Thursday, 13 March 2014

Authoritarian Teaching (or Gorgeous Meets his Match)

Gorgeous’ lovely class teacher has just left for maternity leave, when I heard who would be replacing her I had a smirk on my face all week. This week all of the parents in his class were invited to meet his new teacher. The smirk has now been wiped off of my face.

Gorgeous is very cheeky and whether there is mischief, chaos or something utterly ridiculous has happened, he is usually nearby. I always ask his teachers about his behaviour and they always tell me how wonderful he is. The boy is very charming and I have always struggled to discipline him because it doesn't seem to have any effect and because he knows how to turn those big, brown, sad eyes on me as if he is completely and utterly innocent of anything. Ever. 

(Gorgeous with the haircut he gave himself when he was 4)

I know he gets up to things at school, because his older brother and sister tell me – soaking people at the school water fountain, wrestling in the playground with his friends, mixing up all of the classes packed lunches. He just doesn't seem to get caught. So when I heard his new teacher was Mrs C, I smiled. She was previously Little Ladies’ teacher and I remember how strict she was. She marked the class down at the beginning of the year because she thought the teacher the year before was too lenient in her grading. I remember her one parents evening telling another parent that her child didn't seem to understand she was in school to learn not play and talk to friends. Little Lady hated her.

So when I found out she would be taking over as Gorgeous’ teacher, I thought he had finally met his match. I left work early to get to the meeting and found the teacher in her class with a flip-board with a list of points under the headings behaviour, learning and attitude. She proceeded to tell us all that after observing for two weeks she had found that the children were not doing well enough. Their behaviour needed to be better, their work needed to be better, they needed to make more effort, have better presentation and their attitudes were not good enough. They were in year two now and only had one and a half term to their SAT tests, so needed to get their act together (the penny kind of dropped then because during this year children’s test scores are reported to government).

She finished up by telling us not enough children were finishing homework, bringing in PE kits or coming in the right uniform. This is the point where all of the parents smiled and nodded and pretended it was everyone else’s children who the teacher was talking about (I know for a fact that Gorgeous keeps wearing his angry bird and Superman socks to school instead of the grey ones I buy him – he is obsessed with socks).

During the whole 20 minute talk, the kids sat on the carpet looking around proudly as they do when we go to their special assemblies – clearly they didn't seem to think the teacher was talking about them either.

I waited until the parents were leaving and approached the teacher to ask if they were any specific problems with Gorgeous I could work on. She said he was very bright, but every single time she turned her back he was up to something. “I have given him chance, I will give him no more chance” (imagine a strong Polish accent here– I like how direct Polish people are). She also mentioned his handwriting which we have been working on for the last three years and which degenerates every time we stop practising (he thinks writing ten words in giant writing across the page constitutes a page of writing and will get him out of any more practice – wrong!).

So it seems that Gorgeous has finally met his match. We will be having lots of conversations about the need to respect and listen to teachers, about the importance of working hard and about abiding by the class room rules. It remains to be seen if his charm works on Mrs C or if Mrs C manages to tame Gorgeous and by the end of the year he is wearing his grey socks.

1 comment:

  1. :-) this post made me smile, your son sounds charming!