This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Would you say anything to or about this teacher?(17 Posts)
DD2 is in Year 5 at an independent school. She's a young Year 5, her birthday is July. The school is selective at secondary level. She is generally quite bright but she has some minor SEN in that she has some executive functioning difficulties affecting her ability to organise herself and her belongings and she has some sensory sensitivities. These have been documented by an occupational therapist in the past.
Last year (Year 4) was brilliant. The teachers supported her organisation unobtrusively and she did really well. Ended the year on a high, in the top Maths group and top English group, very confident, very happy. I was thrilled.
This year, so far, has been a real struggle. Her teacher expects her to organise herself, as that's the expectation in Year 5. I understand that, even though she finds it difficult, as it is something she has to learn. However, the teacher is really negative about her in the language she uses to describe her to other people and to me. She has dropped her down to the bottom Maths group because she is struggling with long multiplication/division (she cried for hours about this as being good at Maths is part of her self-identity, has been since she was little). She writes negative comments on her work.
(said to me in front of another teacher?): 'She needs all the help she can get.'
(said to me when I raised a sensory issue - reluctance to wear a particular coat so 'losing' the coat): 'I've never heard of any child over-reacting like that.'
(written in her book): 'X did not finish this piece of work because she took so long doing her Art project!'
'X, are you in Reception? This is not Year 5 standard!'
The end result is an extremely demoralised child who is now worrying she isn't clever enough to make it to the Senior School. The reality is she is clever enough but she needs to tackle organisation and speed. I can only help her so far with this out of school.
I try to talk to the teacher about her progress but I don't feel I get anywhere. She seems to think it's down to me to sort out her 'attitude' but I don't think it is attitude. She is really trying. It's not ability either, it's the impact of the organisational difficulties.
I feel really angry at this teacher as I think she is making things worse by her negative attitude and surely if she is concerned about progress, she should be putting in some extra support rather than just being negative about it.
Would you say anything to the teacher or higher up about this, or am I being over-protective? I know the jump to Y5 is big as my DD1 found it hard when she made it. She had the same teacher and also found the negativity grating but she is a different personality and reacted to it differently.
The teacher also lost my DD1's project book the year she had her and lost DD2's book last term but found it again. So she's not exactly super organised herself!
I'm quite a tough mum, my eldest has ADHD. Don't ethos upset you and tell your DD that some people are just not their kind of person but you still have to respect the teacher.
I would try to work with this teacher to prepare your child for f6 and then secondary. It's doubtful your DD will get much help there. So it bests she learn to deal with things now while still at primary.
That teacher sounds like a nasty piece of work tbh. Shaming children like that is a terrible thing to do. You are right, it is not the way to get the best out of anyone.
I don't know what the best way is to handle it, but I would be tempted to speak with the teacher to explain the impact of the way she speaks on your child. THough the teacher maybe so entrenched in her ways that it won't make any difference. Though it might, you never know.
Apart from the reception comment I'm not sure she's done anything terrible. As hard as it might sound, if she can't do long devision she will need to be in a maths set that goes slower/has more support. The art project comment is merely explaining why a piece of work isn't finished.
Perhaps arrange a meeting but go in with a 'supporting dd' attitude rather than a 'teacher needs to be told she's doing her job wrong' one.
Have her additional needs been formally diagnosed?
Can you arrange a meeting with the person who is in charge of additional support? I did this for my ds and there were things that were agreed that would always happen in the classroom for ds regardless of who the teacher is. It made a huge difference to ds.
"Are you in reception?" comment is horrible, but others, not so much.
About the coat, is that something she needs to wear, or can change to something else she likes?
Finishing the work in time was struggle for my ds too. But it needed to be done. My ds was kept in breaks to finish the work many times in yr3/4, by the time he was in yr5, he learned the lesson and doing fine.
For maths, if she is struggling, it's understandable to put in to the bottom table. Someone has to be. And this you can help her improve at home, she just need to "get it". And if she is naturally good at maths, once she gets the concept, she can do better.
She doesn't have a diagnosis of any particular condition but she has an OT report which says she has executive functioning difficulties and sensory processing difficulties.
It's just the constant barrage of negativity. If you read through her book, you'd see what I mean. Not just comments but use of exclamation marks as if to make a bigger point. My DD feels she can't do anything right for this teacher.
There is a SENCo but they only get involved on the teacher's request and the teacher doesn't think it's an SEN issue. But then again the teacher clearly knows nothing about SEN from her comment about sensory sensitivity being an over-reaction.
She was back to school today and up early trying to make sure she had everything, brush her hair carefully so she looks neat etc. She's really trying. If she comes home with another negative comment, I will either burst into tears or explode, I'm not sure which!
As a teacher myself, the reception comment is way out of line. That's gone from "constructive criticism/focus on difficulties" to a direct insult that is designed to make your child feel like shit. Not something I would ever write.
So yeah, it might be worth having a chat with the teacher again to try to get her onside - i.e. don't go at them saying "How dare you treat my child this way!" But rather from a "I want to work together to solve these problems, what do you recommend?" perspective. Reinforce that this is a developmental issue and not 'attitude' if possible. See what happens from there.
I dont agree that the other comments aren't shaming.
'I've never heard of any child over-reacting like that.' This clearly is. She is making out your daughter is 'weird'. Describing her as over-reacting is clearly pejorative. If your daughter has particular sensory issues the teacher should be open to understanding these, not making comments like above.
'X did not finish this piece of work because she took so long doing her Art project!' This could be a neutral explanation, but within the context of the other comments, and if it really did have that exclamation mark, then it comes across as an exasperated put down, If the teacher was not intending a put down it could have been worded positively to show the persistence X took completing her art project, for example.
Op, I do feel for you. Sometimes you do get the teacher who are not naturally helpful or nice. And feeling of being unable to help protect your child at school is overwhelming. But please don't burst into tears or explode. You need to tackle this, one way or another.
My ds has sensitivity issue too. So we do as much as possible, like make sure he is wearing something it doesn't irritate him. He wears long sleeved T shirt for PE day, and we made the arrangement he was allowed to wear PE shirt on top of it.
That sounds completely unacceptable. DD has documented SEN that the school are obviously well able to handle so she should be getting appropriate support. I would arrange a meeting with the teacher in the first place and be very confident in how you approach her. State the facts DD has documented SEN and you want a plan of action about how she'll be supported as at present it obviously isn't sufficient. DD's attainment has clearly suddenly dropped you want to get to the bottom of why that is and what can be done to support her. DD is unhappy and her confidence has plummeted and you want to know how she can be best encouraged. I would also arrange a meeting with the SENCO. I would continue being the greasy wheel if the first meeting isn't satisfactory make another, then take it further up the school.
To be perfectly honest, several issues are springing to my mind. Firstly, this is a selective school at the end of y6. Is she being selected out already? I’ve seen this before. There might be a chat about the schools not being able to meet her needs - so be aware!
Of course you should see the SendCo. How can this teacher possibly cater for your DD’s needs if she won’t recognise them? What an odd position for a school to take. It is saying to me, very loudly, they are not interested in her needs. What is the SendCo actually there to do if it’s not to help teachers with teaching of send children. Surely all children with needs should be
on the SendCo register and known to the teacher?
I have seen some private schools who have no idea at all about send. None. Many state schools are far better and have better trained staff. If DD isn’t going to make it to the senior school, is this the biggest blow in the world? It doesn’t sound all that great to me and you might have years of worry ahead of you.
The effect of executive functioning and processing difficulties will only increase at secondary level in my opinion and experience with DD1.
I think you should think hard as to whether this school will suit her going forward. Definitely apply to a state school as backup.
I guess I just can't imagine her coping in one of the big state secondaries near me. I can imagine her coping in the small private senior school. If I can just get her there....
I would definitely look round the 'big state secondaries', you might be surprised.
Our comp has 250 per year group. Because it takes all comers it is used to children with additional needs. Pupils who need support with organisation (e.g. teacher writing h/w into planner for them) or slow writing (e.g. basic notes given out to annotate rather than having to write it all down themselves) are common enough for it not to be a big fuss to get the support.
Put it this way, we haven't had your issues within the state sector. (Though of course we may have had issues you won't have with private.)
I second what pp said. You might be surprised if you go to visit the big state schools. I visited one for my ds that I was sure would not be suitable for him and I was really impressed. They even have a special registration class for children who need help organising them selves in the morning. They have lots of kids requiring support so I am thinking my ds might feel more at ease being at that school. It is definitely worth looking at other schools.
I also agree with PP about thinking carefully about whether this school willcater/care about her issues. Although not all private or selective schools take this attitude there are many that basically try to select out even minor issues.