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An opinion please fellow teachers...

(23 Posts)
MaryBerryisVeryMerry Sat 22-Sep-12 05:53:37

I'm a primary teacher and have name changed for this one.

Is it acceptable or not to describe a KS2 child to their parent as 'gobby'?

Today, my own dd's teacher called me in about her behaviour blush - she is in year 5.
This is the first time ever that any teacher has had to speak to me about her behaviour, so this isn't long standing problem. Apparently she hasn't been trying and her attitude 'sucks'.
Needless to say dh and I are appalled and have come down on dd like a tonne of bricks. Dd is devastated, has written a letter of apology to her teacher and cried herself to sleep.
But I am irked, 'gobby' is such a horrible term. Of course I know some children are just awful and you would like to tell parents really what you think of them but you moderate your language. 'He's a nasty little bully who makes life miserable for his classmates = his behaviour is quite challenging' wink

I do know my mum hackles are up. Initially I was so shocked to hear about dd's behaviour I didn't say anything but now on reflection I am seething!

So, 'gobby' to describe a 9yr old, yes or no?

nameuschangeus Sat 22-Sep-12 05:57:14

IMO the teacher has a crap turn of phrase. 'Gobby' and 'sucks' - is she 15 years old?

My guess is she's a younger teacher who could do with a quiet word about the terminology she uses. I could quite understand that the behaviour she's describing is unacceptable but I would be irked at her use of words.

MaryBerryisVeryMerry Sat 22-Sep-12 06:12:58

Lol she is not 'young' - she is, I'd guess, 40 ish? This is her 3rd year of teaching I think.

Btw I'm not in any way excusing dd's behaviour - she has had an absolute roasting about it at home.

MatchsticksForMyEyes Sat 22-Sep-12 06:33:32

No, I wouldn't have been happy with that. I've never used phrases like that to describe anyone I've taught.

changeforthebetter Sat 22-Sep-12 06:45:55

Yanbu it's unpleasant and too informal. Are home school communications supposed to be about building relationships. Using neutral language and focusing on behaviour rather than personality is surely the way to go. Her attitude will just antagonise lots of parents. I think it is worth pursuing with the teacher especially if she is fairly new to the profession. I teach lots of "gobby" and hormonal kids. Frankly if i didn't look for things to like in most of them then i think i was in the wrong job. I'm not a dreamer - just basically optimistic about human nature :-)

changeforthebetter Sat 22-Sep-12 06:47:01

Sorry for typos - on phone

bigTillyMint Sat 22-Sep-12 06:59:19

I agree with change - that they are unpleasant and too informal "terms" to use to describe a child to a parent.

It makes me think that your DD doesn't know/respect the boundaries in class - that she is loud, talks to both peers and adults without thinking about what she is saying and in a somewhat disrespectful tone/manner. It is not just about being chatty, it is about saying what she is thinking in a cheeky/loud/attention-seeking way. If that is what the teacher feels, then they should have described her behaviour more accurately.

MaryBerryisVeryMerry Sat 22-Sep-12 07:02:17

I should say I have done supply at the school a few times (over a year ago now) so perhaps she thinks she can be less formal with me although she called me in saying 'MrsX can I talk to you about your dd' - we are not friends and I have only treated her as dd's teacher, made appointments if I want to see her etc etc. Tbh though I would never speak to another parent that way even if we were friends!

neontetra Sat 22-Sep-12 07:02:27

I'm not personally opposed to the use of slang if it is the best way to communicate a point. I wouldn't use a term like this to a parent unless they had used it first or I knew them well enough to feel they wouldn't mind - but that is more for fear of complaints than because I feel it is morally wrong to do so. I don't mean this to sound unkind, as I know you are clearly upset about the whole thing, but I think your focus needs to be entirely on your dd and her behaviour here - the fact that her teacher used a couple of slang terms you don't like is really neither here nory there. Unless you have concerns about her teaching? That would be really important, and something worth pursuing.

SaraBellumHertz Sat 22-Sep-12 07:08:27

If a teacher described my Dd in either of those terms I think my response would be "I beg your pardon" hmm

The terminology is awful because it it no way describes what the actual issue is. By gobby does she mean your DD talks to much with her friends/answers back/is opinionated? Describing her attitude as "sucks" is even less of an explanation.

She needs to provide a clear definition of the behaviour she disapproves of combined with an explanation of the behaviour she expects in order the problems can be remedied.

MaryBerryisVeryMerry Sat 22-Sep-12 07:09:17

Big tillymint - I think you are right, dd's clever and she knows it! Sometimes she oversteps the mark, the teacher has quite an informal manner with the class - shares a lot of herself with them. Dd really likes that but knowing dd will take 'joking' too far and be rude. She does it at home sometimes and we always pull her up on it and explain why it is unacceptable. I can also say in dd's defence she is kind, caring, loyal and is genuinely devastated about what the teacher has said. She would not have set out with the intent to upset her or anybody else.

MaryBerryisVeryMerry Sat 22-Sep-12 07:12:54

Neontetra - no, no issues with her teaching. Dd has made good progress with her (had her last year too) and I have only praised her teaching and her pastoral care to other parents.

I still don't think, as a professional, she should have described my dd as 'gobby' though hmm

bigTillyMint Sat 22-Sep-12 07:15:50

Aahh, the use of informal/slang terms now really fits with your description of her teaching style!

I like it when teachers are completely honest about how they find my DC - perhaps gobby was the most precise term she could think of, but not a very professional one, and definitely not one to use with a parent that you don't know very well!

On the positive side, at least you and your DD are aware of the "problem" with her behaviour now and can do something about it. Infact, it sounds like your DD is mortified and will now be thinking more carefully before she speaks out in class smile

MaryBerryisVeryMerry Sat 22-Sep-12 07:32:29

Oh yes bigtillymint, I am pleased she has told me about behaviour although I wish she hadn't waited three weeks as I want to address it. We are in 11+ area so dd can't afford to be pratting around in Yr5.
I don't need sugar coating but 'your dd is being quite rude (some examples would have been helpful) at the moment, not her usual self, and she's not putting in any efford, her work has really slipped) would have been enough for me to take dd in hand rather than 'her attitude sucks and she is gobby' - I'm paraphrasing of course.

Anyway, hopefully we have shocked dd enough for her to behave now! Thanks for your posts (and everyone else too smile)

woody2313 Sat 22-Sep-12 07:38:11

No , I would never dream of describing a student like that to a parent - it's rude!

JugglingWithPossibilities Sat 22-Sep-12 07:50:07

I would have been seriously unimpressed at her description of the problem.
Hope things look up for your DD soon.

Don't be too hard on her - she sounds like a good kid ! ( If you'll excuse the slang ! "Kid" would be as far as I'd go myself - then only in such well known phrases and depending on the situation smile)

WofflingOn Sat 22-Sep-12 08:04:11

I'd not use a word like that, too negative and slangy for any sort of meeting with a parent.
What's wrong with 'talks excessively' 'not achieving due to off-topic conversations that distract her and others from learning' or any of the phrases that BTM used.
Teaching a child whose parent you know in other circumstances can be tricky if you don't observe professional boundaries and expectations.
How will you deal with it? Or will you just let the next parent tear the teacher off a strip if she makes a similar error? smile

donnie Sat 22-Sep-12 08:09:09

no no no. Pejorative,playground terminology. Frankly I would be advising the teacher - in writing - that whilst you accept the facts of what she has told you, the language in which it was delivered was unpleasant, coarse and inappropriate for a teacher. Perhaps you might point out the irony of the situation, given that she is complaining baout your dd's language.

OrangeKat Sat 22-Sep-12 08:15:26

Um. No.
It sounds very unprofessional and far too familiar. Gobby is open to many interpretations and she should have been more precise.
I like donnie's idea, and I feel for your poor tearful dd, hopefully that will be the end of it. Have a nice weekend and try not to seethe too much!

Born2bemild Sat 22-Sep-12 08:23:44

I would not do that personally. I think sometimes though that I wish I could.

When I say " excessively chatty and flippant", it's fine, but doesn't hit home with many of our parents who would probably think "gobby" themselves.

I'd probably have said "do you mean chatty when you said "gobby", because that sounds horrible".

Born2bemild Sat 22-Sep-12 08:37:24

I should point out I don't mean all parents, just where I work, most people have a pretty relaxed and colloquial way of speaking.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 22-Sep-12 08:44:48

Do you have worries about this teacher other than this one word? If she said your DD was a chatterbox or answers back, would you be offended? Is she an otherwise good teacher?

I agree gobby is not a nice word, but teachers talk all day long and sometimes they may not get it 100% correct. I think she was probably trying to be light-hearted about your DD's chatting or answering back, or whatever, so that you can help nip it in the bud before it gets too much.

The problem with using humour is that not everyone is on the same wavelength. I use humour a lot, and every so often someone doesn't "get it" (or it genuinely wasn't funny) and it comes back to bite me. Such is life.

MaryBerryisVeryMerry Sat 22-Sep-12 08:54:52

I am a teacher knowsabit, I know all about talking!

The teacher wasn't being funny, she was cross and grim faced. She didn't actually explain what dd was doing. Dh is going to see her on Monday (I'm working) to clarify and to let her know we have spoken to dd and dd knows there will be consequences if her behaviour continues. I'm going to see her at the end of the week to see how things have gone, I may mention her turn of phrase then along the lines of 'I appreciate you telling me about dd but in future I perhaps wouldn't use the phrase 'gobby' as it is rather harsh cowbag' grin

Thank you juggling. She is a good kid which is why this has been such a shock.

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