Sunday, September 03, 2017

When Your Child's Bully Is Their Teacher ♥

Back in January 2015 I enrolled my eldest son Tyler in a pre-school, starting off in the playgroup room with children aged two. He was one month shy of turning two, but being a sociable and outgoing little boy, I thought it would be lovely thing for him to have some playtime with other children his age two mornings a week.

After an emotional start, where he was a bit apprehensive about leaving me for about a week, he soon learned how to play with the other boys and girls, grew to love his teachers and his social and developmental skills grew too. It was such a positive way for him to begin on his school days experience and I was delighted that he was loving school.

Fast forward to September 2016 and I was regretting my decision to have allowed him to stay in this pre-school. My son is no angel, I'm the first to admit that but after a rocky year previous in junior pre-school, where Tyler and some of the other boys were more fond of running around and playtime then sitting down and learning (they were only three after all), I was hoping that senior pre-school might go more smoothly... I was left feeling disappointed once again.

Tyler once again had two teachers, a very lovely, outgoing, bubbly and caring woman as a teaching assistant (I couldn't fault her, she was an absolute star and I greatly wished that she had been his only teacher) and another woman who just had no warmth to her at all. Looking back now it seems as though she took a particular dislike to my son from the moment she encountered him and by the time March 2017 came around I had to make the decision to not only remove him from her class, but also from the pre-school in question.

Tyler has had difficulty with his speech, talking in his own language and progressing in his language skill a lot slower than his peers. Due to this he was unable to recite to me what he had done in school or what had happened throughout his school day and I think it was his lack of speech that acted as a perfect excuse for this teacher to blame him for absolutely everything she possibly could - simply because he could not stand up for himself or tell me what had really happened.

It breaks my heart that someone would use a child's like of speech as a weapon against them and I feel so incredibly guilty that I sent him into an environment where he could not stand up for himself or give his side of the story. I thought that a three year old in a pre-school environment would not face ridicule and accusations on a daily basis, but I was wrong.

I had explained to her on many occasions that Tyler was waiting on an assessment due to some behaviours he exhibits, but there was no understanding or care from her at all. Tyler is a child who loves being outdoors. He loves imaginative play, playing with other children no matter what their age and is very clever in his thinking. He's not too fond of sitting down, arts and crafts or puzzles and I think this was part of the problem, this teacher wanted him to conform to her way of teaching - but three year olds are meant to play...

On more than one occasion I had to collect my three year old from pre-school crying hysterically and being left saddened by the fact that he was once more being blamed for everything.

He began to state that he didn't want to go to school, began wetting the bed and wanting to sleep in mine every night. He was becoming sadder and angrier by the day and it was all down to the horrible experience he was having in pre-school.

I couldn't understand it at all as the other parents I spoke to at collection time had nothing but lovely things to say about my boy - all of which came from their own children. One mother told me that her son said that "Tyler is always smiling", a little girls mother told me that her daughter thought that Tyler was her boyfriend and he was even invited to her birthday party - so if my son was such a terror and bold, why did all the other kids in his class like him?

At the end of my sons time in the pre-school I was being called by this teacher everyday to come and pick him up due to some act or other that he had done. On one particular occasion, it was a little girls birthday (subsequently we've met this little girl on our visits to the playground and her and Tyler play as if they were best friends - another child from his class who didn't have any negative feelings towards him) and he was denied a piece of  birthday cake (that all the other children had I may add) because he had hit another boy whilst trying to take a toy from him. I do not condone hitting at all, but to single my child out and humiliate him in front of all the other children was absolutely wrong.

About two weeks before I decided to take my son out of this school I was called to collect Tyler because, in this teachers words, he had "hit another boys face off the swing", only for me to get into the school so she could tell me she didn't actually see him do it at all. Everything was blamed on Tyler and I was completely sick of it.

I made the decision to move him after he stated that his teacher didn't like him and was seeking reassurance from me that he was a good boy. I don't know if he was called bold or bad by this teacher, but even today, six months on, he still seeks reassurance and says things to me such as "my new teachers are nice to me, not like my old teacher" and "I'm a good boy aren't I mummy? I'm not a bad boy like in my old school". This is heartbreaking for me as a mother and the fact that my four year old is still seeking reassurance about the issue, which has stemmed from a place where he should have felt safe, happy and included, is completely saddening.

I cried a good few tears over the decision to move him. He was sad at the fact that he was leaving his friends and was anxious over having to start in a new pre-school mid-year, but you know what, it was the best thing I could have ever done for him and I only wish I had done it sooner.

His new pre-school is a little country school, with the most welcoming teachers and a laid-back atmosphere which is just perfect for my boy. It has a little playground which he absolutely loves playing in and he's made so many friends there in his little class.

What's even stranger (and equally lovely!) is that I've not had one complaint about him since he started in the school. In fact, his teacher even asked me what the problem was in the last school and why his old teacher had so many complaints about him because he is as good as gold for her. She even told me again on Friday how great he is and how well he's settled in and as a parent I couldn't be happier to hear that.

How we've gone from complaints and phone calls to collect Tyler from school on a daily basis, to having received no complaints whatsoever is absolutely puzzling. If he was such a bold child, wouldn't he be acting the same way in his new school? It was complete and utter harassment for no reason other than a three year old boy being a bit unruly.

I never thought I would experience problems with my sons schooling at pre-school level and it was such an emotional time for us, but I'm so happy I took the decision to move him because he is a much happier and settled child in his new school. He skips in there every day, was disappointed all summer that he couldn't go in there and even asks to go on weekends. He loves everyone there and he's been made feel so welcome - a complete contrast to his old teacher, who went on a campaign of harassment against us for no real reason apart from my son being a very active three year old boy.

The complete lack of understanding she had for his character, issues and age, just goes against everything I think a teacher should be. She made us feel so uncomfortable and it got to a stage where I didn't even want to face bringing him to school anymore because she had made it so clear that he wasn't wanted there and no parent wants their child in the care of someone who doesn't want them.

I decided to write about this issue as my mother urged me too and this is a woman who prefers to keep everything private. She sees the whole experience as nothing but bullying by an adult to a child and looking back, I actually agree with her. I would urge any parent whose child is going through a similar experience with a teacher, at any level of school, to go with your heart and do what you think is right for your child. It was hard to move my son away from his friends and a school he had been at for two years, but it had become toxic for him and the change of school has brought back my smiling, happy and carefree little boy once again.

It can take just one teacher to ruin or make a child's school days experience and I will not let any teacher make my sons school day a bad experience ever again.

8 comments

  1. This is so awful! I'm so glad to hear Tyler has a smile back on his face! xx

    www.coleoftheball.com

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    1. Thank you Nicole. It was a hard time but I'm glad we're over it now.

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  2. As a person who was bullied in primary school by her teacher my heart is breaking for Tyler! So glad you got him out of there lovely, sounds like the best decision you could have made for your lovely boy. It makes you question yourself doesn't it, when its an adult that's doing the bullying, but adults are just as capable of being bullies as the children. They just get away with it more, unfortunately :( big hugs for tyler x

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear you were bullied by your primary school teacher Abbie. I definitely think it was the best decision, I only wish I had done it sooner. I totally agree that adults can be awful bullies too.

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  3. Ah that is ridiculous. The pre school should not handle scenarios like that at all. In our creche when something happens like hitting or throwing something, we have to sign an incident form but the child is not named. Instead it says Child A or whatever. You don't confront the child unless you were there when it happened.
    That teacher sounds to me like if all the kids are not all on the same level of her expections, she automatically hates them. I would have raised this with the manager of the place. That's a joke. Is he starting school this year or next year? xx

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    1. I know, that's how a normal pre-school would handle it, this one was totally over the top and I was mortified each time I was called. Yes, I definitely believe the teacher had high expectations of three year olds. He's starting school next year when he's five and a half.

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  4. What a horrible teacher. Sounds like she's in the wrong job. Children at preschool should be playing, it should be childled. I hope you were able to put in a complaint about her

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