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Teaching a colleague's child

(14 Posts)
Amelia85 Sat 02-Dec-17 16:34:42

I'm teaching the child of a colleague, and it is not going well. This is complicated by the fact that the colleague is my HOD. I could use some advice from people who have been through this...

The student (14) is, unfortunately, rather weak in my subject. She is also distracted and borderline disrespectful in the way she speaks to me: other than this child, I have a great relationship with her group.

Her mum and I do not have a good relationship. Recently, I overheard the student ranting to her mum that I "gave" her a B on a composition. The B was a stretch, and I admit I am a bit nervous about any conflict with the mum/HOD, who tends to escalate situations very quickly, and is known for her lack of support in student-teacher conflict (she is the type who will speak to the student as if they are friends, and then court student favour by taking the student's side against the teacher...I've seen this happen again and again). And now I have her daughter.

I am so worried about this situation; I dread that class each day, which is a pity because the rest of the pupils are a lovely, hard-working bunch who are also a lot of fun.

What are your strategies for dealing with a difficult situation with a colleague's child in your class?

MaisyPops Sat 02-Dec-17 16:37:04

That sounds awful.
I would arrange to speak to a trusted member of SLT about the situation.

Be diplomatic but fair and explain that you feel in an awkward position due to x y z and now feel like you are backed into a corner and need some help finding away round it.

Any decent member of SLT should know what their staff are like (even if they have to be careful not to say it openly).

Littlelambpeep Sat 02-Dec-17 16:45:42

That is really tricky but you are professional and have a great rapport with the rest of the class. That is telling.

Could you go to year hea

NovemberWitch Sat 02-Dec-17 16:47:43

I agree that sharing your concerns with another member of SLT is good, but be very careful how you phrase it.
Make sure any grade is evidenced thoroughly, is there anyone else you could get to moderate your marking? Just in case you need to prove that it was a B- and not an A? Keep notes and records of interactions and conversations and don’t be drawn into informal meetings and updates with her mother. Good luck!

EvilTwins Sun 03-Dec-17 20:28:43

You need to treat the student in the same way that you do every other student, and also manage the relationship with the student's parent in the same way that you do with every other student. So don't talk to her about her DC in the staffroom. Email or phone home if there are issues. Ignore anything you overhear. If your colleague tries to talk to you about her DC, then ask her to make an appointment in the same way that any other parent would have to. I know that sounds mad, but, IME, it's the only way to do it. As a parent, you don't want someone talking to you about your DC in the staffroom at lunchtime, and as a teacher, you don't want to feel that the parent of one of your students can track you down at any time - it needs to be a separate relationship, however fake that feels. I used to teach the DD of a colleague - she was a PITA, but her dad, quite rightly, would say to anyone who approached him about her "call her mum or email me/her mum on...." and give his personal email address, rather than his school one.

MidniteScribbler Sat 09-Dec-17 02:11:31

I teach a colleague's child, and my son is taught by a colleague. Quite a lot of our teachers have students at our school. But fortunately, none of us are 'that parent'.

I would do the same that I do with all of my students. I make sure everything with my students is documented and reasons justified. Any little incident is logged. Log good things as well as the bad, so it doesn't look like you are targeting that student. We moderate our assessment as a team. When we meet with a parent that we know is challenging, we make sure there is always someone else there, and we take minutes and have everyone present sign it at the time and keep it on file.

No discussions in the staff room. We may comment about each other's children "Little Joey said the funniest thing today", but anything related to the child with regards to school work or behaviour is always done as a proper sit down, usually with a member of leadership there if it is something very sensitive. We've never had a problem (yet!) because everyone remains professional and supportive. None of us live nearby, so we don't want the principal to decide it's all too much bother to have teacher's kids at the school and make us move the kids to other schools, or not let future teachers move their children over.

nooka Sat 09-Dec-17 02:19:29

My mother taught at my school, and one of the worst things about it was that any small issue about me always reached my mum (often within hours of it happening). I felt that I got far more grief than my classmates because their parents didn't hear about half the things they got up to. My father did all the formal stuff, parents evenings etc which was much better, so I agree if you can communicate to the other parent that would be much better.

user1485778793 Sun 07-Jan-18 22:19:36

I've been in this exact situation.

Chances are other teachers are having the same issue as you are.

The girl I taught was quite obnoxious, rude and not a high achiever at all. Although she and her mother thought she was very bright.hmm

Treat her exactly the same as the rest, I know it's very hard. If the mother comes to you with an issue go higher

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 07-Jan-18 22:25:58

As you have already said it depends on the member of staff and the child, I have taught a good few and most have been brilliant and respected my professional judgement, they also had an honest view of their children.

Only a few have been difficult and it has been because of how the children talk to the teachers and how their parents respond.

Reallytired17 Sun 07-Jan-18 22:28:14

This is one reason I personally really don’t like it when children attend the same school their parents teach at. Obviously, most people are professional but there are so many conflicts of interest I don’t see how either parent or student can have a normal life when at school.

goldenlilliesdaffodillies Sun 07-Jan-18 22:46:33

Try and think of the student just as another student, rather than the child of your HOD. Treat the student exactly as you would any other child in your class.

Cauliflowersqueeze Sun 07-Jan-18 22:52:38

Colleagues who have taught other colleagues’ children have tended to deal with the other parent in my experience.
It’s too close to deal with your colleague normally.

goldenlilliesdaffodillies Sun 07-Jan-18 23:00:25

Reallytired- I agree! My DS had an awful experience as he was taught by a colleague who didn't like me and so took it out on my DS. It was so damaging. We both ended up leaving. I don't think I would ever work in the same school as my child again.

DumbledoresApprentice Mon 08-Jan-18 08:01:40

I taught the daughter of a colleague renowned for being quite difficult. I was also relatively new to teaching at the time whereas she was more experienced. It was fine and she was actually very supportive. I think it helps that the daughter was lovely but all the same I was really nervous about it and it wasn’t a problem at all in the end. I think I taught the daughter for another 5 years after that and am now friendly with the colleague.

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