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unsettled with new teacher

unsettled with new teacher           reply
23/09/2010 22:16 - Ask Mother Hen (Locality: Waterford)
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hi.. im a mother of a 7 yr old boy who is having a lot of difficulty settling back at school. to make things worse his teacher of last year has taken leave and didnt tell the children so they were unprepared for a new teacher this year. my child is my no means an angel but at home i have very little problems with him. i would find he has poor concentration and in general is a happy go lucky fellow with a good sense of humour and has been called the comedian in school by other teachers. during the 3 yrs he has been at this school i have never been notified by anyone to say he was disruptive or had any behavioural issues. he was referred for learning support for reading as his senior infants teacher suggested due to his poor concentration and a low score dev check.
i was happy to have the service and over past year he has come on leaps and bounds with his reading. i spoke to his teacher prior to finishing first class to clarify any issues with him and he said he had no problems he said he could be giddy like the other boys in the class but overall when they settled down to work he got on well. he said he didnt need any further learning support as there was no issue now with his reading.
this year since he went bak to school his new teacher says he is disruptive, and very cheeky with her. i spoke to him and he said he didnt know why but that every day she was picking on him about something and that even days nothing had happened he would be blammed for things.
the second week bak day 11 with the teacher i was phoned to say that my son had become very distressed at school. the teacher said that there was and incident in the classroom and she had corrected the child. she said she saw him tap a child on the head. she called him up to her desk and gave out to him about this. he denyied touching the child and she continued to say she had seen him tapping him. the child in question who is autistic is hypersensitive to touch and was crying. my son was upset that the teacher was accusing him in the wrong. she further went on to say that now he was lying on top of everything. my son was very upset at this. the teacher then requested that he bring up his homework journal so she could write a note in it to see me. at this stage my child felt that she was now going to tell me the untruth and he felt extremely upset. he was visably crying and ran to the classroom bathroom. at this stage the teacher became worried about him being so upset and entered the bathroom and brought him to the principals room
at this stage the principal attempted to calm the child down as the child was very upset. he according to the teacher was hitting himself and thumping his legs and arms. he said he´d wish he had never been born. he said he hated everybody and everybody hated him. he also said he even hated his baby sister ( who he is very good with at home). he went on to say if he had a knife he would stick it in himself.
i couldnt beleive when i heard this from the principal. i came to the school and even at this stage the child was very upset although he didnt say anything further to me. i asked him why he had said what he did and he said that he was so mad that the teacher would nt listen to him and that she was calling him a liar. he was upset that this had happened in front of his piers and also that the teacher wouldnt beleive his version of events. i spoke at length to the child at home and he remains sticking to his story that he was wrongly accused and that he got really mad when the teacher wrote the note in his journal as he felt we would beleive her too.
i spoke to the mother of the child that was supposed to have been tapped and he said my child didnt touch him. however the teacher is saying she saw the incident with her own two eyes.
i had a meeting with her and she said she wasnt overly concerned about the incident but had asked to see me about the continual disruption and bad behaviour. i told her i had never been called to the school before and there were no major issues at home with him. i was upset that he was allowed to get to that stage of upset in her care and i felt things could have been managed better by the school. she suggested to me at that stage that my child would need to be assessed for adhd.
i am upset about the whole situation, my child is being referred to child psychologist and also social worker due to the threat of self harm. i dont mind that but i feel the school are jerking their responsiblity to this child, i feel angry that only this teacher has highlighted the issue or is it a conflict with her.
she is strict and feels the children are out of hand in the class. there are 33 in the room which is made up of 1st 2nd and 3rd class students.
my child is in 2nd class which has 12 kids which out of them 5 have learning issues such as adhd and autism. the child with autism has access to sna in the class also.
i have spoken to the teacher and principal and also to the learning support teacher. my son also had an iep last week and so far this week he seems happier at school.
however i am still very stressed and upset with the way things were managed. im angry he was accused like that in the class. he is still denying the incident and the norm with my child is to break and tell the truth. but he is sticking to his story. i feel in a very difficult situation. i have to beleive my child but that leads to the situation where then it would mean that the teacher is lying. im upset that i feel she has a pick on my child and would be happy to have him branded with a label of disruption or adhd. if my child is diagnosed i wouldnt have a problem with that but i would be upset it wasnt brought to my attn before now. what can i do to do the best by my child....im stressed out completely and feel like taking my child out of the school. i have no confidence in the principal who is only acting in the position and lacks experience. what can i do????



re : unsettled with new teacher           reply
24/09/2010 10:51 - Ask Mother Hen
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This is a difficult one but it is natural for children to deny things and if they back themselves into a corner, it is difficult to come out of it. What I´m saying is that when children become upset about things, even when you have seen them doing something, they will convince themselves, as a defence mechanism, that they didn´t do whatever it is you may have actually seen them doing. I have seen my children (and others) doing things which they will have denied.

The issue here seems to have been your little boy´s reaction and behaviour afterwards. By doing an IEP, the school is obviously trying to do what is best for your little boy and to handle the situation as well as possible. You´ve said your little boy is happier again now. As a parent, it seems that you have been upset (which is the natural reaction for us parents) but if your little boy is putting the incident behind him, the school is supporting him, then you need to put it behind you also and concentrate on the positive. Continue to work with the school and the teacher. If your little boys senses any upset from you or any negativity towards the teacher or school, you could be back where you started. I hope this helps and that given another little while that things will be going very well.



re... : unsettled with new teacher           reply
25/09/2010 12:25 - Ask Mother Hen
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Hi Bonnie & contributors so far!
The advice given has been excellent - good common sense is the best road!

I completely understand your protective instincts for your son - it´s our maternal instinct and part of our make up. The incident has passed now, the school are working to help your son and the best thing that you can do now is to try to de-stress yourself about it. You can keep in regular contact with the teacher and the school so that you are kept ´in the loop´ about how your son is getting on. The other thing that you can do, and it is vitally important, is to build a very good connection with your son so that you have plenty of opportunity to chat and increase the likelihood that he will open up to you if he is having any problems. You will also get to know more about how school is going, who are his friends, who he doesn´t get on with and so on. Set aside a time each day where you and he have one to one time together. This could be a time when you play a game, read a story together, chat to him at bedtime etc. Use the time to enjoy being with your son and relax. This time will allow you to really get to know how he is getting on and will be very beneficial in your parent/child relationship. Use good listening skills to ensure that you are really hearing what he is saying. We have written an article on listening techniques - see www.schooldays.ie/articles/reflective-listening to read this.
Also try to work at building your son´s confidence and self esteem by praising and encouraging him. Notice when he makes a good effort, be specific in your praise and where possible, use double-encouragement to really boost his confidence (double encouragement is a technique whereby you talk about the praise/encouragement you gave him to someone else - for example, his Dad, when your son is in there too).
Best of luck and let us know how he gets on.



re... : unsettled with new teacher           reply
25/09/2010 17:07 - Ask Mother Hen
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thanks everyone. great sounding beoard this. i will try those techniques mother hen. i feel i havent been spending enough time with him the past few months. we had a baby in april who has colic and is quite time demanding and i also have a 2yr old so im quite drained with them. maybe he isnt jelous but feels he is missing out on time with me.
im gonna try taking time out once a week with just my son so that i am there for him if there is an issue. i spend time reading with him and homework but usually have the baby in one arm and trying to do dinner and jobs etc.
so time alone with him away maybe at cinema or pool will be good for both of us cos it means im out of the house and away from the chaos for a while too.
im sure things will settle down at school and at the end i might be delighted he had this teacher who had him well sussed in such a short time. she might be the best thing that happened him yet!! will let ye know progress and thanks again.x



re... : unsettled with new teacher           reply
24/09/2010 14:28 - Ask Mother Hen
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thanks for your reply. i agree with you. i know that the stress and upset ive been feeling since the incident is having an effect on me. i do feel that the school are doing what they can for my child and im just adjusting to that. my child is feeding of my insecurity about the school and i do feel afraid leaving him at the gate now. i just feel that his buttons were pushed too far in their care and i suppose my protective instinct wants to find out why and how a child in their care was pushed to this.
but i realised last night after writing it all down on this that even if i got them to admit responsibility it wouldnt change anything. i doesnt matter why he got upset it just matters why he said what he did. he was backed into a corner because we were giving him a hard time about misbehaving at school. i had taken away his t.v and nintendo and he was probably upset because i told him i would be dissapointed if he didnt try harder to be good. he knew teacher was going to speak to me and that he couldnt lie or hide his way out of it.
i feel bad he felt like that but i know it was said out of sheer frustration.
i agree that i need to show him that i am happy with the school and teacher even if im sick to the teeth with worry. if i move him i dont think it would take that worry away cos i wudnt know the new school or teachers. i do feel that it has been badly managed with me and that is due to lack of experience from the acting principal. but i suppose it is a learning curve and nobodys perfect. im tired crying and not sleeping since this happened and im getting myself into a state where i am imaging the worst.
its interesting about the defence mechanism where he has convinced himself he didnt touch the child. i think you are right and im glad its friday so i can have the weekend to recharge and start afresh hopefully next week. thanks again



re... : unsettled with new teacher           reply
24/09/2010 14:50 - Ask Mother Hen
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Thank you for your reply, bonnie. I´m glad that my contribution was of help. Sometimes, a fresh take on things can help us all. You are clearly very sincere about it all and as any good Mum, you want to protect your child and want what´s best for him. I hope that you´ll be able to stand back, relax and remain positive. It means a lot to you, the school and ultimately your little bot. Good, positive communication between yourself and the teacher will also be very helpful. Keep the chin up.



re... : unsettled with new teacher           reply
29/11/2011 21:26 - Ask Mother Hen
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Hi Motherhen and all those who contributed to my thread last year. I suppose a year on i wanted to update you all with the situation.
Thankfully my son had all his psychological and Neps assessment last year and was found not to have ADHD. again throughout the assessments he continued to voice the reason for his upset to the way he was treated by the sub teacher. the morning of his neps assessment which was carried out in the school the teacher called him up to the desk and told him she was really glad they were friends and that she was very proud of him. i hadnt told my son that he was having assessment as i didnt want him to be worried. when i spoke to the assessor she felt that whilst my son appeared very happy and balanced she was concerned at the lack of confidence he portreyed when the teacher was present. he also seemed fearful when she questioned him about the incident. she beleived that the issue was with the teacher.
i was upset as i had decided to try and regain trust in the teacher and the school and couldnt beleive that she had tried to brain wash an innocent child before an assessment. needless to say the teacher was reported to the dept of education and the bord of management for misconduct.
i was absolutely fuming when i realised i wasnt the only parent to have reported my concerns.
after a couple of meetings with the teacher and BOM it was agreed that the whole incident had been treated very inappropriately. the teacher apologised to both myself and my son and we agreed to put the whole experience behind me.
thankfully the new teacher the class got has been a good experience. my son has forgotten the bad experience of last year and seems very settled this year. i had his parent teacher meeting last week and they are very happy with him and had nothing negative to report.
i suppose i wanted to highlight my situation so as that parents like me who feel wronged by the school shouldnt feel helpless. i didnt know what to do last year and although my gut feeling was that my son was acting way out of charachter and it wasnt like him. i was reared to respect authority and to beleive the teachers looking after him. unfortunately this isnt always the situation and this has taught me to beleive in your child, trust your instincts and investigate issues that affect your child so badly. a teacher-child conflict can have very serious consequences for your child. im only glad that my child didnt do anything harmful and that he was seen and assessed by the professional even though when he was referred i was afraid of my life.
i hope no one else experienced what i did with a child of just 7yrs of age. but if you do seek help and look after your child.



re... : unsettled with new teacher           reply
30/11/2011 15:27 - Ask Mother Hen
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wow! I just reread your original post.What a though spot to find yourself in! It´s so hard to know what goes on in school when you´re reliant on everything being processed through the eyes of a child. My instinct would be to believe my child too, but when the teacher says.... I´m so glad that everything turned out ok and that he´s happier now and there haven´t been any more events like that since then. Wow I find it so hard to believe that it was all down to the teacher´s bad mnagement of the situation -very unprofessional of her! Thanks for the follow up!



re : unsettled with new teacher           reply
25/09/2010 00:14 - Ask Mother Hen
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Hi, Lisamama´s advice is fantastic! Keeping calm, good vibes about the teacher and his school are important and the IEP shows they´re putting their minds to getting him back on track...and it does sound like it´s working too. I would also think it´s very possible that this little lie has gotten out of hand and would be very hard to back out of and it´s not the main problem anyway. Don´t focus on it.

I also think it´s great that he´s going to meet a psychologist...I presume they mean he will be assessed. It´s always good to know what´s going on, ADHD or any other difficulties could be brought to your attention now rather than not being dealt with for a number of years.

Best of luck, hope it all works out. He´s a lucky boy to have a mum who´s so loyal to him and committed to him.





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