DS driving teacher mad - help!

(40 Posts)
NorksandSpencer Fri 25-Jan-13 16:09:11

Had a chat with my DS (8) teacher this week. Basically he's driving her nuts and she didn't have anything nice to say about him sad other than that he's bright and doing well academically.

Whilst I'm a little upset and a bit disappointed in the terms and manner in which she talked about him, I do have a lot of sympathy with her complaints and wondered if anyone has any tips on how I might help DS be less annoying to her and, in turn to us grin. You may wonder why it matters because he's doing fine but it matters to me that she seems not to like him and it matters to me that he's always been like this and getting older doesn't seem to be improving it.

He drives us nuts at home too and whilst he does have friends, a lot of his peers find him annoying cos he's a bit "me,me,me" and has to dominate everything e.g. at football, he has to be the one to kick-off, the one to take all corners/throws, the one to do 3 cheers at the end - you get the picture smile

Issues in class are:
- never stops talking
- calls out answers when it's someone else's turn
- finishes the teacher's sentences for her when she's addressing the class
- has to sit entirely on his own because he distracts others
- is over-familiar with the teacher and doesn't seem to respect boundaries, her position as an adult/teacher etc
- always rushing to finish - needs to be first to complete even if the quality of work suffers
- has to know what everyone else has scored in tests - very competitive

All of this has been an issue since Reception - so he's on his 4th teacher and none of them has managed to sort him out and neither have we despite constant reminders to wait while others are speaking, say excuse me etc etc.

All suggestions gratefully received....

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:16:27

Erm, not a good attitude IMO. What discipline methods is she using? How boring are her lessons? What responsibility did she take for any solutions?

Basically either this can be improved or it can't. If it can't be improved by normal teaching methods then someone needs to start thinking about deeper reasons. It is unacceptable to basically 'not like' a young child - even if he doesn't one should be capable of remaining professional.

I would see the head. I would not be at all happy about such negative labelling. I am not saying there aren't issues but it is very unsupportive language. The school should be pressing for assessments if there is a reason behind his inability to, for example, respect our boundaries. Or hey should be asking to work with you if they think it is just bad behaviour. They can not simply be unconstructive.

ChiefOwl Fri 25-Jan-13 16:19:43

Does he have siblings? How do they take us me, me, me?

GreatUncleEddie Fri 25-Jan-13 16:19:57

What sanctions have been tried? He's old enough to moderate his behaviour, given an incentive.

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:21:27

Have you considered any assessments to determine whether he can't or won't wait his turn for example?

simbo Fri 25-Jan-13 16:23:08

Has he been assessed for adhd? Some of the things you say would have flagged up an assessment by the senco at my children's school.

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:24:58

I agree, has SENCO had any input at all?

BackforGood Fri 25-Jan-13 16:26:27

I'd have thought by 8 you should be able to talk to him about how his attitude has started to, or will start to impact on his friendships - perhaps focusing on the footbal to start with.
ds is instinctively like this... to some extent it is part of his personality, but I always felt it was part of my job, as his Mum to make sure he doesn't dominate in situations where I was there.

ohfunnyhoneyface Fri 25-Jan-13 16:30:30

I think you're being very realistic and honest, OP. other posters have me raising my eyebrows. Can you imagine how irritating that child in the class could be? Seeing him upset and override quieter members? The desire to be centre of attention can be very tiring.

What sanctions do you use when he interrupts you, OP? Does he understand how others feel when he talks over them? Does he seem sympathetic to their feelings?

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:37:20

I am well aware how tiring/annoying it is to have bad behaviour in the classroom, but either he can help it - in which case the school should be talking about sanctions etc - or he can't - in which case they need to consider SN. It is unacceptable for a teacher to basically say they don't like a child but not have any ideas what to do.

For example, he should be sent out of the room if he is persistently ignoring the teacher. Surely the school has a system? If not there is an issue with the school. If it does have a system but the teacher is not using it, then the issue is the teacher. Schools need to be able to handle behaviour where parents are not interested at all, so with an engaged parent it should be possible to make progress.

NorksandSpencer Fri 25-Jan-13 16:41:36

Thanks for the replies, I NC for this post because I'm a fairly regular poster on the SN board too and didn't want the combo of info about my DS and DD to out me but I'll try to answer the Qs smile

ChiefOwl we have 2 DC. DD is 3yrs younger than DS but has a significant learning disability due to a genetic condition (unique to her, no-one else in family affected). This means that developmentally she's like a 2 year old so in many ways she's no challenge to DS in terms of him having to share toys with her etc. OTOH she takes up a lot of mine and DH's time and is the source of a lot of angst and stress.

Stripies thanks for your supportive reply. This teacher has a rep for talking straight, being tough etc but also as a brilliant teacher in terms of helping DC progress, especially those who come into her class struggling academically. I thought she'd be good for my DS and be the one to sort him out in terms of his in-class behaviour but it feels like she's not able to sort it any more than his previous teachers could and, possibly because she's used to strong discipline in her class, is finding him really annoying. I don't know, I'm speculating!

She's tried loss of playtimes, loss of golden time, notes home (which we've always responded to). TBH we thought things had improved because we'd not heard anything for a while but clearly they haven't.

In previous years we've also had issues with overly aggressive play as well as this impulsiveness in the classroom but with maturity and a few changes of kids in the class, the playground stuff appears to have been sorted. We've had behaviour books for him in Yrs 1 and 2 because of the playground stuff and have always been proactive in talking to school about the issues we perceived. In Reception and Yr 1, I raised the issue of ADHD and I posted on here about it too (under a diff name) but the consensus seemed to be that it wasn't that and, as he's matured, I'm pretty certain that it isn't that. His Reception teacher said he was just a really boyish boy and she really liked that about him smile.

JuliaScurr Fri 25-Jan-13 16:44:45

simbo yep

Try SENCO

and my favoiurite youngminds.org

NorksandSpencer Fri 25-Jan-13 16:51:34

Oooh lots of replies whilst I was typing the last missive smile. Thanks everyone.

We have talked to him about this, about how annoying and unfair it is for others. We've used specific examples of quieter children in his class along the lines of "you know how you like answering questions and getting them right? well so does X and, because you're always shouting out, they don't get a chance. that must be annoying for them mustn't it?". He seems to get it, agrees it must be annoying and then doesn't change.

To me, it's as if the impulse to be first, to dominate overrides all the lovely bits and all the empathy that I know is in there. He's not a nasty or unsympathetic child, not vindictive etc but just seems to have to dominate any situation.

We did talk to SENCO in Yr 2 about the overly aggressive play but her opinion was that there were far worse behaved children in the school and that I was over-anxious. She did put in place a home/school diary where his teacher recorded how he was doing and as I have said, the playground issues appear to be resolved.

ohfunnyhoneyface Fri 25-Jan-13 16:53:10

Interesting- I've taught a boy very similar to your son who also had an SEN sibling (older in this case) and he saw a play therapist who helped him a with working out his behaviour issues.

Is that worth trying whilst your son is young enough to respond? As he gets older it will obviously be harder to break the 'habits' and teenagers are notoriously difficult at opening up about their feelings.

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:56:53

I'm a fan of young minds too. Do you think he could have emotional issues relating to his sibling's back story? He has had plenty to deal with.

I really would ask for a meeting with the head. Tell her you are not happy with the labelling, you want a plan to tackle things etc, SN needs ruling out and a compassionate plan going forward.

Hope you get it sorted, must be hard for him and for you.

werewolvesdidit Fri 25-Jan-13 16:57:24

Boys are competitive. He sounds very able and possibly isn't being stretched enough. What about a challenging open-ended project that he can work on in class when he's done his work and behaved well (subject of his own choosing). He obviously enjoys being clever so capitalise on it (ex teacher in boys' school here). His behaviour sounds normal (although annoying smile to me).

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:58:19

I agree a play therapist or similar could be a good option. Sorry to be blunt but could you afford something quickly and privately?

NorksandSpencer Fri 25-Jan-13 17:07:19

Thanks for all the suggestions and good wishes. I'm getting emotional here smile. I often wonder if what's happening at home is a factor (having DD has had a pretty devastating impact on our marriage for example) but then I look back and he's always been like it confused

I'll have a think over the weekend but at the moment I'm wondering if first off I need to have another chat to the teacher and see how much of a problem it really is and whether she thinks it's worthy of investigation. I'd rather feel that I've involved her to the maximum extent before I involve the Head.

And in the interests of fairness in case I gave the wrong impression, she didn't say she didn't like him, just didn't have anything positive to say and was pretty animated in the things that were annoying - does that make it any better at all?

I'll also have another chat to him and make sure that we are being consistent in not accepting talking over us or other people in our presence.

My hunch is it's behaviour not SN but I'm no expert obviously.

Thanks so much for your input everyone.

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 17:11:26

I understand how devastating something like an ill child or SN can be. It is tough on you all. Just give him a big hug now and have a good think over the weekend. And have a wine or brew too. I bet you'll work it out.

ohfunnyhoneyface Fri 25-Jan-13 17:12:26

The more you say the more convinced I am that talking to someone will help figure out his feelings. It sounds like his behaviour is rooted in his self perception (the overly competitiveness, treatment of others etc) and a good play therapist will be able to help him work through that, without it being 'therapy'.

NorksandSpencer Fri 25-Jan-13 17:19:10

Just to answer the last couple of posts.

werewolves he's bright but not exceptional. top sets for everything but not top of the top iyswim. I could ask, but I don't think this teacher would be up for rewarding his constant race to be first smile

Stripies we're paying for so much private therapy for our DD that I'm sure adding a play therapist for DS won't make much difference grin Seriously, I would find the money for this if I thought it would help the situation and uncover any underlying emotional stuff. His behaviour at home can be pretty teenage like (tantrums, door slamming) and I do look ahead and worry about what he'll actually be like as a teenager if he's like this now.

Anyone know where I'd find such a person?

NorksandSpencer Fri 25-Jan-13 17:26:58

Thanks for wine and brew to be honest I usually turn to biscuit biscuit biscuit in times of need but that's a whole other thread grin

The link upthread for Young Minds is taking me to a site that just has a lot of links to other websites - is that correct?

Thanks again all for the support and I will follow up with play therapy as well as talking to school etc.

Any recommendations for play therapists gratefully received.

And can I just add confused for no other reason than that I've just spotted the Burns night smileys and love this one!

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 17:42:21

Just google youngminds.org.uk they have a parents helpline. You phone, tell a call handler what's up then someone gets back to you, a trained young people's MH specialist, you get a long call and they advise. I have used it twice, very helpful.

I think the hardest bit is finding a counsellor, I'm sorry. Do you have trusted professionals you could ask for recommendations?

Have a biscuit then maybe? That may not be helping, just chuck it back if not.

Bobyan Fri 25-Jan-13 17:43:39

He sounds like my husband when he was young, he has been diagnosed with ADD as an adult...

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 17:45:22

Just tried the link up thread, no that's not right, you need .org.uk to find the right one.

ohfunnyhoneyface Fri 25-Jan-13 17:48:44

http://www.bapt.info/findaqualifiedplaytherapist.asp

I would use the British association of play therapists to find a good one.

Labro Fri 25-Jan-13 17:49:47

Its well worth having a chat with your GP as they can organise referrals or point you in the right direction.
I had similar in Yr 3 with my ds, the teacher was convinced ds was the bane of his life but when eventually ds saw a paeditrician, it turned out ds had lost all respect for the teacher as his classroom management was appalling and ds reacted to it by becoming almost attention seeking. The expert explained to ds that he needed to show respect even to those who weren't worthy of respect. ds applied this but eventually I changed his school as their 'strategies' just weren't applied consistently. This is also what the independent educational psychologist noticed, tick charts weren't being filled in. In ds case, she introduced a strict system where he had 5 cubes which he had to keep, he lost 1 each time he shouted out etc if he kept them then he earnt 10 minutes at the end of the day to do something (in ds case he was allowed to work on an airfix model) which gave him the motivation to work at things rather than the teacher 'reporting' to me all the time which had become a very negative cycle.

NorksandSpencer Fri 25-Jan-13 18:07:58

Thanks again for more useful info. Will follow up with Young Minds, have a look a BAPT and make an appt with GP (who knows me well due to DD smile).

Feel a bit like I'm opening a can of worms but some posts have made me see that there could be more to this and dealing with it now and hopefully getting some strategies has got to be better than tackling it later.

Thanks to those who've shared similar experiences and particularly to Stripies and FunnyHoney for their advice. Thanks Stripies for the shortbread too!

Also Labro thanks for sharing. Our situ is different I think in that all the kids are terrified of this teacher (she runs a tight ship and all that) which is why I thought she'd sort DS out. I'm pretty surprised that DS is still pushing it which is why I need to seriously consider what's causing it - I don't think he's particularly brave grin so either he can't help it or he has no respect for adults and/or the learning environment or the needs of his peers sad

Thanks all - I'm off to sort out baths/bed etc so won't be back for a while.

StripiestSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 21:31:39

I would say don't be scared of opening a can of worms, I know it feels daunting but either there are no worms, in which case no harm done, or there are worms, in which case the sooner the better really.

A good play therapist or counsellor will not find issues that are not there. And if they do find an issue they will have worked with much, much worse behaviour than you describe, what you describe is annoying but not malicious, bullying, violent or whatever.

And remember too that many many children are 'difficult' in patches of their life but grow through them, so try not to despair. I was a really tricky kid, now I'm basically perfect wink

Lostonthemoors Fri 25-Jan-13 21:47:51

I wonder if your DS feels somehow he needs to dominate attention at school as at home, very understandably a lot of the attention is on your dd?

I wonder whether another approach for school would be "catching him being good" - oh DS that was excellent quiet sitting, great hand raising, very polite way to ask a question etc etc. What about giving him responsibilities?

I was a bit like this at school - always answering questions, shouting out and always in trouble for distracting others working and I am ok as an adult - having corners rubbed off at home and at school helped! I still talk too much and am a bit of a know it all sometimes blush but my friends say I am nice smile

NorksandSpencer Fri 25-Jan-13 22:28:26

Thanks both. (Just realised Stripies that you're actually Stripiest not sure how I missed that before!)

I've had a bit of time to reflect and read through the thread again and actually, I think I'd like to suggest to DS teacher something along the lines of Labro's suggestion of the 5 cubes/marbles with any reward/incentive ideally being delivered in school but if she's not willing to find the time for that, then at home.

This is just a first step. I will still follow up on the play therapy because we'd benefit from some external input in any event I think. DS does show signs of anxiety (still a really bad sleeper, often wants to sleep with us) too so I do think there's something going on.

I also think that school haven't tackled it before because he's not failing in their eyes - that was why they dismissed ADHD because they said he was well able to learn and apply himself.

Just wish the teacher was a bit more approachable and warm. DS had a playdate earlier when I started this thread and when he came in he said that the teacher had really shouted at him today (first time he's ever said that) so maybe it's been a bad week sad.

I can imagine that my DS will be like you *Lostonthemoors" when he's older - I can't imagine he'll ever been anything other than talkative but hopefully he'll have smooth corners!

ClayDavis Sat 26-Jan-13 10:33:26

I think I'd tread carefully about rewards and incentives at this stage. It could end up being one more thing that he can be 'first' at or become over competitive with and end up feeding the behaviour you are trying to avoid.

I'd wait until he's seen a therapist, see what they think is causing the behaviour and what strategies they suggest.

NorksandSpencer Sat 26-Jan-13 21:30:58

Thanks Clay that's an interesting point.

Have discussed with DH who's also read this thread and we will ask for appt with teacher next week to discuss further to get a handle on how big an issue it is, how unusual/different the behaviour is in her experience and then pursue the play therapy with that info and also our own observations.

Have found a BAPT registered play therapist fairly local to us so will make contact.

Thanks for all the input and food for thought [thank]

NorksandSpencer Sat 26-Jan-13 21:31:22

doh! thanks

lljkk Sun 27-Jan-13 16:51:25

At least he is confident enough to act out, please don't damage that part. DS is same age & similar behaviour but recently has shut down and shuts everyone out while at school. He has whole days of refusing to eat or speak a word at school. Refuses to believe anyone wants to be friends with him. One day he just hid in his classroom & refused to come out at 3pm. I'm still convinced DS has ADHD, but borderline enough to make diagnosis difficult.

Arrgh.

NorksandSpencer Sun 27-Jan-13 18:58:58

Hi lljkk. It's interesting, my lovely MIL who's an ex-teacher has said to me before "don't kill his spirit, it will get him far in life" and I do think there's some truth in that. But it's about getting to the root of why he's doing it in our case I think. Is he really that confident or putting on a front and a show to cover up for some feeling of inadequacy? Or can he simply not help it because he's got an issue with impulse control.

With regard to your DS, I'm so sorry that he's shut down and sounds so unhappy at school. Are you getting any help from anywhere - school, GP etc? I really hope school are being supportive.

I wonder whether the fact that your DS is able to switch off the behaviour means that it's possibly not ADHD? I'm absolutely not an expert of course. I think like you, I'd be more worried about this latest stage of closing in on himself and shutting the world out. That sounds really tough and must be heart-breaking for you to witness. Someone on the SN board might have some ideas if you haven't posted on there already. Good luck with it all smile

lljkk Sun 27-Jan-13 20:15:56

HI, thanks for reply. I am chatting to school on Tues, not that I expect much. They are making half-arsed efforts atm.

Hyperfocus & hyper-control can be a flip side of ADHD, iyswim. The key is the person can't do moderate control or focus, those would be multi-tasking.

NorksandSpencer Sun 27-Jan-13 21:46:02

See - told you I wasn't an expert grin. Had never heard of that, think I need to do some reading.

I hope you get some meaningful help from school after Tues. All the best smile

kimorama Mon 28-Jan-13 13:12:03

t sympathy with parent , child and teacher. Wish you luck

RosemaryandThyme Mon 28-Jan-13 14:54:06

I have a son like this !

You are not alone - I have been angered / hurt by teachers views and comments in the past - I know how hard it can be to put those feelings to one side and truly try to find help for him.

I also sympathise with how difficult it can be to parent this type of child.

It doesn't get better with time, he is unlikely to grow out of it and if my lads anything to go by he can get really upset and pained by things that others shrug off.

Some things that might help :

Talk to him LESS - he's bright quick and anopyingly can talk rings round people so don't give him the chance - state clearly and pointedly what you want and then disengage "I expecte you to be silent in class when the teacher speaks, I will ophone her at lunchtimes and also ask her at the end of each day".

No rewards, no punishments just an absolute this is how you live, this is what you will do.

Get him to live school rules at home (yes this sounds awful BUT it gives lots of practice and works fast) - for example he is not aloud to speak at the dinner table without raising his hand, if he inturupts another person speaking he is sent off to the lounge, count to 50, back to the table to try again, and on and on and on - by the end of the week he will be automatically raising his hand to speak (think Pavlov's dog idea).

Reading faces - autism groups have photo packs of facial expressions, plus their are loads of piccies in books, you can pause DVD's etc, basically you set out to widen his perception of the workld around him by looking at and talking through peoples non-verbal communication, takes time but it can be a real eye-opener to see how much he misses from the world around him and gudie him to take it in.

On the up side our children can be highly tasked focused, succesful people who are less affected by rejection than their more conjenial peers.

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