DD too cute for her own good.

(39 Posts)
LegAKimboGo Mon 20-May-13 19:57:42

When DD started out in reception we warned her teacher not to 'take any shit' from her.

Reception was fairly disastrous, main teacher was deputy head and off sick a lot so a succession of supply teachers never really got to grips with the class in the long term.

DD is very pretty, very engaging, bit like the daughter on Outnumbered. She's bright, got an excellent engineering brain, can twist shapes round in her head then transfer them back to 2 dimensions.

She is very good at distracting others.

Year 1 we warn the new teacher but it looks like DD has totally sucked her in.
Her writing has regressed, her spelling is either excellent or away with the faries. She'll colour compliicated shapes at home for hours but at school claim she's tired after writing three words and they believe her!

How do we convinence next years teaching staff that they just have to demand more and ignore the 'act'.

clam Wed 22-May-13 19:06:20

We've had a sort of similar situation with dd. Not "cute" in the way you describe, but she's bright and hides behind a charming smile, sweet nature and ditzy "blonde" behaviour (she's a brunette!) Every single year since Reception (she's now in Y10) we've had to ask the teachers to push her and not accept her giving up and sighing and saying "but I just don't get it" when we know that, IQ wise at least, she's technically brighter than her very high-achieving older brother.
I feel your pain. It's very frustrating.

Seraphin Wed 22-May-13 16:54:26

This sounds an extremely familiar story.

DD was stretched in Reception, worked hard and did well. In Yr 1 the teacher thought she was doing just fine thanks, and as a result she quickly worked out how little she could get away with doing throughout the day without getting into trouble.

Yr 1 teacher blamed her lack of progress on a variety of special needs and unrealistic explanations. Investigations followed that turned up a complete blank.

Surprise surprise, the Yr 2 teacher is stretching her again and her progress has improved dramatically.

This may be heresy, but even if most primary school teachers are excellent that means that there will always be some who aren't very good. Stick at it and most importantly keep their love for learning alive. If they learn they can coast early it will cause all sorts of problems later on.

I think if you have warned the teachers "not to take any shit" which is a mind-boggling phrase to use to be honest, they will most likely have taken this to be bad behavior rather than laziness.

Sounds to me like your dd is tailoring her school work to the level generally in class or just below? If you know the level she works at, and she underperforms in school, I would not worry yet, but articulate your concerns to the teachers, maybe at next parents evening, without using the phrase "take any shit". Maybe suggest you are concerned about the difference in her performance at school and at home, and give examples.

LegAKimboGo Tue 21-May-13 11:14:09

And yes, my family are Irish, never realised that cute in England was more along the US lines - makes me wonder what else I've been getting wrong...

Floggingmolly Tue 21-May-13 11:10:44

If a teacher needs to be warned not to "take any shit" from the kids; they're in the wrong job.
Your dd under performing in school doesn't necessarily mean she's getting out of work by being charming; just that she's assumed to be less able than you think she is.
It's up to you to get her back on track.

LegAKimboGo Tue 21-May-13 11:10:29

Once again thank you, you have all made good points. My experience of children and primary education is based on a sample of two, your viewpoints take into consideration hundreds if not thousands of different kinds of kids, 'cute' was a clumsy way of trying to convey the type of child I'm thinking of, Stairtail summed it up for me.

We're really worried about the writing so we've started on 'Write from the Start' this has so far been very popular.

I'm not going to say anything at school, I can't articulate our concerns properly and I don't want to come over as mad/pushy/disrespectful.

The teacher has several very challenging kids and lots of pushy pfb mums in the class so I've a feeling that she can't wait to see the back of this lot. No idea who they've got next year but a fresh start, no expectations....

At home DD chooses to do Maths work so I'll continue to encourage that and really drum into her how successful she is and it's ok to get stuff wrong - in the hope this will improve her confidence in class.

DeWe Tue 21-May-13 10:58:26

I know where you're coming from. Dh had a friend who was very good at (his words) "Fluttering his eyebrows" at the teachers and getting away with it.

Eventually in year 5 he had a teacher who it didn't work with-and he reckoned he did 5 years worth of work in about 5 weeks to catch up!

However what also came into play was that he had two older sisters who were very bright. And his parents thought he was very bright. When he actually worked it was found he was bright, but not very bright-no where near his sisters. What he said (years later) was that he realised pretty early on that he was not going to be achieving like them, and so chose not to work so his parents were not disappointed realising he wasn't going to achieve like they expected.
Actually he's very successful in his field now, but back then the lack of work was to cover up that he couldn't do it, and with his parental pressure that was preferable.

*manipulative

btw, OP may be Irish... cute over here means 'cunning, cheeky, manipulitive', it's not used to mean adorable as much as in UK/US

It sounds a bit like the environment in school is distracting her.

I'm assuming at home when she does these things its in a reasonably calm quiet environment? It's possible the sensory input of so many people working in a room together is just too much for her and she's getting too distracted to work as effectively in school.

ds1 starts to mix up all his numbers and letters when he's over stimulated, he knows which way round they go but confuses himself as he's focusing most of his attention on what's going on in the room around him and not enough on his work.

CecilyP Tue 21-May-13 10:40:46

Her writing is appalling, big letters, back to front, erratic, gives up. At home you encourage her to finish something and you get an essay.

In her maths book the numbers are back to front, page half finished, etc.

I doubt if she deliberately gets letters and numbers the wrong way round because she is cute and can get away with it. Once you are confident with getting them the right way round, it takes a real effort to then get them wrong! I agree with alien that she may be struggling more than you think without the one to one attention that she gets at home.

Anyway, aren't most 5 year olds cute?

Startail Tue 21-May-13 10:13:56

OP I know exactly what you mean about being too cute.
DD2 could and did wrap everyone round her little finger.
I have reminded teachers to be sure she does some work too.

She never had your DDs degree of difficulties at school, but she did have to be told it was OK to show off. That you are meant to do the best you can. That, in her case being sweet and quiet, were not enough.

She is neither sweet, nor quiet, she is very sharp, very socially aware and occasionally quite devious.

She also isn't naturally as confident as you would think and I wonder if that's your DDs problem. Does she feel safer being a silly, not doing much work and chatting. Sitting and concentrating on work at home with no distractions and no peers to be judged against is one thing. Doing it in class when some DCs are better than you and some worse is different. She may not know where she fits in.

Changing teachers in reception is not great as DDs still need a lot of adult support and not trying could well be in hope of more adult attention.

Dyslexic is almost impossible to diagnose in YR unless it's very server. DD1 is dyslexic and despite not getting any where with reading all through KS1 we didn't get sense until Y6. DD1 is also good at maths and very bright to talk to.

For now OP I wouldn't stress, I'd keep up any fun school stuff she likes over the summer, but no pressure.

I'd get her to read out load to you, unfamiliar stuff (DD1 found that very hard) and look for wild guessing and using clues from the pictures rather than phonics. DD1's comprehension is brilliant, her ability to guess chunks she can't read but fill something plausible is amazing.

She managed L2b in her KS1 SATs which blew pushing for a dyslexia diagnosis for years.

All I can say is you need to watch and not jump to any conclusions quickly, but not sit back if you are really worried. It's a difficult balance.

Periwinkle007 Tue 21-May-13 09:37:37

could she be showing dyslexic tendancies - numbers reversed, spelling random, lack of confidence with writing. Purple reading level is quite good but are they all just ORT biff chip and kipper ones? you say she reads anything at home but to herself, she may well not be reading the words accurately and if the school are only using biff chip and kipper then she may well have learned the style and can cope with the words in them which would mask an actual problem. If she was dyslexic then school could seem scary or bewildering to her and therefore she could come across as lazy for not wanting to do something she actually can't do. dyslexic children can find it all very tiring so perhaps writing a bit for fun at the weekend is ok for her because she is only working for a very short amount of time but to sustain it for a whole day at school is hard. it may not be full dyslexia but I do think it is worth considering a possible dyslexia spectrum disorder (things like Irlen syndrome can cause similar symptoms)

MiaowTheCat Tue 21-May-13 09:06:43

"If it is an issue with writing in particular, that could be for lots of reasons - porr fine motor skills, belief that it 'should be easy' and it isn't, fear of 'getting things wrong', needing 1 to 1 support for ideas, finding others distracting..."

I'll throw in one from my own childhood - I just found writing lots by hand bloody HURT! So coupled with being a very smart child (was IQ tested by an ed psych so it's not an idle boast) - I found a multitude of ways to avoid doing much writing since it hurt so much... and sorry to my old teachers but about 90% of these involved being a pain in the bum.

quip Mon 20-May-13 21:37:17

I'd assume that as soon as you used the words "take any shit" the teacher would have mentally filed you into a category of unpleasant parents whose advice should be taken with a particular pinch of salt. Did you actually use that phrase? It seems disrespectful in the extreme to the teacher concerned.

toomuch2young Mon 20-May-13 21:29:00

Cross posted with teacher who wrote so well and knowledgeably.

toomuch2young Mon 20-May-13 21:28:04

I was thinking along the exact same lines as bob you can be very intelligent and have a specific difficulty.

teacherwith2kids Mon 20-May-13 21:27:50

You say that she writes an 'essay' at home - so it sounds as if it is not a problem with writing per se? Though your other posts seem to belie that?

If it is an issue with writing in particular, that could be for lots of reasons - porr fine motor skills, belief that it 'should be easy' and it isn't, fear of 'getting things wrong', needing 1 to 1 support for ideas, finding others distracting...

An open discussion with the school that takes along genuinely unaided writing from home (this is important - aided writing from home shows what she can do in an environment that cannot be replicated in the classroom - 1 to 1 working, with someone to help her whenever she needs it) and asks why it is not happening at school is a way forward IF a huge disparity exists.

If it is that she can do it when working 1 to 1 but not in a class, then the strategies needed are different - basically she can't work independently yet and you may need to discuss possible approaches with school.

bobthebear Mon 20-May-13 21:21:02

From what you've posted it looks like she may have an issue with actual writing? Maybe she is so used to doing well at other things she refuses to write because she knows she isn't that great at it?

LegAKimboGo Mon 20-May-13 21:06:32

I don't know, we're all in knots over this. We don't insist on anything, every night, we don't fake the homework diary (it is a state school but they're ticking the Ofsted paperwork big time this year). Don't coach the spellings, just remind her a couple of times to write them out - last week she got full marks this week 3 out of 8.

We're relaxed enough to know it's about the long game, more about loving stories so you want to read rather then just decoding words to reach the next band.

She's July born coming up six.
Reading - Purple ORT but got the reading bug at home and sitting down with anything, reading to herself.
Maths - can do a 2,5,10 random multiplication grid at home and mathletics level 3. Borrows her older sisters login for this, not a parent led thing. In her maths book the numbers are back to front, page half finished, etc.
Writing - totally random, gives up easily.

AlienAttack Mon 20-May-13 21:02:31

Ignoring the "too cute" comment which I can see being read as a stealth boast or a negative representation of her as overly manipulative or cunning, I think the issue here is that you don't think she is demonstrating the same abilities at school that she is at home. I agree a conversation with the teacher would be the best way to start investigating why that might be. There are many reasons but I don't see that you have enough evidence to know it is that the teachers as being hopelessly naive and taken in by your wonderfully clever 5year old (which is how your OP comes across). It could be because she is struggling without the one to one attention you give her at home and she needs help learning how to contribute in class. perhaps she is finding hard to concentrate or behaves badly because she gets over excited or thinks it makes her popular to be silly in front of her friends...there are loads of reasons, go in and ask the teacher but in an open way rather than a closed "I need to warn you just how cute my daughter is" way

DuttyWine Mon 20-May-13 20:49:47

As long as you know she is bright and is doing lots at home I'm sure it will be fine! She is only 5, that's really young loads of time to adjust and change her attitude to schoolwork!

I'd lay off all the activities at home and let her play and just be 5!
She might then start applying herself more at school. Maybe she sees school as her time to relax and chill out if she is doing lots at home? Take the pressure off at home and she might change at school.

Wait until she is 8 and driving you crazy with friendship traumas day after day...

toomuch2young Mon 20-May-13 20:49:01

Does she do any writing at home OP? Does she struggle with reading?

PoppyAmex Mon 20-May-13 20:43:30

Seriously though, it looks like there's a large disparity between her "performance" at home and school - in your situation I'd sit down with the teacher to work out a strategy together.

LegAKimboGo Mon 20-May-13 20:40:23

Hardly a stealth boast, it's there in the title "My daughter is too cute"

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