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Inappropirate comments

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by firle, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. Hi, my daughter is in her NQT year and has had a really hard time of it with a mentor who is too busy to advise/encourage/basically spend time with her....i know everyone is really hard pressed to fulfil the many and varied roles they have but hey if you take on an NQT you have to put the time in, and a head who seems very remote but that's another story.
    Recently after an mini observation during feedback from the mentor she told my daughter ...''not to take this the wrong way but you can only really understand how children learn when you have had children yourself'' apparently it's not something they can teach you at university! Now don't get me wrong i have the greatest respect for teachers however I can't quite see the connection here.
    Do you think this is a statement of prejudice? I'd really like to know what other teachers think whether they are parents or not.
  2. This is a very unhelpful comment, and I'm not sure what the mentor wanted to happen as a result of it. That your daughter would quit teaching until she has her own kids?
    There's a lot of that sort of behaviour - comments that are too personal appearing as part of performance reviews. If it was absolutely essential to your daughter's success that she is a mother herself, then it should be on the job description. It's not. Of course it's not.
    Next time this mentor tries that on, your daughter should ask that this is referenced to the NQT standards and to the job description. She should act like she's concerned about doing a good job and that's why she's asking - not act like she's offended.
  3. Wera6

    Wera6 New commenter

    There was a thread a little while ago which may be of interest to you on the subject of teachers also being parents:





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  4. Wera6

    Wera6 New commenter

    Sorry, I copied and pasted the link - and dont seem to be able to get rid of the formatting!
  5. I'd be highly offended by that sort of remark, and (in my rather more stable than your daughter's position) would call out this mentor. It is prejudicial - one is not allowed to discriminate against women because of their pregnancy or maternity status, and it should be similarly illegal to discriminate against anyone who does not have children. For whatever reason!

    You know how I know how my students learn? By observing them, giving them different tasks to do, trying different activities, explaining things in different ways. I get to grips with the issues facing the students because I communicate regularly with their tutor, and I spend time with the parents and carers at parents evening. I understand teenagers in spite of my barren uterus because I listen to them, I talk to them, and funnily enough I remember being one myself.

    In addition to what the Edudicator has said, I'd get that put down as written feedback, and then hammer the mentor with it. Stupid, discriminatory and just plain wrong statements like that have no place as feedback from anyone.
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Sheesh! I hope this isn't true! I've been teaching for 15 years and have children and no desire to have any. Utter nonsense, but I have heard similar things many times.

    Tell your daughter to ignore it.
  7. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    Anyone can be a parent (with exception to some poor people who can't) but it doesn't mean they're a good one or even have a clue how children learn, what nonsense! x
  8. It is a very silly remark that is untrue. You can learn a lot about child development and learning from looking at the work of others, includinbg some of the great child psychologists including Bruner, Vygotsky and Piaget. What an intelligent person does is think through such work and apply it to real life and not just accept theory as it is written - that's what we call critical thinking. Yes you can also learn a lot from looking at your own children develop - yesterday I watched my granddchildren playing and learning and observed how much they followed what we know about classic child development and also how they differ from theory. Children do not conform to theory.
    Using this teacher's logic you cannot teach anything unless you have direct expert experience of it so is she a mathematician, historian, scientist etc etc.Or do you learn these subjects with a critical mind and apply what you have learned to your everyday experience in the classroom.
    All good teachers are critical thinkers and that above all else is what is needed - not childbirth and bringing up your own children.
  9. Thank you all for these very helpful comments, i will pass the information on to her and hope she has the courage to be able to act on it. Its a difficult situation to be in when you are just out of education and trying to get to grips with all the politics of work place environments let alone applying what you have been taught, develop you own skills and striving to become a good teacher........
    What i really want to do is go up to see the woman but hey I'm just a mother![​IMG]
  10. A guy on my PGCE used to say this to us all the time because he had kids-really annoying and very untrue! Seems many people have this view though to be honest!
  11. What!? That's such a patronising thing to say. How can she explain Jo Frost!
  12. Can you not be a doctor until you've had every illness known to man first?
  13. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    It was a stupid comment but I don't think your daughter should "act" upon it. It is hardly a capital crime. She is in a very vulnerable position. Just let her know that people on here unanimously thought it was a daft thing to say and to ignore unhelpful statements in the future.
  14. Agreed. It is a silly comment but what would be the point in acting on it? People say stupid things all of the time and whoever said it might have thought they were being funny, which it isn't. I think we forgive the children a lot of silly mistakes based on the fact that they are not infallable, but then don't make any similar allowances for the grown ups we work with.

    You are obviously worried but your daughter is clearly a well-qualified, working and professional adult who needs to address this herself. If she is worried, she should talk to her mentor directly or her induction tutor, somebody on the senior leadership team or the head teacher. If she is not satisfied, there will be a designated person at the LEA who she can speak to too, or her union. We all need a rant, but moaning about it on TES is not going to fix it. Being unsupported is not taken lightly but at the same time nobody is going to hold your hand as an NQT like they did as a PGCE trainee. I have just finished my NQT year too and its not simply a case of somebody checking up on you all of the time (of course, there should be regular meetings in place) but also about you seeking the advice and guidance when you need it.
  15. I had a similar experience during my first BEd placement when the class teacher supporting me said that, as a man, I would never be able to manage the behaviour of the (Primary) class and would therefore be unable to teach them.

    Needless to say, I was stunned by the unthinking sexism and naivety of the statement.

    I quickly cooled off and decided to let it slide. It was, after all, said with the best of intentions (very few of the pupils in this class had an adult male in their lives, having lost them to drink, drugs, and prison or being in care themselves).

    On the other hand, it signaled the start of the teacher's hostility that characterised my stay in that school. Her demands got increasingly unrealistic and bizarre (a script instead of lesson plans).

    To cut a long story slightly shorter, I ended up emailing my university tutor having agonised for hours over the tone and content of my cry for help. Their reply was straight to the point..."it's usually best if students deal with these things themselves."

    True enough, but hardly the support I was looking for given that this one teacher had total control over whether I passed or failed.

    So should I have kicked up a stink? I think not. My decision to stay the course and keep smiling (I'm sure my wife recalls it differently, having listened to me off-load every night) didn't go unnoticed; other teachers, including the head, quietly took me aside and reassured me that not every placement would be so tough.

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