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What would you do about this teacher, who genuinely seems to dislike DD?

(38 Posts)
MyballsareSandy Thu 23-Apr-15 13:27:57

I find it hard to challenge teachers as I was brought up to believe they were god-like, as were doctors! However, as an adult I realise there are good and bad teachers and doctors, like all professions.

I have two daughters in year 9, they are in most of the same classes. DD1 is quiet, conscientious and gets on with things. DD2 is a chatterbox, bit scatty, forgets stuff if I don't remind her. Capable but treats school as a bit of a social, despite teachers and myself/DH having constant chats about how important the next couple of years are.

Anyway, I know her chattiness must be hugely annoying to teachers and parents evening was much along those lines, bright, capable of achieving well, but won't unless she puts in more effort and buckles down. They all seemed to like her, said she was a pleasant member of class etc etc.

Until our last appointment of the evening with her music teacher. This lady sat there with her lip curled spouting negative stuff about DD for approx 5 min until I intervened. I started to talk and she spoke over me, telling me that I must have had an horrendous parents evening and she was sure that every teacher must have told me how rude and troublesome DD was. I put her straight, telling her that she was the first teacher to ever mention rudeness in her 2.5 years at the school and how surprised I was.

DD said she wasn't rude but struggled to understand why the teacher consistently treated her so harshly compared to the rest of the class. Teacher denied this and we left it that I would speak to DD and try to get to the bottom of her behaviour in this particular class. DH was cross at the teachers rudeness to be fair, talking over us, curling her lip etc.

Anyway, sorry this is long. My other Dd, who is in the same class, confirmed that this teacher is very harsh with DD and most of it is unprovoked. This was backed up by friends in the same class, I didn't go fishing for comments/opinions, they happened to be here one evening and this teacher's name was mentioned, they all commented on her treatment of DD.

We told DD that she had 13 lessons left this term, to keep her head down, do what she's told and then music is finished, as she's not taking it as an option. Don't do anything that could be misconstrued as rudeness, don't chat etc etc. She tried this last week and was immediately hauled out of class for having the wrong type of shoes on. Her shoes had been damaged the previous evening and I had written a note to her form tutor apologising and explaining we would be buying new ones at the weekend. Other children had non uniform stuff on but they were ignored.

The teacher emailed me that evening saying she was tempted to put her in detention as she was not wearing correct uniform and she was chatty and uncooperative. I replied saying she needed to be consistent with all the pupils, how lots of people had commented on her unfair treatment of DD and that I hoped we could come to some agreement regarding DD as there were only 13 lessons left of the school year, and it would be a shame to end on this note. She didn't reply.

Fast forward to yesterday, if you're still with me!! As soon as DD walked into the class, the teacher accused her of lying to me. And kept on about it for most of the lesson. She hasn't contacted me at all.

So what do I do? Apologies for the length of this, but she has really pissed me off and I'm not good at challenging/complaining face to face, but I feel DD needs me to fight her corner on this.

LIZS Thu 23-Apr-15 13:36:14

You may be right in your instincts , after all if everyone got along the role would be a dull place, but is her chatter disruptive, was she wearing correct uniform ? Maybe your and your dd's idea f keeping her head down differ.

NotInGuatemalaNowDrRopata Thu 23-Apr-15 13:36:41

Wow! Poor kid. Good on you for stepping up for her. I think it's time for a meeting with the Head, or whoever's on the list the school has for raising problems once you have no joy from the teacher herself.

WhatAHooHa Thu 23-Apr-15 13:42:20

The last bit, in particular, sounds very unprofessional to me. A lot of what's happened is very subjective and it would be difficult for you to prove that that one teacher is unfairly treating your daughter. The last bit, though, would have me in like a shot. Bullying your daughter because she dared complain to you?! Head of Year first port of call, but you will no doubt needed to escalate to the head.

KleineDracheKokosnuss Thu 23-Apr-15 13:49:49

You need to escalate it. As whatahooha says - very unprofessional.

perrycourt Thu 23-Apr-15 15:36:01

Its important you believe and support your DD - as you rightly say there are 13 lessons left then she is away from this teacher. We have been in your position with our youngest DD. After telling her not to be silly and of course no teacher hated her we were contacted by deputy head who explained that DD had complained directly to her and she had secretly listened to a lesson. Turned out the teacher was picking on her and actually admitted to it and apologised when confronted - so it DOES happen!! I felt awful and now tend to err on my DD's side.
You were very controlled at parents evening and have done everything right with regards to sorting out the problem - the problem here seems to lie with the individual teacher not your DD - I think after the outburst in class I would go into school and speak to head of year as that sort of behaviour is very unprofessional.

chocolateyay Thu 23-Apr-15 15:43:18

I'm not one for 'marching into the school' but I'd make a note of the inconsistencies, comments etc and speak to the head. Teachers like this are bullies - and I know its good to learn how to deal with difficult people, but this can make a kid really miserable and not want to go to school.

MyballsareSandy Thu 23-Apr-15 17:33:07

Thanks all, I'm not one for marching into school either, and I do also tend to play things down and think the DDs are exagerrating etc, so it's interesting to hear your views.

My parents always took the teachers side, I remember being so enraged about this when something was clearly wrong, so I feel I must do something in this situation.

I've been expecting an email from the teacher today, but haven't heard anything.

Apparently they don't have a Head of Year, which I find odd, but both DDs say that's the case. I'm on good terms with one of the deputy heads so I may speak to her about this. DD2 wants me to just leave it, she said there's no point when there are so few lessons left, DD1 is more upset by it all, on her sisters behalf, having witnessed it. DH thinks she should move to a different music class for the remainder of the term.

ealingwestmum Thu 23-Apr-15 17:44:59

Also been in your position with my DD and was brought up that people in any form of authority was always to be respected and right. You have absolutely rationalised in an adult way a possible resolution and to move forward, and whilst your daughter wants to let this lie, teachers like this will not stop, just like bullies until dealt with.

What ever her gripe is, you have factual reasons (such as her not responding to your email follow up) in addition to the subjective views to address, in this case, hopefully with a listening deputy. You very much sound like someone who will be controlled in your delivery, and therefore should be heard with equal respect.

Good luck on getting a successful outcome, even if that results in switching teachers if this one in question cannot control her attitude towards your DD2, or articulate why she finds your DD supposedly so difficult. "So challenging to teach" was the expression used all the time with mine...yet none of the other teachers ever felt that?!

noblegiraffe Thu 23-Apr-15 18:00:07

It may not be possible to switch to a different music class as they may be timetabled at different times.l

The next port of call would be the teacher's line manager, so the head of music rather than the deputy head. Explain the situation and see what they suggest.

Becles Thu 23-Apr-15 18:14:42

The latest issues aside, which you should talk to the school about DD2 is a chatterbox, bit scatty, forgets stuff if I don't remind her. Capable but treats school as a bit of a social, despite teachers and myself/DH having constant chats about how important the next couple of years are.

Massively implies that your DD is hard work and potentially responsible for a lot of low level disruption that could make it hard to control or deliver a class. Just because the other teachers have jokingly mentioning it doesn't mean it's not a problem, probably means that this new teacher has a much lower tolerance for disruptive behaviour and pulls her up about it there and then.

Also worth pointing out to your DD that if she is constantly chatting in class and has 'form', the teacher is more likely to notice poor behaviour that in someone else would be disregarded because they haven't already had a first chance.

I give degrees of leeway, but less to disruptive children because unlike those who generally behave well it can really escalate and impact on the experience of other children.

chocolateyay Thu 23-Apr-15 19:03:19

But a teacher ought to be able to manage a chattery child. A disruptive child is a pain in class but it can be managed without sarcasm and 'picking on' a child.

I had a form teacher who picked at me from day one. She had had the 'pleasure' of teaching my elder siblings and had decided that I had to be put in my place. Every day it was some put down, insult, punishment for little or nothing - really, I was a mousy, eager to please, timid kid!

Esko Thu 23-Apr-15 20:31:14

I think you need to make an urgent appointment for a face to face meeting with her line manager.

My daughter was relentless picked on by her form tutor in year 12. In the end I went to the head of sixth. After an investigation he agreed this was the case and arranged mentoring for the teacher to improve the way she came across to the girls.

Don't just put up with it. This sort of bullying would not be tolerated in my workplace and I don't see why young people should be expected to put up with it or be blamed in some way.

BeaufortBelle Thu 23-Apr-15 20:38:08

Ooh I think it's tricky. Like Beccles I think your daughter has rather a lot to answer for. I don't think there's any excuse for picking on or "bullying" a child but I do think class teachers need to be able to have a disruptive child withdrawn immediately from the classroom because of their impact on the learning of others and motivation of the teacher.

I think you need to put your concerns in writing to the Head Teacher but I think you should be braced for some unwelcome comments about your daughter's behaviour generally.

Apart from that; is music a statutory requirement? Is it a lesson from which your daughter could be withdrawn, possibly for the benefit of all concerned?

GatoradeMeBitch Thu 23-Apr-15 20:43:05

13 lessons doesn't sound like much, but it's quite a long time for this woman to get to bully your child. You need to go over her head. Could your dd do something else during that time?

ElizabethHoover Thu 23-Apr-15 20:44:27

you know i get SICK of telling parents something about their kids, when they then point to every other kid in the school who has green hair or a pierced ear

that is NONE Of your business.

she was rude. take the punishment

SallyMcgally Thu 23-Apr-15 22:08:59

But actually there's no evidence that she was rude, so why should she take the punishment?

ElizabethHoover Thu 23-Apr-15 22:11:35

Other children had non uniform stuff on but they were ignored.


evelynj Thu 23-Apr-15 22:22:37

Get dd to take in a secret camera to music class, (or better still pay someone else in the class to do it) and see for yourself ;) Ask the music head for their opinion. What's the general feeling of this teacher from other parents? I'd expect dd to be in some way responsible. If not, teacher needs to be removed.

Brandysnapper Thu 23-Apr-15 22:28:59

A secret camera, are you for real?

PettsWoodParadise Thu 23-Apr-15 22:39:10

I had something similar in DD's class in Y4 where DD made the cardinal sin of correcting her teacher on several occasions. These were grammatical or spelling errors by the teacher that DD felt should be pointed out. After that the teacher hated (I don't use that word lightly) my DD and they never hit it off. We sat down with the Head of Junior and agreed that it wasn't appropriate for a child to correct a teacher, but then in the first place the teacher needed to not put DD in that position...the teacher was observed for several lessons and it was noted that she closed a number of students down and her style of teaching didn't work with those with those who were not lateral thinkers. My DD is top of class but can go off track for example, but learns by talking about various routes to the solutions. Insisting on a quiet classroom was not conducive to lessons that benefited from collaboration for example. The Head of Junior was amazing in identifying DD's learning style and brokering understanding between DD and teacher about how to best go forward, for example pointing out the benefits of bursts of communication to explore a problem. Head of Junior then made sure that DD was paired with a more suitable teacher for Y5. Perhaps some observation needs to happen for this teacher? Albeit a little while later and not made to appear that it is only related to this scenario so that it isn't a knee jerk reaction and they don't think it to do with that one child, but it can make a huge difference.

ElizabethHoover Thu 23-Apr-15 22:40:22

Yes. Secret camera recording children. What could possibly go wrong

DakotaFanny Thu 23-Apr-15 22:51:38

Secret camera idea....really? Add the absolute mistrust of teachers to the long list of reasons teachers are leaving the profession in droves.

She does sound a PITA but do NOT record her- pretty sure there must be some laws protecting teachers from that.

See her again, or see her line manager. Explain your evidence and don't let her talk over you.

needmorespace Thu 23-Apr-15 23:40:15

One of my daughter's teachers bullied and humiliated her and another classmate over the course of a year. I sat at parent's evenings listening to this woman denigrate my daughter more than once. She actually sounded quite deranged at times.
I desperately wanted to intervene but my daughter pleaded with me not to as she didn't want it to get worse.
Fast forward to the end of the academic year and I brought it up with the Head of Year informally in a meeting - the response was that I should have said something earlier and that the school would have supported me. I got the very firm feeling that her behaviour towards my daughter and another girl was not isolated to just them.
I can't tell you how much I wish I could turn back time and deal with it differently.
My daughter would not have been bullied for a year by this woman who was in a position of trust. And she would not have been terrified about going into these particular lessons.
We are still feeling the repercussions (my daughter started to harm but seems to have this under control).
Never again would I stand back and allow an adult in a position of trust to abuse my daughter in this way just because they were a teacher.
And just in case it is offered up as an excuse for the way this woman treated my child, my daughter is not disruptive in any way - nothing but glowing reports ever, from any other teacher she has ever had along with being a high achiever.

Esko Fri 24-Apr-15 06:38:18

That has just reminded me that when I was at primary a teacher was sacked for the psychological damage she had done to me and my friend with constant bullying. I still have issues to this day because of it. My parents hadn't complained but the Head picked up on it and finally after 3 years, she went.

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