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and pushy or is teacher failing dd?

(152 Posts)
Mingnion Wed 20-Nov-13 22:22:54

Dd is six. Without sounding braggy, she's bright and could write and do sums and read basic books before beginning school. I like her school and she enjoys it but I don't feel they do enough to encourage the children to learn. For example, dds reading book is about five times easier than the books she reads at home and is rarely swapped more than once per week, though it was stated at the beginning of term it'd be swapped three times per week minimum or more if book was read sooner. We were told they'd have a spelling test every Monday and dd always knows them for the Monday but sometimes the teacher doesn't do the test until Thursday/Friday. I appreciate that if the child knows the spellings it shouldn't matter when the test is but the delay between tests means they're actually only getting six spellings every two weeks or so which I don't think is enough, plus dd feels unmotivated when the test isn't when the teacher said it'll be. After the test there is no record sent home of any mistakes so I cannot praise dd/revise any mistakes. Dd is, at the moment, really enthusiastic about learning. Every night she wants to do half hour of a maths workbook, read to me, research history/geography info on the internet etc. But she comes home from school not really having learned anything. Aibu to think dds teacher should be a bit more on the ball when it comes to reading books/spellings and encourage dds enthusiasm rather than ignore it?

mathanxiety Thu 21-Nov-13 06:50:00

Not pushy and not unreasonable and the teacher sounds lazy and/or disorganised.

If she's not going to bother assessing whether a book has been read, or if it's proving impossible for some reason, then why is she giving books out in the first place? Surely assessing how the children are doing at reading (and spelling) in a consistent way is part of the job description, and a professional needs to figure out a way to get this done. And just because the other children have needs doesn't mean this particular child's can be ignored.

To a large extent I agree with Worried3.

However, I think you need to provide enrichment at home, which you should be doing anyway (as Rabbitlady said) because school is only the tip of the iceberg where learning is concerned.
Dd is, at the moment, really enthusiastic about learning. Every night she wants to do half hour of a maths workbook, read to me, research history/geography info on the internet etc
This is half the battle won. Encourage this and go with the flow.

Don't gripe about school where your DD can hear you, and double check that she can't. Be enthusiastic about school in front of her.

PansOnFire Thu 21-Nov-13 07:03:05

Your interpretation of what learning is sounds very different to the reality. Yes, up until about the 80s, spelling tests were seen as a valuable teaching tool but this is very outdated. I'm not saying they don't have their place, of course they do, but that rote learning idea is long gone.

Your DD is 6 and you are taking her word about the quality of teaching over the confidence you should have in a trained professional! School is a lot more than spelling, reading and numbers these days, what on earth do you think the teacher is doing when the spelling test has to be pushed back until Thursday or Friday? I'd conclude that she's prioritising, I realise that it's important for children to have a routine but the flexibility of a routine is far more important when it comes to education.

Not all students are expected to learn at the same pace, that is a dangerous misconception. Subjects should be differentiated on all levels and the way work has to be assessed it is virtually impossible not to differentiate. Plus, there's that teeny, ignored fact that the teacher usually wants to help the student succeed so will therefore make the provisions.

Thank you for helping me to realise why some parents assume all teachers are crap; it has nothing to do with the fact they are bullies, they actually don't have a clue about education today (I'm not saying Gove does all the time either btw). OP, if you are concerned, which of course you have every right to be, then go and speak to the teacher. Be reasonable about it, don't question the teacher about her abilities to teach your child, ask about your child's abilities and what the teacher finds concerning her efforts/attitudes. You might get some insight into what actually goes on. Right now you just sound pushy and irritating, most parents believe their children are the most bright ones in the class and that they should be given special treatment so if it's true in your case then the teacher should agree with you without having to be persuaded.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 07:07:40

Schools should differentiate learning for children, but my experience is that not all teachers are able / prepared to do this effectively.

It is perfectly possible for a child of 6 to feel bored and under stimulated at school. One of my children was the same as the OPs and came home at 5/6 telling me that school was pointless as he hadn't learnt anything there since starting. He certainly didn't get that from me, but it was a very well observed point.

I don't think its unreasonable for the OP to expect her child to have more than one reading book per week. Changing books doesn't have to be time consuming for the teacher as some teachers send the children to choose a book themselves from the appropriate colour band. How much of the teachers time does that really use.

I don't think the OP is being pushy. I do think that (sadly) she won't get very far with trying to change things at school though and will have to pick up the slack herself and continue to do maths, reading and learning at home or consider a switch to a school with smaller classes / home education.

janey68 Thu 21-Nov-13 07:09:13

There may be issues with the teacher, but it's difficult to know because you are basing your judgement on odd things IMO
Why do you want your dd to have a spelling test every Monday, at age 6? What value do you think that has? It feels as though you want certain things to Happen just for the sake of it, rather than because of real educational value.

The reading book thing wouldn't bother me unduly because a keen child who is read to and reads a lot at home will probably be bored shitless by most reading scheme books anyway!

It's very unusual for a 6 year old to come home saying she's bored ; I would try to find out whether she's really as happy and integrated as you imagine. I can't see why a 6 year old would say that unless there's perhaps some underlying issue

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 07:10:03

it's true in your case then the teacher should agree with you without having to be persuaded.

Agreeing with her and doing something about it are two different things. There are some very good teachers, but some very mediocre ones too.

Snowbility Thu 21-Nov-13 07:15:39

The reading and changing books issue is a ubiquitous problem, the complaint pops up on this forum almost weekly. It's not worth pursuing unless you are going to offer to do the job for the teacher, instead continue to supply appropriate books at home - chances are they'll be more interesting than the rubbish they supply at school anyway. Forget about spelling tests....they are a bit pointless - encourage your dd to write stories instead.
Half an hour of maths every day is great but not sit down workbook stuff. Bake with her, measure stuff - figure things out - encourage mathematical thinking, language and real life problem solving....don't give her Kumon style worksheets. Go for a walk in the park, go to art galleries, museums etc.... observe what's around you, fire her desire to know more - you can't do this through a text book. What's your dd's social skills like - I've met many a clever child completely lacking in this area and it's an important one to develop, even for the very clever.

Alternatively - chill, she's only six....education is a marathon not a sprint....you have a long way to go before the finish line.

YouTheCat Thu 21-Nov-13 07:35:17

Dd was a free reader at 6. I pushed her on a bit because she was enjoying it. But the big difference was I was in there, helping out at least 2 afternoons/mornings a week. I was the parent sorting out the reading books. And yes it is very bloody time consuming. It's not just a matter of the 30 children fetching a new book and putting it in their book bags. The book will be logged, then there's checking the reading level is right (because some of the little darlings will insist on getting a gold book when they are on green), and also recording anything else that needs writing down x 30. Takes about an hour.

I don't know many teachers that have a spare hour a few times a week.

Bradsplit Thu 21-Nov-13 07:36:19

Lol. Your daughter will never spell. Ever.

Op she's six. How on earth will you cope with GCSEs

MorgauseIsNotBlinking Thu 21-Nov-13 07:36:53

Pushy. Very pushy.

Both our DCs were academic and now work in academia with several degrees between them. Both were reading before they started school but lapped up school from the day they started. We didn't hear the "bored" word until they were at comprehensive school and that was about PE. <shrug>

Bright children will always find something to do, read or learn in school even when their teachers are understandably occupied with the other 29 in the class.

OhDearGodThePain Thu 21-Nov-13 07:42:10

A lot of people seem to be saying the same. My ds also 6 went to school unable to read more than a handful of words and could only write his name. He's now been moved 2 classes forward for his reading so I think if he was like your dd he would be unchallenged too.

I do think she'll be learning other valuable things from school that she won't be mentioning, probably as she's disappointed about her spelling etc.

I would read more at home, although I suspect you are already, and I would maybe bring it up next parents evening.

Don't listen to the snipers here. You love your DD and want the best for her. But...

...chillaxez-vous. I'm an Oxford First who went to a very ordinary (but lovely) village primary school. Tbh the early years were effectively an extended playgroup. I did my real learning with a torch hiding books under the bedcovers at night. If she genuinely is as bright as you think she is, she'll push herself, because her little neurons will be sparking away going LEARN! LEARN!

Just make sure she has access to as many, and as advanced, books as she wants. You are a facilitator now. That is your role. And artists' materials. And soon things like microscopes and chemistry sets and helping you mend plugs and cars and stuff.

If (I repeat) she is some sort of genius, then actually these first years at school become about learning to socialise and play and to make herself happy, in order that in later years she can avoid the pressure and loneliness that comes from being deemed square and standoffish.

And try very VERY hard not to let your attitude, even subconsciously, rub off on her. She's not better than the other kids - or the teachers. She's good at some things, they're good at others. Tis the lovely tapestry of life. There's nothing worse than a tiny intellectual snob! She writes, as an ex-one...wink.

Hulababy Thu 21-Nov-13 07:57:24

Re not learning anything at school - this would be unusual as schools so have lesson plans, and teaches so actually want to do the job of imparting knowledge. Has she really not learnt anything in literacy, numeracy, phonics, topic inc geography and history, computing, or, music, art and d&t, etc....?

Spellings - waste of time, have no academic benefit and don't teach children to teach. Many schools don't bother with them at all. Decent phonics teaching is all that's needed as all programmes should inc spelling rules etc

Reading books - can your dd bit change them? Else read more of home books - school scheme books are never as exciting anyway. Almost every child I know reads harder books at home - that's normal.

jamdonut Thu 21-Nov-13 08:05:27

Just wondering...what do you expect her to be learning that she is not?

Do you feel she is "not learning" because she she has already covered topics at home? That is hardly the Teacher's fault. The only thing I can say is that her differentiated work maybe needs to be a bit more challenging,but teachers need to make sure that subjects are actually understood ,before moving on.

Also, reading books...they are not a race. She may be able to read well (my own son taught himself to read ,before starting school ) but does she really have the comprehension? As a TA I see many children who can read the words well,are on high book band levels, but ask them questions about what they have read and they will look blankly at you. And yet their parents complain that they are on books that are too easy because they are reading Harry Potter (or whatever) at home.

I do understand where you are coming from, because my youngest son was/is exactly the same. Try not to get worked up about it.

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Thu 21-Nov-13 08:54:22

I am presuming your dd is an only child. I shouldn't go overboard on the fact she can read at 6 and seems like she is charging ahead of others in her class. As someone with a dd and ds I can say that girls are generally ahead of boys at this age. Girls in general are calmer and more able to learn.
Friends dd taught herself to read fluently at the age of 2 1/2. Friend would look at my ds and other boys in her dd's class and think we were terrible parents as boys would charge around and generally be incredibly noisy and boisterous and were all in the bottom sets in class whilst her dd sat quietly with the girls reading books or chatting quietly. Fast forward 4 years, and she had a ds now age 3. His main word is Boo which he uses frequently in different tones. He runs around like a whirl wind and she now realises he is on track to being exactly the same as the boys she thought had bad parents when her dd was 6. Her dd is still bright, but there is only now a small gap between her and the rest of the girls in her class despite friend tutoring her each night.
As long as your dd is happy and has friends then I shouldn't worry about her saying she is bored. Could I ask if she is in yr 1 or yr 2.

intitgrand Thu 21-Nov-13 09:09:43

YANBU. The whole point of her going to school is to learn and progress.
At our school the children of that age change the books themselves.They know what box they are on and just get another book and write it in their reading record.
When school say theu haven't time to do reading , they haven't time to do spelling tests when they say, what are they doing all day that is more important?

impty Thu 21-Nov-13 09:16:14

Mmmm...
I could have been you when my dd1 was 6. I did often feel that she wasn't pushed enough, she arrived at school reading and achieving and I DID feel that she wasn't stretched enough. On the other hand she was learning lots of other things, including making and maintaining friendships, social skills etc. 10 years on and it is obvious that she is bright and academic, but she's not an all round genius. Throughout her school life tgere have been times when she's been ahead of the class, and other times when she's needed help to catch up. Her state school teachers have always tried to meet her needs!
On the other hand, dd2 was in a primary class and really didn't learn anything for a term. I asked to see her work and she had written one paragraph, which was the same for the whole class. She had complained she was bored, and it was obvious her year 4 teacher wasn't doing any work. (I asked to see a book from the other year 4 teachers class and they had done lots of work!) I moved her to a different school. So I do see that there are some terrible teachers, but they really are very few and far between.

hackmum Thu 21-Nov-13 09:32:19

I don't think yabu. On the other hand, these are fairly minor problems in the scheme of things. In reception, my DD's teacher made her read every single book in stage 2 of the Oxford Reading Tree, whereas she was perfectly capable of reading stage 4. I didn't complain because I didn't want to antagonise the teacher (this is an important consideration).

It's kind of annoying about the spelling tests, but not nearly as annoying (trust me!) as when a secondary school teacher sets homework and then can't be bothered to mark it.

Some teachers are great at differentiating between children of different ability, some are useless. At this age, as long as she's happy and she's reading lots at home, that's the main thing - she won't really lose out.

mrsjay Thu 21-Nov-13 09:37:44

you sound pushy and a bit precious the children need to understand what they are reading how it all works not just flying through the books your dd is doing fine at school and is happy she is not going to fail in life because she didnt get a novel at 6 in school, and can i just say it again she is 6 leave her and the teachers alone, learning isn't all about who is more advanced or how fast they can get through reading books, dd1 could read at 4 and could write a little too but was on the level she should be in primary , let your dd read and do things at home and let the teacher do her job

WhereIsMyHat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:44:13

I had some concerns about my son in Y1 and his books being too easy but was assured at parents evening that he was doing ok and was average within the class and hitting the targets he needed to curriculum wise.

The following week we got offered a place at the school that was our first choice for reception but oversubscribed so he moved after half term to Y1 in the new school. On his first day they moved him up 3 reading groups and a week later he moved up again.

My H and I cannot believe our son who was reading simple, two line to a page books three weeks ago is not reading proper story books, to himself and it able to read properly and a range of different texts. How can things change so much? Before the mve the only thing he'd talk about doing at school was okay info the smacky bum game with his friends. Now he cones home and discusses lessons as well as the games (mostly policeman) games he plays at lunch time. He just seems to thrive in the new, slightly more academic but smaller school.

Have you thought about some external maths tuition if she's bored?

hackmum Thu 21-Nov-13 09:59:28

mrsjay: but it's not about thinking your child is going to fail in life, it's about wanting the school to give her work that is challenging and rewarding rather than work that is too easy for her. Unfortunately anyone who says their child is bright stands automatically accused of being pushy or precious on Mumsnet. But some kids are brighter than average, some are less bright than average, and some teachers unfortunately only ever teach to the average. That's the problem.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 10:38:17

Hack mum has summarised it perfectly.

Norudeshitrequired Thu 21-Nov-13 10:43:16

Just to add to what Hackmum has said.
If somebody starts a thread about a child who is struggling and being given work that is much too difficult then there is usually lots of supporting words offered and advice along the lines of: 'push for the school to provide additional support' and 'ensure the school provides an IEP stating your child's learning needs and how they will be met' and 'the school are not doing their job properly if your child is not given work appropriate to her level'.
However, dare to state that your child is above average and isn't being sufficiently challenged and you get accused of being precious, unrealistic, expecting too much, denying your child the opportunity to develop as a whole person, etc etc.

SkullyAndBones Thu 21-Nov-13 10:46:31

my 7yo (yr2) ds is very much ahead and above his classmates with his reading, the books he brings home dont challenge his ability to recognise and read words.. however, atm, we're working on the COMPREHENSION.

Being able to read them is easy, so we read a paragraph and then i ask him questions about it.. what did it mean? why did they do that? how will it affect them later on? etc. We also go back over and work on reading it with meaning and acknowledging the punctuation.

Him reading it can be rushed and monotone with little tone or inflection. So i read it to him to show him the difference and then get him to do the same with it.

I challenge his reading skills with the books we have at home.

i imagine your DD's school is expecting you to do the same with your DD.

OddFodd Thu 21-Nov-13 10:52:20

Get her to change her own reading books. DS manages to do it and he has SN

Mingnion Thu 21-Nov-13 10:57:56

Thank you, norudeshitrequired - that is precisely how I feel. I appreciate spelling tests are outdated, but it's the fact of encouraging them to learn something that is then not testing it as promised. Its the principal that DD then thinks that learning them is pointless if the teacher isn't interested in whether they've learned them or not. She hasn't got that attitude from me - I do speak positively about school but she is naturally competitive (perhaps from me...!) and enjoys receiving recognition. Same with homework - it's never marked or commented on so there's little encouragement to do it at all. Regarding reading books, her teacher has never listened to her read, nor has a TA. They do guided reading and I personally don't think this is adequate in assessing reading ability. If she were given more challenging books from school, she'd be more enthusiastic about school if that makes sense. Her social skills are fine - she has lots of friends and is kind/sharing possibly to a fault. Oh, and she isn't 'demanding' to do specifically 30 mins of maths every night. She asks to do some maths and 30 mins is about all I can spare as I have a toddler too, extra curricular activities etc.

For whoever asked if there's another option - her school has 30 children in the class. Her first choice school, which she didn't get a place at, has 15. Her friend that couldn't read/write her name, even count to ten before she started school at the same age as DD is now a free reader at the same age as DD which DD gets upset at as her friend teases her that she's more clever. I appreciate DD must learn to ignore people such as this but I can't help feeling that she should be excelling, and would have been if she'd gone to the smaller school, whereas instead she's becoming disheartened with school which is sad when there's at least a further ten years of education ahead for her! Moving school is a massive deal though.

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