Parents Evening

(20 Posts)
Hedwig06 Tue 16-Jul-13 07:26:54

I have parents evening today, and have had a few issues with the school and have expressed my dissatisfaction with my sons progress in general in the past. I most recently filled in a questionnaire which all parents were asked to fill in and was called in for a meeting with the head teacher and my DS class teacher so "they could discuss my concerns".

The meeting went as I thought it would - basically talking down to me and at one point my DS class teacher actually said - "you do know your son isn't the cleverest in the class don't you?"

I had as well ticked to say I didn't think my son was making enough progress - to which his class teacher said "I'm really rather offended that you chose to tick that box.

Well on to today, I received his report yesterday and in it she describes my DS as a "capable mathematician", he is on level 2B and is 6.

Maybe I'm over sensitive now, but she seems throughout the report to put my DS down or nor praise him in anything at all.
The summary states: "his behavior still requires guidance from time to time and he tends to make unnecessary errors as he works too quickly and is keen to finish first. DS is a competitive and driven young man"

That is all shes written, nothing about what he has done well in?

What questions would you be asking in parents evening and how would you phrase them.

Thanks xx

tiggytape Tue 16-Jul-13 08:17:48

Some report styles are more factual than gushing. Describing him as a capable mathematician is a good thing surely? And pointing out how he can improve further is pretty standard. Even in subjects where a child is exceptionally advanced, teacher often try to indicate how more progress could be made.

As for his levels - a 2B for Year 1 is very good. For year 2 it is exactly the expected level so that seems fine too.

I am not sure what you are concerned about - what is it you want the teacher to tell you?

harryhausen Tue 16-Jul-13 08:19:18

Honestly? I wouldn't mention the report wording. I think this will exasperate the clash you have with the teacher more. In the comments box/slip I would simply say that you'd like a bit more detail in the report.

As for questions to ask - a simple "is he progressing well?" Should surfice.

Personally, (my youngest ds is in Y1) I think a 2B in Maths is fantastic. It's a shame that the teacher seems to under describe his achievements, however it's a new school year soon. Things will pass.

If you continue to have issues like this throughout the school then think again.

DeWe Tue 16-Jul-13 09:14:35

"Capable mathematician" must be seen as positive. I'd say "competitive and driven" could also be seen as positive-perhaps a more positive spin would have been to say "hard-working" but what she's written gives perhaps more depth than just "hard working".

Was the response "He's not the cleverest in the class" perhaps a response to you wanting extra work for him?
Just I know various teachers who have had parents coming in and demanding their dc has extra work compared to the rest of the class because their "dc desperately needs it".
The issue is that their dc isn't the best in the class, and they are getting appropriate diferentiated work with the top group, of which they are neatly in the middle.
What they want though is for their dc to be seen as top and working on their own. Saying that there are other children doing better may be pointing out that the work is stretching them enough.

Hedwig06 Tue 16-Jul-13 09:32:19

Thanks everyone smile

I am a bit sensitive to this teacher and the school as a whole, so I just thought I 'd put the comments on here and see what people thought.

I'm particularly puzzled at the "capable mathematician" as I am good friends with nearly all the class and we chat obviously about the reports and I've seen DS friends reports and they are glowing, especially about maths and I know DS friends aren't anywhere near his level at maths - so it seems a bit petty and childish to put this on his report.

DeWe - the comment about my DS not being the cleverest in the class was in the meeting with the HT about the questionnaire I filled in stating I didn't think DS was making enough progress.

redskyatnight Tue 16-Jul-13 10:06:26

I have a friend who's DD messes about in school, doesn't listen when she is supposed to, doesn't complete work as too busy staring out the window.

Her report listed all those things.

She is also the best mathematician in the year group. This was also mentioned in the report, but almost as an aside.

Because the teacher felt that the other points were more important to bring out- than that the child obviously had a natural mathematical ability.

cory Tue 16-Jul-13 23:15:49

"capable mathematician" seems pretty glowing to me- what on earth were you expecting if you find that petty and childish??? confused

If anyone said that of one of my children I would be over the moon.

It also pointed out what your son's next target should be- to slow down and be more careful- which is what a good report should do.

As for comparing your ds' reports with the other children and getting upset if they are described in more glowing terms- seriously, you are not going to make his progress in life easier if that is the way you go about things. You need to break this habit now, for his sake. Focus on what he can do and what he could do better and ignore the other children.

cory Tue 16-Jul-13 23:22:32

Just reading over your OP again and I am a bit confused. You are dissatisfied with your son's progress, the teacher's report pinpoints the reason (he is rushing his work rather than doing it carefully) - you think there is something wrong with the report.

So if you were dissatisfied with his progress, why would you have wanted a report that just said everything is perfect? Would that have made you feel they were taking your concerns seriously? It seems they, like you, have identified that he is not quite making all the progress he is capable of and they are providing the feedback so that this can be addressed. What's not to like?

adeucalione Wed 17-Jul-13 09:10:34

It sounds like a good school to me - you completed a questionnaire and they cared enough about your dissatisfaction to offer you a meeting to discuss it.

I expect that there was some tension in that meeting because some of your expectations sound unrealistic.

If your DS is at Level 2b at the end of Y1 then he is doing brilliantly and the teacher was probably very surprised that you were disappointed with his progress.

The report sounds fine - glowing praise ('talented mathematician') and targets for improvement.

You really shouldn't compare reports with your friends - they could be exaggerating or just more easily pleased than you!

I think you want your DS to be the cleverest child in the class, and recognised as such by the school, but that does not seem to be the case at the moment. You need to relax a little I think or you have a very stressful 10 years ahead of you.

LieweHeksie Wed 17-Jul-13 09:15:45

she describes your son as a "capable mathematician" and "a competitive and driven young man" and yet you say ...

"but she seems throughout the report to put my DS down or nor praise him in anything at all. "

that makes no sense confused

You may have issues with the quality of teaching and your son's progress, but on the face of it there is nothing wrong with that report.

Taffeta Wed 17-Jul-13 14:36:38

My DS(9) is "competitive and driven". Some people like these qualities, some don't.

Depending on the teacher this is described in different ways. I have had:
"rushes his work in an effort to be the first to finish. He has to be first at everything." <head tilt>
" exceptional work ethic "
"Always has to be the best, doesn't always think of others"
"Sees every piece of work as a challenge"
" he needs to understand that it isn't a competition "

A excellent example was his teacher this year who at first parents evening was saying "his will to win is causing him problems, he needs to stop being so competitive about everything" and all said with mild distaste, to the final parents evening and report where "his drive and determination have ensured good progress" and "he's a boy who really wants to do well".

So....they all equate to the same thing, but the words that are used and the way they are said make a massive difference to how you interpret them. in the real world when he's an adult these qualities will serve him well

rob99 Wed 17-Jul-13 14:54:14

Cory makes sense. Maybe your kid is rushing to finish first because he can sense that he has a competitive mummy. I might be a rubbish Dad because I didn't have a clue what level my daughter was at age 6.......At six the only thing I measured was the smile on her face.

I've never been a big fan of teachers in general but if I had a class full of 6 year olds who all had pushy parents I don't think I'd last very long.

FadedSapphire Fri 19-Jul-13 22:13:26

'You do know your son isn't the cleverest in the class' seems a defensive comment which on the face of it seems a bit off even if you were declaring he was. 'There are other able children in the class and we differentiate for all' sounds less blunt.

ipadquietly Fri 19-Jul-13 22:30:55

I have about 3 super-competitive individuals in my class this year working well above their age-appropriate level in maths, who want to finish first, and get on to the the next stage. However, they are really careless - I know they know what they're doing, but they need to realise that maths is all about accuracy. We have spent a long time on how to check work, to ensure answers are accurate.

These careless children aren't the best in the class, because they make silly mistakes. The best in the class are those of a similar ability who are careful and take their time.

All of these children are 'capable mathematicians' in terms of 'understanding concepts', but accuracy defines whether they are 'best' in the class.

lljkk Netherlands Mon 22-Jul-13 11:36:17

Are there really circles of friends that share lots of their children's reports with each other? The only time I've heard such details has been on MN.

Nothing inherently wrong with "competitive & driven". That describes DD to a T and it serves her well. <Shrug>
There might be a dig in there about the same traits not serving the boy's mother well, though.

DS was put down as "excellent at maths" which is a bald faced falsehood, his math is lousy. I think his teacher was trying to reassure me he's at least scraping into normal, still lousy in my book.

Taffeta Mon 22-Jul-13 14:48:59

Yes it pisses me off no end the negative judgements that are made about some children being competitive and driven.

No one would dare make negative judgements about day dreamers. It is in my DSs nature, so direct criticism of the traits do upset me.

BoundandRebound Mon 22-Jul-13 23:16:13

He's 6 and doing well

I'd back off quite a lot actually

I think you'll burn out and levels at this stage don't matter really

mumeeee Tue 23-Jul-13 09:21:03

I agree with others saying that your DS is a capable mathematician is praising him and not a put down. The report also lets you know that he needs to slow down a bit and nit rush to finish first. This is just letting you know what he"s next target is. The report sounds good to me and to be at Levee 2b in Maths at 6 is very good, Just let him be 6 and don't expect to much. See how he does next year,

Donki Tue 23-Jul-13 09:30:24

Taffeta
Daydreamers may get positive comments about imagination but are (IME) more likely to get negative comments about needing to concentrate (Yes, YoungDonki I am looking at you...)

Taffeta Tue 23-Jul-13 11:29:01

Donki - I don't mean comments in reports, from teachers.

I mean more comments on here, and from other adults in general. Competitiveness and drive seen by many as negative traits.

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