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DS Yr7 been told he has negative attitude towards subject

(65 Posts)
Spree Tue 11-Dec-12 13:32:31

I have just received an email from DS' (yr 7) Spanish teacher complaining that he has shown a negative attitude towards the subject, doesn't cooperate and manifests this through words in class and won't listen.

I am not sure what to do as this teacher had complained about his behaviour at a parent-teacher a few weeks ago.

We had agreed for her to seat him away from his group of friends and now this.

DS, before I showed him who the email was from, hadn't a clue which teacher would complain about him & would not have listed Spanish as his least favourite subject.

However, he admits he has sometimes talked in class & says the lesson is boring, all they do is copy stuff from the board.

I have told him that teachers don't appreciate students talking during their lessons & he will just need to respect that.

I don't know what to say in response to the teacher.

She has offered to meet but I don't fancy going to listen to what she has already said in her email - without anything to add to it.

He is otherwise doing well at school.

lljkk Tue 11-Dec-12 13:36:13

I think in these situations I end up telling DC that I expect them to always show respect to the teacher. They don't have to like the subject and I don't have it in me to insist they always try their hardest at it. But respect first and foremost, yes.

So that principle would frame whatever strategy I came up with to work on this.

He is so lucky to be studying Spanish!! Only offered at A-level in local state-schools.

AMumInScotland Tue 11-Dec-12 13:37:07

If he's generally well-behaved I'd be tempted to say it's up to the teacher to deal with the behaviour. Bad attitude in a single class is more likely down to the teacher than the student, IMHO.

ZZZenAgain Tue 11-Dec-12 13:40:56

I think you will have to go in and listen to what she has to say really.

Spree Tue 11-Dec-12 14:09:29

The thing is I think he quite likes the language, i have done a little bit of it so at this level, can help him out a bit & found a website we could both look through to help him with it.

Really don't want him to be put off the subject ...

But yes, I think he needs to understand that he has to give the teacher the respect she deserves - regardless

AMumInScotland Tue 11-Dec-12 15:56:03

Would you feel able to meet with the teacher and explain why he was talking and not paying attention? If the class is boring and they really do just copy things from the board then I'm not surprised that his attention wanders.

If he doesn't want to be in trouble, then he may need to learn how to be bored quietly, but it's not ideal, specially if he likes the subject and would like to learn it.

I don't know to what extent a teacher automatically "deserves" respect if they are not much good at teaching, but at the very least he should respect the wishes of others in the class to not be disrupted if they are trying to learn.

Spree Wed 12-Dec-12 07:22:37

Have told DS he needs to respect the teacher and not talk in class.

Arranging to meet her after Xmas & I think I will mention that he finds the copying from the board a bit boring and ask if anything can be done differently to engage him (& the other boys) in the class.

Had dinner with some Spanish-speaking friends and DS said this word "callate" which he says Spanish teacher uses often in class.

Friend explains in front of DS that it means to keep quiet.

However, when I saw friend today, she says "callate" really means shut up & is not a nice form to be using when "silencio" could be used.

Not sure I like the idea of teacher shouting "shut up" at kids ...

And I know she must be using it often enough that DS has picked it up.

lljkk Wed 12-Dec-12 07:45:15

Callate just means "quiet yourself". Not rude imho. Callarse = to quiet oneself. When you learn a language you learn a culture*, too, and it isn't rude in Spanish to be so direct.

Rude thing to say would be "Callete la boca" which is literally "Quiet yourself the mouth" or English equivalent, "Shut up."

Look on the bright side, at least he's learnt something.

*Not that the English appear capable of understanding much about conventions in other cultures & languages (Luis Suarez affair)

Asterisk Wed 12-Dec-12 10:18:35

Copying from the board is a bit boring, but there is vocab to learn for a language and a fair amount of getting it down in exercise books is inevitable. The teacher taking the time to contact you is a good sign -- she cares about what goes on in her class. If I were you, I would e-mail back saying that you are sorry your son has been disruptive and you have spoken to him about it. Point out that he is interested in the subject. Say that hopefully his attitude in the class will improve, but would she please let you know if the problem persists and then you will come in and discuss it. In the meantime ask if there any strategies is she implementing in class for dealing effectively with him that won't cause him to start actively disliking Spanish classes? Ultimately, your talking to him is not likely to be as effective as good classroom management.

racingheart Wed 12-Dec-12 12:24:04

Hmm. Not sure of your idea of expecting the teacher to change her lesson plans to entertain a disruptive pupil. I think it might be time to explain to your son that lessons aren't there to entertain him but to teach him. That it doesn't matter if they are boring, so long as he can learn from them.

Give him a challenge. Ask him to sit at the front, really focus, concentrate on what he's copying from the board, and think about how he could use and apply what he's learning. Ask him to do that for the next six lessons then to review, for himself, whether it's as dull as it was when he mucked about.

She doesn't sound like an inspired teacher, but children have to learn to be respectful and self disciplined. It shouldn't be a case of: I won't co-operate unless conditions are ideal, as set down in my own terms.

chloe74 Wed 12-Dec-12 14:52:35

I don't quite agree with several posts. If DS is doing well in all other areas I would say its not his behavior. Is he managing to actually copy all the work off the board and then talking? I would ask the teacher what they have done to earn the respect of their pupils and what the plan is to differentiate the lessons so all pupils are engaged and challenged in class.

Its very last century to say a child should sit in silence and be bored out of his mind because a teacher is to lazy or inept to produce a good/outstanding lesson. Perhaps you could speak to the head about how the teacher is performing and progressing. If the school is converting to an academy it should make it easier to get rid of under performing teachers.

And it is definitely not ok for the teacher to be constantly shouting at the children to shut up. It might be ok in Spanish culture to do this but we are bringing up our children in the English culture and for a teacher to do this is appalling behavior. Doesn't surprise me to hear kids are talking sometime if the teacher acts like this. It might be old fashioned but 'teachers should lead by example'.

blindworm Wed 12-Dec-12 15:01:58

He's right though, that does sound boring.

racingheart Wed 12-Dec-12 15:02:34

Chloe I think your attitude doesn't help children, long term.

Children are at school to learn. Ideally, the environment is entertaining and stimulating, but even if it isn't, even if it's dull but useful, they must learn to be quiet during lesson time and to concentrate and apply their minds to the job they've been asked to do. Otherwise the little darlings will develop a sense of endless entitlement to the world being like some fun fair and they won't learn the essential art of concentration for its own sake.

The West is being outstripped by Asian cultures which value respect and diligence. We are so child-centred these days that children are not acquiring essential life skills and degrees of maturity which are necessary to thrive in the adult world.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 15:38:02

So, the kids who are slower to copy take even longer because the fast ones should be allowed to chat and mess about and disrupt? grin

Sounds perfect, Chloe.

If you want your children educated in large classes of mixed ability, they need to learn respect for others, teachers and pupils alike.

He can't manage a few minutes here and there without chatting? Shame.

ZZZenAgain Wed 12-Dec-12 15:59:26

tbh I would be hesitant to advise the teacher on how to do her job. She does seem to be rather passing the buck and expecting you to sort this out which is difficult as you are obviously not in the classroom when this is going on.

It does sound as if she is not a particularly gifted teacher but the problem is we rarely get to pick and choose our teachers at school, your ds just has to find a way of making good progress, whatever teachers he gets IYSWIM.

What I would do is tell her that you are surprised about the problem because your ds is doing well in his other subjects and there has never been a problem like this brought up before. You know that he likes Spanish but he has told you that he dislikes all the writing down from the board and when he has a lot to copy down, that is when he tends to feel bored and get distracted and you think that is probably when he starts talking. YOu've spoken to him about the importance of not distracting the rest of the class who are still concentrating on getting things down correctly and you think he took that in. I think I would mention too that he has been doing some Spanish at home as well (whatever it was you did with him) and that he enjoys, in particular he really enjoys X (songs, conversation, learning about dc in Spain, whatever it is) it so you really think it is a problem that can be solved. He is definitely open to learning Spanish.

If she twigs from that and livens up her lessons a bit , ok but if not, I don't know if it would go down well tbh if you told her how to do her job, even in the form of polite suggestions. You'd need to speak to someone above her about that (Head of foreign languages perhaps) and if her superior observed some lessons and maybe gave her some advice, it might be a good solution. It would, I think, have to come from that quarter. At this point though, I wouldn't take that step.

ZZZenAgain Wed 12-Dec-12 16:03:57

sorry my third paragraph got very muddled, was on the phone to dd at the same time.

chloe74 Wed 12-Dec-12 20:01:52

racingheart - exactly what about challenging and stimulating lessons creates a sense of entitlement? However, boring and dull lessons do create the sense that learning is a core not a joy. No one is asking the teachers to be entertainers but they are supposed to teach children that learning is enjoyable. Learning by rote, copying down endless text off the board etc teaches noting but a robotic process that involves zero thought. Learning to cope with boredom is not the same as learning to concentrate. If you are saying that the Asian cultures achieve better than us by creating endless 'cloned' children that are highly educated slaves with no ability for independent, inspirational thought then you are right.

The answer is not to compete with those countries but to do what England used to do best before the last government created the culture of making everyone equal at the bottom. We should be stretching the brightest children so they love learning and go on to invent, discover, create, lead, innovate, inspire and all the things that made Britain a Great country.

madwomanintheattic - case in point, you seem to think its better to hold the bright children back to help the 'slowest' ones. Shame.

It is also a shame every school has a few 'less than gifted' teachers that children just have to cope with. The more academies we have the more parents can pressure heads to sack the bad ones and reward the good ones. Our children deserve better.

Dominodonkey Wed 12-Dec-12 20:12:07

chloe 74 are you an OFSTED inspector?
"I would ask the teacher what they have done to earn the respect of their pupils" - Probably 17 years of education, a degree and a teaching qualification plus many years teaching - the child doesn't have to bow or scrape just not talk when he shouldn't be.

OP- If you came in and told me your child was disruptive and talked because the lesson was boring I would be disgusted. I know you have generally been supportive of the teacher in your posts but please don't even hint to your son that his behaviour may be justified as it will do him no good in the long run.

The cry of "my child is fine in other lessons" means nothing, this teacher may have higher standards (nothing wrong with that), he may be in other lessons with more disruptive children so he flies under the radar or the other teachers may be too busy to contact you at the moment so not contacting until it becomes a major issue.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 20:19:08

Chloe, don't be stupid. I've got three gifted children. Why would I think that? Oddly, I expect my very able children to shut up, do as they are told, and accept that their peers may be working slower. If I found out they were chatting and being disruptive, I would be chewing them a new arsehole.

Appropriate differentiation is a grand old concept. Sadly not many teachers can manage it. I can only assume that you have been extremely lucky with your bright children to receive great teaching if you can afford to make ill judged and ridiculous comments like that. Or are you going to tell me that your kids are jolly gifted and piss the teacher around because they are bored? Nowt to do wit kids at all?

You are talking absolute bollocks, and clearly have no idea how children should behave. (Is that comment equally as stupid as offensive to you as yours was to me?)

And no, I'm not denying the very real possibility of twice exceptional kids who struggle with traditional schooling methods. One of my gifted kids also has ADHD and aspergers traits. I would still rip him a new one if he was disruptive in the classroom.

Tsk. What shite.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 20:20:00


Shame my arse.

Walk in these shoes for ten years and then come back, you know not of what you speak.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 20:21:56

And one of my gifted kids is also one of the slowest ones. grin she has the highest iq in the school, but her cerebral palsy means her fine motor struggles with recording.

I am blown away by your stupidity, tbh.

chloe74 Wed 12-Dec-12 21:03:26

Dominodonkey - I know loads of 'stupid' people with degrees, it is no indication of teaching ability. 17 years of education, could be 17 years of bad teaching. A teaching qualification, again is not indication of being a good teacher. I do agree pupils should be able to be quiet when appropriate but I do not accept this is an acceptable way to cover up bad lessons.

Bright children should not be left to sit in the corner bored out of their minds. Is it so hard for teachers to give them interesting and challenging work to do? At the very least why not let any child who has finished pull out a book and read, or get on with work from another class. Come on its not hard, I do not see anything humane or useful from asking a child to be seen and not heard.

madwomanintheattic - I only said that in response to one of your posts. smile I accept you are a parent/teacher that prefers to rule with an Iron fist, but I do not accept your right to force that opinion on other people. We left the Victorian era behind and there are far better ways to challenge and stretch bright children. I am sick of having to berate teachers when children offer answers that are correct but told they are wrong because the teacher is 'incorrect'. And if I heard of a (you) teacher "chewing them a new arsehole" I would come down on you like a ton of bricks. You are right that a lot of teachers are unable to differentiate, but that's because teachers has a job for life and ability has never been important. We need to get rid of those teachers.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 21:12:16

I'm not a teacher. I'm a parent of three gifted children that don't disrupt classes.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 21:13:44

And I'm talking about my kids. I will not have them disrupting other people's children's learning. End of.

It's a shame that other parents (you) feel that being bright gives (your) kids the right to do this.

Differentiation would be perfect if it existed.

threepiecesuite Wed 12-Dec-12 21:13:58

Before even opening the thread, I knew it would be a languages-related post... :-(

I'm a Spanish teacher. It's a brand new subject for most Yr7s. Some take to it,some don't. The ones who don't are, in the main, boys who find it too drama-y/too hard/too much to write/pointless.

I do everything I possibly can to bring the culture to the classroom, but there is a lot of vocab to learn and remember and that is hard for many/not what they are used to.

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