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DH/teacher row. Oh boy, dd doesn't need this too

(18 Posts)
Jux Thu 01-Oct-09 13:53:05

My mum lived with us, but died two weeks ago. Her funeral is on Wednesday. She was a second mum to dd, who always found a haven of peace, calm and love in mum's part of the house, and would go up there and sew with her whenever she was feeling stressed. She has been seriously upset by mum's death but we have a local charity which gives free counselling sessions to bereaved families, and dd is seeing a counsellor who is really helping her cope.

It's Harvest Festival time and dd's class are doing some sort of play early next week. DD has two little speeches, but missed the first week of rehearsals due to mum's death, and has left school early a couple of times to see the counsellor. She will also have the day off next Wednesday for the funeral.

She is under a lot of pressure as she is in Year 6, and it's SATs and also she wants to sit an entrance exam to a grammar school nearby.

She says she just can't face standing up in front of people and speaking. She isn't interested in Harvest as a festival, and next week just wants to concentrate on getting through the funeral. I had suggested that she do one of the speeches, but dh had already said she didn't have to do either of them, and he would talk to her teacher.

He did. He is a bit confrontational and aggressive at the best of times. This went badly. The teacher called dd and said that dd would be letting her down if she didn't do the speeches. Apparently, dd was about to cry and dh reiterated rather more strongly why he didn't think she needed to do it. The teacher said that a friend of dd's had cried when she first had to stand up on stage and do something but did it and was v happy after; dh pointed out that said friend hadn't just lost a very close relative. Teacher then said she had lost her own mother last year and had had to work through it. DH was just winding up to say she was an adult and dd is 10, when the teacher put her hand in front of his face and said the conversation was making her angry so she wasn't going to continue it, whereupon she went into her classroom.

I am still in that weird in-between state that you can get into when someone dies and you have lots to organise and lots of things go wrong and you've just got to plough through. I don't understand any of what happened. Why would a teacher do that?

paisleyleaf Thu 01-Oct-09 13:57:22

Maybe your DH did handle the conversation a bit badly. But I would expect the teacher to be more forgiving and understanding than that.
Wrong perhaps, but I'd be tempted to give DD a chunk of next week off sick (including speech day).

paisleyleaf Thu 01-Oct-09 13:58:14

(...most people in employment would get compassionate leave)

Iklboo Thu 01-Oct-09 13:58:33

Make an appointment with the head. There's no way I could have done a speech if I had lost my nan when I was 10. I had to have a week at the time.
It's not nice for the teacher to put pressure on your dd with the 'you're letting me down' speech either. A more encouraging approach could have been 'try and do it for your nan/gran's memory'

southernbelle77 Thu 01-Oct-09 13:58:43

Sounds like the dreadfully out of order in my opinion and should not be 'making' your dd do it with everything else going on. I think I would be writing a letter to the head saying so much.

It's the last thing any of you need at the moment.

Iklboo Thu 01-Oct-09 13:59:44

Should have said 'had to have a week off work when she died and I was 20 at the time'

stonethecrows Thu 01-Oct-09 14:10:38

Oh no - what a terribly awkward situation. Teacher shouldn't have said your DD was letting her down, but did the right thing I think in walking away from the confrontation.

I would say let your DD take a few days off nnext week and just inform school by letter that she will not be participating in harvest festival.

Acinonyx Thu 01-Oct-09 14:12:32

Sounds like the teacher has some unresolved baggage from her own bereavement.

Totally out of order. I would speak/write to the head - if you think you can deal with it (I went a bit bonkers for about 6 months after nursing my mother with terminal cancer - and I was 40!). If not - (or in addition) perhpas the gp could write your dd a sick note for a week.

atworknotworking Thu 01-Oct-09 14:14:09

I would have expected the teacher to ask your dd when your mum died if she felt able to continue, for a 10yr old I would have expected not tbh, it's a lot to handle when your'e grown up never mind a child.

Surely they have stand ins for this kind of thing, your DD shouldn't have to feel the pressure of this on top of everything else.

Sorry for your loss to you all.

Sunshinemambo Thu 01-Oct-09 14:14:55

The teacher sounds unreasonable to me. I agree that you or DH should make an appointment to speak to the head.

gorionine Thu 01-Oct-09 14:25:12

I am very sorry for your loss Jux.

Maybe your dh was a bit abrupt with the teacher but FWIW I think he was right to totally back up your DD and the teacher was wrong to tell her she was letting anyone down! I am actually shocked she said it!

Your Dd is not having a wimp, she is struggling to cope with the loss of her beloved grandma. She on top of it has to deal with the stress of sitting an entry exam (DD just sat one while not under any other emotional strain and found it very hard to deal with the stress of it) I personnaly think the teacher shoud have been mor understanding rather than put guilt on her!

Bucharest Thu 01-Oct-09 14:32:37

Jux, sorry for your loss...
Tbh, it sounds like the teacher has gone into a panic because of her precious harvest festival preparations rather than taking into account what your daughter is going through right now....

I second having a word with the head/head of year.

islandofsodor Thu 01-Oct-09 14:38:04

I work for a performing arts school and we have had two of our students suffer a close bereavment.

They found some sort of comfort through what he did with us but we would have totally understood if he had wanted to take a back seat for a while, even if it meant re-casting our yearly show. I touwl have been a majort panic for us, but we would NOT have shown that to the child or the grieving family.

I can not beleive that the teacher spoke to your dh the way he did and would be livid.

ConFuschias Thu 01-Oct-09 14:42:51

Was about to post the exact same as gorionine.

Sorry about your mum.

Cammelia Thu 01-Oct-09 14:45:58

The teacher was being too inflexible. There is no relevance in the teacher going to work when her relative died, that's not something that involves your family.
I am not surprised that your dh was getting angry in the circumstances - its very difficult when you're dealing with someone who is arguing and worse, criticising your dd

katiestar Thu 01-Oct-09 16:15:58

the teacher was being very rude to your DH and that is unacceptable.
however I do think in the same circumstances i would want my DD to do it as it would be a distraction and give her some sense of normality in a troubled time.By speeches do you mean a reading or recitation.that surely isn't too demanding ?

Jux Thu 01-Oct-09 16:40:36

Thanks everyone. DH saw the Head who has smoothed it over and the teacher has apologised (yes, unresolved issues re her own bereavement).

Katiestar, you talk of normality (and others in RL do too) but in fact there is no normality, as mum lived with us and was part of our family life as if she were another child I suppose. She wasn't someone we visited or who visited us, she was always here. We don't have a normality at the moment and are trying to carve out a new normality.

I appreciate that school could represent normality, but for dd school is a trial at the best of times and normality lived at home; having to learn two speeches together with prompts and actions, moves etc is quite a lot to ask of her. She'd have done it last year, but not now. I had thought that perhaps she could do one speech, but having been told by dh that she didn't have to do either if she didn't want to, she was soooo relieved, that I (secretly) agreed.

To have a teacher telling her that she's letting her down by not doing something which she hates doing anyway, and so close to such an emotional event did seem quite bizarre.

DH is really grateful that you all agree and that no one has said "teacher was perfectly reasonable, your dh was out of order asking" which he was afraid of!

Cammelia Thu 01-Oct-09 18:51:46

That sounds like a better outcome Jux, sending you condolences for your loss. xx

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