Is it ever worth saying anything if your quiet well-behaved child is overlooked?

(50 Posts)
ZakuroFujiwara Thu 05-Jun-14 19:01:42

Or is it just a waste of breath? Y3 son. Comfortably above average in year group but certainly not stellar. Not particularly outstanding at anything although fairly able at music i.e. two musical instruments at Grade 1, which he considers his 'thing'. Okay at sports - not rubbish, but not outstanding.

Same old children at school tend to win competitions, get the special house awards etc. (I know this isn't really much different anywhere else by all accounts btw) House awards have just been given to certain children who performed in a musical evening - he performed but didn't get one. On the face of it his performance wasn't manifestly different to anyone else's - truly and honestly, that's not a mothers rose tinted spectacles I promise! He's not the only one that didn't get an award but he's really disappointed. Of course I have dealt with that in the usual way saying it's all about taking part etc. etc.

He has recently done exams and is comfortably in the top half of the year across the board (they give you the year group average and median marks). Yet he has been left in the bottom set for maths - no real reasoning given - I suspect it's because I don't make a fuss.

Anyhow. Specifics aside - I'm just giving background - is it just the case that, in a class of 19, if you're middling at stuff, don't really speak up and just behave yourself you are going to fade into the background a bit? I am a very laid-back parent so don't really get very exercised about these things but am I doing him a disservice by not standing up for him? He does legitimately seem to be being overlooked at the moment but does it even really matter in the long run? And, even if I do say something, is it likely to be counter-productive?

Or does this all just sound like sour-grapes and I should suck it up?!

Thanks for reading!!

lljkk Thu 05-Jun-14 19:07:12

Does he mind being overlooked? Or does he prefer a quiet profile?

I don't understand why you making a fuss would improve his math skills.

ZakuroFujiwara Thu 05-Jun-14 19:12:51

Well he's upset about the music concert which is what has given me pause for thought. He's also not quiet AT ALL outside of school but seems much quieter in a school environment - he's pretty extrovert outside of school in fact.

The maths thing is just that his marks (comparatively) clearly suggest he should be in the top set - and hav done in both sets of exams this year - But he's not. I suspect this is because I'm not pushy enough about it combined with the fact that he doesn't push himself forward bug I may be wrong.

tryingtocatchthewind Thu 05-Jun-14 19:18:13

I would definitely question the maths streaming if he is above average why is he in the bottom set?

lljkk Thu 05-Jun-14 19:19:00

There are lots of plausible reasons why he might be in bottom maths set (if he really is in bottom set). Nothing wrong with you asking them why the apparent discrepancy.

I think same about the music concert. I wouldn't tell them what solution I wanted, just say that he was disappointed not to get more recognition for his part. So what do they have to say to that. Put the problem on their laps & see if they squirm & reconsider. If he has previously been happiest with a low profile, they may not realise that he wants more recognition nowadays.

ComradePlexiglass Thu 05-Jun-14 19:19:49

What a shame he didn't get a certificate for his music performance. Sounds mean not to give all the kids one, tbh. Performing in a concert is so exciting and nervewracking, anyone who puts the effort in deserves a reward if rewards are part of the school's way of saying well done. But I think generally not making too big a deal of things is the way forward as long as he is not feeling truly disheartened. Does he generally like school? Perhaps he will get a rocking year 4 teacher who recognises his worth and lavishes praise next year. Hope so.

However, even though I am broadly of the don't make too much fuss brigade, I would certainly ask why he is in the bottom group for maths if he has done well in the exams and is consistently doing well.

Nocomet Thu 05-Jun-14 19:25:36

Yes, it is worth saying something. All parents of quiet middle of the road DCs should say something and keep saying something.

It shouldn't be difficult to keep lists of certificates for a year group of 20, but IME it jolly well seems to be.

By this time in Y6 my very good at English DD2 had a sheaf of certificates, her quite middling ability DF had non.

I often sat by her DM in merit assembly, it got very blush. In the end we agreed her DM was going to have to moan. The next week she finally got an award.

The whole system seems daft, DD2 is the granddaughter of two Englishteachers. She seems to have acquired all their genes. Writing a good bit of KS2 English is no effort to her.

I'd much rather she got certificates for maths where she needed to try.

A few certificates for outstanding ability are one thing, but DCs know who is best at maths and English, they don't mind their DFs getting recognition for trying hard.

(However, only Y5/6 are likely to understand certificates for tiny improvements in behaviour and they still don't like them.)

Spurious Thu 05-Jun-14 19:27:35

Say something. I hate this kind of thing with a passion, but if you don't stand up for him, who will?

My DD, also Y3, is similar, not stellar at anything ( but good at music ) well behaved, happy to operate under the radar.

I went and had a quiet word with the head as she is in a class of memes and I thought her performance wasn't being measured at all.

Lo and behold the next week, three things happen to give her recognition.

Definitely worth saying something. I made sure I wasn't critical, kept to the facts, and blew her trumpet a bit.

Tex111 Thu 05-Jun-14 19:34:25

Definitely say something. Very similar situation. I had a chat with the teacher (who was new) and the deputy Head. Following week DD was recognized for a report she wrote and was absolutely delighted. Things have continued to improve. Having a quick chat isn't complaining. You're just expressing how your child feels when they're unable or uncomfortable doing it themselves. The school may have no idea that he was upset.

ZakuroFujiwara Thu 05-Jun-14 19:37:00

Thanks. You're right - I will say something low key but impactful!

The maths thing really is an oddity. But I think it's simply a case that of the 10 children in the middle of the year group ability wise I am probably the least likely to make a fuss so, when deciding groups, even if he is top of that 10, they've opted to put him down. Because they know other parents will make their lives a misery for it and I probably won't. Shouldn't be the decision criteria but I think we all know it sometimes is ;-)

sugarhoops Thu 05-Jun-14 20:00:41

Gosh you could be writing about my DS (yr2). Our situations sound almost identical! I, too, often feel like DS is overlooked in the classroom - he's so sodding easy and self-sufficient that he rarely gets awards, achievements etc.

However, upon discussing it with him, he does get given responsibilities that other class members don't - lots of speaking parts in school plays, responsibility in the classroom that others aren't offered eg taking things over to the office, registers, dinner money etc.

In reality, my DS would much rather receive something tangible eg certificates / stickers / awards, as opposed to being awarded 'responsible' tasks. BUt we've discussed it and he now appreciates his roles.

I would definitely speak to the teacher about the maths streaming. Perhaps also mention the lack of recognition - I did do this once, and the very next week, DS received a Head Teachers award. I think, sometimes, teachers do miss these quiet, conscientious little people & need memory jogging that these types of kids also need tangible recognition from time to time.

sugarhoops Thu 05-Jun-14 20:03:32

ps I too am a very hands off parent at school - I figure that teachers generally know way better than me about how to teach / stream / reward kids without a bolshy parent telling them otherwise. However, I think because I'm laid back, they do tend to listen and take me seriously when I do make of point of chatting to them about something - they know I only do it occasionally, and when I do, its because its a matter that is really important to me & my DC. GOod luck!

PaulinesPen Thu 05-Jun-14 20:13:44

Yes I think I would say something. Most esp about the maths stream. I'm also of the hands off, that's life type of parent but I think there's a limit as to how far to take that.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 05-Jun-14 20:24:02

DD is very upset as she hasn't had a Head Teachers award this year. I thought they all got one but I am starting to wonder as we are running out of term and they have had about 30 weeks of assemblies so could have given all the children one by now if they were going to.

ZakuroFujiwara Thu 05-Jun-14 20:25:15

Thanks. It's very difficult to put aside my view that none of this will matter when he's in his 20's and my que sera attitude. But I think you've all convinced me that it is in his best interest to say something.

I'm the most bolshy bitch at work but just cannot bear pushy, unobjective parents - however, I think it's time to use some of my famous workplace assertiveness on his behalf smile!

NCFTTB Thu 05-Jun-14 20:32:54

Yes definitely say something but in a nice way!

ZakuroFujiwara Thu 05-Jun-14 20:36:50

Assertive but nice for sure NCFTTB wink

Bearleigh Thu 05-Jun-14 20:46:29

Is he young in his year? BabyBearleigh didn't win/get anything for years except the PetCare Cup, and then he started. I always assumed it was when he caught up, as he has a June birthday.

BarbarianMum Thu 05-Jun-14 20:47:30

In a similar situation my friend innocently asked her son's class teacher what he (the son) needed to do in terms of work/effort/participation etc to allow him to win more golden tickets (the reward system at his school, similar to house points). This brought the fact that he was constantly overlooked and it was bothering him to the teacher's attention without her accusing the teacher. Soon afterwards golden tickets began to appear.

I thought it was a dead clever way of tackling it.

ZakuroFujiwara Thu 05-Jun-14 20:48:21

That's interesting - he is indeed an end of June baby. Maybe that's part of it.

sugarhoops Thu 05-Jun-14 20:52:30

I guess we have to cut teachers some slack in that, in a class of say 30 kids, there will always be the loud / confident / noticeable types who will get rewarded, and then the 'tricky' types who require reward in order to engage them in the classroom community. Our quiet, conscientious workers are easily overlooked.

Rightly or wrongly, we have touched on the point to our DS that this is what he will find throughout life - the loud / noisy / look-at-me / boisterous types, plus perhaps the more challenging / high maintenance types of person will get more attention throughout life, as opposed to the quiet, get-on-with-it type of person. I think its a pretty good life lesson in itself for kids.

Nonetheless, a parent does need to stand up for their child in times like these wink

Meglet Thu 05-Jun-14 20:58:29

Yes, say something. DS was overlooked all through reception year I even made a spreadsheet of what was listed on newsletters and only started receiving certificates when I mentioned it in the january of Y1.

DD is coming to the end of reception without an aware but I've spoken to her teacher who realises this and assured me she will get something in the next month.

wheresthebeach Thu 05-Jun-14 21:03:32

Yep...the lost middle. My DD's report from last year nearly made me weep. Sounded like they thought she was hard working, beautifully behaved, kind, and decidedly average at best.

I went into see head of KS2 and just asked them outright if this was what they thought? They were horrified.

So this year? Suddenly I've got parents commenting on my DD 'being picked AGAIN'...she's on student councils, school teams, presenting stuff to whole school assemblies, chosen for a music solo etc

They didn't realise...I kinda think they're busy running a school which is a big job and some quiet, nice kids get overlooked unless someone (parents) pip up (nicely and with a smile of course).

So...say something.

ZakuroFujiwara Thu 05-Jun-14 21:17:07

Thanks for the support everyone - good to know my middler ain't the only one!

oneearedrabbit Thu 05-Jun-14 21:29:24

I do remember a friend saying to me "the squeaky wheel gets oil first"; I think sometimes you should be the squeaky wheel for your child! Just pick your time . The maths thing sounds exactly the time.

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