When a teacher dislikes your child--what do you do?

(30 Posts)
Bride1 Tue 20-Nov-12 11:46:51

Have name-changed for this one, but am regular!

My 14-year-old daughter has a problem with a PE teacher. She plays in a team and this lady, new this year, seems to dislike her very strongly. We are not sure exactly why or when it started. But it came to a head when my daughter queried her position in the team at a match last weekend. She says she was at pains to ask the question very politely, and the query had actually arisen because the position my daughter was given was in direct contradiction to what the teacher had told her she ought to be playing. The teacher explained and said that everything would be changing again in the team anyway, the match was shortly to start, so my daughter was keen to get warming up and said 'OK, good'. As she walked away, the teacher shouted at her, 'What did you just say to me?' Daughter repeated. She was told off for being rude. A little stunned, she retreated. Later on she came across the teacher and started to apologise if she had sounded rude, she hadn't meant to. The teacher blanked her. The team bibs were given out and one of them accidentally fell into the mud and became dirty. The teacher gave it to my daughter and told her she could have that one. She played well in the match, really throwing herself into the game although she was in the position she'd been told wasn't ideal for her.

We told our daughter to turn up at the next training session and continue to be polite, willing and keen. But every time she addressed a remark to the teacher,or answered a question, the teacher apparently blanked her. She is one of the stronger players on this team, but feels she is picked on and criticised constantly.

I was keen for her to try and resolve this herself but I am wondering whether she needs to talk to the teacher herself or the head of sport, or her head of year. Or whether we should have a word? Clearly something has gone wrong. My daughter is very organised and perhaps comes across as being too keen. But the way the teacher is responding to the issue isn't really helping them to improve the relationship. I don't want my daughter to get fed up and jack in the sport, as it is one she has worked hard on for some years, attending camps in the holidays, etc, and pretty well the only sport she is in a team for. We have never been told by any other teacher in this school or her primary school that she has been rude, though she is not the kind of person to take what is said by anyone as The Word if she doesn't understand it or it doesn't make sense.

What should we do?

PastSellByDate Mon 03-Dec-12 03:40:00

Hi Bride1:

Was just checking out this feed (DD1 in Y5 so getting a 'sneak peak' at life in future) - but this rang many bells.

First off I think you're handling this well - you've raised your concern with the school without making it a huge issue - and I suspect the message will be received.

Having played sports in my deep dark past - a lot of what you said absolutely resonates with me. So in answer to why do some people play these power games? I think it genuinely is because they can. They've got a group of keen kids that want despeartely to make the team - and so they can say what they want, have favourites and be vindictive - often without repurcusions because the kids know if they complain they'll most likely be 'benched'.

I had the temerity to miss 'the big game' and boy did I get it from the coach. But I think the advice of just ignoring it and getting on with it really does work. My dear old Dad said just treat it like water off a duck's back, so I worked hard to not show any concern outwardly (and knew I could sound off about it at home that night). Ultimately my team mates started asking why I wasn't back playing my position - and eventually I was returned to first team.

Bride1 Wed 28-Nov-12 15:51:41

Funny how it is often PE teachers! My own tennis coach can be a bit like this, too. We are a group of about five women and he is definitely more dismissive with some rather than others. He has favourites: those he chats to and those he doesn't. And boy is he moody.

As we are adults, not school children, we just laugh at his strange ways. But some parents in a children's group have been annoyed by his manner. He does things like call a child by a particular unwelcome nickname and, when the child objects, says things like, 'I'll keep doing it until I don't get a reaction'. Erm, why!?! But with other children (my own daughter included) he is really nice.

So my question to PE/sports coaches is: why do some of them do this power game stuff? I know the majority of you are lovely, tolerant people who really enjoy working with young people. I am a volunteer at a sports club (yet another sport) and the coaches are almost universally encouraging and kind to all the youngsters, even the most annoying or untalented. So I do know it's not all of you. smile

ItsRainingOutside Wed 28-Nov-12 15:11:36

Interesting to read your OP. My daughter had similar issues with her PE teacher and I encouraged her to treat him in the same way as he treats her. He may now treat her indifferently (as she does him), but at least he knows his bullying has had no effect. Keep a journal of everything that happens to back you up if you need to report it officially.

Bride1 Tue 27-Nov-12 21:27:43

Thank you, breadandbutter. I am hoping they have put it behind them now. Fingers crossed.

breadandbutterfly Tue 27-Nov-12 20:53:23

Teachers are human and have bad days. Who knows why the teacher was rude - not your dd's fault or problem and she shouldn't have to put up with it but it may well blow over - maybe teacher misheard her original comment, was having a bad day and has since got over it. I'm ateacher and would love to say I'm perfect but am sure there are times I've been short with pupils or inadvertantly rude. Hope your dd is not too scarred. Sounds a mature and sensible girl.

Bride1 Sat 24-Nov-12 23:50:42

True enough, you don't want to look for things. In fact the latest lesson was fine, with the teacher being generally more relaxed with everyone, and the match today was rained off so my daughter hasn't had much to say, if anything. I am holding fire for the moment.

trinity0097 Sat 24-Nov-12 20:44:42

Be careful about asking for reports from your child after every session, children will always aim to please and might (unwittingly) embellish anything that does happen because they realise you want something to have happened.

I often see this as a teacher when you follow up an issue that a child has raised with the school nurse and often it boils down to saying something rather than nothing and actually there wasn't a huge problem.

Bride1 Wed 21-Nov-12 21:57:52

Thank you for asking.

Daughter had a sports lesson with this teacher and it was apparently not too bad, though she was a bit short with her when she asked a question. Possibly one she should have known the answer to, but who knows.

We have logged the previous incident--useful to post here, actually and have to write it all down in detail--and there is another match on Saturday, if the weather allows. I intend going to observe, even though it is a long way away and will ask my daughter exactly how it went while we are still there and we will make notes. If there is another incident I will email the form tutor, as per the school's procedure, with a summary of what has happened and ask for his help in resolving this. In the meantime my daughter is continuing to be polite and willing so there is absolutely no question of provocation.

Perhaps it sounds wimpish, but I just feel I have to have another incident to go to the next stage with this, though the thing with being purposely given the muddy bib made me angry. This woman will be choosing teams for the whole of the next two terms and has the power to exclude my daughter from teams if she is wound up by us reporting her. Sports teachers can always get away with doing this by saying that someone isn't performing or that someone else needs a chance. She has worked hard on the sport and I don't want her to give it up.

So for the time being we are watching closely and asking for reports after every training session or match.

BillyBollyBandy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:33:07

How did it go Bride?

Bride1 Wed 21-Nov-12 07:49:30

I am not sure, EvilTwins. I have been looking through the procedures and it does not go into details. The form tutor is the first port of call. She will see the games teacher this afternoon and I have told her to continue to be polite and willing and see what happens. Then we will make a plan, based on the teacher's behaviour today. We are logging incidents.

EvilTwins Tue 20-Nov-12 22:51:10

There is absolutely no excuse for a teacher to behave in such an unprofessional way. I teach one or two (at most) children I find difficult to like, and make an extra effort to be professional. And anyway, it's their behaviour I have an issue with, not them. If this was my school, our fab assistant head would probably organise an RJ meeting where both parties could explain their feelings in a non-confrontational manner with said AH as a mediator. It's what we do with kids, and works with staff/student friction as well. Does your DD's school use this, OP?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 22:08:33

go STRAIGHT to pastoral
DD had this in year R (with her class teacher - every hour of every day)
teacher visibly loathed her
it did not stop, but the picking on did ....

Just a word of caution here (and I'm not judging your daughter at all as i dont know her) - just make absolutely sure that her version of events is what actually
happened before you approach the school.

Bride1 Tue 20-Nov-12 20:28:51

Gosh, more advice! I'm really touched by all this, thank you. We are going to have a chat with her tonight (daughter). The next session with the teacher would be tomorrow, so we will have a plan for how to handle this.

HecatePropylaea Tue 20-Nov-12 20:13:39

I'd ask for a meeting. you, your daughter, the PE teacher and head of house, or some such person, to try to thrash it out.

I don't think it's necessarily going to be effective to get a 14 year old child to discuss with a teacher possible reasons why the teacher doesn't like them, when they've already tried to apologise and the teacher is 'blanking them'

imo, it requires adult intervention to nip it in the bud and avoid any possibility of it escalating.

Not going in all guns blazing, but an opportunity to sit down together and discuss any misunderstandings that may have arisen and work out a way forward.

Namechangetodayforthis Tue 20-Nov-12 20:08:27

This really touched a nerve with me as I was bullied by a teacher at age 11 which is when I started a 20+ year eating disorder. Of course I can't say that she caused it but there are some awful vivid memories of this woman mocking me running. I am glad it sounds like schools are sharper on teachers now if you complain, please do.

My best friend said to me years later she reckoned it was jealousy, her harassment of me may have been cause she was butt ugly and I was, even though I never thought it at the time, quite pretty and well developed. It makes me shudder just thinking of this woman.

5madthings Tue 20-Nov-12 19:56:29

i had a geography teacher who was like this and also blamed me for various things i didnt do (various witnesses including staff to back me up etc) anyway one parents evening my mum called her on it and basically told her to sort out her attitude problem or she would take it further and complain.

you are not at the stage of needing to do that but i would be wanting to speak to the teacher and say your dd is not happy in her class and what can be done to help improve their relationship.

BillyBollyBandy Tue 20-Nov-12 19:50:37

I suggest your DD speaks to her head of year, or form tutor, if she is confident to. If not then I would suggest you go through either of those routes first, but make it clear you will go to the head if it is not resolved.

I had this with a teacher who detested me and tried to stop me getting in for 6th form hmm didn't work though as I was confident enough to assert myself but that isnt the case for everyone.

helpyourself Tue 20-Nov-12 19:49:54

It's unbelievable, isn't it? But it does happen. I have zero tolerance of teachers showing their dislike of children. I was a teacher, there is no excuse. Having said that, I'm not sure what to do- except perhaps bolster your dd that she shouldn't have to put up with it, but by persevering with netball she's being the bigger person.

Bride1 Tue 20-Nov-12 19:44:53

Thank you all for the advice and suggestions. You have me much to think about and it is very helpful.

I would make an appointment with the head of year and say exactly what you've said - stick to the facts you've presented by saying that she asks questions and is ignored.

boschy Tue 20-Nov-12 19:31:18

I started a thread in this section asking for drama teachers' opinions - might be helpful? think it included 'any drama teachers about' in the title (sorry, useless at links!) but it sounds as if your DC PE teacher is being unprofessional...

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 20-Nov-12 12:33:40

I suffered this at secondary school. It made my last 2years of school awful and I just gave up.sad

I think it would have helped if my parents had spoken to the teacher and made it clear that although he didn't like me, they expected him to be professional enough to overcome this and get on with the job he was paid for: my education.

Bride1 Tue 20-Nov-12 12:27:35

Thanks for those suggestions, poozlepants.

poozlepants Tue 20-Nov-12 12:24:49

Having suffered from a teacher who didn't like me when I was at secondary school I can sympathise. Personally I just stuck my head down and got on with it because I was painfully shy and it is very difficult to prove a teacher dislikes you. Apparently I was too smart for my own good.

If your daughter is confident enough she should speak to the teacher herself and tell her that her parents have said that she should talk to her and ask what the problem is and see where it goes. This might be enough for the teacher to back off if she thinks you know. If it carries on I would organise a meeting between your daughter, yourself and the teacher in question. Explain to her that your DD is upset that things are going so badly and ask with a sweet smile on your face if there is a problem. Bullies tend to back down if confronted and if you're involved she may be wary to cause any more fuss. If you make a huge deal she will more than likely say your daughter is a cheeky madam and things will get worse.

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