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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 Mon 17-Dec-12 14:08:51

I suppose those stats will include places like tiny remote cumbria village schools, but I doubt those influence averages very much.

DC in reception & yr4 have about 26-28 in class. DD in yr6 is in a class of 23. This is in a school of about 350 pupils.

On high school tours few I think I was told anything between 12-35, with 26-28 about typical. Highest & lowest ability groups have smaller classes, although top 2 sets might be combined to make a superclass of 35 or so, and allow more teaching hours to the bottom set.

phlebas Mon 17-Dec-12 13:32:10

I'm amazed at that figure for average class size - none of my daughter's classes have fewer than 28 students & a quick poll amongst friends & relatives spread out across the country agrees that 28-32 is far more typical. My sister is in a private school where class sizes are 20-22 in the main school (smaller in 6th form) & that was considered tiny locally shock

lljkk Mon 17-Dec-12 13:21:20

I guess it may be false assumption, but my guess is that larger classes occur at desirable schools in desirable areas. Only a trend, not a guarantee.

Themumsnotroastingonanopenfire Mon 17-Dec-12 10:05:01

Sounds very similar to where I live ljkk. The schools around where I live, those which my children attend and in which I have taught, are all underachieving comprehensives serving similar communities. They are certainly not 'naice' whatever that is.
I'm not sure what you are saying here - is it that only these so-called 'naice' schools have large class sizes? Because I assure you that's not true. Most of the classes I've taught, and my children are taught in consist of at least 30.

lljkk Mon 17-Dec-12 10:00:39

Where I live is very ordinary in every way, high-ITV-viewing, very average or below average test results from most schools, some high rural social deprivation although you wouldn't know it to look at, not the usual MN definition of "naice".

Themumsnotroastingonanopenfire Mon 17-Dec-12 09:26:50

It's easy when you don't live in a Naice area.

How do you mean?

lljkk Mon 17-Dec-12 07:34:54

Those class sizes are average ime.
It's easy when you don't live in a Naice area.

Themumsnotroastingonanopenfire Mon 17-Dec-12 00:19:46

Low 20s is an average class size? I wish.
Not true in my area - 30-32 more likely.

madwomanintheattic Sun 16-Dec-12 20:52:16

I must have worked in a v unusual English secondary then! grin

Low 20s would have been lovely. grin It was usually high 20s, of which at least 8 had significant sn (significant enough to require the LSA's intervention for at least elements of the lesson).

Good to know that it's not the norm, anyway. This was an outstanding secondary with people trying to buy in catchment to guarantee places. I supported lessons where at least 70% of the pupils had little to no interest in learning anything, and were only there because they had to be. V depressing. The few kids in each class who wanted to learn were prevented from doing so by the majority who didn't give a stuff. grin

It was an interesting insight into what at outstanding education looks like in secondary. <sigh>

lljkk Sun 16-Dec-12 18:00:45

Oh, and oops, OP isn't in England so heaven knows what counts for large where she is, anyway.

lljkk Sun 16-Dec-12 17:59:09

Not true, Madwomen. Secondary class size in low 20s is trending towards large. Check these data out.

Average size classes in English secondaries is under 21.

Primary average is bigger, 26-27.

madwomanintheattic Sun 16-Dec-12 17:10:08

And, um,low 20s isn't a big class.


Not in state, anyway. It's positively small. grin

My 11yo boy likes more active learning opportunities, but tbh, he learns better when he doesn't have the opportunity to distract himself, so rote learning from the board would probably be more efficient. He wouldn't enjoy it so much, but it depends on what you want out of education. grin

GreatUncleEddie Fri 14-Dec-12 12:47:06

Without the swearing, mind grin

GreatUncleEddie Fri 14-Dec-12 12:46:35

Of course they will. And the OP was inviting him to criticise his Spanish lessons by asking him why he was mucking about. She said at the start that he hadn't identified Spanish as a lesson that he didn't like before she asked him about it. He said it was dull because he had to say something, and even if it is dull he needs to STFU and get in with learning it. That's what I would tell my y7 anyway.

racingheart Fri 14-Dec-12 11:09:30

Spree, please don't go in assuming she needs a pep talk from a parent on how to be a better teacher. Please listen first to what she says. Our DC will always spin information in their own favour.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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