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Feeling a bit crap about parent's comments(15 Posts)
Just that really. A parent asked to have a chat after school yesterday. Apparently her child has been coming home from school crying about fractions in maths. We started fractions last Monday. The child has asked for a tutor. The parent is not happy. I am the Year 5 teacher and, according to the mum, the child had fantastic years in both 3 and 4 and really gelled with the teachers, but now in Year 5 it's a completely different story. Those were her exact words, not that I'm dwelling on it much! For the record, the child is lovely, has never been upset in maths lessons to my knowledge and is working at ARE. I have no concerns about said child in any subject and told the parent as much. Yet still I feel crap. I know negative parent comments are par for the course (I am an RQT and was new to the school in September) but I can't seem to stop thinking about it. Any tips for not letting personal comments get to you? I'm struggling to cheer up.
That does sound tough to hear.
Are you all done with fractions or still doing it?
I wonder whether you “check in” during the lesson and then can report back to Mum, all good today they did really well or we worked it on it together and they were great.
I’m having similar with a parent and just need to remember that sometimes parents make a bigger deal of it. Plus they only hear (and believe) one side of the story
Oh it’s so hard not to take comments personally. Teachers tend to be perfectionists who care a lot about the kids they teach and worry an inordinate amount about their progress and happiness and it can be absolutely galling when a parent makes a complaint when the child has seemed fine. Try to remember the following things:
A) kids tell their parents what they want them to hear - I know with my own child that he re-tells stories in a certain way
b) some parents would rather blame you than risk it being the fact that their child is struggling. It must be someone’s fault.
C) some people just aren’t very nice
I don’t know a single teacher who has never had a complaint, and this is where colleagues and the staff room are so important for morale and happiness. On Monday grab a coffee with a nice colleague and ask for a bit of reassurance. All experienced teachers will have similar tales to tell
Try not to let it ruin your weekend x
Is this the first time the child has encountered something they find hard?
Have you done any whole class work on finding things hard, getting things wrong, perseverance etc?
My child’s school is big on resilience and growth mindset and I think it does really help when taught well (I’m aware it is often taught very badly).
It's ok it's just feedback done a bit insensitively. This child sounds like they are finding the expectations of year 5 a bit tougher. That's not your fault. My ds is year 5 too and struggling with rounding up decimals at the moment. I sent an email to his maths teacher just to ask her to keep checking he has understood. Don't be upset.
Apparently her child has been coming home from school crying about fractions in maths. We started fractions last Monday. The child has asked for a tutor. The parent is not happy.
What you have here is a fretty parent causing their child to be anxious. Y5 kids don’t ask for tutors. They don’t even know that’s a thing. But parents who fret about how the new teacher looks young and are they teaching you well and are you struggling and oh honey do you think we should get you a tutor can absolutely pass those anxieties onto their kid who then gets overwrought when they do find something a bit tough.
With those parents I’d say ‘I didn’t realise she was finding it so tough as she seemed to be getting on fine in lessons/not asking for help, I’ll keep a close eye on her next week and see if we can sort it out in school’. Then monitor the kid like hell, go overboard with praise, see parent at the end of next week and say hopefully the blip in confidence has been overcome but please report if she is still getting upset at home about schoolwork as she is hiding it at school and we need to work together on this.
What you have here is a fretty parent causing their child to be anxious. Y5 kids don’t ask for tutors. They don’t even know that’s a thing.
No sweeping judgements or assumptions there then!
A large proportion of the children in our village school are tutored for the 11+ from Y1/2 and a good proportion of those who don't get into the grammars are tutored throughout their time at the high school. Plenty of Y5 children know what tutoring is.
What you have here is a parent expressing a concern to you in a clumsy way. You sound lovely and reflective and you will no doubt get to the bottom of it in no time. Some children get quite a shock the first time they come across something that's a bit challenging.
Just please don't end up as one of those teachers for whom the default position is that parents are at the root of every problem. It's lazy and unhelpful at best.
Thank you all so much for your comments. I really appreciate it. We'll be continuing with fractions for the next couple of weeks so I will definitely follow your advice and keep a very close eye on the child, praise her and report back to the parent. And try to forget about it for the weekend
A large proportion of the children in our village school are tutored for the 11+
Yes, parents hire an 11+ tutor to work towards a specific exam in some areas of the country. Primary school children do not ask their parents to hire a tutor because they found a lesson difficult unless parents have already been talking to the child (or around the child) about the kid possibly needing it.
Really don’t worry. Spend 5 mins at break being encouraging on a 1:1 and she’ll be fine.
Primary school children do not ask their parents to hire a tutor because they found a lesson difficult unless parents have already been talking to the child (or around the child) about the kid possibly needing it.
You cannot possibly know that. It's an assumption. As is your unpleasant and judgemental declaration that this is a fretty parent causing their child to be anxious. You have no idea whether that is the case at all.
Hopefully the OP has more sense than to allow this type of unhelpful advice to inform her interactions with parents.
Just remember you are the professional and you've assessed the student to be fine. Some parents will always find something to worry about. As will some students. I'm secondary and fairly regularly get told I can't teach, my lessons are shit, no one has learnt anything all year. After you've been teaching a while you feel more secure in your abilities and comments matter less and less. Try not to worry about it.
My own daughter (who teeters right annoyingly on the edge between greater depth and at expected level - could go absolutely either way depending on if she stops wittering on about unicorns for long enough to do some work or not) woke me up at 3am worrying about how they'd been doing subtraction in school earlier in the year (which is a bugger of a thing to try to decipher at 3am - what method the teacher's been covering and reinforce she's actually bloody fine at it). I think if you've got a highly strung child (mine is) they often tend to have a wibble whenever the content gets a bit harder... we have it going into every single year group!
I did mention it to the teacher but only so she could reinforce with me that maths is NOT something you need to be fretting about at 3 o'clock in the bloody morning (she gladly agreed with me on that part)!
You'll get parents who are lovely, and get it... you'll get parents who really really do fret... you'll get the odd parent who brings in cake (the best kind) - it's just the way of the world - but to a previous poster - not all of us with overly anxious children DO feed that anxiety... in my daughter's case she just needed a unified message from everyone that it was absolutely fine to find some things harder than others and she was actually really really good at maths whatever she thought (and to stop bloody waking parents up at 3am wanting to help her solve subtraction problems)!
I understand that there are anxious children. My point is that the correct approach is to reassure and as the PP said, provide a united front with the teacher to reassure the child.
Some parents don’t do this. They don’t trust the teacher, they talk to their primary aged child about getting tutors, and they go in and talk to the teacher like it’s their teaching that’s the problem. Especially if the teacher is newly/recently qualified.
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