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I feel like he worst mum in the world

(29 Posts)
NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 10:25:25

I just dropped dd1 off at school.

They are a bit short staffed - usual winter bugs etc - and they are a couple of tutors short in dd1's class today.

Usually in this situation, dd1 is the one who has the staff change/new tutor/cover person, as she is the one on her class who copes the best (I assume - it has always been this way, and whiel I don't like it, I understand why it happens). We do get the fall out though.

today, we were waiting to go in, and the tutor who comes out for dd1 is the one tutor who dd1 has a real problem with. a huge problem. dd1 has been saying all year that she doesn't like this tutor (and I have passed this on to the school). dd1 really doesn't complain much (aside from usual child grumbles) and so when she does - especially to people other than family - it mean there it is a really big deal.

dd1 was crying, and saying she didn't want to work with this tutor. and I had to send her in. I had to be cheery, and wave her off, and tell her it would be ok. when it won't. she is goign to have a horrible morning.

of course, I went straight to the office to let them know, and ask them if anything could be done. but it won't be. becaus ehtey will deem the other children more likely to be upset than dd1 (even though she never reacts this way, except for this one tutor), and won't swap their tutors around.

I feel as though I have gone back in time, and I am once again dropping her off at mainstream pre-school all those years ago. when I knew she wouldn't cope, nd would hate it, and needed me.

it;s brought home how tenuous her apparent high-functioning is. she has been doing so well, and getting on brilliantly, and one small change, to a person she already knows (she used to work with htis tutor a couple of years ago, and didn't have this big issue then, or at least didn't say anything) has really thrown her. and is likely to shake her whole trust in the school (quite rightly). she should never have been put to work with this tutor.

and I feel absolutely awful, because I left her there. when al I wanted to do was scoop her up and take her home and keep her safe. because she is worried right now, and I didn't do anything about it.

lougle Wed 12-Feb-14 11:16:06

Oh NewBlue poor you!

Well...something that might help is to consider that this experience might help her to realise that even horrible days can be not as horrible as you thought. She might have a good day with the tutor. Or, she might have a horrible day, but not as horrible as she expected.

Can you phone the school at lunch time to find out how she is?

You've spent so long giving her the skills to lead life. You can't protect her from every mishap or change - otherwise what's the point of her building those skills?

You're a fantastic Mum, who has done so much. If she has a bad day, you'll be the one who can soften the impact.

OneInEight Wed 12-Feb-14 11:27:00

'Hugs'. It feels so horrible to have to do this. For ds2 I know that I have to push him out of his comfort zone on occasion to stop him becoming totally withdrawn. It does not make it any easier when I hand him over at the school door and can visibly see the anxiety on his face.

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 11:40:53

thanks <weak smile>

It's just, dd1 is so outgoing, and sunny, and loves school - she'd live there if she could!

and then, in September, she started saying she didn't like this tutor. and she meant it. she would refuse to even walk into the playground if this tutor was there, and it seemed as though she was scared. properly scared. I spoke to the school then, as I didn't want it getting out of hand, and they said that their understanding was that dd1 was worried as this tutor had previously worked at the school, gone away for a year, and had now come back, and that dd1 was not comfortable with the changes. I disagree as to the cause (although I don't know why dd1 has a bee in her bonnet about this tutor) as this is a new reaction from dd1 - all the indicators are that she is properly scared, not cross, or worried, or unable to understand.

of course, there is nothing the school can do about this (and nor wuld I expect them to), so obviously I would reassure dd1, and this tutor doesn't work in her class (not even in her building) usually, so it was ok.

until today.

I can't believe the school did it to her, tbh. it would have been bad enough for her if this tutor was working in her class but with another pupil, but to have dd1 work with this tutor seems almost cruel. it is a really big deal.

dd1 won't continue to make a fuss at school. she never does. and so her worries about this tutor (whatever they are, wherever they have come from) have been all but dismissed by the school. there are 4 classes at the school. ample opportunity to not put this tutor (I have honestly never seen dd1 react in this way to anyone before) to work with dd1.

I have spoken to the school, and apparently dd1 calmed down quite quickly this morning. obviously I haven't seen her, but I would (from my knowledge of dd1) say this is dd1 shutting down - she mde her protest, it was ignored and overruled, and she now won't continue to protest at school.

I remain concerned as to how this will affect her. at best her enjoyment of school will now be tinged with uncertainty - that she might have to work with the tutor she is scared of. and I just don't know what to do. I know that dd1 cannot dictate how the staff are used at school (although it would appear other children can, as they are always with the same tutors, while dd1 gets chopped and changed at the drop of a hat, if necessary), but she should not have to go to school in fear each day.

PolterGoose Wed 12-Feb-14 11:41:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 11:43:07

she was really panicking when I left her this morning.

backing away, and saying 'no. no. I don't want to'

I do understand about pushing comfort zones, and I really am not as pfb as this sounds, but in any other situation, dd1 would not have been made ot go through with something if she was reacting the way she was this morning.

PolterGoose Wed 12-Feb-14 11:46:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 11:49:01

it was a situation that shouldn't have arisen.

in ABA, you never set up a situation that is going to fail (as this was). and you never make a demand which cannot be met - it is counterproductive.

and it feels as thought he school have counted on dd1 backing down. and that is not a good situation.

I couldn't, when faced with the situation in the playground this morning, do anythign other than hand dd1 over. because to do anything else would be giving dd1 too much power over the situation.

but there are some situations which should never come about precisely because they are going to fail one way or another. like this - no positive outcome. it is not possible that dd1 will realise she is wrong to be feleign the way she now does about this tutor. she can rememebr working with ehr, and knows that nothing bad happened, yet has still developed this fear over the course of this year.

I say developed - it was there from day one. first day of term in Sept, and dd1 wa shappy and excited to be back at school. and then this tutor walked into the playground, and dd1 stiffened beside me, and I could see the fear in her eyes. no idea why. but it is real (to her)

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 11:53:50

it's the fact that there is nothing I can do that bothers me, though, Polter.

I have already had my chat with the school, telling them of dd1's fears. it was dismissed as dd1 not understanding why this tutor was back (she can and has played up in similar situations before, but it is avoidance behaviours then, not fear). I spoke to them again, and reiterated my concerns.

it isn't fair. on anyone. school will take the fact that dd1 calmed down as proof her fears are not out of control. but it isn't.

dd1 spent over a year ina placement she absolutely hated, where some bad stuff happened to her. she did not once say anythign to the staff, and it was not picked up on, even when her behaviour was as clear an indicator as anything as to what the problem was.

she doesn't speak up, or at least, not enough. this will take months to undo.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 12-Feb-14 14:08:27

Different situatution but I know exactly what you are saying new, Dd3 has massive issues with one teacher at her school.

She was placed in this persons class against better judgement. I tried to convince Dd3 over the summer that everything would be fine. She trusted me!
First week of Septemeber the teacher puts Dd3 in a situation she cant cope with and then shouts when it all goes tits up.

Dd3 will never get over that! She is terrified of this teacher and went into complete meltdown over going to school. A couple of incidents later and we were inschool refusal !!

Now Dd3 has been moved into another class and is on a reduced timetable. All because of one teacher. The school knowthis has happened but because Dd3 is unable to verbalise her feelings it can be swept under the carpet!!

It is a horrible situation to be in new but I dont know what you can do other than to put your concerns in writing and copy in the Chair of governors.

Hope your Dd is ok when she gets home sad

Ineedmorepatience Wed 12-Feb-14 14:10:53

Oh and meant to say Dd3 still has to tolerate this teacher for one hour a day 4 days a week! She will sit in her lessons keep her head down and try to be invisible just to get through the lesson. She will not show outward signs of anxiety until she gets out of the school gate!

lougle Wed 12-Feb-14 14:58:47

NewBlue, do you think there could have been a significant incident with this tutor? It does sound like you are saying that your DD is actually frightened of her and that, to me, would not come without some basis for the fear. Unless something radical has changed about her appearance or some other external factor, I too would imagine that it can only be 'her'.

Why is your DD the one to get pushed around? Why can't the other children get exposed to this sort of change?

It's getting on my nerves that children who display their anxiety/distress/unease passively rather than actively are the ones who are shoved to the side angry

Ineedmorepatience Wed 12-Feb-14 16:12:37

Yep mine too lougle Once again I made the comment yesterday that if Dd3 threw a couple of chairs or sat under a table swearing a few times she would get a statement without any problem!!

And yet she struggles so much just to get through the door at school somedays and lessons are a processing and comprehension nightmare for her but she keeps her head down and follows the rules, so no statement for hersad

lougle Wed 12-Feb-14 16:14:23

Exactly, Ineed.

I've always said (here and elsewhere) that IMO things went so smoothly for DD1 because she caused them a problem.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 12-Feb-14 16:17:16

Both the head and the senco have agreed that it is true.

And I did say it to the LA rep but she just did a catsbum face angry

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 16:26:45

There has been no incident that I am aware of, lougle. Bit yes, dd1 acts as though she is frightened of this tutor. No major appearance change, no apparent reason for the fear, but it is there.

I am still very angry. Dd1 is clearly stressed, and the first thing she said to me (as soon as we were out of the playground gate, tellingly) was 'I don't like X. I don't want to work with X again. Tomorrow I will be with someone different' and I couldn't promise her that.

In her class (5 children) today the line up was:

Child A worked with tutor 1 (a regular tutor for the class, and a usual tutor for that child)
Child B worked with tutor 2 (a regular tutor for that class, and a regular with dd1)
Child C worked with tutor 3 ( a regular for the class, and with that child)
Child D worked with tutor 4 (not regular for the class, was regular last year, and one of dd1's favourites)
Dd1 worked with tutor 5, not regular for the class, and a problem for dd1.

Tutor 5 has previously worked with children C and D, as well as with dd1, so was known to the majority of the class. Yet they assigned her to dd1.

I am getting totally fed up with it always being dd1 who is stuffed about. Yes, she copes well, and sometimes even enjoys the change. But over the last 3 weeks she has had 5/15 days where she has worked with non-regular tutors. And 3 of those times was with a tutor she had never worked with before. No pairing, no notice of the change. Just turn up in he morning and have a totally unknown (to me - I had to get dd1 to tell me who they were!) tutor come out to collect her. Whereas the other children in the class get to keep their regular tutors, or get adorned previously known tutors. I have never seen, for eg, children A, C or D have different tutors.

lougle Wed 12-Feb-14 16:28:31

Official complaint?

Why are they using DD1 as their "flexible friend"?

Ineedmorepatience Wed 12-Feb-14 16:34:01

Its not good is it new I would definitely get something in writing. I dont make any phonecalls to school anymore I always email and I take notes at meetings.

Its a shame to feel like that but you need a paper trial.

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 17:01:04

i don't kinow what to do, tbh.

I didn't want this to get to this point, which was why I had a word earlier in the year, before thgis situation arose, iyswim. but obviously 'a word' isn't enough. which is a shame, as I have always had excellent relations with the school.

the flexible friend bit is irritating, but to a degree it does dd1 some good, and it is only if she is already stressed over something, or a bit under the weather, that I get annoyed that it is always dd1 who gets swapped about. dd1 enjoys it, mostly, as she loves talking to new people, and of course a new tutor means an easy ride and lots of nice social stuff like playin games etc so it usually goes down well. I just hate that in a way (as today shows) dd1's actual needs aren't considered at all when doing a tutor shuffle - if they were, today would never have happened.

and I have no idea how to go about righting the wrong of having overridden dd1's fears, and praised her highly for working nicely with someone she is scared of. the potential damage that has been done there is very far reaching indeed - teaching dd1 to not trust her instincts, teching her that even if you tell someone that you have a problem they won't do anything abut it, but will reward you if you do what you really don't want to do.

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 17:04:08

do you think it is reasonable for me to ask that dd1 doesn't work with this tutor? I have never had to think about this, as dd1 hionestly never has a problem with anyone, she has favourites, naturally, but otherwise all fine.

she is still talking now about not wanting to work with X again tomorrow. I should think her behaviour tomorrow morning will be atrocious sad

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 17:08:12

sorry, disjointed posting, as dd1 is chattering about X, and dd2 is trying to do maths supplement work (since that is all falling apart as well), and ds is generally wreaking havoc...

anyway, I meant do you think it is reasonabl for me to ask that dd doesn't work with this tutor as it is such a small school? there's only so many combinations, after all, and I do see how my asking that could make life difficult for the school <sigh>

it's not as though I have anything concrete as a reason, either. just dd1's feelings, which she buried in school today, and which school see as the same as she would if asked to work with tutor 4 from my example above - where dd1 would be a bit silly and giggly because she doesn't work with that tutor regularly anymore, and a bit avoidant because she is a bit annoyed with that tutor for not working with her anymore...

lougle Wed 12-Feb-14 17:31:12

I think it depends on whether it's a 'dislike' (get over it kid, we all have to do stuff we don't like) or a 'fear'.

If it's a 'fear' then I think it would be better to treat it as any other fear (unless the teacher is actively harmful to DD1). So desensitisation work with the target being firstly that she doesn't react fearfully if the teacher is in the playground, then the school corridor, then the classroom, then says hello, then watches DD1 doing an activity, then joins in an activity, then leads the activity with another tutor, then the tutor leaves for a minute or two and returns, then longer, until she's ok with that tutor on her own.

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 17:35:20

yes, all sensible, and the way I would tackle a fear too. dd1 can't manage even to see the tutor out of the car window without becoming anxious at the moment.

and, without knowing why dd1 is so fearful, it makes it very difficult to decide how best to tackle it.

it is certainly more than a usual dislike - I am the first to say 'tough luck, get on with it' under normal circumstances. I think this is why I am so cross that my (and dd1's) feelings have been ignored on this occasion.

lougle Wed 12-Feb-14 18:59:31

You're right to be upset, I think. If she's that fearful it would make me wonder if she's had contact in the day time? Are you sure that she sticks with one tutor all day? Are you sure that the other tutor hasn't 'popped in' informally through the day?

NewBlueCoat Wed 12-Feb-14 19:07:11

she has one tutor for the morning, and one for the afternoon.

playtimes and lunchtime covered by another tutor (random selection).

tutor X usually works in the secondary section. dd1 is primary.

I am sure tutor X does pop through occasionally, but not to have any contact - but eg to use the playground with whichever child she is working with.

dd1 will also move about, to various groups/therapies, and often just for a chat grin (she has a social target of making conversation, so she gets to go and practice as a reward for good work).

dd1 would have told me if she had had meaningful contact with this tutor (other than a 'hi!' in passing), and tells me if she has been tutor-swapped for any reason (and I would know as would be told at pick up/drop off)

again, it's part of what makes me so cross, as the reactions dd1 gives when she sees tutor X are so edgy and wary. constantly watching, can't relax. the only other time she is like that is with some of the skippier and excitable children with very severe needs (historically dd1 has always been scared of children). why her tutors can't see this is beyond me.

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