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Offspring at same school - advice please?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by PennyAM, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. Struggling a little with own son being at same school as me. He is in KS3. Unfortunately, he is getting into some minor scrapes and is getting detentions. You may think this stupid, but I worry that this reflects on me and that I look like a bad parent. He has missed some homework and despite me monitoring this and checking his homework diary, he is getting into trouble. He sometimes does not write down all the work. He does not seem to care that I am concerned that he is letting himself down - there is always an answer from him that it is never his fault. He is not bothered that I am becoming increasingly embarrassed. Other staff members are very good, and most tend not to accost me in the staff-room. How do I get my voice heard as a parent and not as a teacher? I trust my colleagues' judgement, but feel that I am floundering with my own feelings on this matter. Thankfully, I do not teach my son. Any practical, helpful advice would be welcome - particularly from people who have experienced something similar. Thanks.
  2. I haven't (thankfully!) ever taught in my sons' schools but their schools knew I was a teacher. I used to feel embarrassed if they were in trouble for not doing homework or whatever but pretty soon decided that I wasn't prepared to spoil our home life doing battle with either of them over homework. I made it clear to school that I fully supported them in whatever sanctions they wanted to impose but I was not going to force them to do their homework. I made both my lads take responsibility for their choices to not do homework. I did impose restrictions and sanctions at home but never got into any debates or arguments about it. After 3 months without his Xbox and no Internet access my eldest decided it ws easier to just do his homework!

    My youngest had constant battles with teachers over homework - he felt it was pointless (which it usually was). He was an A student in virtually every subject despite never doing any! Since going into year 11 he willingly does his homework as he now sees it as worthwhile and is determined to get his fistfuls of A stars and keep his prefect's tie!
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    One reason I always advise people not to teach in the same school.It's easier with Primary age.
    I find it's often staff children who get noticed, it's almost part of their teenage rebellion, their way of 'becoming their own person'. Try not to take it personally, he's just another teenager growing up to the staff after all . (They do come out wonderful people the other side.)
  4. Interesting post. My dad was on SMT and head of sixth form at my school. I wasn't ever really bad, but like your son I found it easier to not do homework and refuse to accept responsibility. My dad wouldn't ever engage in debate with any member of staff in the staff room - his argument was that if they wouldn't ring home about it then they shouldn't be talking to him. This is something I now do as a teacher myself - I avoid talking about colleagues' sons/daughters/nieces/nephews. Where possible, get your OH to be in correspondence with the school.
    My dad always supported any sanction that was imposed on me, but made it clear that if I didn't want to do my homework and I wanted to misbehave in class, that was fine - he wouldn't stop me as I had to accept responsibility for my own choices.
    By no means does it reflect badly on you, and those that judge are being incredibly unprofessional.
    I got pretty bored of my behaviour, sorted it all out by Year 11, did well in both my GCSEs and A Levels, went to university and became a teacher, so chances are your son will come out on the other side...;-)
  5. My children attend a school where I sometimes do supply. I remind myself that they are not me, so they will make choices that suit them and not me.
    Also, if I'm accosted over missing homework or whatever, I say that I haven't time now as I'm at work and leave it at that. Another thing is to insist that the other parent is the point of contact, however convenient it might be for a teacher to speak to you in school - "Ok, you'll need to speak to his dad - I don't deal with parenting issues when I'm at work" - slightly brusque, but it gets the message across - you're not there as a parent.
    If emailing, I state which capacity I'm emailing in too.
  6. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    My sympathy to the OP - both my kids went to the school where I taught (secondary) so I had exactly the same stuff as you for 7 years. Most of my colleagues treated them no differently to anyone else, a few kept a special eye out for them if there were any problems (and there were), and a few others took every opportunity to snitch to me about trivial sh*te that they wouldn't complain about to any other parent. These latter people were a total pain in the ****.

    The main problem is that many students and some staff expect teachers' kids to be perfect little goody goodies. In the case of some staff I think it's because they hope their own kids would be perfect and don't like to think that it may not actually be the case for all teachers, so they get over-sensitive to other teachers' kids being normal, ie not joining the orchestra, and not playing for the school team, and not enjoying every subject, and sometimes pissing about in lessons, God forbid.

    One solution we came to was for Mrs MSB (who didn't teach at the school) to go to all the parents' evenings, and to be the first point of contact for any complaints. If anyone tried to approach me about trivial sh*te I'd say "Ring her Mum at home when you've got a moment", and that would put some of the worst snitches off.

    You should be aware that many kids will judge you as a parent by your teacher persona, and will pass comments to your child about it. Likewise some teachers (who should know better) will judge you as a person by even the slightest lapses in your child's behaviour in school. You have to develop a thick skin, forget about your own sensitivities, and be mindful of this extra pressure on your child. I'm aware of no less than three teachers' daughters at my school alone who developed eating disorders partly in response to these additional pressures.

    Another difficulty - what if your child complains about a colleague's apparent incompetence, or an injustice meted out by another member of staff? That one's difficult, but in hindsight I'd advise that you don't always give staff the benefit of the doubt. Again, get your partner to contact the school and raise the concern.

    Also, just because you work with children every day, don't dismiss your child's concerns or worries by saying 'Listen dear, I've seen this many times before with other children in school and believe me it all works out in the end so stop fussing'. IT DOESN'T WORK. Treat your child's worries as if they're the first person in the history of creation ever to have had them. I speak from bitter experience there.

    There are few upsides to having your offspring in your school, but if it's the right place for them to be for the sake of friendships, then you just have to grin and bear it. One advantage is when your child comes home and does impressions of your colleagues, especially the ones you don't like - my eldest was an expert at that and livened up many a family mealtime taking the p*ss ;-)
  7. My husband and my son were at the same school, and things were not easy- my lad was not a model pupil to say the least, but I do think that maybe he was noticed more. Husband used to dread time in the staff room when a colleague would walk over to him, and he him not knowing if it was about laddo or general chat. He left to work at another school. I think the worst time of it for me was when we went to a wedding of one of the teachers there. I sat at a table and introduced myself as mother of said son, so no-one felt awkward if anything was said- The table went eerily quiet...TBH there was nothing we could do to get him to work- did all grounding/ removal of fav things. I also went to school with a friend whose Mum worked there. Both she and her sister were terrible at school, and her Mum was about the stricted teacher going. I see it's awkward for you, but remember to keep a good relationship with your son- even the lazy ones turn out fine in the end.
  8. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    I taught at the same secondary school my children attended. I left when they were in years 7 and 8, much to their relief and mine. They didn't like it when kids made comments about me and I was always wondering what staff really thought of them. I also tried to get my son out of a detention, which was so wrong, but I had my parent hat on and I thought it unjust. Not a good situation.
  9. Thank you so much for your sage advice and support. As well as being a complete pain, said son can be an utterly lovely boy, and is articulate, funny and forthright.

    I couldn't agree more with the comments about some colleagues revelling in every little misdemeanour! It's been difficult as his HoY is also one of my departmental colleagues. I do trust her judgement and she has a reputation as a fair teacher with a practical no-nonsense response to problems.

    I really like the advice from the other side of the tracks - those of you who had Mum or Dad as teachers in your school. I realise that I must also try to see things from our son's perspective and that my own expectations of his behaviour need to accommodate him being responsible for his actions.

    My own sensitivities need to be out aside, and I think I need to grow a thicker skin and be more resilient - it's his education, and it's his homework - not mine.

    I have also discussed the issue of my other half being the contact for disciplinary matters - and he believes this is a very good idea. However, as he is overseas for half the month, then this could be a little problematic from time to time.

    Please - keep the advice coming if you feel you can add to the mix. I really do appreciate your time and efforts on our behalf.
  10. I dont have children but teach a child who's mum is a Teacher in the classroom next door. He is currently Y2 but as he is getting older he is getting more aware that she works there, developing an arrogance because he is around before/after school and obviously feels he has more ownership than the other children, and getting very clingy. He is right as rain in the classroom but when she walks through (we're a corridor) he goes to her and whimpers - which makes me look as if he has been ill/upset and I've been ignoring him! His behavious is really deteriating and I do believe this is one of the issues.
    And believe it or not - he is one of very few children in my class that never brings book bag/homework/spellings!
  11. Thanks for the post. So what would you suggest in order for matters to improve? I know the presence of a parent in the same school can be an issue - but what would be practical and helpful ways of dealing with it for teachers, parents and pupils?
  12. vou


    Hi, Pennyann, you have my sympathy!! It is hard to teach in the same school as your kids. When I first started teaching in a junior school - it was quite common for teachers to have their kids in the school too. So there was an established understanding that if there was a problem if need be you contacted the other parent. Unless it was an emergency ie, broken leg!! Teachers didn't teach any classes which had their own child either. At parents meeting, the other parent would turn up and inform the said teacher about progress. Mind you the said teacher would pop into class to have a look their books too. Also, I made a point of treating the child like any other child. So, if he/she was messing about - I would think do I need to ring the parent at home about this? Would I speak to the parent if he/she wasn't a colleague? I think it's bad form to approach you in the staffroom about any behaviour. At the end of the day, you are there as a teacher not parent. If teachers do approach tell them you are busy and they should contact your partner. By all means have a good chat at home with your offspring. Good luck!! :)
  13. I think just deal with any issues at home - with teachers, ask for a phone call at home/email to your personal account when your OH can't deal with it due to work commitments. Back your son's teachers when you know that they have been fair and executed good judgement, and agree to uphold any sanction/consequence given to him. When you talk to your son about his behaviour, don't ever mention anything about 'letting you down as a teacher' or 'how does it reflect on me', because it will probably only rile him, and don't engage in any conversation about you being a teacher (even if he brings it up.)

    He sounds like a reasonable boy so the more you are fair and reasonable, and deal with him in a parental capacity only, the more likely he is to snap out of it. A poster made the point that it's probably his muddled way of trying to assert his own identity in a school where a parent teaches; this was certainly the case for me, so once he sees that it's not an issue for you (essentially, you don't even see it as a problem) the less likely it is to matter.
  14. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Sounds like a typical teenager to me!
  15. On a lighter note- My sister and I went to a very small village school- with an infant class, lower Jr (taught by Mum) and Upper Jr- taught by the Head.(3 staff- no Ta's) My sister was in Mum's class- One day the teacher (mum) was collecting in dinner money when one of her pupils ( sister) said she didn't have it. Teacher then told off pupil - as she would any other pupil- when obviously it was Mum's fault for not remembing her give her ?Yr 3/4 daughter the dinner money in the first place.
    Mum said that having her daughter in her class was not a good thing- My sister even called her Mrs W at home sometimes. We moved and went to seperate schools after that.
  16. Richie Millions

    Richie Millions New commenter

    Another funny but true story. My friend in a small village school taught his own son for four years in KS2. The child separated teacher and father roles completely, ven asking teacher on one occasion if he would like to borrow a book his father had at home about a subject they were studying.
  17. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    Most of the replies seem to be along the same lines, and I would agree - you need to separate parent/teacher hat and so do your colleagues. My mother did supply when I was at secondary school and I loathed it when she came in long term, although I was never in her classes, fortunately. She took a permanent job there after I'd gone to uni but still had brothers and sister in the school and I remember her being really annoyed if colleagues complained to her about the idleness/behaviour of my then 16 or 17 year old brother. She felt that they took the opportunity to bring up things that they would not have 'phoned home' about to other parents. I obviously took this on board because when I later worked as a teacher and had a colleague with a son (who was a complete pain) in the school I never once spoke to him about his son. I remember him once wistfully saying to me 'everyone complains about Paul all the time and yet he's obviously really good in your lessons'. I replied by saying, 'Nope, he's not. But I sort his behaviour in the way I would any other pupil. If I get to the point where I wish to speak to his parents I'll ring your wife at home and speak to her'. He did eventually decide he couldn't take any more and that both he and son would be happier if he moved his son to a different school and a fresh start.
  18. Mmm - a very balanced viewpoint! I take offence at your comment re nepotism - why is it so obvious? I go out of my way not to show any favouritism to him at all - we rarely speak at school. I do not teach him, nor do I wish to.

    My child is not and should not be earmarked as special; in my eyes he is no different to any other child at the school. The problem is that some staff members winge about minor issues that would not be brought up with other parents via the normal route. If you read the original post, you can see that I was clearly asking for advice. You are clearly not offering any and are stating your opinion in quite an unpleasant way.

    I am not a "pushy parent" and consider this an unfair remark. I work at the school because there are very few jobs available at the moment, and my husband is away from home for half the month. In his absence I take on the role of both parents. You know nothing about my background or circumstance other than what I have mentioned earlier here. Please do not make assumptions about a contributor's circumstances as you do not know the full picture.

    The purpose of the posting was to ask for advice - if you can't give it, then don't reply to the posting.
    I am really not interested in whether you consider it should be made "illegal" to teach in the same school.

    To all the people who have offered advice, then I thank you warmly. My husband and I are discussing a more appropriate strategy and your words of wisdom are appreciated.
  19. Thanks polly.glot - it sounds as though you had a great approach and it was a positive experience. Thank you for sharing your ideas with me.
  20. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    I am inclined to agree, not because I believe that "nepotism" is in any way relevant to the issue, but simply because I feel that the experience is totally harmful to the child. I would never have considered putting my two through this experience; children need to have the space to breathe and be themselves. How dreadful to have a parent watching over you every single day. I wonder to what extent this pehenomen causes deep-seated anxiety on the part of the children concerned? How they must long to be "normal" - to be incognito, like their fellow classmates. I know I would have absolutely hated being placed in such a situation.

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