What do you when your well behaved children turn out to be the exact opposite?
Today we had E&Ff’s parents evening, they are in year 8. Every single parents evening up until this one has been nothing but praise, they both work well, do good work are a delight to have in class.
This time was so far from the flattering reports I’ve had until now I was speechless. I sat there through each meeting being told they both do their work. Are getting decent results in their assessments but then came the negatives. E is very chatty, more interested in socialising. But Ff, Well what can I say? Ff’s behaviour in every single class is basically appalling. Time and again I was told that she was cheeky, to the point of being rude. She answers back. Neither of them take much pride in their work, often forget their books and have appalling handwriting. Their English teacher was especially scathing. I felt like I was the worst mother in the world.
The last teacher I spoke to was their science teacher. Ff actually isn’t too bad for her but being a science lab her class has the advantage of being laid out where there is minimal opportunities to chat with friends. I told her she was the lucky one and recounted some of what I was told. At this point I didn’t even realise she was deputy head of year, but I was so grateful she was.
Not trying to make excuses for her behaviour I tried to think of things that could explain why she is behaving this way. Ff has always struggled with her hearing. She is no longer under ENT but still has slight hearing loss and struggles in noisy situations. We also, in the last few months, found out that she has inherited Familial Hypercholesterolemia (hereditary high cholesterol) from me. She claims it doesn’t bother her. But maybe subconsciously it does?
This teacher told us that she would like Ff to want to change, to ask to be moved to the front, or away from friends. To take responsibility for her own actions. But if that doesn’t happen I can get in touch with her and ask her to do it instead. What I don’t understand though (but didn’t think about till later) is why they have waited until so late in the year to let me know there is a problem, I have had a couple of notes to say she was being disruptive in class but nothing that could have warned me about this. She has changed so dramatically since this time last year I feel let down that we haven’t been told the severity of the situation. As it is even though her work is being done and she should meet her targets for all classes apart from English. What if I was unable to go to this parents evening, for whatever reason, would I not have been told until this time next year? What will her grades have looked like then when her marks will affect her sets for GCSE’s?
Now I have to explain a few things about Ff, she is the master of back chatting, always has a cheeky retort for anything and is sarcastic beyond measure. She has very strong opinions, believes anything she thinks is right and will battle to the death defend her viewpoint. We have noticed an increase in the back answering the last few months at home and thought we had gotten it under control. obviously we were wrong. But we are her parents and she is a teenager, what else should we expect?
Obviously school is somewhere that teachers expect good manners and well behaved children, they have a classroom that they need to keep in check and have a right to expect respect. Any amount of sarcasm and back answering to them will be seen as rude, which it is! I am not defending her actions, but I can see how her mannerisms could really rub people up the wrong way as it does me!
I have been in tears on and off since last night confused as to where we went so terribly wrong and not quite sure how to tackle the situation. We have removed all phones, computers etc and they are grounded but where do we go from here? How can I make them want to behave well? It’s all well and good having a go at them all the time but that obviously hasn’t worked until now and natural consequences can only go so far, I can’t allow Ff to screw up her entire education just so she learns a lesson. E’s punishment will last less time due to the lesser issues but she also has major areas of improvement too.
So I’m going to go and dry my tears, try not to think about what a failure I seem to be. Any advice on how I can approach this will be gratefully received.