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Help me fellow teacher/mums!


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#1 newmumandexcited

Posted 19 May 2020 - 07:35 PM

Hello all,

I am struggling big time with the dual roles of being a teacher and a mum.

Basically, I’m a HS teacher and sorry to say, primed to be on guard of complaining parents - many of whom have fair complaints, but others who are, as we know, can be quite irrational and difficult.

The problem is, my own son has started primary school and I’m too terrified to make contact or be in touch because of a fear of being a complaining parent. I have no idea what is a legitimate complaint anymore or what is considered reasonable in primary school.

How did you become more relaxed in the experience of school parenting and knowing when to step in? How often are most parents in contact with the school?

My son has been involved in some physical altercations for a few days - just light playing gone to far by the sounds - and on one occasion got hurt and we were rung by the office. They kind of minimised it by saying he was wrestling with his little friend so I felt it must be normal. He says they have nothing to do at lunch and I can kind of believe that little boys who barely know each other would kind of getting physical as a means to connect, in their way.

I guess I’m just wondering if it’s worth them rediscussing a hands off type thing, though I’m sure they have, to avoid this stuff. But I can’t ring and say anything - I don’t want to overstep and be unreasonable. This feeling is worse since they know I’m a teacher and the criticism might seem more pointed...

Edited by newmumandexcited, 19 May 2020 - 07:46 PM.


#2 eachschoolholidays

Posted 19 May 2020 - 07:53 PM

I’m a high school teacher and have primary school aged kids. I rarely contact the school.  

My kids get hurt occasionally but as long as it’s not serious, I tend to shrug it off.  Mine are reasonably accident prone and have a tendency towards hypochondria so I’m generally prepared to accept that some injuries are going to happen when the play on concrete.

Even with academic work, I tend to be a little blasé.  Rarely is much gained by complaining.  I tend to let them know that they should have high expectations, particularly when it comes to behaviour, and I am very happy to support their endeavours. Eg Please let me know if you don’t think s/he is working to their ability, or is being disruptive, etc.

#3 Nasty Teens

Posted 19 May 2020 - 07:58 PM

Outside of 'normal' contact? What do you think is happening? If it is rough housing gone wrong, all equallingly participating I would leave it if the school is trying to deal with it. If your child is unwilling or being bullied then I would contact the school. That being said I contact all the parents of my students weekly at the moment, more often if there are issues.

#4 just roses

Posted 19 May 2020 - 08:03 PM

I don't think that's the sort of thing I'd raise, at least not yet.

Talk to your son and give him some strategies. Is he bothered by it? If not, don't worry too much but talk about making better choices.

I'd only raise it if it escalated.

As an example, my daughter (year 5) was having issues at the start of the year with the girl at the desk next to her, constantly using (and not giving back) her pencils and sharpener. It was really bothering DD, to the extent that she came home in tears once or twice. We talked it through and worked out some strategies. First step was to talk to girl and say no if she asked. DD did that. Second step - if it continued - was to approach the teacher. DD is a quiet kids and a real people-pleaser who doesn't like to rock the boat. So it was a big deal for her to approach the teacher at break and ask if she could talk to her. But she did, and the teacher said she'd keep an eye on the situation. She did, and observed that what DD was saying was true. So she separated them and now DD is much happier AND very proud of herself for sorting out her own dilemma.

I didn't speak to the teacher at all, but I would have raised it if she hadn't intervened. But I think it's always best if kids can sort out their own issues.

#5 Prancer is coming

Posted 19 May 2020 - 09:30 PM

I am not a teacher, but was very keen not to be ‘one of those parents’ when my kid stated school.  

However, I have now learnt that if I don’t look out for the needs of my kid, no one else will.  I try and make any contact about my kid and not the actions of others.  So rather than saying ‘DS and the kids get bored at lunch time because there is nothing to do and the school needs to keep kids to keep their hands to themselves’ I would be saying that I was concerned DS was keen on playfighting and seemed to be struggling with appropriate play at lunch time.

Some kids you leave things alone and they work it out, others it becomes a bigger problem.  And play fighting is probably fun and he is not going to be that motivated to stop it.  At the end of the day I would rather the teacher think I am a PITA rather than a problem becoming bigger than it needs to or my kid thinking I am minimising things and not supporting them.  I just use language that does not blame and am very open thst it might be my special snowflake that is in the wrong and convey that too.

#6 robhat

Posted 19 May 2020 - 09:50 PM

What does your child have to say about the incident? If your child is worried or says things that might suggest bullying, then talk to the school.

It's worth remembering that there are also different ways of talking to the school about issues. More so in primary than high school. Going in to pick up your child and having a casual chat with the class teacher or mildly enquiring 'is he getting on OK with his classmates' is totally different to ringing up and asking for a meeting to discuss it. Of course at the moment it's hard because most schools are asking parents to stay off school grounds and more informal conversations are harder to have as a result but if you are really worried, try to find out how best to contact the class teacher and just check in with how they think your child is doing socially and say you were a little worried about the playground play. DON'T offer suggestions on what you think they should be teaching the kids or how they should deal with discipline, just ask for more info and basically show interest in how your child is getting on. Most teachers have no issue with parents wanting to know more about how their child is doing at school, emotionally and socially as well as academically. You're only the annoying parent if you're doing it every day, or if you're trying to tell the teacher how to do their job. Your aim is to be an involved and interested parent, not a complaining pain in the butt.

#7 chicken_bits

Posted 19 May 2020 - 10:12 PM

:waves:

Teacher mumma here too. I've found the best approach has to be as hands off as possible.

This has of course now changed since we're now home schooling and I'm having a really hard time with it!! Especially since my preppy actually needs me to be hands on teaching with him whereas my 8yo I'm mostly redirecting to her teacher.

As far as schoolyard incidents... I do the same. If the school calls me about something or my kid says something to me about it, I'll usually write a note to the teacher (that's how we communicate - communication books) to clarify what the issue appears to be from the teacher's perspective. Usually they are either aware of it and tell me what they're doing about it/they've got it under control OR they weren't aware of it and are grateful that I brought it to their attention.

I've found that being the hands off kind of parent means that the school/teachers know that if I do have something to say that it's not just me being 'that parent'. I've got the impression that they appreciate that. It's about finding a balance between advocating for your child but letting them sort themselves out too. Which I think takes time.

I'd say also maybe think about it from you POV too. Although it's difficult because you're a secondary teacher. Would you find it reasonable if a parent said x to you. Or would you think they were 'complaining'. You have the critical thinking skills to determine that.

Good luck!

#8 crankybee

Posted 19 May 2020 - 10:21 PM

I could have written this! I bribe with a LOT OF WINE. It's so hard! My daughter is ASD and I am so conscious of the extra work she makes for her teachers. So I am on the P&C, I am apologetic when I contact the teachers about something, we volunteer for everything, I give a little gift (Who the F am I kidding - it's an expensive bottle of wine) at the end of every term and my husband and I send in a massive morning tea for ALL the staff at the end of the year. I work at a private school and last year got over 20 bottles of very expensive champagne and wine as gifts...I gave it all to the Stage 1 teachers who helped my child, saying "The rich parents at my school wanted to thank you public teachers for all you do." It's the only thing that alleviates my guilt.

#9 Ellie bean

Posted 19 May 2020 - 10:33 PM

If it’s worrying you can’t you just raise it tactfully and non aggressively with the school?
If the teachers are so judgmental and keen to pigeonhole that even that gets you labelled as “that” parent by teachers then that’s just depressing and frankly I give up


#10 Tinky Winky Woo

Posted 19 May 2020 - 11:02 PM

Kids need their parents to be their advocates.  Being your child's advocate does not mean that you have to be rude or aggressive, asking genuine questions is perfectly acceptable.

Explain to the teacher that you need the information to be correctly informed, but you will back them up with the decisions they make at school.

I think far too many parents are afraid to speak up, and this is why the curriculum and school practices in general can be and are archaic.

#11 Expelliarmus

Posted 19 May 2020 - 11:05 PM

What would you be complaining about exactly?

I'm at a loss as to why you would ring up to complain.

I would ring up to ask them what you can do to support your son to make better choices and how you can support the school to help him with that.

Odds are they've already had a safe hands discussion when the incident occurred.

#12 Jingleflea

Posted 19 May 2020 - 11:24 PM

Maybe send your son with a tennis ball so they can play handball or something. That's huge at DD's primary school.

There should be other things to do other than play fight in a school which maybe they need to have pointed out to them.

Our school has a Hands off, feet off policy, I'd assume most do too so the teachers would be on top of any rough playing already I'm sure.

#13 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 19 May 2020 - 11:59 PM

crankybee are you serious?  That's a really concerning attitude to have about your daughter with ASD.  She's got as much right as any other child to be in school and for you to be sending a message that you are apologetic and feel guilty about her being in school?

Is that how you are going to deal with life for her in the long run?

#14 newmumandexcited

Posted 20 May 2020 - 03:17 AM

View PostExpelliarmus, on 19 May 2020 - 11:05 PM, said:

What would you be complaining about exactly?

I'm at a loss as to why you would ring up to complain.

I would ring up to ask them what you can do to support your son to make better choices and how you can support the school to help him with that.

Odds are they've already had a safe hands discussion when the incident occurred.

I don’t want to complain really - I just want to understand what options there are for active kindie kids to socialise and how to direct him to those without being to interfering with him and letting him be.

Such such great advice here guys!

#15 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 20 May 2020 - 08:38 AM

Is this recent and covid related? Has the school closed off all the play grounds and lunchtime activities? Hence the bored kids?

At our primary school, ordinarily, there are lots of lunch time activities and they’re mostly advertised in the newsletter. There are clubs they can go to, Drawing club, science club, library club, etc. And there are play sessions set up by the school leaders. And also things you pay for, like a tennis lesson or chess lesson.

BUT, I have no idea if these will go ahead this term or next term.

If they do exist at your school, they’re a great way to keep kids busy and make new friends.

#16 crankybee

Posted 24 May 2020 - 02:33 PM

View PostAcidulous Osprey, on 19 May 2020 - 11:59 PM, said:

crankybee are you serious?  That's a really concerning attitude to have about your daughter with ASD.  She's got as much right as any other child to be in school and for you to be sending a message that you are apologetic and feel guilty about her being in school?

Is that how you are going to deal with life for her in the long run?

I'm just taking it one day at a time, but thanks for the judgement! LOL!

ETA: I'm actually doing the best I can for a mother with a newly diagnosed child.

Edited by crankybee, 24 May 2020 - 03:08 PM.


#17 EsmeLennox

Posted 24 May 2020 - 04:05 PM

View Postnewmumandexcited, on 20 May 2020 - 03:17 AM, said:

I don’t want to complain really - I just want to understand what options there are for active kindie kids to socialise and how to direct him to those without being to interfering with him and letting him be.

Such such great advice here guys!

It’s completely reasonable to ask about the options and how you can help at home to encourage him to make good choices.

#18 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 24 May 2020 - 04:25 PM

View Postnewmumandexcited, on 19 May 2020 - 07:35 PM, said:

The problem is, my own son has started primary school and I’m too terrified to make contact or be in touch because of a fear of being a complaining parent. I have no idea what is a legitimate complaint anymore or what is considered reasonable in primary school.

View Postnewmumandexcited, on 20 May 2020 - 03:17 AM, said:

I don’t want to complain really - I just want to understand what options there are for active kindie kids to socialise and how to direct him to those without being to interfering with him and letting him be.

Such such great advice here guys!
In your OP, you have described concerns about knowing what is a legitimate complaint but then what you have described later sounds like you would simply appreciate some directions and clarity of potential lunchtime activities for the kindy kids. That's not a complaint.

Let the teacher know that you would like a better idea of what activities you should be directing your child towards during lunch time, get the advice, take it home and then make some suggestions to your son about possible other options about lunchtime play. Then leave it be.

I speak with my children's primary school teachers maybe 1-2 times per term, maybe. We definitely advocate for our children and will make contact if we have any concerns, but I don't see the need in being in constant contact either. If my child is (mostly) happy at school and seems to be doing okay socially and academically, that's good for us.

For the most part, I have found the teachers to be receptive and active in their engagement with us, their feedback and suggestions have been really useful when we have approached them with any concerns. There has only been one teacher that wasn't much good, but hey, in a school of 20+ teachers, there's bound to be one every so often. (Thankfully the AP was much better at dealing with the issue and was aware of the teacher's less than stellar capacity to provide appropriate engagement.)




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