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Parent: Student loved maths but not anymore. Teacher's fault.

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by MissSmilla, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. MissSmilla

    MissSmilla New commenter


    I wonder if someone would be able to help me with this. Parents of a students have complained that last year (different school) the student loved maths but no longer do. They have not said explicitly that it is my fault, however they have implied it in the way that they do not have to say it out loud.

    Particular student is 'silent' disruptor in the class and does not like to be told off. Every time I have challenged his behaviour (using laptop, using phone, being off task and cutting and flying paper planes etc.) parents have called the school.

    They have also met HoD to complain and say that their child has anxieties so some disruption should be allowed.

    Im not even sure what Im after but it seems that I'm in a position where a child says that they no longer enjoy a subject because of a teacher and I have no counterarguments to these claims.

    How can I prove that this is not the case?

  2. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    What is it that you want to prove? That the child really does enjoy maths or that if they don't it's not your fault?

    You don't say what Key Stage you are talking about here, but it's possible the parents feel their child is SEN. If so, the SENCO should be involved, a plan put in place and strategies offered to support their learning. You don't know why the pupil moved school, possibly because they were disruptive there but the parents decided to move them rather than try to change their behaviour.

    What you can't do is get involved with 'proving' you're right. Stress that you are following school policies on behaviour and that this pupil is not responding appropriately, highlight the disruptive behaviour and ask if they are on a support plan. Make sure you keep a record and report the behaviour to your HOD, it can't be just up to you.

    Try not to take it personally, there are always some who try it on and whose parents immediately see their child as the victim. Make sure you follow school policy and make sure you record and report the events as they happen.
    MissSmilla, bonxie and agathamorse like this.
  3. MissSmilla

    MissSmilla New commenter

    Thanks! That is very helpful. it is KS4 Y10. The complaint came from parents and then the visit to the school followed after I applied the school policy a few times.
    I have now put him in the back Rowe so that at least he cannot turn around all the time but he is flying planes, pieces of eraser, pens, etc. I have never been able to catch him but I do know its is him from his facial expressions and from what other students have told me.

    I think keeping a log might be very helpful.

    I just feel a bit trapped in that if I apply the school policy he complains to his parents that he does it because he does not enjoy my lessons.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    What phatsals says in post #2. You are there to teach your subject to the best of your ability and hopefully you will have had lesson observation feedback to show that your teaching is good or outstanding. The fact that your student doesn't like maths is not your fault, you are teaching an examination course and the content is laid down by the specification.

    I suspect that your student is finding your subject difficult and are working to shift the blame for future underperformance onto you - 'I didn't do well because the teacher made me dislike the subject'. It could also be that, quite simply, the student doesn't like you and is underperforming and blaming you to get the upper hand. With the parents so keen to jump to their little darling's defence this student is playing their parents to get at you.

    Carry on exactly as you are, take the advice given in post #2 and implement it, refer any further nonsense to your HOD and don't engage with the parents in any way unless you have your HOD or member of SLT present.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    If you are sticking to the school's behaviour policies and the student keeps breaking them, then the school's management should back you up. That's their job.
    Shedman and agathamorse like this.
  6. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I have never taught secondary but if I did would I care if a student enjoyed my lesson? Not really, I’m there to do a job. Flying paper aeroplanes and disrupting the class is not acceptable. Keep implementing the behaviour policy and stick to your guns.
  7. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    Why should you have to prove anything in this situation? Some parents are unbelievable. "My child should be able to disrupt the learning of others because they have anxieties." Pull the other one, it might have bells on.

    Continue to follow the policies and refer any nonsense to your HoD and SLT. It might also be worth developing a stock response for these situations. I had a parent complain to me that her child wasn't enjoying school because I'm too strict and it meant he was in trouble a lot.

    My fairly blunt response was simply, "I do have high expectations of my pupils because I'm passionate about creating an environment in which they can all thrive and learn. I make no apologies for that. Perhaps when x improves his behaviour, he will start to enjoy school more. Until then, he will need to accept that there are positive and negative consequences for his choices."

    Show them that your actions are in his best interests, that you will not back down and that you are not going to be held responsible for his behaviour.

    Don't ever apologise for having high expectations of and for your students. They may not realise it now, but you really are helping them.
    agathamorse and mountainchris2 like this.

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