To be annoyed at the way my daughter's teacher handled a homework issue?

(64 Posts)
McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 20:28:30

My DD is 6 and in Yr 1. She was given maths homework last Friday to be handed in by this Tuesday. DH did homework with her and we sent it into school on Monday. So far so good. Yesterday DD came home in tears, her teacher had not seen the homework and threatened that she would miss 'play and learn' today if it was not done. Of course I spoke to the teacher this morning and said we had already handed it in, before it was even due! The teacher had a cursory look and found it in DD's tray. Anyway, my point is, even if we had not handed in the homework, would it not be more appropriate to speak to parents before handing out punishments to 6 year olds for unfinished homework? A 6 year old is not old enough to do homework on their own, they need parental support. Some children do not get that support at home, is it really fair to then punish them at school? The whole episode has made me angry, it does feel like an injustice, albeit a minor one. Should I bring this up with DD's teacher, or just let it lie?

It does seem a bit heavy handed.

seeker Fri 16-Nov-12 20:32:36

Why didn't dd hand it in?

LIZS Fri 16-Nov-12 20:37:20

Why the "we" handed in the homework ? Sorry but even at 6 she needs to know to hand it in when required, not leave it in her tray. You also have to allow a teacher to use discipline without recourse to parents. Contacting those who are not engaged is likely to be fruitless.

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 20:39:03

This is what I think. Apparently there were three other children on a list who did in the end miss out on playtime for not having homework in. But nobody spoke to the parents between tuesday and Friday to ask where the homework was!

DD has a different teacher on a Monday (job share), who I'm presuming told her to put it in the tray. I asked DD tonight why she didn't speak up for herself and tell the teacher she had done the homework and she said she was scared of being told not to 'answer back'.

Anyway, teacher was nice as pie when I told her that the homework definitely came to school, but I think that she is too tough on what are still young children. DD at 6 is one of the older ones, many of them are still 5.

CaliforniaLeaving Fri 16-Nov-12 20:39:09

She should have looked in her tray first, so for that you are not being unreasonable. However 6 isn't too young to hand in things themselves. Dd is now 7 and last year at school it was the childrens responsibility to make sure they finished and handed in homework. I would make sure she took it to school and she would have to make sure it was put in the right spot. The year before that she also had to hand it in, but the TA would check all the backpacks for the homework folders and make sure that they ended up in the tray.
I think having to sit out to finish the work is a bit much. They have just started this with Dd's class of 7 year olds, Friday playtime is make up time for any missed sheets of work.

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 20:42:40

LIZS - this is my point. The homework exercise was a money counting, addition/subtraction game to be played with parents. We were expected to do it with her, write a note about how she got on, which we did. I then put it in DD's bookbag and she took it to school. Should be the end of the story. However, some parents may not do the homework with a child who is unable to do it by themselves, why punish the child is my question?

missymoomoomee Fri 16-Nov-12 20:44:33

The teacher can't go running off to the parents over every small (and it is small) thing. She would never be off the phone if she called up over every missing PE kit, unfinished homework, argument etc. At 6 your DD should know to hand her homework in, its not really the teachers job to go hunting for it.

Anonymumous Fri 16-Nov-12 20:44:44

I wish they'd do this at DS's school actually. Last year DS1 kept telling me that he didn't have any homework, but it didn't transpire that he was lying until parent's evening. The children are supposed to lose their breaktime if they haven't done their homework, but DS1 was obviously getting away with it. And knowing that the school are not following up their threats with actions makes it that much harder for me to persuade him that the homework NEEDS to be done.

His teacher this year is a bit more on-the-ball. Last week DS1 handed in his homework book but forgot to stick his maths homework into it. hmm The teacher pulled him up on it straight away. Much, much better than just letting it go.

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 20:45:45

CaliforniaLeaving - I would have no problem with this approach for an older child - 8 or 9 maybe, I don't know. But if the children are unable to complete homework unaided then they shouldn't be held responsible if it's not done. A note home to parents might be an idea, before they start taking away Friday playtime

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 16-Nov-12 20:47:31

I don't think 6 is too young to miss out on play time if they haven't done their homework personally,it's teaching them that there is a consequence to their actions,of lack there of.

A bid odd the teacher didn't at least ask everyone to hand it in. Your Dd would have remembered it if reminded. For all I believe that 6 isn't too young to be taught about responsibility and consequences,if wouldn't have killed the teacher to either ask for it or check the drawers. 6 is little. I vaguely remember forgetting to take my own coat home often at that age!

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 16-Nov-12 20:48:14

So no you're not BU to be bit miffed the teacher just dished out the punishment without checking.

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Nov-12 20:50:00

The teacher was fair though

Instead of stopping her play, she gave her an extension on the time if it had to be in last Tuesday.

Yes parents are to help with the homework but handing it in and bringing it home is down to the child...they're learning to take responsibility.

If she just stopped the kid's play without giving them an extra chance, then I'd say she was out of order because they're only 6 and still learning.

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 20:51:28

I take the point that the children are supposed to be more independent in Year 1, but I guess I think that punishments are a bit drastic for 5 and 6 year olds. Year R was very safe and cosy, and the transition to year 1 has been a bit of a shock for DD in some ways. The fact that she has a different teacher on a Monday probably confused things a bit, as she wasn't the one taking in the maths homework. Anyway, general consensus is to let it lie?

Anonymumous Fri 16-Nov-12 20:52:07

But if they can't do the homework on their own and need an adult to help them do it, then presumably the children who have to do their homework in school time have a teacher helping them to do it. This actually means that children with can't-be-bothered parents DON'T miss out - they get the help they needed and it all evens itself out because they got to play at home in the evening when the other children were doing their homework. You should see this as a good thing! smile

OpheliaPayneAgain Fri 16-Nov-12 20:52:07

Is there a HW in tray in the calss? was the HW put there? Do you really think a teacher has the time to go through 30+ trays looking for HW ?

perhaps, although your daughter was timely in completing said HW, she should have moved it from her tray to the 'hand in pile' ?

maddening Fri 16-Nov-12 20:52:38

Why don't they have book bags that they hand in every day?

Floggingmolly Fri 16-Nov-12 20:55:15

The issue is really with your dd, for not speaking up for herself. Producing it from her tray was hardly going to merit a "don't talk back", was it?

SamSmalaidh Fri 16-Nov-12 20:55:56

5 and 6 year olds should not be doing homework, it's ridiculous. If the school feels they have to do homework, it should be something they can do independently and not rely on parental help.

I would point blank refuse to allow school work to encroach on home/family time for a infants child.

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 20:57:31

I think this is way ott for a 6 year old. In Y1 they are still in transition from Reception where they learn through play all the time. I hate this kind of grindstone teaching, personally - surefire way to kill all enthusiasm stone dead. Children of 6 want to learn - they don't need threats.
Fwiw I had a v keen Y1 pupil last year - never did homework - his reason? we don't have pencils at home. He'd done some fab school work, our HT coincidentally gave him a pencil as a prize and it was a pleasure to see. One top moment last year was getting homework from this child.
Children of this age WANT to learn. Don't kill it for them. (and I do get the point about responsibility and trays and being organised - but even so ... ffs learning should be a pleasure not a drudge!)

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 20:58:32

X post SamS but I think I love you

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 21:01:38

To answer a few points

1) I think there was a homework pile and for some reason DD did not compute. She got confused, obviously, or it wouldn't have ended up in her tray.

2) DD is obviously little bit scared of teacher! She is cheeky at home but very compliant at school and scared of putting foot wrong

3) SamSmalaidh. I agree, homework seems unnecessary. It's a bit much at the mo, with spelling tests every Friday, maths homework every week, nightly reading and sometimes extra topic homework. I'd love to just let her play at the weekend, but then she'll be stressed if she's not keeping up in class sad

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 21:02:14

Ophelia as a teacher I would rather make the bloomin time than have a 6 year old upset for such a non reason
not speaking up for yourself? they are infants! adults can be intimidating. I saw a TA make a child nearly cry over putting stuff in bookbags yesterday - it ain't on!

SamSmalaidh Fri 16-Nov-12 21:02:46

In most countries (many with far superior educational results to ours!) 5 and 6 year olds are still in nursery.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 16-Nov-12 21:03:19

The biggest issue here for me is that your DD doesn't feel able to talk to her teacher and is frightened of getting told off for simply telling her something. This I would want addressed.

Where should her homework have been put? Does she even know? Do the two teachers agree on this?

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 21:04:12

So ninah, you teach this age group? Do you think I should mention concerns to teacher? I don't want to make anything worse for DD

SamSmalaidh Fri 16-Nov-12 21:04:27

McGillycuddy - could you write to the Head to say that you will do reading and spellings at home, but will not be doing any other homework as it is having a detrimental effect on your child?

Viviennemary Fri 16-Nov-12 21:05:16

What a nonsense giving six year olds homework apart from reading. This teacher doesn't sound very experienced.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 16-Nov-12 21:06:50

Vivienne - why is that ridiculous? Maths for example,is quite important. Never too young to learn.

Welovecouscous Fri 16-Nov-12 21:11:52

I love Sam, Nina and Vivienne, but not in a scary way.

This is rediculous:

1. I don't think hw has any benefit for children this young. Just a waste of their playing time.
2. Children this age should not be punished for not doing something they require adult help to do.
3. doesn't sound like communication is that good between the 2 job share teachers.
4. Ridiculous that the dc concerned was upset and scared over something so trivial

I wouldn't bother speaking to the teacher though, op. tbh doesn't sound as though she has the personality to be very receptive.

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 21:12:15

ChippingIn, I agree. It does worry me that she doesn't feel able to speak up, she is so vocal at home! For all I know the Monday teacher may have told her to put it in the tray. I guess I will have to ask DD more questions, and prep her more in the mornings. I would just like to know that she feels happy and supported in school, not scared.

Viviennemary Fri 16-Nov-12 21:12:57

Of course I agree that maths is important. But a lot of children don't get help at home and could be distressed if they are given maths to do that they can't complete. And it just reinforces failure. That's my opinion. Six year olds should only be given reading.

SamSmalaidh Fri 16-Nov-12 21:15:01

Maths is quite important, and 6 hours a day is quite enough time for formal maths teaching. At home parents can support their child's maths is a hundred ways that don't involve worksheets. Board games, going shopping, baking etc.

NamingOfParts Fri 16-Nov-12 21:15:11

I totally disagree with punishing the child for things over which they really have no control. Homework, lateness, school uniform are all largely out of the child's control.

At the primary school my DCs attended there were many children with chaotic home lives. The school recognised this. Children were responsible for their behaviour inside the school but not for what happened outside the school.

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 21:16:09

McGC I taught Y1 as a GTP student last year, am NQT in R this year - not experienced! (ancient tho ...was in publishing before). However I have worked in 3 schools as trainee/TA and seen a variety of learning environments. It is hard to advise you without knowing the personalities. Personally I would look for a seamless transition between R and Y1. I really don't believe that force feeding information is the way to go, and it doesn't get results any faster! In my own life the things I have learned most deeply have been the things I have learned in a self motivated way (though I concede I also know how to spell Parliament because it was beaten into me young ...). I would grab the teacher and explain dd is stressed about homework and really wants to get things right. How was parents' eve?

SDeuchars Fri 16-Nov-12 21:16:26

But there is very little evidence that homework makes any difference to children's attainment, especially at primary.

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 21:16:56

VivienneMary, teacher is very experienced, been teaching a long time. Very high standards, which is good BUT, can lack a bit on the pastoral side I think. Young children are not robots!

SamSmalaidh - I have only once refused to do homework, and this was when DD was exhausted and in tears. I may raise issue of too much homework at parent's forum. I want to look after DD's interests, but then again, don't want to be seen as obstructive either. Another mum who fought quite hard about certain things in Year R is now seen as a pain in the neck

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 21:21:21

crikey maths is vital! I have such a bright mathematician in my class - but if you are looking at putting things in the right tray ... nope, he's a fail

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 21:24:34

ninah - parents' evening was fine. Teacher very happy with DD who in her words is 'eager to please'. I said that homework was sometimes too much for her. Teacher more or less said she would get used to it. She believes that children who do homework do better in school. Most weeks it is fine, but just occasionally it is too much for her, particularly if there is anything else going on in school.

Namingofparts - the school my DD attends is small rural primary with very middle class catchment. There are a few very visible families with chaotic homes and these were the other children being punished for lack of homework. That is partly why I am so cross, these little children are not responsible if their parents don't support them.

nokidshere Fri 16-Nov-12 21:25:54

Primary school children should not have to do homework - end of.

Welovecouscous Fri 16-Nov-12 21:26:12

sad about the other punished children

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 21:32:30

Ok I think you have to pick your battles, and this probably isn't Dunkirk
Reassure your dd and have a lovely weekend.

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 21:34:14

although can I just give your teacher a quick virtual slap? [/]
phew, that's better

flow4 Fri 16-Nov-12 21:37:26

I hate hate HATE homework for tots sad
Childhood is short and precious. Let them play, I say!

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 21:37:44

Thanks ninah, you're probably right. Have a lovely weekend yourself smile

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 16-Nov-12 21:42:55

I presume that comment was aimed at me Sam ?

I agree there a lots of different ways of teaching children but nonetheless the school has a national curriculum to adhere to. It is a shame such young children are not encouraged to learn through play more. But it was much the same 18 years ago when I was that age. We had homework.

Hope your dd is ok OP and not too upset.

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 21:48:57

I am going in to work to top up the learning environment grin. So my dc can learn through play ....

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 21:50:43

DD is ok now, she was very upset last night and was so worried about going into school that she didn't sleep well.

I told her I would sort it out with the teacher and she wasn't to worry, but she was still anxious. But I am going to give her lovely, stress-free weekend with lots of play and cuddles, and god forbid, maybe a bit of telly!

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 21:51:52

ninah - hats off to you for being so committed!

SamSmalaidh Fri 16-Nov-12 21:53:44

Ali the national curriculum doesn't specify homework for 6 year olds.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 16-Nov-12 21:59:29

Does it not? I'm not that familiar with primary school national curriculum. In essence I agree with you. There are so many ways to teach children at that age things without it being maths on a bit of paper and so on. It's a shame it's not considered as valid. As sure as I am I had homework at that age,I am also sure that my parents used toys and games to teach me outside of school. still awful at maths though

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 22:02:35

I don't remember having any homework at 6. We had a bookbag thing that hung on the back of our chairs but we never took anything home. And I loved learning and did very well in the education system. I do worry sometimes that overdoing it when they are so young will kill all the joy of learning.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 16-Nov-12 22:05:00

I think this is not on for a Year 1 class. The homework was to play a game with an adult? I suppose all the children whose parents don't want to or don't care about the homework got punished then?

I am a teacher who taught Y1 for a long time. We used to set homework because the parents wanted us too (otherwise I wouldn't have done), and there was no sanction if it was not handed in. I think all the posters who are saying that the children have to learn to take responsibility are thinking of what is appropriate in a Year 3 class rather than Year 1.

Svrider Fri 16-Nov-12 22:06:36

Your going to have this entire year if she has two teachers
My dd 1 had this last year, including teacher 1 asking them to bring in toys, then getting told off by teacher 2 (toys not allowed)
Teacher 2 giving dd1 golden time tomorrow. Teacher 1 wouldn't believe her, and it was "too late" by Monday
I doubt either teacher bothered to tell your dd where to put her work angry

Welovecouscous Fri 16-Nov-12 22:07:43

I agree not Dunkirk - to continue the naval metaphor - keep your powder dry!

Rowlers Fri 16-Nov-12 22:10:08

Year 1? Honestly, what does it matter if they do "homework" or not? They should be enjoying going to school and PLAYING when they go home. I do not think a 6 year old should be responsible for anything other than being happy and being a child.
Childhood's too short.
If it were me, I'd talk to the teacher and let him / her know how upset my child was. I'd hope for a reassuring repsonse from the school.
I am a teacher myself and HATE it when parents go in all guns blazing. It's really not necessary.

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 22:12:32

thanks McGc
I would worry if one of my dc didn't want to come to school! (crikey I have 30 dc!)
I went to a private primary, Gove would've loved it, Latin for breakfast
I don't remember being scared about homework per se but I DO remember being scared about putting the right date on work, the right tray, country dancing moves .... I burned out at about 13. Everything after that I taught myself. I do think pastoral is vital. Six is still v young. Hope she has a good weekend. Sounds like your teacher has high expectations, which is a good thing ... bolster with lots of love at home.

ninah Fri 16-Nov-12 22:15:18

I'm now in love with rowlers, welove and humprhey
and svr has a good point

Rowlers Fri 16-Nov-12 22:29:04

Also, I suspect the homework thing is a school policy and not just a rogue teacher making up his / her own rules. I could be wrong.
I do have a bit of an issue with primary school homework.
DS just started foundation so just comes home happy maybe with a Biff Chip Kipper book to read but DD now is Year 4 has, over the years, come home with a variety of taken-straight-from-a-photocopiable-book homework tasks which are at best mind-numbingly dull and at worst totally pointless and not at all motivating or inspiring.
Anyway, I agree that the main issue here is that children should LOVE going to school, and not be scared witless.
Ninah, Mwah love you too grin

McGillycuddy Fri 16-Nov-12 22:34:27

Thanks everyone smile Signing off now as eyes propped open with matchsticks. Feeling better for having 'talked' it out with you all. I think I will leave it be for now but keep a watchful eye on the situation. Was really good to hear from some teachers, so thank you all

blackeyedsusan Sat 17-Nov-12 00:07:38

yanbu. the teacher does not live in the real world. not got a clue how to handle small children to motivate them and get them to love learning, not got a clue about what real families go through, not got a clue about the support the children need at home at age 5 to do homework.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 17-Nov-12 02:27:14

'What a nonsense giving six year olds homework apart from reading. This teacher doesn't sound very experienced.'

I think you will find that most schools have a homework policy that the teachers have to abide by, rather than being allowed to decide for themselves what to do about it. When I taught Y1, I set homework with a purpose and a time limit, but as I disagreed with the policy of homework for infants beyond reading, I praised those that did it and didn't chase it up.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 17-Nov-12 02:28:45

Oh, and many teachers have a job and a family and are fully aware of the real world, balancing family and work needs, including homework, Susan. What a daft comment.

LIZS Sat 17-Nov-12 11:06:03

but, assuming I've read this correctly, the teacher was suggesting that those children who hadn't completed the task at home would do so duing play and learn time. The homework was a learning game and presumably the teacher or TA would substitute for the parent role or children work as a group. It therefore wasn't a punishment as such, just an opportunity to do some guided learning through play. Presumably your dd has completed all tasks set on time before now but this might simply be regular catch up time allocated for those who don't. Not worth being so angry over, save that for when it really matters.

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