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Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Old Mar 5th 2008, 8:15 am
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Default Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Hi all

our daughter who is 7 has been going to school in Petone for about a month since we arrived. We feel we might have jumped too soon into registering her there as it looked nice and was convenient. However she is having some problems.

It is a good school I am sure, but not fully knowing the way schooling is here we could do with some advice.

The main worry for me is her teacher who is extremely strict. Sne's newly qualified so will have high standards (for now!) and of Samoan origin. She shouts and punishes them regularly and seems to adopt the old fashioned approach that if one misbehaves the whole class will be kept behind or miss swimming & games etc

The make up of the school is

New Zealand European/Pākehā 40%
Māori 38%
Asian 6%
Samoan 5%
Tongan 1%
Other ethnic groups 10%

Which is generally a good thing for her to be with a variety of different cultures. However we feel that there haven't been many allowances for her coming over as a foreigner trying to adapt to new ways.

One of the rules written down in class is - no swearing in the classroom!

She has had her run ins with a couple of older kids who will not let her join in call names etc as can happen anywhere, but I think that is just magnified because of the main concerns about her teacher.

We are on the point of moving schools up the road to Hutt Central, but before doing so i just wanted to canvas thought from parents who have similar aged kids. Is this kind of strict approach to teaching the norm? We wouldn't want to uproot her and for her to have to make new friends again, only to find the teaching style just as tough. It is really beginning to affect her behaviour noticably now, with blow ups and tears one day, then fine the next. She is a tough kid usualy and lviely in the class so that probably carries her along and ma give the impression that she is thick skinned.. but kids aren't really. Thats not to understimate the fact that we have uprooted and her mates are in England of course

We have spoken with her teacher (as its unwise to believe all your kids tell you) who has explained her approach, but my feelings is that she is not mature enough to handle a big class of youngsters.,,and is essentially a bit of a dragon.

My son incidentally is doing ok at Kindy, but he is less robust than our duaghter so probably wouldn't take to a similar teaching style well at all.

This stability for her is quite a major factor as to whether or not we return to UK after my 1 year contract or not..........
.......that and the price of cheese!

Any advice would be very welcome. I could talk of list about the specifics and the school rather than getting overly dramatic on the list - plus it is a very niche discussion for a national list about NZ!

Sorry for the log post, but good to write down my thoughts at least

Andy
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 8:22 am
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Originally Posted by turkeys View Post
Hi all

our daughter who is 7 has been going to school in Petone for about a month since we arrived. We feel we might have jumped too soon into registering her there as it looked nice and was convenient. However she is having some problems.

It is a good school I am sure, but not fully knowing the way schooling is here we could do with some advice.

The main worry for me is her teacher who is extremely strict. Sne's newly qualified so will have high standards (for now!) and of Samoan origin. She shouts and punishes them regularly and seems to adopt the old fashioned approach that if one misbehaves the whole class will be kept behind or miss swimming & games etc

The make up of the school is

New Zealand European/Pākehā 40%
Māori 38%
Asian 6%
Samoan 5%
Tongan 1%
Other ethnic groups 10%

Which is generally a good thing for her to be with a variety of different cultures. However we feel that there haven't been many allowances for her coming over as a foreigner trying to adapt to new ways.

One of the rules written down in class is - no swearing in the classroom!

She has had her run ins with a couple of older kids who will not let her join in call names etc as can happen anywhere, but I think that is just magnified because of the main concerns about her teacher.

We are on the point of moving schools up the road to Hutt Central, but before doing so i just wanted to canvas thought from parents who have similar aged kids. Is this kind of strict approach to teaching the norm? We wouldn't want to uproot her and for her to have to make new friends again, only to find the teaching style just as tough. It is really beginning to affect her behaviour noticably now, with blow ups and tears one day, then fine the next. She is a tough kid usualy and lviely in the class so that probably carries her along and ma give the impression that she is thick skinned.. but kids aren't really. Thats not to understimate the fact that we have uprooted and her mates are in England of course

We have spoken with her teacher (as its unwise to believe all your kids tell you) who has explained her approach, but my feelings is that she is not mature enough to handle a big class of youngsters.,,and is essentially a bit of a dragon.

My son incidentally is doing ok at Kindy, but he is less robust than our duaghter so probably wouldn't take to a similar teaching style well at all.

This stability for her is quite a major factor as to whether or not we return to UK after my 1 year contract or not..........
.......that and the price of cheese!

Any advice would be very welcome. I could talk of list about the specifics and the school rather than getting overly dramatic on the list - plus it is a very niche discussion for a national list about NZ!

Sorry for the log post, but good to write down my thoughts at least

Andy
Oh Andy,

Poor you and poor daughter. It's just horrible when the kids are unhappy at school for whatever reason. Our 12 year old (sorry it doesn't disappear as they get older) had an awful teacher last term and in the end I'm afraid I gave her a piece of my mind ... much to the delight of the assembled kids.

However when I wrote to the Deputy Head and had a meeting with her and the Head of Year they admitted they'd made a mistake hiring her! Great!! So we all agreed to muddle through until the end of the term and she's not been hired again.

She called the kids stupid and sid they and their work was "crap" and they were being "bitchy" etc. Thankfully seems she was just oine bad egg. Have you asked to speak with the Head of Year or Head Teacher and see if she could move class - different teacher might just help?

Give her a hug from me anyway.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 8:30 am
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Well done! I bet you were Supermum to the kids!

Do they have lesson observations here? Its a big step hiring someone who will sometimes spend more time with your kids than you do.

This one folded up kids' work and told them it wasn't good enough to go up on the wall. My daughter did a really nice picture with each of the letters in her name spelling out something she liked and was told to do it again. Talk about taking the enthusiasm out of things. The second attempt needless to say was really flat.

They've also put her in this Friday class called enrichment, which I can't work out is for bright or slow kids! Think I will call them up tomorrow. the other school my wife visited has a much better feel about it, but we have to decide and make the right decision...no pressure. We were luck enough never to have those kind of problems in the UK. I have to admit the swingometer is definately leaning towards return to UK!

Thanks for the comments
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 8:58 am
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Originally Posted by turkeys View Post
Well done! I bet you were Supermum to the kids!

Do they have lesson observations here? Its a big step hiring someone who will sometimes spend more time with your kids than you do.

This one folded up kids' work and told them it wasn't good enough to go up on the wall. My daughter did a really nice picture with each of the letters in her name spelling out something she liked and was told to do it again. Talk about taking the enthusiasm out of things. The second attempt needless to say was really flat.

They've also put her in this Friday class called enrichment, which I can't work out is for bright or slow kids! Think I will call them up tomorrow. the other school my wife visited has a much better feel about it, but we have to decide and make the right decision...no pressure. We were luck enough never to have those kind of problems in the UK. I have to admit the swingometer is definately leaning towards return to UK!

Thanks for the comments
They do seem to lack 'positive' teaching here. My sons teacher called me in to tell me that my son had been talking in class and disrupting the other students. The teacher seemed really negative and didn't seem to have a nice words to say. I asked him to stop and before he continued he was to tell me something 'positive' about my son.... he looked at me like I had left my space ship outside!

As the Fairy says, a chat with the head may help - Good Luck!
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 9:16 am
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Sorry to hear your problems with your daughter but as you say it's only been a month and she may still have difficulties settling in. She's prob missing her friends and her old schooling ways which would also add to her upset.

You always get at least one dragon at schools, its the norm, part of the old school and the old values (personally I can't see whats wrong with that) but its a shame that you maybe only here for a year.

Funny though, whats the bet in 6 mths time you will be wondering what the issue was in the first place.


Good luck
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 11:50 am
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

My son had similar problems with his (intermediate school) teachers, sounds all too familiar to me .

Interestingly enough his last form teacher had a Samoan student teacher in for training and she was training him up to be as excessively strict and controlling as she was, "toughen up" seemed to be her mindset when it came to kids' feelings. Motivation and encouragement of the students were quite honestly alien concepts; punishing the whole class for one person's misdeeds was quite common. Trouble is that this attitude rubbed off on the kids too and it just seemed to foster a really hard nosed, bullying culture. (whoops....that old chesnut!)

The question is - is this just one teacher's attitude or is it endemic in the school? I would strongly advise you to see a senior member of staff and discuss you concerns about this teacher. See what sort of response you get, ask for improvements but trust your instincts. If you're not happy take it up with the board of trustees.

Teachers are supposed to not punish a whole class unless all the children within it have been naughty. Read this for further info http://www.youthlaw.co.nz/default.as...8#_Toc20547150

The change in my son since moving schools has been incredible - his present teachers are pleasant, responsive, polite, happy, interested and encouraging - his morale has improved 1000% and he's even putting in a an hour or two of homework every night without having to be prompted, wished we'd moved him 2 years ago.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 2:23 pm
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

I just had to reply to this as we experienced this twice in the UK - the first time I took it to the teacher (hid a cupboard to get away from me) the head, the governors and county, it did no good at all. My daughter became an elective mute at school, I was told she was severly socialy maladjusted (because at the age of 5 she held the teachers hand one breaktime) and she would end up a burden on society. What a load of bull s**t!:curse::curse: I didn't move schools because all the 'discussions' took so long. At 13 my daughter now says that Mrs A bullied her and although she realises why we didn't move her wishes we had. ANd i wish we had too. :curse:

This year moving back from the Falklands I registered the children at a school before seeing it (8000 miles away) and on the heresay of others. It was crap. Having been there before, daughter getting bullied again, son doing work 4 years below him and being bullied, i was quick to getinot school and challenge them. They did nothing. After just 6 weeks i transfered them both to a much nicer and smaller school where they are really happy.

I am a teacher myself and children don't learn when they aren't happy. My advise - move her NOW before she is affected for the rest of her education. This teacher sounds like a bully and sounds like she doesn't really like children. Try talking to the school as well but give yourself a reasonable deadline for when you want the issues resolved. (6 weeks at most) This is your child and you know what is best for them. Follow your instincts.

Sorry if i sound a bit fired up but been there, got the t-shirt, it's not nice is it? Much sympathy coming your way for both of you.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

I can't comment either way other than to say that I have had a couple of friends who have taught at Hutt Central and loved it. They said the teachers got along really well and there was a cohesive supporting working environment which spread to the way they taught. Children liked to come to school.
As i said, i don't want to comment on the school your daughter is in now, poor little muppet, but if you were to move, Hutt Central has quite a good reputation (and not just from my friends!)
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 10:28 pm
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

I'm shocked by this. All the threads I have ever read on here have stressed how much kids have loved school, how free and easy it is etc etc...where have all these stories been hiding?

Teachers should be nurturing self-esteem within a disciplined framework of mutual respect.

I'd get my child out of that school or at least that class pronto. I'm sure it doesn't have to be like that.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 10:38 pm
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Originally Posted by Ted Logan View Post

You always get at least one dragon at schools, its the norm, part of the old school and the old values (personally I can't see whats wrong with that) but its a shame that you maybe only here for a year.

Funny though, whats the bet in 6 mths time you will be wondering what the issue was in the first place.
Good luck
No 6 months is a long time to be unhappy at that age....heck teachers didn't even belittle your work when I went to school in the 1960s...they are specifically taught not to do that surely...once a dragon always a dragon... speak to Head - good thing you are moving I say..makes it easy to change. Is it a lowish decile school? That plus teacher inexperience may explain the tough approach...I'm not saying it is right or appropriate though.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 11:16 pm
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Our son was in a decile 10 and his last teacher had 20 years experience.

IMHO one of the reasons why bullying is so endemic in NZ is because of the behaviour of some of the teachers in schools there . It's a controversial statement to make, I know, but kids follow the examples that are shown to them.

Last edited by Nerine; Mar 5th 2008 at 11:29 pm.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 11:19 pm
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

its Decile 6

Thanks for all your comments. Yes I certainly won't be giving it another 6 days let alone months before we decide what to do. Good to hear postivie stories about the school where we may be sending her
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 11:25 pm
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

It's a hard decision to make sometimes - uprooting them and having to make new friends all over again but if you feel she's going to be happier there then it's got to be done. Easter break is coming up and it could be a good time to make the move. Good luck, it's rotten when kids are unhappy at school.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 11:36 pm
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Originally Posted by turkeys View Post
its Decile 6

Thanks for all your comments. Yes I certainly won't be giving it another 6 days let alone months before we decide what to do. Good to hear postivie stories about the school where we may be sending her
There's no need to use such a low decile school in Wellington area.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 11:43 pm
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Default Re: Trouble at daughter's school -advice?

Sorry to hear that your daughter is having such a horrible time at school. My eldest is still at the kindy stage so hard for me to comment, but my personal thoughts on the matter is for you to get her out of that school as soon as you can. My 4 year olds Kindy teachers are so lovely, really nice people and they care so much about all the children there (and there is lots!).

Just wanted to say good luck in whatever you decide to do!!

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