1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Dear Sir

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by loulou_halllh, Oct 12, 2019 at 9:25 AM.

  1. So, I work in education and my child is in secondary and has Tourettes (yes the sweary kind) his form tutor made him leave the room, I work in a PRU so I can empathise with the difficulty he has with my son, so I wrote an open letter to my sons tutor.......
    Dear sir,
    I understand that there has been a conversation between you and my son that was quite negative. I have his statement and I do understand it is just one side of the story but I still want to address it.

    From what has been shown to me it states that you sent him out of lesson and then said that he needs to be more responsible and independent and to leave the class when his Tics start. It also states a comment from you about him making you look bad. So here is my reply

    I agree that he needs to be resilient and responsible and independent. I know he needs to sometimes think of how his Tourettes affects those around him, at home we refer to it as safeguarding others. He is a typical teenager and in no way perfect I am the first to admit that. But, in order for him to become independent and to be responsible he needs to be shown how, he needs coping skills and adults and peers that can set a good example. After years of waiting for a diagnosis and finally getting help, we have implemented these skills for the end goal of being able to be a responsible adult and be confident. We get it wrong, we try different strategies and some work and fail. What has worked and will work is if he can thrive in a safe environment whilst not only gaining academic qualifications but also be able to interact with adults and peers. He needs to be given guidance and sometimes may need a reminder that he can have time out or a simple question to gauge his feelings, a simple 'hey, are you ok, your tics are bad, can I do anything for you or do you want some time out'. How we talk to each other is very important and we have to stress this more than ever with Chris because his vocal Tics make this harder for him. We have had to ensure that he feels safe in school and he knows staff are there to support him so his mental health is positive. We need to show him that he and his condition are accepted and understood. He really is not in control of his Tics. To help and support him now means he will be resilient, he will be independent and can take responsibility of his actions whether morally or socially in later life. This all starts and progresses in the classroom.
    I understand the frustration, the disruptive nature of his Tics and the enticement of asking him to stand outside so you can get on and have some respite. As a parent I totally get that. Going to the cinema for one is a minefield! But we dont stay away from those situations, we encourage the challenge of doing things in public. What people dont see is the pep talks beforehand, the worst case scenario possibilities, picking out films that little children wont be in, picking off peak times, phoning the cinema manager so they have a heads up, timing it so he goes in when it's already loud so his Tics will be drowned out. This is for one trip out.
    As a parent I cannot tell you the amount of times I've been given the 'look'. People staring, whispering, giggles and even people coming up to me to berate me on my terrible parenting, so I do understand that he makes me look bad, but I would never let him see this or know this. He's a child, the world is tough but he's my child and i with the support from school will teach him, accept him and be his safe place.

    I have worked closely with the school, ensuring he has people and places to go to and for staff to have information to be available on Tourettes to read,to explain the condition.

    Chris does understand his condition affects the people around him and hates that it does. All I ask is that next time you see his Tics are bad to speak to him, to offer him support or time out with dignity. I'm asking that next time you feel your stress levels rising and your tolerance level is sinking when dealing with Chris that you stop and think of the challenges he has to deal with. If others are being distracted think of ways of diverting their attention or openly talking about it with Chris.

    It's hard I work in a PRU and do really understand. We get things wrong but we learn and move on and I hope you read this and can understand.
     
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    These two sentences make me think you are over reacting to a single situation that didn't go to your son's liking.

    Your son has safe places to go in school.
    Staff have information on tourettes.
    The tutor clearly understands about tics and that they can't be controlled.
    The tutor is clearly trying to help your son help himself.
    In secondary, it is reasonable to expect that your son will start to take himself to a safe place when the tics start, rather than stay in the situation and allow things to deteriorate. A tutor who suggests this to your son is being supportive and helpful.

    Writing the letter might have made you feel better, but sending it wouldn't be a good idea.
    Maybe the tutor didn't handle things as perfectly as one would like. But the tutor is entitled to a bad day without a long ranting email from a parent.
     
  3. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    Totally agree, Caterpillar.
     
  4. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    This reminds me of a lecture I - and colleagues - were once given by a patronising behaviour expert, who told us smugly that when we were dealing with a child in the school who was both violent and aggressive, rather than getting angry we should think of the fact that he would not have a good life and we all did and stop being so judgemental.

    Really?

    You have sent your child to a mainstream Secondary school, which welcomes children with a whole host of needs, and from what I've read said school is doing all it can to accommodate your son and his needs. I've taught a child with tourettes, and trust me, when said child starts screaming out "******* ********" "******* *****" "******* ******" for what appears to other children to be no reason, yeah, it gets to you. And it gets to those other children as well. Especially when said child has the same strategies and understanding you describe, and doesn't want to follow them. You clearly seem to think the tutor is in the wrong. Rather than a passive aggressive email, perhaps in future you could phone and make an appointment to see the tutor. And then, rather then paying lip service to the idea of getting the tutor's side of the story as well as your son's, you actually would.
     
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I've been on several sides of this, as a teacher dealing with a busy class, and well as now becoming a teacher of kids who can't cope in mainstream, and a person who has dealt with a non verbal Tourette's all my life.
    Sometimes there isn't a win-win solution to behavioural dilemmas. Sometimes the needs of the rest of the group need to be considered.
    If we just think of the boy; what learning is going on for the boy if he's in the middle of an outburst?
    Are there any advantages for the boy in remaining in class while he is having an outburst as opposed to having it in private?
    I don't know the answers to these questions. I do wish you and your son well as you navigate a complicated path through life.
     
    agathamorse and CWadd like this.
  6. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    tO @phlogiston - Yes. What really irritated me when being lectured a few years ago was the smug "think of his quality of life!" OK, and so I let him stay in the classroom and ruin the quality of life of 25 other children (who have done nothing to deserve it) and my own? No thanks. If he needs to leave the room, he needs to do so. If he's refusing to leave, despite being told this is a strategy for him, the tutor is completely in the right. Sorry.
     
  7. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    You could have issued the same words in a face to face meeting in far less time.
    Pivotally, it would then have been a dialogue, rather than a telling off,and you would have found it far easier to effect any desirable change. If at all.

    I really do not like your assumption that this teacher has had to send your child out because he himself was at the end of his tether. Sending out of the room decisions are made on the basis of the overall good for the class. Demanding an awareness of Tourette's from the other children in the way you suggest is presumptuous and arrogant. How do you know this has not already been attempted? How do you know the needs of the others in the room? Why on earth should a professional teacher have you tell them how to talk to absolutely all the children in his lesson, for whose progress he is responsible, simply because the impact of a sanction on your son was hurtful to him?

    Telling it like it is. Your letter reflects poorly on yourself. Too long. Too demanding. Too overstated. Too pushy. Your last sentence-beyond awful. What an indictment against somebody who already has to spin a million plates and please a million people.
    Go in to the school and talk. Then listen.
     
  8. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I'm just going to add something else.

    The tone of this letter is making me think of a TA who was critical of me early in my career, as apparently I wasn't "caring enough" towards an aggressive child who she sat next to like glue. The fact his behaviour put the learning of 28 others at risk didn't even register.
     
    varcolac likes this.
  9. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    I'm curious to know what you mean by 'shown'.

    I don't know what was 'shown' to you, but maybe what was actually said was intended to be this:

    and either it was clumsily done or said owing to the teacher's own stress, pressure or tiredness, or maybe your son misinterpreted it because of his.

    It is. So think carefully about the tone in which you address this teacher.
     
    CWadd likes this.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Revisiting this thread, I noticed OP has written this as "an open letter".
    I don't get that.
    Is it some sort of wannabe viral identity politics campaign thing?
    Why "an open letter" to the tutor?
     
  11. matevans

    matevans New commenter

    I'm not sure what this letter is meant to achieve. You weren't there and yet you're sitting in such judgement. Maybe the teacher did get it wrong? Maybe the behaviour was stopping the other 30 kids leaning & the teacher felt they had no choice? Maybe your son was out of order on the day? What would really rile me is your line 'with dignity' which immediately presumes somehow the teacher is belittling him by asking him to step outside and then having a quiet chat. I would have thought a much better response would to show the teacher enough respect to actually ask them what happened before lecturing them & telling them what they ought to do, based on the feedback of your teen child....
     
  12. install

    install Star commenter

    Looks to me like you have jumped the gun. Why didn't you give the teacher a chance to relay events and what happened ?
     

Share This Page