pressure at the moment and it was the end of term so perhaps he was batting off the back foot.

Thanks for your input, much appreciated.

Witchend Mon 06-Nov-17 15:22:23

the teachers have always said how happy DS1 is, how much they help the other kids and what a positive contribution they make in class. DS1 always says how happy he is and talks about playing with his friends, we've not had any issues. I have asked family friends with kids and they say they cant see a problem.
^This was always said about my dd1. She also had the main part in school plays, was always the first with her hand up, invited to lots of parties, sang solo in front of 500 people in a big concert hall...

DS1 was insecure in his friendships and anxious about socialising
^ This is also true of dd1. The best teachers were the ones that saw through the apparent confident outside and realised that this was also true.
It did become more obvious as she grew older for various reasons.

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