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How much would you sympathise with dd in this situation?

(57 Posts)
Takver Wed 10-Jun-15 21:37:20

She's complained to me a number of times that their science teacher frequently comments on several of the girls' personal appearance. Apparantly he tends to 'pick on' specific girls, particularly the - for want of a better word - pretty/popular ones (ie not the geeky ones!) if they aren't trying hard in class.

DD is very clear that he's never singled her out, (unsurprisingly since she's ms science geek) - but she says that she knows some of the girls he does pick out are already funny about their weight, and she feels it's unhelpful if a teacher calls them 'fat and stupid', even in jest.

So far I've suggested that she sits quiet and says nothing, since she has many more years of being in his class - but would you be more sympathetic - and if so, any helpful suggestions??? (I'm sure he's trying to be lighthearted and funny, and just jolly them along, but it does sound like not the best approach with teen girls.)

BitOfFun Wed 10-Jun-15 21:40:31

Really? I'd hit the bloody roof and complain to the HoY/whoever is appropriate and see that he's pulled up on it (ask to keep your daughter's name out of it, given that he doesn't seem averse to victimising pupils. That's a disgraceful way to talk to young women trying to get an education.

BitOfFun Wed 10-Jun-15 21:42:56

I didn't close my brackets, I'm that cross grin

CocktailQueen Wed 10-Jun-15 21:43:34

Completely unprofessional and unacceptable. I'd contact the school. But can you be sure your dd is telling the truth?

Softfriend Wed 10-Jun-15 21:44:49

I'd be shouting very loudly too in a calm polite I want action manner!

AtiaoftheJulii Wed 10-Jun-15 21:46:32

Er yes, what they said! I certainly wouldn't be telling her to be quiet and put up with it!

Takver Wed 10-Jun-15 21:47:14

I don't see any reason for her not to, CocktailQueen - she's always said that he's been fine to her, she likes science, and enjoys his lessons generally.

DD sees the school counsellor for other reasons - I had thought of suggesting that she might mention it to her in confidence (she's excellent, and I'm sure could mention it tactfully to the teacher in question without naming names)

BitOfFun Wed 10-Jun-15 21:50:18

It really wouldn't be appropriate for the counsellor to do that, for all sorts of reasons, not least that s/he isn't the teacher's supervisor.

It needs dealing with, and I think it's best achieved by a parental complaint.

Takver Wed 10-Jun-15 21:54:44

I'm reluctant to complain - have had to ask school for help quite a bit last year dealing with problems that have affected dd - which this isn't, directly, so on the whole I'm keen to avoid being the awkward squad. (Hence why previously I've suggested that dd just ignore it.)

MajesticWhine Wed 10-Jun-15 21:57:19

Yes, I agree - not really the counsellor's role.
I would be appalled at this. I am not often moved to action, but I would speak to a tutor or head of department about it. It would be useful to first corroborate with other parents and children if possible.

BitOfFun Wed 10-Jun-15 21:59:51

Takver, please don't take this as my being rude, but have you thought what messages you are sending to your daughter about keeping her head down and avoiding confrontation?

Takver Wed 10-Jun-15 22:03:53

BoF - I do take your point, but if you knew my dd (and me/DH), you might realise that it can be a useful take-home message that sometimes there are moments when keeping your head down and avoiding confrontation is the best decision.

Haggisfish Wed 10-Jun-15 22:05:57

What?! Far and stupid?! As a teacher, I would report a colleague for saying this. I would def raise it with head of dept and if no satisfactory answer or improvement, would be going to head and chair if govs. Utterly unacceptable.

Bearleigh Wed 10-Jun-15 22:06:25

I have size 37 feet, or size 4, and am 5'4" tall. My uncle once, when I was about 13, told me that I had 'feet like boats'. For years I thought I did, and once bought some size 7 shoes.

Teenagers believe what is said to them and this horrid man will be undermining some of those girls terribly. Do please do something about this.

Takver Wed 10-Jun-15 22:08:38

The thing is, I think it's not that direct, but the meaning is obvious, IYKWIM. So dd's recent example is her American friend - she got a question wrong, and he referred to 'all americans being fat and stupid'.

DD says in this instance she did put her hand up and say 'I'm half american, does that mean I'm fat and stupid' - to which his answer was 'well, you're not stupid'.

Takver Wed 10-Jun-15 22:09:59

I am getting the message, though - I will tactfully investigate with a couple of dd's friends, and follow up if it seems appropriate.

Either that or I'll just let dd loose on him in full teenage-feminist-mode and tell her I'll back her up grin

BeaufortBelle Wed 10-Jun-15 22:10:24

Is it not up to the parents of the girls he is picking on to raise it on behalf of their own daughters?

It's inappropriate but I think perhaps as it isn't affecting your daughter I'd tell her that the girls affected and/or their parents need to raise it on their behalf just as you would raise something that directly affected her.

Is it something that could perhaps be mentioned quietly in passing at a parents' evening or PTA meeting in the context of role modelling and the vital part teachers have to play in that?

HeffaLumpers Wed 10-Jun-15 22:12:04

That is in no way acceptable. You need to complain and support your daughter. You really can't tell her to ignore that, it's not a healthy message.

BitOfFun Wed 10-Jun-15 22:12:06

There is no place in teaching for this kind of sexist bullying. It may indeed be wise for your daughter to avoid antagonising him, but I do feel that it's only responsible for an adult made aware of what is going on to speak up and put a stop to it.

Takver Wed 10-Jun-15 22:12:17

That's where I've been to date, BeaufortBelle. Basically - yes, it's not great, but it's up to those affected to complain.

If I were to raise it, I'd probably speak to dd's lovely form tutor at parents' eve, which is next week, hence the question on here now.

Haggisfish Wed 10-Jun-15 22:13:26

I disagree. It's so awful as language to use that I would complain. I would not encourage your dd to say anything directly-it sounds like the teacher is on a power trip and slightly misogynistic who would not hesitate to be unpleasant to your dd.

Takver Wed 10-Jun-15 22:15:33

I really don't think he's that awful! I think he's a bit socially awkward and getting it wrong, to be absolutely honest.

In absolute fairness, it is quite possible given small sample size and what I know about the group in dd's class that the ones who mess around and don't pay attention are all girls. So he may be being equally rude to boys in other classes.

funchum8am Wed 10-Jun-15 22:16:38

Definitely worth letting the school know. Counsellor route is fine imho (speaking as a head of faculty in a secondary school) as the counsellor will likely have more experience of dealing with this kind of situation than anyone else on the staff, and will know who will really get to the bottom of it. That could be a middle manager in science, the head of faculty, the head of your DD's year or key stage, or the SLT lead for staffing. They should explain to your DD that they cannot keep that element of that day's session confidential, but only those who need to know should know the initial report came from her.

NB this assumes the rule book is adhered to! Appalling behaviour by the teacher. Well done your dd.

Toffeelatteplease Wed 10-Jun-15 22:18:18

Personally I wouldn't complain myself. but I would mention it to the relevant girls parents if I knew them or encourage my daughter to encourage the relevant girls to complain if they were unhappy

Takver Wed 10-Jun-15 22:19:06

Thanks, funchum. I'm sure the counsellor will say if it isn't something she feels she can deal with.

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