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Teacher's commet

(114 Posts)
DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 19:48:37

Dd is in year 10 at a highly selective school. She has always been told she should contribute more in lessons but has always found it hard, being rather shy. Being surrounded by lots of clever and confident peers hasn't always helped. Today she put her hand up in English to ask to go to a music lesson, to which the teacher said "well yes it would be surprising if Dorothydaughter actually made a contribution". Dd felt mortified and was a bit teary about it tonight. Apparently this teacher is often rather sar astic, but am I wrong to
find this a bit counterproductive?

DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 19:56:51

Argh comment not commet!!

UnlikelyPilgramage Mon 23-Nov-15 19:59:07

I think this is an occasion where you are justified in nicely letting the teacher know how your daughter felt.

If she's basically a decent sort who misjudged a sarky comment she'll apologise. If not, you can decide what (if anything) you want to do next flowers

DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 20:01:54

Email or wait till parents' evening in two weeks' time?

llhj Mon 23-Nov-15 20:06:39

A very unnecessary comment which wouldn't help any situation. Email teacher with your points. Politely but firmly.
Your dd will need to contribute more though, it's really important for developing her confidence etc going forward. Just keep encouraging her etc and perhaps she could email teacher herself expressing her feelings. That would be brave.

DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 20:14:42

How about this?

Dear Mr X

Dorothydaughter was a little bit upset today after you commented to her that it would be surprising if she actually made a contribution to English, when she asked to be allowed to go to her music lesson. Right from the beginning of her school career she has been told by numerous teachers that she should contribute more in lessons, but at the same time she has always found this hard and continues to do so to this day. She is a committed and hard-working student who pays close attention in lessons, but she really struggles to pluck up the confidence to make a verbal contribution during class discussions, especially in a subject like English where there might not be one "right" answer. She has taken your comment as a wake-up call and is determined to try harder to put her hand up. Please could I ask you to encourage her in this endeavour, as fear of being "wrong" makes it harder for her?

Thank you, and kind regards,

Dorothy L

IguanaTail Mon 23-Nov-15 20:17:33

Yes that's a good email. I like the positive spin at the end. I'm a teacher and if I got that I would be really upset that I had made a student feel rubbish about herself and would be keen to encourage her in a better way. So that's perfect I think.

Meloncoley2 Mon 23-Nov-15 20:18:58

But she hasn't taken it as a wake up call..... She has been teary and upset...
I think this teacher's comment was out of order.

DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 20:20:54

Well she has said that she wants to try and prove him wrong.

IguanaTail Mon 23-Nov-15 20:23:17

She's probably anxious because she knows she should contribute and doesn't. He can easily sort this out by getting them to share answers in pairs and then asking individuals to tell the class what they discussed as a pair. That takes the pressure off an individual worrying about whether or not she is individually right or wrong.

DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 20:38:52

Trouble is dd doesn't want me to email... Not sure whether to write anyway but not tell her?

IguanaTail Mon 23-Nov-15 20:59:18

I think if she's dead set against it then don't. If she feels embarrassed she's even less likely to contribute.

llhj Mon 23-Nov-15 22:01:19

Great email.

DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 22:10:48

Thank you, just wish dd was happy for me to send it shock

Haffdonga Mon 23-Nov-15 22:22:59

I wouldn't say the bit about the wake up call. The teacher needs to accept that some kids are just quiet. As long as she's learning and contributing through effort e.g. in her written work then that's fine and she doesn't need to 'wake up' .

noblegiraffe Mon 23-Nov-15 22:25:19

How would she feel if she were picked to answer a question without having to put her hand up? Instead of forcing your dd to push herself forward when that's not her personality, could the teacher be inviting her opinions instead?

Like "how does Lady Macbeth blah blah....? DorothyDD what do you think?"

Would that be better or worse?

BrendaandEddie Mon 23-Nov-15 22:27:21

I don't think you should say anything. Make d say something. She's year ten. Come on

DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 22:33:48

Noblegiraffe he does do that and she gives answers then, which kind of makes his comment more unfair. She says in English she feels nervous even when answering the register!

DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 22:37:49

No hope of Dd having the courage for that Brenda!

Italiangreyhound Mon 23-Nov-15 22:43:04

Dorothy the email is fine except the wake up call bit, it's not a wake up call, it's a rude sarcastic comment from a person in a position of trust who should know better.

If you dd does not want you to email, I would not email. But I would say that if there are discussions between you and this teacher that you may wish to bring this up.

I find the idea that your daughter 'has to' contribute and must speak up etc all very troubling, has the teacher no other way of knowing if his imput is going in without her being willing to say something in class. Does he not understand how shyness works?

Clearly this teacher is not making the classroom environment feel like the kind of place your dd feels able to speak up in. Her being in year 10 is not much to do with it, I know plenty of gobby kids in year one and shy adults.

The most important thing is for your dd to begin to feel confident in herself, so in your shoes I would do whatever you feel is necessary to help her to do that, and I would gleefully hope this teacher will bring it up at the parent teacher consultation because I would be ready to fight your dd's corner!!

DorothyL Mon 23-Nov-15 22:49:10

Quite determined to raise it myself at the consultation!

Italiangreyhound Mon 23-Nov-15 23:13:49

Good, Dorothy you go girl! grin

Marshy Mon 23-Nov-15 23:19:38

You are going out of your way to spare the teachers feelings in that email, and fabricating quite a bit with the 'wake up call' comment. I wouldn't send that especially as the teacher wasn't especially concerned about your daughter's feelings with the comment he made and it does put your daughter in the wrong when actually his comment was, at best, thoughtless and certainly counter productive.

I would bring it up at parents' evening with your daughter there. Something along the lines of "as you know, dd finds it a challenge to contribute in class. You probably didnt realise but she was mortified about the comment you made when she put her hand up to go to music but it did lead to a discussion at home on how she might contribute more. What can she do to improve on this?"

You need to demonstrate to her that's it's ok to have an open discussion about this and to challenge him a bit. She isn't doing anything wrong by being the quiet one. We can't all be at the front of the queue and if he was a good teacher he would know how to get the best out of her and make the most of the good ideas that she undoubtedly has.

He sounds a bit of a knob to be honest. Is that word allowed here? I usually hang out on AIBU where prettyuch anything goes grin

I politely challenged an unutterably smug history teacher at my dds pre GCSE choices parents evening when he was being critical of her for not contributing and saying she was clearly never going to succeed at history and shouldn't take GCSE. He was really the most uninspiring man you could imagine.

She went on to a achieve an A after being taught by one of his colleagues grin

Marshy Mon 23-Nov-15 23:23:59

Lots of posts whilst I was slowly putting mine together. Very glad to see that you will be raising it at parents' evening.

Kez100 Tue 24-Nov-15 05:59:34

I was your DD at school. The sarcastic teachers were the very ones whose subjects I would be worse in. Why? Because who wants to encourage such a response? Isn't it actually sensible to not put your hand up and ask a question if all you are going to get is a barbed answer? If the teacher isn't polite then why get involved, by choice?

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