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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:13 am 
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DS 2 has just started secondary and has always been a bit unsure of his English teacher. During his first ever lesson, he was suddenly told to read and he says he was taken off guard and nervous so stuttered a bit and lost his place. The teacher told him after two sentences he was a very poor reader. Ds was distraught and came home sobbing on his first day. That was really hard and I was fuming but didn't want to jump in so soon and things have settled. Ds gets really agitated when he has homework to do from this man as he recently made a boy rip up an essay and put it in the bin for not being good enough. Well, ds had a big essay he recently handed in and spent ages and ages getting all agitated,so it was just right. I looked at it and it didn't make sense in some places, I think because he spent so long trying to fit in different pieces of information (it was about Shakespeare ) I did point this out but obviously didn't want to do his work for him. Yesterday the teacher handed them back and told ds in front of the class, his was rubbish, very disappointing and it was only a 5c. Ds was mortified but doesn't know why it was rubbish.....there were no corrections. He also has been told to completely change his handwriting but again hasn't been told why . I think his writing is actually ok and the other subject teachers regularly write neat writing when marking ...so not sure about this. Ds says he is going to ask him after class what he can do to improve and then burst into tears and says he just wants to do better. I feel really distraught myself ..he tries so hard and I keep telling him he tries his best and to keep his head down and it will be fine. I'm not sure though. The more I hear about this teacher , ( from ds1 who wasn't very complimentary ) the more I feel he is a bit unprofessional and a little bullying. Any advice ? Ds is getting really het up about English lessons now . :(


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:21 am 
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Ugh - I hate this sort of thing, sounds like the English teacher has his own problems and shouldn't bring them into the classroom....

Re writing - v hard to change and am not sure that anyone should have to so long as it is legible and if it is isn't then start the UKCAT prep.

is there a form teacher / tutor you could have a word with in the first instance?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:39 am 
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I would say form tutor or is there a pastoral leader for year7? The teacher sounds like a bully. On the one hand you could say "That's life, deal with it" but it's hard when you see them unhappy. You may find that others have complained.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:26 am 
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I am going to be different here, and say go and see the teacher directly, no one else. Make a parent appointment with him, without your son, and see what the issues are first hand, trying not to get emotional. (Easier said than done)
Take in his work book, make a list, be organised, say you want to help him to help your son, you can then make a follow up appointment with your son too. Be persistent for this follow up, as you need to be sure the teacher was not being parent sycophantic when faced with you alone.

Going straight to a third party seems unfair without hearing the teacher out first, I know we all jump to the defensive of our loved ones, but there are many ways to cross a river.
Should he quite obviously be a total arse, then your next appointment is the head of year!

My son's year 7 French teacher became a different man when I said the words "communication anxiety" He was from a completely different background and culture to my son, and until that point thought ds was just being evasive, rude and uncooperative. I still think he is an awful teacher, but at least he gave ds a break!

Good luck, and swallow that big lump in your throat down with some chocolate x


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:12 am 
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Yes, I would try that first too for lots of different reasons, the very least of which is that he may stop being nasty to your son. Whatever he tells you, true or false, about your son in lesson time the very clear message to get across is that for some reason or other your son is dreading English at the moment and this this fear is not improving the quality of his English that you see at home in his homework book etc - quite the opposite - you can say this without saying that you think he is personally responsible for terrifying your child.

How many times a week does he have English and is there a chance of moving in to another group? If you have wind from other parents that he is a bit of a tyrant and it does upset year 7 (they're tougher by year 10 and will be pulling apart the teacher's weak spots) then the public spirited side of me says that you should drop some coded hints to the head of English, head of year etc perhaps when the problem is sorted if your meeting (if you get one) has worked.

In the meantime tell your son that this teacher shouldn't say these things to him and it is probably a sign that the teacher is very upset about something else and this is his very bad way of dealing with it.

One of my close relatives wrote rubbishy English write up to GCSE that didn't make a great deal of sense and we were pretty underwhelmed when reading classwork and homework. We asked the (independent) school about it and they said it was good enough and that it didn't have to be particularly good to get B or A so long as they points in the mark scheme showed up. They were right as a B at GCSE was obtained.

Sounds like this teacher needs to be sent on an anger management course or worse will happen.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:37 am 
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I agree that you should try speaking to the teacher in question first.

We had a similar problem with our DS who seemed to get off on the wrong foot with his new teacher last September. We initially sent a polite email to him and the year head trying to explain some situation which had occurred and his reply was quite unhelpful and defensive which only reinforced our view that he was a bit of an arse.

However there was a parents evening a couple of weeks later so we waited for that and after we'd spoken to him face to face he seemed far more reasonable and our son hasn't really had any problems since.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:06 pm 
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Just been out for a costa blowout to cheer me up and ended up booing on a friends shoulder whilst everyone else averted their eyes :oops: might need to give up the no sugar/alcohol detox ....it's not agreeing with me at all . Thanks for the advice everyone. I did think about speaking to the teacher but not sure whether it will come across as if I think my son is a bit precious. I suspect he is similar to Prouddad's teacher and will think he is right and maybe make things worse for ds. I'm pleased that he really seems to be getting down to basics with DS ...his English is weaker then maths for example , but its the naming and shaming I can't stand....how is that constructive ?! He is Italian and apparently harps on about our children's poor command of English, lack of reading etc. He has issues. The only time I met him was during an open evening , when I was standing with ds and locked eyes, went to introduce myself (and possibly to have a rant about the reading )and he snatched up his gigantic tupperware lunch box and scuttled off. We have a parents evening in a few weeks time , but I want to sound articulate and intelligent when I speak to him as I've a feeling he might bat me off ( not literally I hope ) ...so need some pointers !

Have bought ds one of those handwriting pens anyway.......and a cream egg :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:23 pm 
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In that case, scarlett, I would say it is even more important that you ask to see him immediately to have the discussion - then you can say that you will touch base at the parents evening (with your dh there too) and the teacher can let you know if there has been any improvements and you will let the teacher know whether your ds's fear of English has improved.

That way, the teacher knows that you are watching him and expecting feedback and you have also let him know about the fear of English thing - maybe he is a clever soul and will realise that the fear is his fault - if not and the situation gets worse, if you do escalate it, you have evidence that you have approached the teacher for a joint solution etc...


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:46 pm 
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Agreed, do it now, today, grab the bulls horns! Sounds like you may have a bit of the culture clash thing that my son had with his French teacher.
As for worrying that you may come across as precious about your son...pooey, it is making you both really sad, so who cares what he may think, you think he is horrible, he probably would not enjoy knowing that his customers think that of his character either! You are on a level footing here, he is not the superior one, and everyone is human. (Just about)
Chin up scarlet, and your friends will jot mind a jot about your sniffles, we all have our moments.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:52 pm 
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What is so wrong about appearing to be precious about your son? :wink:
For most parents, our children are the most important thing in the world to us.

This thread brought back memories of English for me, which I guess are similar.

I was in year 10 (not called that at the time).
Weirdly those in the top two maths sets got to do English language and English literature, so since I was in the top maths set I had to do eng lit as well. I didn't want to and wouldn't have chosen to. If it had been based on English ability instead of maths I wouldn't have been picked to. I'm dyslexic and didn't enjoy English tbh.

Then I realised I had the English teacher from h ell. She obviously modelled herself on one of the three witches of eastwick. She realised quite early on that I struggled with reading out loud. Consequence, she made me read out loud in EVERY lesson. Try reading Shakespeare when you haven't read it through beforehand when reading isn't your strong point.
At first, I thought I was imagining it, so I kept a record of who she made read in every class. I wasn't imagining it. It was just me.
At the end of year 10, she had a one to one discussion with everyone about their progress and I, along with a few others, were told that since we were struggling with the lit side we could drop it if we wanted. I said yes in a shot, basically as I thought I would get moved out of her class. Unfortunately I wasn't but it put a stop to the reading issue.
A few months into year 11, she was going through exam entries and it was apparent she had entered me for Eng Lit after all. She told me it was too late to withdraw me and I would have to do it. Of course she then told me I would have to work hard to catch up. From somewhere I found my voice and told her that wasn't going to happen. It had been borderline whether I would pass as it was before I dropped it, and I wasn't going to jeopardise my other subjects by trying to catch up for a subject I didn't want to do and I wasn't going to do any work for it. I took the exam as required and got a U. However I did get a B in English Language, which I'm proud of.

A few years later my sister was in a similar position. She knew she would get this same teacher for English, so got my mum to write a note saying she didn't want my sister doing Eng Lit. With hindsight, I wish I had got my mum to do something. However I was a few years older than your son now and probably better at dealing with it myself as a result.

This seems like bullying behaviour by this teacher. Ask yourself if you would tolerate similar behaviour towards your son from one of his peers.

As others have said, talk to the teacher first, then if there's no joy, move on to HOY, etc. This teacher needs to know the effect he is having on students, if he cares he will do something about it. If he doesn't care, he needs to be dealt with.


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