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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.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 21:16:17

(And believe me, any search of my posts would suggest that on occasion I have pontificated over homeschooling, rather the dreadful one-size-doesn't-fit-anyone sausage machine excuse that is British state education.)

But if you are in it, you have to put up and shut up. You can negotiate towards differentiation, but on no occasion does any child get informed that it is okay to mess about if he is bored.

No way you are going to persuade me of that one.

Themumsnotroastingonanopenfire Wed 12-Dec-12 21:21:09

I love the way people are taking it for granted that this teacher is crap at her job and her lessons involve nothing but copying from the board on the word of a disruptive eleven-year-old.

chloe74 Wed 12-Dec-12 22:06:55

madwomanintheattic – I actually agree with most of your opinions. I don't like differentiation either, would prefer selection, but its not available where I live. And I certainly wouldn't advocate my children being disruptive. I would class mine as educated but not beyond anything any parent that tried could do, in terms of sats level they are ‘bright’ but I see them as ‘normal’. Every time I talk to teachers all they say in response refers to differentiation, seems there is no alternative barring private.

However I disagree that if you are in it you have to put up or shut up, that's just class snobbery middle class parents use. Exactly how does a low income family (still pay taxes for education) who have to work have any choice? That sort of elitist opinion makes me feel very mad, like we have to shut up and accept our status in life and don’t do anything to better ourselves...

If my child was bored in class because a lazy teacher cant be bother to give them something challenging then its the teacher that should be sacked. If you prefer to silence your children rather than address the teacher then you are are part of the problem to be removed.

threepiecesuite - -glad to hear an honest teacher for once. I would rather you did your best to get kids interested in the language/culture/learning/cuisine/mythology in class and pushed the vocab to homework where parents can find the best way for them to learn it (like we did with spellings at primary). It doesn't work the other way around and many of us remember hating MFL teachers who can’t do this. There is so much to excite and interest children about different cultures, it is just wrong the way many schools takes the soul out of learning.

Themumsnotroastingonanopenfire – Who is responsible, the adult or the child? If a child is at fault its ALWAYS because of the adult. In this case it could be the parents but we can only go on the info of the informed parent.

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Dec-12 22:12:35

Chloe. You would ask the teacher what they have done to earn the respect of their pupils????? Words fail me.

Floggingmolly Wed 12-Dec-12 22:15:04

Ha. If a child is at fault it's ALWAYS the fault of the adult
Ok. It's official, you're deranged.

chloe74 Wed 12-Dec-12 22:16:36

Seems a few parents on here still feel children aren't due their human rights. Shame

chloe74 Wed 12-Dec-12 22:17:39

Children are born innocent, a blank slate. Anything that comes out of them is the result of input from adults.

changeforthebetterforObama Wed 12-Dec-12 22:19:47

biscuit First ever for Chloe. You really have it in for teachers. You should get a job with Michael Gove. Do naff off now, won't you?

chloe74 Wed 12-Dec-12 22:22:54

changeforthebetterforObama - I appreciate its not PC to discuss 'teaching' issues but its always wrong to blame it on the kids. And it says it all when teachers with a financial interest prefer to resort to insults rather that justify their tax payer funded jobs for life with gold plated pensions.

SHoHoHodan Wed 12-Dec-12 22:40:00

Hmm. I had this a few times with ds1. What I did was arrange a meeting with the teacher, his year Head and ds1 himself. I would ask the teacher what the lessons involved and where he/she felt that ds1 wasn't paying attention/doing his best, then I would ask ds1 what his thoughts were on what the teacher had said.

The thing is, no matter how honest your child usually is, there's almost always some embellishment on the truth, plus a certain amount of 'forgotten' stuff, I've found. So the true facts may be that (for instance), your ds is chatting more than he thinks he is and that there is other stuff in the lessons to engage his interest (but he may not be fully recognising this because he has already disengaged by chatting/mucking about.

What I also used to say to ds1 was this: there are good teachers and there are not-so-good teachers. You will almost certainly have personality clashes with some of your teachers throughout your school career, just as you would anyone else-because teachers are human beings, just like you or me. They have bad days like you do too. But the one thing they have is a degree, which you (my ds1, that is) do not yet have. For that alone, you will listen to them because they know more about their subject than you do and they deserve your respect. (Sometimes I also used to add that I personally couldn't imagine having to try and teach a bunch of ungrateful little wretches day-in, day-out grin )

Strangely enough, on more than one occasion ds1 had the same teacher for a subject higher up in the school and the situation was completely different- whether it was because ds1 was growing up and therefore more able to relate more to them or what, I don't know, but it certainly happened.

chloe74 Wed 12-Dec-12 23:01:43

SHoHoHodan - I agree with you 99%. But I have first hand evidence that so called 'degrees' are not proof of being correct. Sometime an interested child actually does know more than the teacher, I wish they would stop punishing the child for that sad.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 23:08:29

I must have missed the bit where someone filled my bank account with free cash, tbh. As a working family, I still can't afford private. If a child is genuinely bored, that is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

Even a bored kid shouldn't be disruptive though, that's just plain bad manners, and needs to be stopped immediately.

Sure, deal with the boredom. But don't ever let the kid think it's okay to be disruptive. I don't care how bored you are, shut up and read a book. It's less obtrusive than chatting and pissing about. And then get your mam to address your differentiation requirements. Don't make the teachers and other pupils lives a misery because you don't have showgirls or an iPod to keep you amused.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 23:10:20

Human rights?

To entertainment? It's a new one on me, and belittles the real necessity of human rights in far worse places than y7 Spanish.

madwomanintheattic Wed 12-Dec-12 23:14:25

And if you are truly bleating about his right to an education, then he's the one removing the human rights from his classmates, by preventing their education. Bit of an own goal.

SHoHoHodan Wed 12-Dec-12 23:21:46

chloe74: of course it happens that an interested child knows more than the teacher - about a particular area of a topic, for instance. It also happens that a student believes that because they do know more, that they can thumb their nose at their teacher and muck about in class. These students would do well to learn the lesson of good manners, if they feel they have learned everything else already.

However, what they do not know anything about is the years of study involved in getting a degree, let alone the years of experience in their field. As I said upthread (and said to ds1)- for that, teachers deserve some respect.

I look on school not just as a place for learning about specific subjects, but also for learning about the way of the world. It is a rare person who has not had to work for a complete idiot of a boss, who knows less than they do themselves. It is even less rare to work with people with whom you have nothing in common or with whom you clash. The way you deal with it is what counts- and this can be learned during school, with situations like this, if everyone is prepared to put in the effort.

chloe74 Wed 12-Dec-12 23:43:40

madwomanintheattic - I guess that's where we differ, if an adult is not getting the service they pay for we are very loud expressing our dissatisfaction. But you are suggesting a child should suck up the bad service us tax payers are provided. I suggest that's the reason why we are saddled with a useless education system. I refuse to teach my child to be quiet when teachers aren't providing the service I have paid for. More fool you for doing that with your kids.

Why do you keep shouting children should be allowed to watch showgirls in class, are you mad?

SHoHoHodan - no one is suggesting a child should be rewarded for 'snubbing their nose' at teachers but they should not be put down for giving a correct answer!

A lot of teachers have degrees that did not require years of studying or its so old they learnt their subject before DNA/evolution was even discovered, pretty disgraceful. Respect is earned, I cant see any reason why a teacher deserves any more respect than a pupil. Learning is a mutual pursuit and its arrogant for teachers to come at it assuming they know it all. I have learnt more from children than I have from most classes.

AViewfromtheFridge Thu 13-Dec-12 00:03:28

I particularly like the juxtaposition of children's bad behaviour ALWAYS being the fault of the adult, and them being denied their human rights. Completely barking.

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Dec-12 01:53:21

Er, deliberately disingenuous. I said the kids should suck it up and be told to behave, and the parents can discuss appropriate differentiation later. grin

But, you know, I guess when you are trying to advocate for bad behaviour being acceptable in a class in any circumstance, you would get a bit confused.

How on earth can it ever be okay for a kid to chat and mess about and disrupt the class?


I don't care how bright he is, or how boring the teacher or lesson.

Disrupting the education of his peers is not acceptable under any circumstances.


How dreadful for children to be taught it's ok to ruin the education of others.


madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Dec-12 01:57:06

<and I didn't say i was quiet about it. I said the children should be. grin>

The odd crap teacher isn't anything I'm going to lose too much sleep over, tbh. It's no secret they exist, but I've got far bigger fish to fry. I've written off a year or two of school due to them in the past, and doubtless I'll do so again. Dd2's y2 teacher was a corker.

How nice to be able to work yourself into such a frenzy over a crap Spanish lesson. grin must have too much time on your hands.

Spree Thu 13-Dec-12 04:26:37

Sorry I'm the OP and I didn't quite this thread to kick off in this manner.

Well DS has been spoken to by Head of MFL Dept and we have made appointment to see the Spanish teacher in January after the break.

DS has been told he needs to stop talking in class and respect the teacher.

However, I think I will be asking the teacher how we can better engage DS and tell her what he is struggling with.

We live abroad and pay horrendous fees and my main concern is that I would not want DS to be turned off a subject because of this. He also learns another language (started the same time as Spanish) and we have had no complaints from that teacher.

lljkk Thu 13-Dec-12 07:58:26

Ah, that's MN for you. I especially love the person who wrote "but we are bringing up our children in the English culture" and it turns out OP isn't in England at all (ho ho ho).

If it's a private school that changes the picture somewhat, Spree. I think you have more moral right to demand that they provide an engaging lesson, anyway. Although life is full of boring experiences & lessons that must be endured, too. May I ask where you are? Hope you sort it out, anyway.

ZZZenAgain Thu 13-Dec-12 10:39:22

what do you think of the way Shoho dealt with it: asking for a meeting with you, ds, the head of MFL and the Spanish teacher all present? In any case, if the meeting with the teacher in January gives you the impression that the lessons are essentially at fault here and need improvement, make an appointment to see the head of MFL and bring up your concerns. I do agree with CHloe to some degree that we do not necessarily always need to put up with poor teaching. There is something to be said for querying it at times. I do think it is quite possible that the problem lies more with the teacher than with the boy in this case since his behaviour in other classes, including another MFL is obviously different. I wonder if he is the only one in this Spanish class atm with whom this teacher is having difficulties or if she is generally not very good at classroom management. If you are concerned about the teaching being very poor, you are within your rights IMO and acting reasonably to calmly bring this up with the head of MFL or indeed with the head and see if it cannot be rectified.

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Dec-12 14:06:31

not disagreeing.
I'm not in the Uk either. grin but the CDs have attended UK schools as well.

Have witnessed an awful lot of weak teachers in Lang classes being treated v differently to other teachers, so it could still just be a personality thing. However weak the teacher is (and dealing with that is a separate issue) it is never acceptable to disrupt other people's education, however personally boring you find the lesson.

Spree Fri 14-Dec-12 04:32:37

I won't meet the teacher with DS present if we are going to ask her about ways to engage him in the class.

It might give him the idea that he could be justified in behaving the way he behaves... I think that's better done separately with the teacher.

She has previously said to me that the class is quite big (low 20s) and there are a lot of boys in it.

I also know another boy who now sits upfront on his own too so perhaps she just may not be used to dealing with 11 year old boys, who need more active learning opportunities.

HandbagCrab Fri 14-Dec-12 08:34:51

Ime kids generally don't complain about genuinely crap teachers. The reason being that crap teachers don't expect much of the kids, let them get away with stuff and are ineffectual at various aspects of teaching which makes these lessons 'easy'. This teacher sounds proactive and is at least trying to sort things out, she could just more easily not say anything and let it all slide.

I thought rote learning was what you paid your money for these days anyway? A traditional Gove style education based on 50s style teaching principles? smile

Perhaps go into your meeting with an open mind. Perhaps your ds doesn't just copy off the board 3 hours a week or whatever. Perhaps the more engaging bits of the lessons he is not engaging with and therefore the only bit he does do is the copying.

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