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Husband and Wife teaching small sixth form class and it's not working out

(8 Posts)
ThePawOfSympathy Mon 04-Dec-17 17:25:28

DD is studying quite a niche subject for A level and the number in the class is small (well under 10). It is taught by a husband and wife team, and does not seem to be working out for DD or any of her friends. The wife seems to have taken a particular dislike to DD, to the extent that DD doesn't want to study the subject any more. A few examples:

She gives back work in rank order, bottom first, and DD is always bottom. I can't believe that she is this bad, in every lesson - she is doing well in her other subjects. As well as singling out DD in this way, the teacher shouts at DD (and apparently no-one else, according to her friend) a lot, and has sent her out in the corridor for several lessons. (DD is not disruptive, she has done well in her GCSEs and her other subject teachers have all described her as "a pleasure to have in the class".)

The husband, who was previously not so bad has started to send DD out of the lesson and to pick on her as well - eg she said she asked him to repeat something, as she genuinely hadn't heard what he had said. He shouted at her and told her to get out of the lesson, and that there was no point in her being there. He followed her out into the corridor and shouted at her some more.

As they are a husband and wife team, she has no-one else to go to or complain to. She and her friend have spoken to the head of sixth form, who acknowledged that this might be a problem, and said that if they got their parents to complain, then "we might have to do something about it."

As well as this, the teaching seems lacklustre to non-existent eg they are told to read their text books quietly in the lesson and take notes, or the teacher will dictate notes to them - there does not seem to be much actual teaching (or discussion in class) going on. Other students and parents have complained about the lack of teaching, but the situation is continuing.

We have just got DD's school report - where the other subject teachers wrote very individual reports, and 1-2 sides of A5, this report was one paragraph, which largely covered what they had been studying. It was almost generic in its content, which again is unsatisfactory and shows lack of effort.

I think we are going to have to speak to the head of sixth form about the problem - any advice on what approach we might take?

Leeds2 Mon 04-Dec-17 18:01:09

I think if the Head of Sixth Form is saying that, if parents complain, the school "might have to do something about it" s/he is asking parents to complain so that they can actually do something! I would just outline the problems you have set out in your post. Given your DD seems to otherwise be a model student, I am sure your voice will be heard. Even better if you could persuade parents of similarly aggrieved classmates to complain too.
What is these teachers' record for their subject for the last couple of years A Levels, if it has been taught previously?

MaisyPops Mon 04-Dec-17 18:06:51

I think you have enough to raise with head of 6th form and the green light to do it.

However, I don't think you are reasonable to start commenting on whether you like/don't like the teaching style

I regularly expect my 6th form students yo make notes, theory lessons are best taught via direct instruction (I remember trying to teach them in whiz bang engaging ways once and it was crap. Students had fun but didn't actually know anything, just lots of half baked ideas).
If someone called up to tell me that they think I'm not teaching because I do lessons of lecture style then I'd be pissed off.

Stick to the main issues and you'll be more than reasonable though

ThePawOfSympathy Mon 04-Dec-17 18:09:21

Thank you - I don't want to be unreasonable! From my understanding, it is not a case of the teacher giving a lecture, and the class taking notes (which would be absolutely fine), but of the teacher dictating text, and the students having to write it down verbatim.

ThePawOfSympathy Mon 04-Dec-17 18:11:02

Leeds2 - it's my understanding that they haven't taught A level before. One of the regular teachers left and another was promoted to head of department. One of these teachers taught a related subject at GCSE and the results were not great.

MaisyPops Mon 04-Dec-17 18:39:20

I can tell you don't want to be unreasonable OP smile That's why I'm trying to help you pinpoint the right angle to approach school.

Even if the teaching style isn't a preferred style, I don't think there's grounds to complaim about that. I've worked with a colleague whose lessons (personally) were dull and uninspiring and worked witj another who had very 'fun' lessons but little academic challenge. Parents couldn't complain about dull teacher's lessons without being unreasonable. Many parents did complain about 'fun' teacher's lessons, quite justifyably. I think comments about lesson content have to be judged carefully before complaining.

Speak to the head of 6th about DD being sent out and shouted at & about the perceived being picked on. As ever on these threads, be open to the fact that there may be more to it / your DD has missed bits out. I always say this because I have seen otherwise lovely students be quite sly and underhand towards staff they don't like, be involved in low level disruption, 'just ask a question' but the tone is rude etc. The staff members (rightly) tell the student off and then model student goes home and makes out like thr teacher is picking on them.
(That happened with one of my classes - a level so 2 teachers. Model students with me. Rude, sly and underhand towards my colleague.)

Avoid starting some sort of parental witch hunt too. I once supported a lovely colleague who was struggling and what was horrible was the way a badly behaved class turned into a nasty pack and got their parents to call up etc. The teacher had some areas to develop but these kids were vile in their behaviour towards the teacher, would be shockingly behaved so much there were leaders put in each lesson to bollock students and support the teacher. The kids would go home and say they couldn't learn because Teachers lessons were poor and they couldn't teach. As leaders we had that colleague's back because it was really nasty pack mentality.

Sorry for the anecdotes, just highlighting how raising concerns can go wrong.

Call head of 6th and talk about issues affecting your child only. Maybe ask of head of 6th could arrange a meeting with you, head of 6th and the 2 teachers etc. Ve supportive of your child whilst beimg aware that they may not be spotless. You are absolutely right to want to raise your concerns.

ThePawOfSympathy Mon 04-Dec-17 18:47:37

Thank you, Maisy, that's helpful. And I am quite aware that there are always two sides to a story, but we have never had this from DD before. I have just found out (via a group email) that four other parents are going to complain about the teaching (so that is pretty much the whole class), and are asking to go and see the head of sixth form before the end of term. I don't know any of the other parents, but it seems from the emails that their concerns are similar to ours.

MaisyPops Mon 04-Dec-17 19:03:01

No worries ThePawOfSympathy.
It sounds lile you're very reasonable and keen for an amicable and appropriate resolution.

If other parents wish to raise concerns about their children then they are absolutely right to. I was only meaning that it's best to avoid having a 'parent mob' who instead of raising issues about their child start saying 'and I've been talking to other parents and they say the same...' (but you don't seem the type to do that).

I almost want to copy a link to this thread to prove my point on loads of other school threads that teachers have zero issue with reasonable, sensible parents raising reasomable concerns politely and sensibly. smile aka you show 'those parents' how it SHOULD be done and they could do well to watch and learn before being furious that their child was given a detention for misbehaving

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