Concerned about Y7 maths teacher

(41 Posts)
NameyChangey666 Mon 11-Nov-13 20:20:21

My DS is in Y7. He got a L6 (and was in the 'G+T' maths group) in his SATs last year so I was not overly concerned about maths this year, feeling that he has all the skills and confidence and it would be good for him to have the chance to consolidate his knowledge and not be stressed by maths for a year.

His secondary school is a good one, and the Head of Maths is an 'old school' type, very hot on knowing the basics, no messing about with him, etc (we know him outside school) so we thought this ethos would filter through to rest of dept.

I have now learned that in fact the school is very short of maths teachers, as two left last year amend they're struggling to recruit more. And apparently they are using other teachers to cover, after putting them through 'crash courses' in maths teaching (I was told they were already good at maths, just needed extra skills for teaching it)

DS has a maths teacher who is described as an ICT teacher on the staff list, and the same man teaches him ITC as well. DS claims to be getting on OK with maths, and I've looked at his exercise book and it looks alright. But all the homework they are given is on a computer programme called MyMaths, and teacher doesnt always put the work on there on the day he sets the homework, meaning that sometimes DS struggles to get it done because of extra-curricular activities.

Same teacher uses an ICT programme called Edmodo to give the class homework, and also uses it as a chat forum for class members. The 'quiz' programmes on it that he uses as homework are really badly laid out and confusing to use.

I have met the teacher once, on an Open Evening (for DS2) and I really didnt warm to him, he seemed very techie/geeky and not really used to talking to parents. The ICT kids think he's cool because he understands MineCraft, but that doesn't fill me with confidence!!grin

Parents Evening is tomorrow and teacher wants to talk to all the parents. I know DS's CAT results (all L6) so what should I say to this guy and how should I gently express my slight concern that I have in my gut? Should I ask what DS's expected progress is? Will the staff have that sort of info or is that only used in Primary school? I just feel uneasy about his ability to maintain interest and concentration and the old person in me thinks that using computer programmes for homework is rather lazy teaching. Am I out of touch?! Please advise before I make a tit of myself grin

bigbuttons Mon 11-Nov-13 20:27:00

My maths is VERY widely used, it's a brilliant program too. Give the guy a break. He sounds fine.
What do you want to say to him " Hello, I know you are trying your best but frankly I am concerned that you won't be good enough for me and my ds"?
I think you are about to make a tit of yourself, don't do it.

Minime85 Mon 11-Nov-13 20:27:14

in my experience my maths widely used for homework in schools. my own children have it for yr1 and 4 at school too. I think teacher should know targets etc and I would raise concerns with HOD or SLT re staffing, if at all, rather than single out teacher personally.

lborolass Mon 11-Nov-13 20:32:44

It's difficult if you haven't clicked with the teacher but it's still early in the year and I think you have to give the teacher a chance.

Have you had a bad experience with MyMaths - they way you've phrased your concern suggests that you don't think it's good enough. Afaik it's very widely used.

It might be worth mentioning the delay in setting up the homework just to clarify how long the students have to finish it.

NameyChangey666 Mon 11-Nov-13 20:39:23

Thank you. I have never heard of MyMaths so I am glad to hear it is a respected tool.
I don't know this teacher is doing his best, that's why I'm concerned! DS doesnt particularly like him, and I have only met him once, very briefly. So its quite hard to judge. Most teachers are great, but there's plenty who aren't (read some of these threads!) and I don't want to get to the end of Y7 and possibly poorer than expected results before I find out that he's a rogue one. But I need to know the questions to ask and of course I absolutely don't want to offend or put anyone's back up.

I shall ask about individual expected level of progress for Y7 and see how engaged he seems to be tomorrow. Any issues and I will talk to HOD. Thanks

BettyBotter Mon 11-Nov-13 20:39:57

So ds feels he's 'getting on OK'. His homework 'looks alright'. So what exactly is the concern? confused

noblegiraffe Mon 11-Nov-13 20:40:23

Whether you get on with the teacher or think he is too geeky to connect with parents is completely irrelevant to his ability to teach your DS maths. The majority of schools use Mymaths, that's fine, although you can certainly request that the homework is set on the correct day.

I don't know Edmodo, so can't comment on that.

You say his exercise book looks fine, so give the guy a break. You say you're not worried about your DS's maths this year!

You can ask this guy for an end of year target, if the school does them, end of KS3 if not. But it's early in Y7 so they might not have generated them yet.

PartyConfused Mon 11-Nov-13 20:44:28

MyMaths and Edmodo are brilliant! I'd say any teacher using tools like these to connect with the kids for things like homework is a pretty good one. but I may be biased

noblegiraffe Mon 11-Nov-13 20:49:06

You're going to see 'how engaged' he is at parents evening and then get onto the HoD if you have concerns?

I think, tbh, you need to back off. Let him do his job.

BettyBotter Mon 11-Nov-13 21:53:19

I'd love to hear that complaint.

So Mrs Namey. What is your concern?

Well, the maths teacher seems a bit ... geeky. And his primary subject is IT so we're worried he might be a 'rogue'. Apart from that he seems to be teaching well, setting appropriate homework and ds is happy, so we really think you need to check him out.

Please send your complaint in writing so it can be pinned on the staffroom wall. grin

friday16 Tue 12-Nov-13 07:41:28

see how engaged he seems to be tomorrow. Any issues and I will talk to HOD.

Who just happens to be a friend of yours. Charming. If you're starting Y7 off complaining about teachers via your friends because you've got a bad feeling about them based on no evidence (and utter ignorance: MyMaths is used by, essentially, every school, and if you've never heard of it you'll just look like a twit) the school will, I hope, mark your card as someone to be ignored. And your son will get the reputation of being the child whose parents use their friends to get at teachers they don't like, and find himself treated like plutonium.

You are going to make a tit of yourself. Stop now, before it's too late.

Marmitelover55 Tue 12-Nov-13 08:06:06

My DD1 in year 7 (outstanding school) uses my maths for homework and she is taught by the head of department. I have been impressed with my maths.

curlew Tue 12-Nov-13 08:32:37

Do you know what level your ds is currently working at or what his end of year targets are?

I didn't know that CATS were translatable into NC levels- how does that work?

lborolass Tue 12-Nov-13 09:41:48

Tbf I hadn't heard of MyMaths until my child started secondary but it would have been stupid of me to assume it wasn't any good simply because I wasn't aware of it.

JohnnyUtah Tue 12-Nov-13 09:44:39

You're going over the top here. It is hard to get used to the lack of info you get at secondary compared to primary. You need to work on this issue (which is your issue) and leave the maths teacher alone.

BitOutOfPractice Tue 12-Nov-13 09:51:04

Imagine, a geeky ict teacher?! Whatever next? They'll be employing people who love to read as English teachers soon!

I'm wondering what your problem is tbh.

DeWe Tue 12-Nov-13 09:52:38

Dd1 used mymaths last year. Her levels went up from 6 to 7b (standard comprehensive) so I don't think it's an issue.

Floggingmolly Tue 12-Nov-13 09:55:41

DS doesn't particularly like him, and I have only met him once, very briefly. Is that the basis of your complaint? Is your ds's dislike of him proof of his deficiency as a Maths teacher?
Let's hope your friend has more professionalism than to pay any attention to your nonsense.

titchy Tue 12-Nov-13 10:02:13

Maybe the head of maths isn't actually that good given that he doesn't seem able to retain staff.....,

BitOutOfPractice Tue 12-Nov-13 10:27:21

Rereading the op I'm wondering if the poster would like maths classes to be more old school maybe she's mrs Gove? and doesn't think that anything other than reciting tables out loud will suffice

Or maybe it was a stealth boast about her ds getting L6?

MrsSquirrel Tue 12-Nov-13 10:28:32

Kids don't always like all the teachers they have. That's life. He should still do his work and behave respectfully.

I work very closely with a man I don't particularly like. That's life. He is good at his job. I keep my mouth shut regarding how I feel about him and get on with mine.

NameyChangey666 Tue 12-Nov-13 14:01:43

OK, I read your comments and realise my OP didn't come across as I meant.

I never said I wanted to make a complaint!! I said I was concerned, based on my gut feeling, DS's dislike (which is out of character for him), the teacher using programmes I had never heard of, and the fact that he may or may not be a regular maths teacher.

The fact that I know the HoD (only promoted this year, so not responsible for teachers leaving) outside school only means that I know his values and manner towards children - we dont really discuss maths socially!

There is nothing wrong with the teacher being geeky! But sometimes these type of people aren't so good at conversing with other people, better with machines, etc. I have no problem if he is very good with the kids and less so with parents - I have many teacher friends like this. I put this in to give context - ie I have several concerns AND found the teacher slightly unapproachable, so should I be worried?

I am really relieved that so many of your children use MyMaths. I never said I didn't approve of it, just that it is solely used for homework, which I find strange. Lots of things about secondary are strange and theres no manual! That's why I use MN wink Exactly so I don't look like a tit where it counts.

Oh and I got confused between the NC levels and CATs - they don't work the same, but his NC attainment levels have been adjusted as a result of his CAT scores. And no it isn't a stealth boast!

Thank you for all your constructive comments. I shall go tho parents evening, keep my mouth shut, and see what occurs grin

PS I am very much NOT Mrs Gove!! (and if I were I would have LTB by nowwink )

curlew Tue 12-Nov-13 14:06:13

"but his NC attainment levels have been adjusted as a result of his CAT scores."

You mean his targets? What we his targets for the end of year 7?

I hope reading all of the comments have put your mind at rest about the my maths program. My dd has being using it for homework since year 7, she is now in year 11 and predicted a very good grade in maths so it can't be that bad.

I do think secondary school is vastly different to primary, especially as parents are not as involved with the school, the teachers, the homework, expected levels and it takes time to get used to that. It's hard to know what questions to ask etc.

friday16 Tue 12-Nov-13 14:13:25

* I never said I didn't approve of it, just that it is solely used for homework, which I find strange.*

Did you envisage maths lessons consisting of people sat at a room full of computers, doing exercises online?

his NC attainment levels have been adjusted as a result of his CAT scores

There's absolutely no way that's happened, unless the school's run by idiots. Are you sure you don't mean his targets have been set with reference to CAT scores?

Before criticising the practice of his maths teachers, it might be an idea to get your facts straight. At the moment you sound like a PFB-parent whose experience of primary makes them think they know it all.

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