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DS1 (Y8) is being a PITA for one particular teacher. Advice needed.

(28 Posts)
LynetteScavo Mon 03-Oct-11 21:49:00

He's had a couple of lunch time detentions already this term for being "off task" in these lessons.

I'm at a loss at what to do to get DS to behave for this teacher. Stern words from me obviously aren't having effect, and neither are the detentions. Secretly I think this teacher is pretty useless, to the point that I feel sorry for him. I gather the more senior staff are aware of this teachers short comings. DS isn't the only one in the class "off task" during these lessons, but that is no excuse for his poor behavior.

How do I persuade DS to at least sit down and shut up in these lessons? Other teachers tell me DS is a delight to teach.

He missed the end of year trip to Alton Towers at the end of last year because his overall engagement level wasn't sufficient (each teacher awards an engagement level, and the average is taken into account) - due to the low score he received from this one teacher (which was quite justified). I did tell him he could chose a reward from me if he got a decent engagement level in this subject this term, and his reply was "There's no point".

Theas18 Tue 04-Oct-11 09:45:15

What subject? Is it one he doesn't care much about anyway? Assuming it's art or DT or similar that your child doesn't rate as essential to their future I'd stand back and let school deal, but be fully behind and sanctions they impose. You don't have to like a subject but you do have to comply with what is expected re behaviour and performance.

If it's a core subject eg maths that is important I'd have a think about how/why it might not be working for him- is he just really struggling to cope with the work and naffing about and blaming the teacher is a cover for this?

GypsyMoth Tue 04-Oct-11 09:48:13

My dd used to clash with a certain teacher. In the end she was removed from that class and put with her work, into student support centre.

roisin Tue 04-Oct-11 16:29:44

Whatever sanction he gets at school, I'd give double at home.
ie if he gets a lunchtime detention at school, make him do extra chores at home, or confiscate his playstation/mobile/computer or whatever for 24 hours, or whatever will have most effect.

He needs to learn that his behaviour is unacceptable, is disrupting the learning of others and is not fair on himself, his classmates or the teacher who (despite any shortcoming they may have) is still attempting to teach the class.

Why not contact the teacher as well, and point out that you really want ds to behave and succeed in this subject; so you would like her to keep in contact with you on any particular issues - positive or negative to try and turn the situation around.

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Oct-11 18:21:58

ILoveTIFFANY, that is exactly what I think might happen if this continues...he had a clash with a cover teacher at primary school, so ended up spending one afternoon a week playing on the computer by himself. Speaking to his form tutor today she seems to think he is following the lead of other children, but as I said that is no excuse.

The subject is Spanish, his only foreign language (don't ask me how he managed to get out of a 2nd one!). I don't think he will need a decent GCSE in a language, as he is very able at maths and science and English.

He tells me Spanish is "boring" but I do wonder if this is the first time something hasn't come easily to him at school and he doesn't know how to handle it. He did start to cry during parents evening when the teacher was explaining his behavior could be disruptive.

roisin - good idea. I will deduct an amount off his pocket money every time he has a detention. If he has an after school detention I might take the amount it costs me in petrol to do the 26 mile round trip. <<evil laugh>>

GypsyMoth Tue 04-Oct-11 19:53:23

Oh lord, it was Spanish teacher for dd too!!

GypsyMoth Tue 04-Oct-11 19:54:44

School also had a time out card procedure where they were able to walk out of class before they felt themselves getting too frustrated to continue

kritur Tue 04-Oct-11 20:21:28

From a teacher's perspective..........

- He may need spanish if the goverment's current emphasis on EBacc is anything to go by. Also if he wants to take his English any further a modern foreign language is very useful, many universities insist on a GCSE in MFL for entry onto degree courses in English. I sometimes find students who are good at maths and science can be good at languages too (maths and science are just basically different languages.......) but he may be finding things difficult.
- What is more worrying is that he is a dream for other teachers, so it's not that he doesn't know how to behave, has trouble controlling his actions or hasn't been brought up properly. He is choosing not to behave in this class. I had a lad in my form who showed similar behaviour with a relatively weak teacher. What worked for him was his mum actually took 3 days off work and sat next to him in class. At the end of the 3 days she told him she would give up work and move them into a council flat but there was no way she would have him choose to behave like that. He was a model student from then on, he knew she would do it!
- You also need to get to the bottom of what 'off task' means. Is he talking to his mates? Staring out of the window? Being disruptive eg, throwing things, answering the teacher back? Then challenge him as to why.

He doesn't sound like a bad lad but perhaps easily influenced. Is there any reason why he might be trying to fit in with the other boys? Does he lack confidence?

redglow Tue 04-Oct-11 22:10:24

I do not live in a council flat but that mother sounds really snobby. It sounds like a clash of personality to me. My son had this as soon as the teacher left he was fine

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Oct-11 22:52:14

ILoveTIFFANY - DS does have a time out card. He has never actually used it, at high school, but we found at junior school it really helped it (he had anger issues back then, which were dealt with), which is why we asked for him to have one at high school. I shall suggest he uses it; I doubt very much he will, but just knowing he can use it seems to improve his behavior.

kritur - I've never actually had a teacher tell me what they mean by "off task", we heard this phrase from his Y6 teacher, but never any detail. DS once gave me an example of how he behaved in Spanish; The teacher was writing on the board with his back to the class. DS decided to hide behind the open classroom door and call out "Where's DS1?" The teacher turned around, saw DS was not in his seat, and looked around the back of the class and in the corridor. Meanwhile, DS slipped back into his seat, and quietly got on with his work. The teacher turned back to the class to see DS, and looked confused. Cue much sniggering from the rest of the class.

I wouldn't be surprised if the poor teacher ends up of work with stress. sad

I think during the latter part of Y7 he was trying to assert himself with the boys. He came from a Junior school where he had a lot of respect from the other children to a high school where he knew no one!

redglow Tue 04-Oct-11 23:20:16

oh dear sounds like your son is going to get into trouble. Promise I am not sniggering grin

Cathpot Tue 04-Oct-11 23:29:20

Extra help with Spanish so he feels it's a subject he can succeed in? I bet there is some software around to help him at home. Some sort of in family reward system for every week he holds it together in class?

lec0rnsillk Wed 05-Oct-11 14:01:43

sorry Lynette but I'm laughing here grin

kritur Wed 05-Oct-11 17:48:19

What you've described isn't what I would say as a teacher is 'off task', it's playing the class clown and perhaps also goading this particular teacher. It does sound like he is trying to fit in. I would suggest you make an appointment to meet this particular teacher with your son after school and say you have noticed that he has received some sanctions for poor choices of behaviour and you want to have a chat about it so you can support him at home to make the right choices. No teacher should object to that (I wouldn't). He may be able to go on report for that subject only, or on form tutor report, just the the thought he is being watched more closely may make him pack it in!

For me 'off task' tends to be -
chatting to person next to them
turning round in seat
staring out of the window
playing with skirt, trousers, bits of change
Off task behaviour tends to be about avoiding the work that's been set, usually because of difficulties accessing it like reading issues or just finding it hard.

LynetteScavo Wed 05-Oct-11 20:25:14

kritur, he is goading the teacher. He has a weird ability to identify someones week spot and push and push and push until they break. I've seen him do it with teachers several times before. He has had teachers in tears, his Y6 teacher threw him on the floor she was so frustrated (funnily enough after that incident they got on just finehmm)....and it's always over something that would seem minor to the rest of us, but is that particular persons weak spot.

Cornsilk, I can see how it would seem funny if it wasn't your child grin, but I really don't want DS to be responsible for pushing this poor man over the edge.

If he gets an after school detention I will go and speak to the teacher, and head of year.

How do boys tend to view being on report? Would it be seen as something "hard"? It's not something we had, back in my day.

Grammaticus Wed 05-Oct-11 20:33:58

Hmm that is a really horrible trait that needs to be got rid of, I can see why you are beside yourself. Can you see him as a workplace bully in a few years time? I think you need to be really really hard on him at home and also talk to the teacher, as others have suggested. Poor you.

LynetteScavo Wed 05-Oct-11 20:50:57

Work place bully, do you think? shock?

He's never, ever bullied another child, just pushed adults, but he is definitely similar to FIL in a lot of ways, and FIL certainly knows how to bully. sad shock

DS has always pushed boundaries and challenged authority, but I can't imagine him bullying someone equal to or weaker than him.

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 05-Oct-11 20:56:39

But Lynette, he IS bullying someone weaker than him. Being his teacher doesn't stop them from being weaker. Being his teacher puts them in a position where they cannot retaliate in kind, just as a smaller/weaker pupil would be unable to. You said it yourself, "He has a weird ability to identify someones week spot and push and push and push until they break." That is pretty nasty.

LynetteScavo Wed 05-Oct-11 21:12:33

OK, I do take your point. But it was only me (and DH) he was pushing for the first 7 years of life, and we were repeatedly made to think we were useless/inexperienced/over reacting/ineffectual/winging, as others just saw him as a sweet little boy. I couldn't tell you how he pushed us, I just remember life with him was one long challenge. He started getting difficult at school as he became easier at home. At home he is now lovely. And he's lovely with most teachers, as I say, it's just this one.

Maybe this is him being nasty. It seems such a strong word when he's the word usually used is "challenging".

So how do I make sure he doesn't end up like FIL? I've never worried about him being a workplace bully, but I have worried about his future wife.

cory Wed 05-Oct-11 21:38:59

I would certainly have a kind but serious talk with him and explain what has been covered in the last few posts, that bullying an adult is really no different from bullying someone your own age: it is always something to be ashamed of.

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 05-Oct-11 22:07:09

So there has always been someone who he 'pushes and pushes'? He only gives his pushee a break when he can replace them with another one? And he's nice to everyone else, which suggests he can choose whether to push or not to push?

Fuck, sorry Lynette, I have NO clue how to deal with this. I'm hoping someone who has experience will come on this thread and share.

Can you talk with him and ask him why he feels the need to do this? I know they can be a bit monosyllabic at this age (my DS is Y8 too), but even if the question just gets him thinking, wouldn't that be a start?

kritur Thu 06-Oct-11 08:23:06

The way you have described picking on the weak spot, that is bullying I'm afraid. It is one of the most sophisticated and adult forms of bullying as opposed to the stuff kids usually do like hitting or obviously calling someone names. It does need nipping in the bud and I would say don't wait, do it now before it becomes a character habit. I can imagine this teacher is feeling pretty stressed about teaching your son at the moment.

As for boys being on report, it depends on the child really. For some it has absolutely no effect. They 'forget' to take it home to mum and so the efficacy is lost.

happygardening Thu 06-Oct-11 08:35:23

My son was went "off task" in one subject last term and his teacher very kindly rang me to discuss it. Apparently he's normally hard working and interested. She wondered if there was something outside of school that might be affecting him. I scratched around to try and find something primarily blaming it on my younger son. But the teacher then went onto state that they were preparing for an assessment and there was a lot of repetition involved, she considers my DS to be very able and I suggested that perhaps he was bored stiff carefully stating that this was not a criticism against her but the system in general. She then agreed that this was in fact the likely reason. I spoke to my DS when he got home who then told me that they'd spent two weeks going over and over the same thing but I explained that I was not happy with this kind of behaviour and if it continued it would result in loss of pocket money etc.
In life we all have to do things that are boring but children and I think boys find this in particularly find this a very difficult lesson to learn.

happygardening Thu 06-Oct-11 08:37:14

Should proof read better meant to say; I think boys in particularly find this a very difficult lesson to learn.

Grammaticus Thu 06-Oct-11 10:51:17

I feel for you, I really do. I think all you can do is clamp down on it really hard. Even people with the ability to be mean can have lovely mums and it is a hard lesson for all of us that we can't stop our children doing this sort of thing, not completely. DS2 is not especially socially able or empathetic and I do worry that he could be mean, given the chance, so I keep a wary eye out.
I guess you need a two pronged approach - one the hard clamp down, the other trying to aim at WHY (why on earth?) you think he exploits others' weaknesses like this.

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