Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Bringing up boys: the problem with teachers is….

Thank God! It’s the end of term, or as near as dammit for me. No more having to deal with The Boy’s form teacher.
As far as I am concerned she has been a total nightmare. You know there are just some people you are never going to meet eye to eye with, well for me she was one and right from the start.
The Boy is in Year 4 and has issues as I call them. He’s clumsy, cack handed, behind, forgetful, easily distracted and prone to being bolshie for no apparent reason. He’s also keen to please, enthusiastic, loves getting stuck in, helpful, kind and loving. In effect a boy.
But throughout the year he’s not been good enough, he still, at the end of the summer term, cannot get his act together – as far as his teacher is concerned and do you know what I don’t actually believe that it is my son’s fault at all. In fact dare I say it I lay the blame at his teacher’s feet.
For the methods she’s used over the past year quite clearly have not worked in The Boy’s case, and I don’t understand why she cannot see this. I have been into numerous meetings with her and explained the problems or tried to at least and I get the feeling that she just wasn’t listening or couldn’t be bothered.
In the Autumn term I was told that he expressed the wrong attitude to learning, that he slumped about at his desk, wouldn’t follow directions and was frankly too babyish. I listened carefully and following his appalling effort grades duly bollocked him and told him to get a grip. But I wasn’t happy and clearly nor was The Boy.
He did try, he really tried terribly hard and the second half of term with me helping him do homework we got through to the end.
In the spring term I was called in again and basically told he same things, his effort grades were still appalling and I felt that his teacher wasn’t being fair. But I went along with her plan that he fixed a contract with the school. However when the contract was written out for The Boy the teachers wouldn’t listen to me when I said I thought it was very complicated, that the language used wasn’t simple enough, and that I felt he was going along with it just to please them without really understanding.
But hey I am only his mother and I was totally overruled.
I shook my head and felt that there was no way I could carry this one through it was far too damaging and as one would expect the contract fell by the wayside. I realised I had to investigate further.
So I took The Boy to test if he had dyslexia. There were strong indications that he did have it. I went back to his form teacher. It was agreed that he could have extra help but by the summer term they withdrew the help saying I had not done a proper Educational Psychologist report despite the fact that we were awaiting one.
So the poor lad had to do his exams without any help at all and as expected did dismally.
Finally we got the Educational Psychologist report and guess what – oh only that everything I had said about my son was right. 
I am at a fee paying school. I am lucky that I have enough money to force the issue in terms of getting my son tested without having to wait in a queue or argue the toss just to get a test done in the first place. But is was still bad enough for me. 
I couldn't believe how his form tecaher with all her experience and expertise couldn't be flexible enough to realise what was up with my son. It wasn't as if she had a massive class to cope with. Only 16 of them for heaven's sakes!
Throughout the year I was made to feel stupid and inferior for battling for my son, for taking his side. I was told that children make up all sorts of stories that they will say anything in order to get themsleves out of trouble.
Errr yes as a Mother I know this; I am not blind to the fact that my boys will push the issue, will try to squirm out of a tricky situation. I know this but I also know how to investigate further to get at what is really going on because I keep asking questions. I don't take anyhthing at face value; no mother of boys can!
So the real problem with teachers is that they forget that just sometimes mothers know our boys way better than their teachers, we know when something is not quite right. Perhaps teachers should listen more and remember that just sometimes MOTHER KNOWS BEST!


Rob-bear said...

The problem with teachers is that they see only one aspect of a person. And they base their actions on a limited perception.

Little Red Hen said...

I have a similar situation with Boy. He does have a plan to help him with scribing but it was only put in place so he could score ok on the provincial tests, the ones that make the school look good or bad. I heard an interview with a teacher who had written a book about raising boys and he maintains that the school system is hostile to boys. I believe it.

Tattie Weasle said...

RobBear - it feels that they do. For the child I have at home and known for nine years sounds very different from the one at school!
Little Red Hen - it would certainly seem so!

Jen Walshaw said...

Hmm, this post makes me so angry for you. If I was paying for an education, I would expect much more from the teacher, first off to actually listen to you and take notice!

Suburbia said...

Oh my goodness as I was reading the beginning of this I was thinking, The Boy is dyslexic ... and now you have proof. Those symptoms are all too common and also so often taken as laziness or not conforming.

Teachers are crap (frankly)at recognising the symptoms of dyslexia (but then they are hardly taught anything about it in their teacher training, which is hopeless)

She needs shooting! What a dreadful attitude, thank goodness (presumably) he will be out of her class any time soon. I hope his teacher next year is more sympathetic, at least you have the ''evidence'' now so they can't argue.

I really feel for your son, I do hope he gets some understanding soon, he must be working very hard just to stand still - as it were-, he needs someone to give him praise for what he can do, not what he can't.

Good luck and keep working hard for what he needs...it's an uphill battle believe me, but worth it in the end.

Posie said...

I am so sorry to read this, and so glad that teacher is gone from your son's education now, what is it when they try and 'box' children, and then when the child doesn't fit into the box they want to write them off and make them feel failures.....keep on fighting his corner Tattie....all children deserve access to learning, and teachers should see this as the challenge of their job, they are all individuals...good luck.

Tattie Weasle said...

Jen - I bite my tongue and hope that next year will better! I do have a choice I can move, I worry about those in the same situation who can't
Suburbia - I am beginning to think you have a point! I just have to think that we all have had bad teachers at some point in our lives...just wish it hadn't been quite so early for my boy...
Posie - we are all individuals and I did expect that as I am paying for a private education that I would avoid this, it goes to show that just as pupils are individual so are teachers and we should hold on to and cherish those who are gifted teachers whether in the private or universal system!

Anonymous said...

I'd be looking at a different school if it were me, but I don't give second chances where Amy's education is concerned. I tried doing that and wish I'd put her in a special school in September 2009 instead of September 2011 - part of me feels she's lost 2 years of valuable education because the mainstream ethos wasn't working for her.

The teacher at her special school are superb, I currently have no qualms with them at all.

Dyslexia is one of those conditions that is often slipped through net because many teachers don't know how to assess it. Children are often seen as a bit remedial or behind and are usually made to feel that way too. Support and encouragement is needed so much more in schools - fee paying or otherwise.

CJ x

Tattie Weasle said...

CJ - I did look at a different school and landed up here! Having spoken to a number of parents now I realise that it's just her. The school itself it great and my youngest is having a ball...we'll tough it out for the time being.

janerowena said...

I wish my own son had been diagnosed as early as your has been. He was 13 and had just started at Culford when it was picked up - thankfully, as of course by then it's a different teacher for every subject and all of them were getting annoyed with him, knowing he was bright but wondering why he never did all his prep etc. By then he was expert at covering up his problems from all of us, and it was very confusing for us, his parents - it makes you feel so guilty not to have realised but it takes all sorts of forms. They have been very good at the school ever since, although I do have to remind new teachers at the start of each new year. They haven't make any allowances for him lately though - as they say, he will have to fend for himself at Uni.

Tattie Weasle said...

janerowena - they do get expert at hiding it don't they! The school should still support your son right up to his A levels giving exta time etc and assistance where needed though you will have to had the old Ed Phsych report to back it up. I will have to do mine every two years from now until A levels. At University those with dyslexia can get help in terms of equipment such as computers/software in order to help them with their studies check out http://www.dyslexic.com/dsa
So the school should still be helping! Crack the whip a bit - I know I'm going to have to!!!

janerowena said...

I didn't get told about the every two years bit! Thanks. He did have an ed psych report - I thought it was an awful lot of money for something we al knew by then anyway! It did tell us what we suspected - he has a really bad short-term memory. I think that was the only really helpful bit, in that I knew it, but the teachers didn't believe how bad it was. Yes, I shall have to crack the whip some more. Good luck - some days it feels like a full-time job, especially in the beginning when his teachers used to email me.

Go on you know you want to...


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