I am a huge – HUGE – believer in parents and teachers working together in “raising” children.

For the most part, I don’t believe there need be an “it’s the teachers job to teach them that” nor “it’s the parents’. Obviously, curriculumy type stuff like reading and spelling and maths and stuff, then teachers are trained to do just that. Also, they know what they’re doing, because they have learnt it under the appropriate conditions. Non-teachers haven’t.

(I know I personally sucked, big time, at geography and history, and probably maths was a bit sucky, too, so no point getting me terribly involved in actually teaching the stuff. But supporting teachers in teaching it, I’m there!)

In cases like “manners” and “empathy” and stuff like that, for me, it goes without saying that it is just a part of the day and whoever happens to be there at the time deals with it; if it happens in the playground, then there is the opporunity to enforce what needs to be enforced. Ditto at home. It’s not, in my opinion, someones “job” to do it, nor should it be a Teachers versus Parents thing.

That’s just stupid.

Which is why I’m feeling particuarly angry and frustrated and just damned annoyed and angry (did I say angry?? Well I’m seriously pissed off!) after the Getting To Know Your Kid Parent Teacher Interview I had yesterday with my 10 year old’s teacher.

After having dealt with a really lovely, and really passionate, but just out of teaching school and very textbook teacher last year, I learnt a lot. Mostly, how my son functions. He’s a really bright kid. He’s also a really sensitive and compassionate kid, who thrives on positive feedback, yet struggles to accept it, and takes any negative to heart. Really to heart.

He’s not an angel. He is a 10 year old boy.

After the interview I was sad. Felt like I’d failed. Not listened to, patronised and, hard for me to take, was spoken to defensively. Everything I said or asked, the reponse was a defence. I lost count of the number of times I said “I’m not arguing with you, I’m on your side” and “Yes, I’m just trying to let you see how he interprets that” and “so how can we work together to get him doing that?” Funny, I’ve only ever heard of teachers asking that of parents.

I know he likes to divert and dominate conversation to avoid doing something. I also know that he does this because he is disgustingly scared of failure. I also bring the diversion to his attention. I have learnt. I thought, stupid me, that sharing this with his new teacher would give her some insight.

I thought this is what the interview was about.

I had a chat to Monkey Boy last night. I approached his teacher this morning so I could get an understanding of exactly

5 Replies to “Institutionalised”

  1. This is precisely what terrifies me about the school years. When my mum used to go to these parent teacher interviews the amount of times the teacher would spend talking about the wrong student was worrying 🙂

    And the apparent need for complete conformity scares the hell out if me

  2. omg, we are going through the same thing with our 5 year old, it is now at the point he was suspended from school for 2 days & we even whent to the extent of seeing a child behavioural psyc. Heis smart & his bored, so he misbehaves in the classroom.

  3. I love this post. As a pre-service teacher and single mum to an almost prep-student this precise thing has been on my mind, a lot. I, like you, am a huge believer in that parent-teacher team. I’ve come up against a lot of oppositions though, especially when I am on pracs (which is an insane thought) and teachers seem to label and dismiss children rather non-chalantly. “Oh, X is just a ‘troubled child’, instead of seeking the root of the ‘problem’ and including the parent. ‘Troubled/some Child’ is a label that I’ve heard at least a couple of times on the two pracs I’ve attended so far. And it is not like you aren’t educated in assessing your classroom and student and accommodating for differences in personality, skill etc. You are also taught- more like you have it drilled into you- that the parent of the child is mostly always your greatest ally in ensuring the education of that particular child is appropriate and engaging. Like Zoey said, it is very scary how conformity seems to be the main thing on some teachers minds. It’s ‘too hard’ to have to adjust the lesson a little and have different levels or different ways of presenting the information to keep children engaged. My sister went through 4 years of schooling before a teacher actually realised that she wasn’t a troublesome child but a child with a learning difference. 4 years!! Had my parents been a bit more ‘modern’ in their approach to school they perhaps would have thought something was a bit different themselves. If this happened to my child I’d be asking for mediation so that you can have the opportunity to drop the need to appease her when trying to get some answers and a.c.t.u.a.l.l.y get some answers. The principal could be a good place to turn to and perhaps look into any programs the school has to offer for extention or support in different subject areas. If all else fails there are some great resources around that you could purchase to ensure that whislt he may be bored in class he is still getting the learning and extention he requires.

  4. ARGH I can hear your frustration. All I can suggest is that next time, if there is a next time, you make the appointment with the principal present as well. Keep the same attitude, and hope for the best.
    My boy had a teacher last year who’s been at the same school for 20 + years. It’s a brilliant little school, with disciplinary problems being very rare, and the teacher was flabbergasted by my boy, who’d some from one of the worst schools in the state, where the kids did as they please in the classroom.
    We had to explain over and over that all he had to do was explain the rules to our son, and Son would know what was expected of him, but he never really got over the shock of having a child who – GASP – called out without raising his hand.

    I hope you’re able to get through to this teacher.

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