jim and adel

Are we being too sensitive?

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    As the title suggests, I'd like your feedback on whether we're being overly sensitive about a few things related to our son's time at school. Thomas (recently turned five) was at kindy last year and is in reception this year, and the school (probably no good reason to name it) seems to tick all the boxes and is appropriately caring and supportive. It's just that occasionally there'll be something that jars or annoys us and we're not sure whether to mention these – very minor – things to the school or let them go.

    Here are a few examples: last year it was arranged for the kindy class to make a CD of a song one of the teachers had written. They went off to record it at a local studio and it was all very exciting for them. What irritated us, though, was that the leaflet promoting this to parents was headlined with words along the lines of 'our chance to be famous'. Of all the positives that could have been mentioned – performing together as a team, going on a great adventure, learning something new, making a great song etc – being famous wasn't one I'd have thought was particularly important to highlight. It perhaps said more about the desires of the person writing the leaflet than any value I'd want the school to help foster in the kids.

    Yesterday, the reception class made Valentine's Day cards for parents (Thomas for his mum, so I assume the girls would have made one for their dads). It was a pre-prepared template and the words on the inside of the card read something like: 'I love my ....' (Thomas inserted 'Daddy') and then on the next line: 'but most of all, best of all I love my ... ('Mummy') We think it isn't the school's role to suggest to a child that they should love one parent more than the other, and last night we spent time explaining to him that we love each other equally. It seems to me that there are a thousand better ways of phrasing the intent of the card less clumsily.

    These examples seem minor, I know, but I can't help think that some care needs to be shown with the words that teachers use and some understanding of how powerful their effect can be.

    We're now wondering whether to mention our concerns, or if we're seriously nit-picking. Any thoughts?

     

    Jim

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    I don't think you are nit picking. But I don't know how you would go about it. Is there a PTA you can join, somehow get involved with the school and just kind of gently try to steer certain things in the right direction?

     

    The trouble is, these little things can really get to you. It might be something if you are friendly with the teacher you can try to address in conversation. They may never have considered it that way.

     

    But I am not the best person to reply because my answer to being annoyed with school is to basically decide that we would do it ourselves, our way. But I can so relate to what you are saying, both in the UK and here there were things of that gravity (ie not life threatening or earth shattering) that got on my nerves. In the UK I had a wonderful relationship with DS1's teacher, so we were able to chat about things and she appreciated parent help and parent input.

     

    TBH I think that doing valentine's day cards with kids of that age is ridiculous, it's an adult thing that some do, some don't, and kids don't need to be brought into it that early. So my issue with that one would be the whole thing rather than just the wording (on which I totally agree with you).

     

    Hopefully I've at least made you feel better enabling you to say you've come across someone more picky than you... xx

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    Guest JT1

    Do you think re the valentine car the children were suppposed to write something like I like ...bananas.....(for eg!) but most of all I love mummy & daddy? Just a thought.....

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    I don't think you're being too sensitive - and think your son is lucky to have parents that take such an interest and are able to discuss things like this with your son at home. I'm not a teacher and my kids are a lot older than yours, so the following is just a gut parent feeling kind of thing, going from what would have happened in the tiny (brilliant) school mine both started at in the UK, and from having a best friend who is a primary school teacher in the UK.

     

    Why not perhaps arrange to have a chat with the teacher after school one evening, just as a general "progress discussion" and perhaps mention during the course of that things like you have mentioned above. I perhaps wouldn't make the whole chat about it, but as a parent you're interested (and entitled to be interested) in how your son is getting on both academically and socially at this stage, so chatting with the teacher shows that you are happy to be involved, interested in how he is being taught, and willing and able to both give and receive feedback! Not all parents would want such involvement but I would think any good teacher would be happy to have the communication with those that do. I guess teachers are only human too, so they don't know if no-one mentions anything!

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    Do you think re the valentine car the children were suppposed to write something like I like ...bananas.....(for eg!) but most of all I love mummy & daddy? Just a thought.....

     

    That's possible, but we could see where he'd had help with writing it out (faint pencil lines for him to follow, words starting with upper case letters), and the style of the template and how it was decorated showed it was very much aimed at his mum rather than both parents.

     

    Thanks all for your comments, much appreciated!

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    Do you think re the valentine car the children were suppposed to write something like I like ...bananas.....(for eg!) but most of all I love mummy & daddy? Just a thought.....

     

    Yes I reckon the card was supposed to be used that way by whoever designed it, which was most likely not the person delivering the lesson, cos there's so much sharing of resources in education - no point re-inventing the wheel is there??!

     

    A good post Diane.

     

    Oh, eta I am just wondering whether the post naming the teacher ought to be edited - not great for either teacher or parents to be made "public" in these matters I'd think.

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    I would say that they probably found an online card template and didn't think about it too much. I wouldn't make a big fuss about it, but might be worth dropping into a conversation next time you see the teacher that it confused your son, and they might want to change the template in future.

     

    Re: the CD. The leaflet was aimed at the parents, not the children, so wouldn't worry too much. after all, the kids got the beneficial experience, regardless of the x-factor aspirations of whoever wrote the leaflet.

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    Guest MADTOM

    Hi

     

    I think the "I love Mummy more" was totally out of order! But maybe you have to clarify it with the teacher just in case it was an error on their part.

     

    I think your son has enormously supportive parents and it makes good sense to organise a chat with the teacher. This is a very important time for Thomas so its vital any misgivings are sorted out and Thomas and you are happy at the new school.

     

    By the way I have a Thomas (turned 5 today) maybe we can introduce them sometime. We live in West lakes shore. Let me know and we can arrange something if you like?:jiggy:

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    By the way I have a Thomas (turned 5 today) maybe we can introduce them sometime. We live in West lakes shore. Let me know and we can arrange something if you like?:jiggy:

     

    Sounds great - we'll drop you a pm. Cheers, Jim

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    I wrote a long response and lost it, so this will probably be more concise as I'm annoyed at having to do it again, LOL!

     

    As a retired teacher just doing a bit of relief work, my short answer would be that maybe you are being a bit over-sensitive, in my opinion, and I would not say anything unless a lot more things happen that continue to grate on your nerves. If it appears that the teacher generally wants the best for the children, then I would pick my battles and not mention this one. I can't imagine he/she was trying to make children love one parent more than the other. I would say something just got lost in translation.

     

    As Diane mentioned, I would first of all make sure you have a friendly and positive relationship with your child's teacher, and then it is easier to bring up this type of thing if it's not just negatives that you address. Teachers of very young children have a huge job, often with very little encouragement and support from parents, and it is very easy to do or say something that is not quite politically correct.

     

    As a parent, do you every say or do anything with your children that you later regret? It's the same with teachers, only they have 25-28 children, not 1-5. They are human, just like parents, and will say and do things that can be perceived to be 'wrong'.

     

    Your children will treat their teacher with the same sort of respect, or lack of, as you show at home, so if you have an issue, try not to bad-mouth the teacher in front of them.

     

    Most teachers would want to do the right thing by your child, but it's very difficult if the only feedback you ever get is negative. Imagine if the teachers had access to your home, and picked you up on everything you do or say, and only comment on the negative.

     

    By the way, a child's most important teachers are his/her parents. They hold far more weight than any particular teacher and can override the inadequacies of a teacher or two throughout their child's school life.

     

    I'm trying to be quick, because maybe I took too long on the last one and that is why I lost it!

     

    I am sure you are doing an awsome job in bringing up your children, and that it is not an easy task. It is a bit the same as a teacher.

     

    All the best!

     

    TBA

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    Guest Mizzmp

    I think it makes it seem worse than its been intended when you have lived in the UK. We see things alot differently here and things like the card would never be done here for the reason that children should love both parents the same.

     

    I would deffo speak with the teacher and suggest next year a card with "I love my mummy and daddy" is used. I would also speak with some aussie parents to hear their views.

     

    As long as you tell your little one that its important to love his whole family he will be well grounded. x

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    I wrote a long response and lost it, so this will probably be more concise as I'm annoyed at having to do it again, LOL!

     

     

     

    I find that if I write a post that takes a long time, when I then press 'submit reply' I get a screen saying that I am not logged in! If this is what happened to you, next time don't be fooled into thinking that you have lost the post. Merely sign in again on that screen and your post will then be submitted ok.

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    I find that if I write a post that takes a long time, when I then press 'submit reply' I get a screen saying that I am not logged in! If this is what happened to you, next time don't be fooled into thinking that you have lost the post. Merely sign in again on that screen and your post will then be submitted ok.

     

     

     

    Thanks Anne. That is EXACTLY what happened! I did look for it a bit after it happened. When I did sign in, I must have gone to a different screen, as I had lost the post. So annoying, especially when you have taken care to do a thoughtful post! I'll remember that for next time.

     

    Thanks again!

    TBA

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    Guest Adelaide_bound

    As a primary school teacher who has come home today feeling completely useless and demoralised (part due to parents, part due to SMT) can I make a plea that if you do decide to mention it to the teacher please please please go in with a positive attitude and a whole 'Thomas probably got the wrong end of the stick' (even if you don't think he did) type approach than the 'you are really annoying us with some of the silly things you do in class' approach.

     

    Today I had a parent be very stern with me in the AM because apparently her son was in tears all last night because I had asked him to not join up anymore with his handwriting. I explained what the actual case was, and that I had explained all of this to her son, and he didn't seem in the least bit upset, but she was adamant that I was a pants teacher and she was right. It turns out her little darling was actually upset and afraid because he had hit another child in the PM the previous day (when I was out of the class on my non contact time), nothing to do with the handwriting. When I saw her again after school and explained what the situation actually was she just laughed and said how silly it was, and maybe next time I should know about this (how could I silly woman I wasn't there yesterday! grrr), and that they had talked about it last night and he wasn't upset then. Hmmmm.

     

    I then had a parent telling me her little boy just can't cope in class and is now terrified of coming to school, because yesterday I made him stay in at lunchtime because in the hour long literacy lesson he refused to write three simple sentences that I had already helped him with in an appropriate manner. This is year 4, so not baby children. He is not in the least upset or scared or terrified of school, unfortunately over the course of this year he has turned into a bit of a lazy boy, mainly due to his mother telling him he can't do the work, and that he needs x amount of special help. I would seriously love to see him progress, it breaks my heart to see him not move himself forward and I can see how unhappy he is.

     

    That is just an example from the other side of the fence. Its not like I sit at home rubbing my hands together thinking 'how can I upset those little children', I actually spend a lot of my own time (the majority really) thinking up ways to help them the very best I can.

     

    Like True Blue mentioned - we have 25-28 (or 31 in my case) children to think about on a minute by minute basis, and sometimes we make mistakes. 99.9% if not more, of the time these are not earth shattering mistakes, but obviously someone is going to pick them up (I got told off for writing 'what your underlining' instead of 'watch' a few weeks ago when I had to close in mark 90 books in one night). Try and think bigger picture, and pick your battles. I agree, for what its worth, that they shouldn't even be doing valentines cards, let along I love one person more than the other, but there are a hundred explanations (oh, ok, I can think of three off the top of my head, but that’s still something lol), for why this could have happened, including adult intervention - it may even be something out of the teacher's hands (ie a school idea rather than a teacher's idea - the number of stupid things I have had to do because the school wants them done, and then have to explain to parents...another grr...).

     

    I also agree with the statement about how parents are a child's greatest influence and most important teachers - we only have them 5 hours a day, you have them for 19 plus holidays and weekend.....:) And how many teachers do you remember? I'm guessing only the really really good, or the completely outstandingly diabolical (if at all then - I certainly have no recollection of the teacher my mother says scared me for life and was a complete nightmare!). So the likelihood this will impact on Thomas? Slim to none to be honest....

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    Hmm, thanks all for taking the time to respond. Some interesting feedback (much that I agree with, a few bits that I don't, but that's the nature of feedback!)

     

    I'm aware of how important parenting is in teaching a child; that doesn't, though, in any way reduce the onus on teachers to do their jobs consistently well. For the record, we haven't done anything about it for many of the reasons you guys have stated.

     

    Cheers, Jim

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