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Is it right to tell a child in front of the whole class that their work is apalling?

(39 Posts)
DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 29-Sep-08 22:08:41

Ds (year 2) spent an hour and a half crying tonight after school. He said that all the teachers hated him and that he was stupid.

He had some literacy work sent home to 're-write'.

(Two weeks ago he had maths sent home on two nights in a row because he had not done enough.)

Tonights work had a comment written next to it saying it was not his best work and to re-do it. No suggestions of what was wrong i.e. handwriting not joined up, not enough written. So I did not know whether he should just re-write it or add to it. Anyway he was in such a state, he just re-wrote it, trying to do joined up writing.

Had a phone call an hour ago from another mum who said her ds had told her that my son had 'been in real trouble at school today'. Apparently, the teacher had told him in front of the whole class that his work was 'apalling'.

No wonder he was upset. The message he seems to be getting is that none of his work is good enough.

Am being pfb to think that teachers should encourage their students and not tell them things like this in front of the whole class?

What should I do?

Twiglett Mon 29-Sep-08 22:10:58

you are not PFB .. you have to go into school and speak to them .. do not accuse .. you need to find out from teacher what is going on .. can't use hearsay or ange

but you are definitely not PFB .. that's appalling

CatMandu Mon 29-Sep-08 22:13:44

No, you are not being pfb. I have a dd in year 2 and would be very very unhappy if this happened to her. Talk to the school tomorrow.

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 29-Sep-08 22:14:05

Oh DHWT sad

Your poor boy. Agree with what Twig said. You need to get to the bottom of it.

I'm very angry if the teacher has been speaking to your DS like that. It was teachers who behaved that way that put DH off education completely.

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 29-Sep-08 22:15:30

Am very tempted to go straight to the Head as talking to the class teacher in the mornings is soo hard as their classroom is tiny (so no privacy) and it means fighting to get upstairs with dd in tow.

At least it's not just me being overly sensitive! sad

Thanks Twiglett.

Actually, more likely to cry than accuse. Feel so sad for my pfb blush

Soapbox Mon 29-Sep-08 22:15:36

I think you need to go to school and talk to them.

I'd have actually told DS not to do the rewrite in the absence of clear feedback as to why he was doing it and used this as a reason to want to talk to the teacher. Then I would mention the feedback you have had from other sources.

Y2 is still so young and a teacher like this could turn him off of learning for life. It just isn't on!

gagarin Mon 29-Sep-08 22:18:12

Go in and see the teacher.

Ask to be shown a sample of your son's work (in English and maths)that is of a good enough standard so that when he has to re-do work you know what he should be doing.

Explain to the teacher that unless she is more specific you cannot expect your son to remember what the problem was esp when he is upset.

If she has sent it home to re-do I expect she feels that he is timewasting in class rather than concentrating as he should be. Ask her what specific strategies she has developed to help your son settle to his work and produce a good piece of work in the alloted time.

Don't apoloise for your son - just see if you can understand what the issues are and what the teacher is doing to remedy the situation.

Be calm, firm and confident - and good luck!

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 29-Sep-08 22:18:50

Unfortunately, he has exams coming up so I think the school are laying on pressure with the boys for this term.

Of course, it was our choice to send him there but I think there are ways of encouraging children to work harder and this is not one of them!

Twiglett Mon 29-Sep-08 22:19:43

going to head ok in this situation I think

Twiglett Mon 29-Sep-08 22:20:13

yhey're farkin' sats screw 'em

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 29-Sep-08 22:22:28

Not sats, entrance exams [scary emoticon]

Good suggestion to ask for her strategies. Friend said ds was not messing around but as you say it's a child's point of view.

ScummyMummy Mon 29-Sep-08 22:25:00

Oh your poor little boy, dhw. Really hope you sort it. The teacher sounds awful.

Quattrocento Mon 29-Sep-08 22:25:50

That's awful - entirely awful - you must go and see the teacher.

Btw if this is an entrance exam for entry at 7 they are really doddly exams and to make the boys stressed up about it is entirely wrong IMO

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 29-Sep-08 22:28:19

Teacher could be lovely but don't see her on a daily basis as yr2 expected to go in on own.

The only times have met her she didn't have a lot to say except negative stuff. Trying to keep an open mind though.

Secretly, I like to think she's nasty. Although would never say that to ds grin

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 29-Sep-08 22:29:50

Exactly, quattro. Completely counter productive.

Have written suggestions down so can prepare to be diplomatic but very firm in am.

twentypence Mon 29-Sep-08 22:32:04

The only time that I said anything like this to a student was a lesson I was a substitute for, I didn't know the boy and he managed by moving around the room or something to do precisely nothing.

I always collect in the books open at the page for marking and so when he handed his in it was a blank page.

I did make a point of telling him this was a terrible way for a year 7 to be acting and that my next stop would be the deputy head (who is quite scary, even to me).

But this was no work by a year 7. Not some work by a 7 year old.

MrsThierryHenry Mon 29-Sep-08 22:37:11

Yes - it's appropriate behaviour: if you want to utterly destroy the child's confidence.

My God. What a horrible thing to do. You should talk to her directly first with your DS there (so he knows you're standing up for him) and explain the impact of her behaviour on your poor DS. Ask her to explain why she chose not to use less humiliating and hurtful tactics, and how she thought her approach would benefit him and the rest of the class. These are exactly the thoughts she should have had before launching at your son, and clearly she didn't.

IMO she ought to apologise to him (she might think it's going too far but the least she can do is to model a good way of putting things right when you've hurt sbdy).

If she is unsympathetic I would go to her head of dept and make a formal complaint, outlining why you believe her behaviour was harmful and inappropriate.

Best of luck.

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 29-Sep-08 22:43:39

ooh, Mrstierry, I'd love to do that but would be too much of a wuss.

She has a class of 15 children so not really that bad. None of the children are dreadfully behaved, all nice kids. So her day is not as hard as for some teachers.

MrsThierryHenry Mon 29-Sep-08 22:50:34

Hmm...I know exactly what you mean. What's needed here is the SkyDivingApproachToLife!

You know when people go sky diving...they umm and ahh about it in the plane and then all of a sudden, whoosh! And they're out! Then they just have to deal with it - no backing out now!


I find it helps if I rehearse the conversation with my DH the night/ morning before (though he usually gets silly and ends up not really helping angry). But it really sets you up for the real thing.

Ask yourself: what will be the consequences if you don't challenge her? And what will they be if you do? As some people suggested above, your DS may have misreported the story, so a good entry point would be to tell her that he was beside himself with tears last night over the way she'd handled his marks. Ask her to then explain from her perspective what happened.

That way, you're starting gently and giving her a chance to give her side of the story, which I'm sure you know is essential to have a balanced and effective discussion about it.

Then move on from that point as you see fit - if you don't believe her explanation (trust your instincts) then keep emphasising how upset he was and that he doesn't normally get this upset over constructive criticism, so you can't understand why yesterday things should have been so different, etc etc.

I know these conversations are really hard, but you and your DS stand to benefit: (1) you'll grow stronger and realise what you're capable of; (2) your DS will feel supported and have even more respect for you than ever; (3) it's unlikely that his teacher will speak to him like that again.

Good luck!

bloss Mon 29-Sep-08 22:56:17

Message withdrawn

ScummyMummy Mon 29-Sep-08 23:28:12

thierry henri's a lucky man to have such a wise wife.

Good luck, dhw. Give the teacher what for- the more i think about it, the more I think she has been really vile to your son and there is no real excuse,

MrsThierryHenry Mon 29-Sep-08 23:43:37

Aww, bless ya bloss and scumster! grin

DesperateHousewifeToo Tue 30-Sep-08 07:54:31

Right, I'm all fired up!

Probably all blown out by the time I get there.

You are all fab.

I'll report back later

DesperateHousewifeToo Tue 30-Sep-08 10:58:57

Well I had a word with class teacher. Was all going well until I burst into tears blush

Sooo embarrassed!!

Think she was very [shocked]. At least it got her attention. She stopped all the children from coming into the class.

Anyway, between sobs I managed to say that ds had cried for an hour and a half last night (she now knows where he gets it from!) and said that all the teachers hated him and he was stupid.

Told her that we needed specific feedback about what was expected when he had work to re-do as he was too upset to tell me what he had to do.

She said that he had been talking and not getting on with his work during the lesson.

I sobbed asked if we could have another approach as his confidence is just plummeting and he is always unhappy about school (whereas, he is generally a very happy little boy).

Told her that I knew she wasn't a horrible teacher and that she must be under pressure from the Head to get results but for ds at the moment the pressure was counter-productive.

Managed to throw in that another mother had phoned and what she had said. She sort of tried to deny using the word 'appalling' but then changed tack 'why would another mother call you?'.

Anyway, she's going to have a chat with ds today and I'll see what happens.

Hopefully, she'll take pity on him for having such a pathetic mother.

I thought bringing out the dried up wet wipe from my pocket to wipe my nose was really classy grin

bamboostalks Tue 30-Sep-08 11:04:22

When small children who are unable to cope are sent into high pressured environments , this is what occurs. The school (and presumably you) are expecting him to pass tough prep school exams so they are turning the screws. Prep school will be much worse. If this is something that you do not want to see, then change tack educationally.

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