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Do I approach school over this? If so, how?

23 replies

liquidweb · 05/07/2019 16:36

Help me approach this situation with the school please

DS is in year 8 and enjoys school. Run of the mill student, average or maybe above average in most subjects, prone to chatting, can be a bit of a clown, certainly not a model student/complete angel - but on the whole just a regular kid.
His favorite subject is maths, and he has always excelled in the area. Since the beginning of year 8 he has had 2 teachers for maths. One teacher he has a lot more than the other. He hasn’t enjoyed her teaching style as it tends to be handing out work, or learning directly from books independently and then doing work sheets (not much teacher - class interaction/engagement iyswim)

Unfortunately the effect of this has been DS behaving less than ideally; chatting instead of working, laughing if someone drops something, etc. Low level stuff but nevertheless unacceptable, and this has resulted in a number of both after school and lunchtime detentions earlier in the year.

We have addressed this at home and with his form teacher and he has on the whole (in his eyes) settled down and tried to be less distracted and less distracting to others.
However - it would appear he is now a bit of a target, and hauled up at every given opportunity by this teacher. This week alone he has been sent into another class for laughing because the boys behind him coughed on purpose and they started laughing, he put his hand up to ask for help and was told off, and various other misdemeanors. According to DS, he is now picked on for ‘nothing’, and comparatively other students aren’t. I’m not sure if this is the case, but if I go on what he tells me, sounds like he’s made a bit of a name for himself and now irrespective of how badly others are behaving - he’s the one to get it trouble.
His other maths teacher only has him once a week - and she has nothing but praise for him, and this is the same for all his other teachers.

My concern is if there’s the possibility of him being taught again in year 9 by this teacher, the whole thing is going to continue. So although we are nearly at the end of term - 2 weeks to go - do I ask to see head of year and if needed this particular teacher to see if we can establish what exactly is going on and if there is a positive way forward?

And if so, how do I approach it? I don’t want to be that parent; ‘my child’s being picked on’ but I do feel there might be an element of truth, possibly because she’s had enough of him - but I don’t want that going on into next year....

I’m rubbish at confrontation and have always fully supported the school (and often my own kids harshest critic) so may need some good words to use in an email to start me off!

OP posts:
Ihopeyourcakeisshit · 05/07/2019 16:44

I really wouldn't.
I imagine he is more of a pain in the arse than he realises/will admit to.
I think the best thing to do is hope that the Summer holidays sufficiently refreshes the teacher so that next year starts with a clean slate and likewise for your ds.

sd249 · 05/07/2019 16:52

This is a tough one, however if it were me I would approach the head of department. Be honest - say both you and him realise that he has made some serious mistakes in maths this year, however it he is now trying to correct these and struggling.

Ask about whether there is anything that you can do, or he can do to improve this. He does need to grow up a bit (laughing because someone is coughing is not appropriate for a Year 8 to be honest)

Explain that the relationship between him and this teacher has broken down because of his previous behaviour and you are concerned that this will continue into next year affecting his learning. Sometimes everyone needs a fresh start - but HE needs to accept this too.

sd249 · 05/07/2019 16:54

Oh, and "prone to chatting, can be a bit of a clown, certainly not a model student/complete angel - but on the whole just a regular kid.".

I teach over 200 students a week, I would say that I would describe maybe 10 of them as being a bit of a clown. In reality this is REALLY disruptive to the learning of everyone else in the room. Yes children like to chat, but almost all of them will work hard in lessons and know when to stop and work, it doesn't sounds like he is quite getting that right.

comfysocks8516 · 05/07/2019 17:00

Teachers are discouraged from sending children out, so for her to do that I’d have thought that he must have really been distracting the others. I’d be more inclined to support the school and come down harder on my son - if he thinks you are going to fight his corner despite behaving badly then he will continue to act badly for this one teacher

newmomof1 · 05/07/2019 17:06

I would speak to the school.
I had a crap English teacher when I was in year 10. I will hold my hands up and admit that I was as much of a dick to her as she was to me, but it went from a mutual dislike to me somehow being responsible for everybody's behaviour.

The school actually called my dad in (rather than him approaching the school) to discuss things.
My dad accepted I was a pain in the arse - completely fair - but that the teacher was pretty shit and had no control over her classes.
The teacher also refused to attend the meeting (which she had instigated!)

Long story short - my dad played on the fact that she hadn't attended and used it to prove the point of her being unprofessional (as well as the tit for tat and her bullying tactics) and said that if she was my teacher next term, I wouldn't be attending my English lessons and school would need to pay for a private tutor (being GCSE year).

Apparently he wasn't the first parent to complain, and my best friends mom was called into a similar meeting.
We never saw this teacher again.

I don't want anyone to be sacked/forced out of their job, but you may find other kids have experienced the same and the school are acting on it already!

comfysocks8516 · 05/07/2019 17:08

Or, go back to his tutor and say you are concerned about DSs behaviour in this one lesson - would it be possible for him to go on some sort of maths report, that way he is encouraged to act more positively and the teachers actions will be monitored more closely too?

Wolfiefan · 05/07/2019 17:09

It doesn’t matter how badly others are behaving. If he’s behaving badly then he deserves the consequences. And he can’t blame his bad behaviour on the teaching methods of the teacher. Confused
Shame he didn’t work hard but talk to you about the lessons. Then you could take the moral high ground with the school.

hormonesorDHbeingadick · 05/07/2019 17:10

How many lessons does he have left this year?

greathat · 05/07/2019 17:14

I'm with the previous poster that said not many kids are a bit of a clown and that you've used that description rings alarm bells. Good learning shouldn't involve lots of teacher talk too. So that's not a mark of a good teacher

JacquesHammer · 05/07/2019 17:20

do I ask to see head of year and if needed this particular teacher to see if we can establish what exactly is going on and if there is a positive way forward?

I don't think there is anything wrong with that and acknowledging your child has been less than perfect whilst asking what you can do to encourage a better relationship certainly isn't, IMO, being "that parent".

TotheletterofthelawTHELETTER · 05/07/2019 17:25

It’s only 2 weeks until end of term, I wouldn’t bother at this stage.

I’d have a strong word with son about his behaviour in year 9 and expect a change. If he can do and still feels like he is being targeted by this teacher I wouldn’t hesitate in contacting the school next term.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman · 05/07/2019 17:28

He's been silly, he has earned himself a reputation with that teacher, he now has to live that reputation down.

Life works like that: behave like an idiot and it will take a while to prove that you're not one.

liquidweb · 05/07/2019 17:33

The bit of a clown thing hasn't come from the school, this is my opinion of what I see at home.

I honestly don't think he is one of the 10 out of 200 you mention sd - and as I said, I'm normally my kids worst critic. I just didn't want to paint a picture of him as the swotty, perfectly behaved kid. You are correct though, there's clearly a breakdown in relationship because of his previous behaviour.

I do agree he is immature to be laughing at inane things, but (according to him) he was one of about 6 students to laugh, but he was the one chastised and no one else was.

The reason I feel unable to lay the blame fully at his door, is due to the glowing reports from every other teacher, both at parents evening, and on his end if year report, which suggests a break down in this particular relationship. I do want him to take responsibility for his part in the breakdown, hence the thought of a meeting with all of us, teacher, me, him and head of year or dept to establish how he can work better. But I also want to get to the bottom of if he is the only one being targeted, why?

Actually suggesting a maths report might be a good idea, as pp said would put the spotlight in him but possibly give the teacher a chance to reflect before singling him out if that's what she is doing.

Wolfie I approach what you're saying, but I disagree. I think we all know of a teacher in our past who has been less than engaging- and boring lessons create a perfect environment to be caught gazing out of the window, or doodling on paper. His other maths teacher he finds incredibly interesting. She coaches them through new topics, involving the whole class in learning together. He loves maths, the more challenging the better, and she often sets him extension work in class when he's blasted through what's been set. However I have explained to him that different teachers have different styles and to an extent he has to suck it up.

He does probably only have 5 or 6 lessons left so maybe I just leave it and see how the term starts next year and if problems arise sooner then address it.

OP posts:
Benjispruce · 05/07/2019 17:33

I wouldn't. He's obviously not doing what he is supposed to do i.e behave and get on with his work. He is probably not giving you the whole truth. Also it's a bit late in the term.
I would give him serious warning about September. If he starts the year well I am sure it will continue that way.
Silly , 'low level' stuff really is a pain in the backside because it triggers a domino effect.

liquidweb · 05/07/2019 17:36

Yes Benji you're right about the domino effect, I imagine that's it.
We had the chat last week about keeping his head down until end of term, but maybe he just hasn't been able to.Angry

OP posts:
lazylinguist · 05/07/2019 17:41

Your son's behaviour is his (and your) responsibility and is not because he 'doesn't like the teacher's teaching style'. He will have many many teachers during his school career. He is unlikely to find every single one of them fascinating, especially in subjects he's not keen on. If he's behaving badly in a subject he actually likes, what's he like in the subjects he doesn't like?!

The kids in the class who do behave well- do you think it's because they love the teacher's teaching style? Nope. It's because they are well-behaved kids.

MitziK · 05/07/2019 17:42

Hopefully, your DS is one of the kids who sorts themselves out early - we usually don't expect the more challenging ones to do that until year 10, so to find a Year 9 who is no longer the irritating, disruptive child they were during Year 8 is an absolute pleasure.

Rather than just relying upon a generic anecdote, I can (sort of, it is still anecdotal without the actual data), just by looking at behaviour tables, you see certain kids right at the top of the negative behaviour points lists one year, then suddenly, they drop off it and (usually) start climbing up the positive points list instead. It's also possible to see from the tables exactly where they get their points - so whether they have a particularly Zero Tolerance teacher, whether they're having days that are bad - or whether there's possibly an element of one teacher focusing upon them.

A nice chat with the HoY, asking what the behaviour stats are for him, because he wants to do better, could help on both sides, whilst he might be doing no worse than other kids, it's always possible that he reacts strongly to her and gets himself in deeper because of that - I'm more likely to let a bit of giggling pass if somebody stops and says 'sorry, Miss' than if they spend ten minutes going 'But I DIDN'T! It wsn't me! Look at them! They're doing it too! You're picking on me!', for example.

WoollyMummoth · 05/07/2019 17:42

I’d leave it now, 2 weeks to go, kids and teachers are all feeling tired and ready for a break from each other.
I’d be having a strong word with your ds about his attitude and behaviour next year. If he starts the year off positively I think his relationship with this teacher will improve. Contrary to what some believe teachers don’t go out of their way to pick on children but they do need to be ‘on’ those class clowns who disrupt others learning. If he’s sensible and respectful next year I’m sure the situation will improve.

7sausagedoggys · 05/07/2019 17:48

I'd leave it, it's likely as the relationship seems to be so poor between them now anyway that he won't be in that teachers class next year. We tend to move students/staff around for a fresh start.

If you go back in Sept and it's still a problem address it then.

liquidweb · 05/07/2019 17:56

Mitzik -thank you, your last paragraph sums up how I imagine his reaction to be. He does feel very strongly about injustices. And although the teacher may well feel she is justified in pulling him up, if he doesn't I can imagine him saying those things 'but what about him, he was laughing took' etc. which is not the right way to go. I will start by reminding him to just apologize and crack on with what he should be doing.

I think I will heed your advice but wait until the new year starts and see if anything carries on with him. Hopefully as many of you have said he will settle down in this particular class if he does have the same teacher.

As I said he has no issues with other teachers (and that includes several subjects he really doesn't like lazylinguist) so I don't expect his behaviour stats to be anything other than average.

Thanks all for putting it into perspective

OP posts:
Wolfiefan · 05/07/2019 19:01

If he behaved in class then you could speak to the school about the differences in teaching between the two teachers.
Instead he’s choosing to behave like a twit and then moaning when he has to face the consequences of that. It doesn’t matter what everyone else does. It only matters to you and him how he behaves. He may be the loudest or the one who eggs others on.

noblegiraffe · 05/07/2019 19:20

What’s the point when you don’t know he has this teacher next year?

It would be pointless to go in, create work, meetings etc all for the sake of two weeks. Wait till next year, then see if there’s still an issue.

And the amount of kids I’ve taught in 14 years who’ve told their parents they’ve been ‘picked on for nothing’ who have been immense pains in the arse is huge.

Frlrlrubert · 05/07/2019 20:08

Quite often it's a case of six of them laughing but he was the one she spotted - and as you say, if he's been a pain up til now her eye will be drawn to him.

Or, a few were talking, but he was the last one talking.

The pupil who told his parents I was picking on him was the loudest, they might have all giggled but he was howling. If I asked him to stop talking by name (and I would 'pick' a different pupil for this each time if a few were chatting) he'd sigh dramatically and put his head in the desk. (Just after that meeting he proved himself an arse in a major way, and has actually improved massively since).

If he's mature enough to be trusted it would be well worth him catching her at the end of the day and just saying 'Miss, I feel like we've had a bad year and I don't want to end it like this, I'm going to try to improve, can we try to have a fresh start for the last two weeks'

Sometimes as a teacher you have to think twice about if you are being a bit unfair because they've made themselves a reputation with you - not consciously, but we are human after all.

It might also help him feel the air is cleared so he's not going in expecting a bad lesson every time - which won't be helping him feel positive on his best behaviour.

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