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To have called the school?

(46 Posts)
LoulouCapone Fri 21-Oct-11 09:56:41

I'm waiting for the head of subject to call me back...

Dd is in year 8. Whenever she has maths homework she struggles. They don't bring their exercise books home with them, nor do they have text books. Generally it's just a worksheet. So I sit and help her. But it's not just support help, it's start from scratch help. Whenever I ask her why she doesn't understand it, she says she asks for help but the teacher brushes it off with a "I've explained it three different ways, why don't you understand it?" etc... So Dd is now embarrassed to ask.

So this week I have yet again had to do her homework with her. Tbh my maths skills aren't bad, but even I didn't understand it. It's a photocopied work sheet, with no explanation, examples nothing. No text book or exercise book to refer to, so I tell Dd as the homework wasn't due til today, she would need to go in, find the teacher and ask for help. Dd refuses. Now she says in the lesson the homework was set the teacher was being assessed by head of subject. The class were warned prior to said assessment that they were not to ask any questions during the assessment as it would look as though she (the teacher) wasn't explaining things properly. Teacher then finished by saying that if it looked like they didn't understand then they would be moved to a lower set, and 'she didn't want to lose any of them'.

As I realise kids this age do sensationalise things, I have asked a couple of the other girls in dd's class, who have all supported it. I asked them away from dd so they couldn't be led etc... It also seems she's not the only one who's struggling but afraid to seek help. Dd however was adamant she did not want me to do anything about it because she's afraid of repercussions!

So AIBU for calling the head of dept? Or should I have spoken to the teacher first? Should I have done anything at all against Dd's wishes? It's not too late, when he calls back I could just make something up, but urgh!

I don't know! I do really I guess, but I'm crap at this, but don't know what to say without looking like a total busybody! Aaargh! Help!

shaz298 Fri 21-Oct-11 10:00:52

I would have rung head of dept too! Hope you can get it sorted out. x

Dawndonna Fri 21-Oct-11 10:00:55

The teacher is failing your dd and the others in the class. Please inform the head of dept. She may be able to put something into place to ensure the children actually learn something. If the Head of dept is going into the class it is highly likely that another parent has said something and more evidence would therefore be appreciated by said head.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 21-Oct-11 10:03:04

I think my first call would have been to the teacher and would havd been 'dd doesn't understand this, and is struggling to ask for help so I just wanted to raise it with you'.

And then given them a chance to help.

Now that you're stuck with the head of subject calling I'm not sure what to suggest.

Rollon2012 Fri 21-Oct-11 10:04:20

Oh im sorry for your DD OP we hads a teacher like that never explained anything on questioning just bellowed from behind a laptop, 'look at your criteria!'

on the last day we all wrote 'look at our criteria!' on our shirts for the last lesson , sweet revenge smile

yeah you should ring that teachers is being unprofessional shes there to teach notb embarrass.

ThePumpkinKing Fri 21-Oct-11 10:05:15

I would have called the Head of Dept. too.

If the teacher is prepared to instruct her students to cover for her, she is highly inlikey to be straight with you.

Is she newly qualified?

TheFallenMadonna Fri 21-Oct-11 10:05:27

Well, children not understanding and not asking questions would definitely be picked up in a lesson observation, as the progress made by students is the key measure.

TotemPole Fri 21-Oct-11 10:08:24

The class were warned prior to said assessment that they were not to ask any questions during the assessment as it would look as though she (the teacher) wasn't explaining things properly. Teacher then finished by saying that if it looked like they didn't understand then they would be moved to a lower set, and 'she didn't want to lose any of them'.

That's outrageous!! What a crap teacher!!

YANBU, for calling the dept. head. They need to be aware of what's going on.

Deflatedballoonbelly Fri 21-Oct-11 10:09:58

Perhaps it was explained in lessons and was expected of your child to remember? I would have spoke to the teacher direct and given them a chance to rectify the situ.

I feel so sorry for teachers.

IndigoBell Fri 21-Oct-11 10:10:25

Sounds like she'd be better off in a lower set - even if only because it's bound to have a better teacher.

So my aim of ringing school would be to say she struggles and is there any way she could be moved down a set......

mnistooaddictive Fri 21-Oct-11 10:10:27

There are teachers who do this and it is very wrong. As an observer I could usually tell when a class had been primed. You are right to speak to head if department. They are limited in what they can say and it may sound like they are giving you the brush off but will take it seriously . To be honest they will already know there are issues but your dd needs to be given more help.

LoulouCapone Fri 21-Oct-11 10:14:23

Phew! The pumpkin king, that is exactly my reasoning for not going to her. I'm also hoping that by not going to her Dd's name will be kept out of it.

The school isn't great tbh, but it's our local one, with no chance of getting into the next nearest never mind actually getting there everyday. I'm a firm believer that with the right attitude and support at home, children should be able to learn. But obviously that does depend on them getting something from school.

They have just had (summer term) a really poor ofsted, the head teacher was having "a leave of absence" which he's now not returning from. They're being overseen by the head of another local ish school, who is good at dealing with under performing schools. I suspect this is the reason for the assessments.

Thank you all for replying, just need to work out what to say!

TotemPole Fri 21-Oct-11 10:18:41

Loulou, they should be bringing home notes/exercise book/text book that explains the method. Homework should be about practicing what they know, not working out how to do it.

Scholes34 Fri 21-Oct-11 10:19:51

A lower set could be the answer, if she is having problems. Firstly, could be a better teacher and secondly, she'd be one of the more able ones in the group and it would boost her self-confidence. This has helped my DD, who is in the second set for English and is loving the subject more and more.

eaglewings Fri 21-Oct-11 10:20:08

Sounds like you have done the right thing, you can just read out what you have written here to the head of maths.

It seems that maths is a subject where you need to have confidence more (or as much as) than ability. Would you be able to fund a tutor to help your dd regain her confidence after this teacher so that when she gets another teacher she can fly again?

LoulouCapone Fri 21-Oct-11 10:20:26

Deflated, seriously? When I was at school, not actually that long ago, we worked from text books, which had at the start of each subjust, an example, to sort of jog your memory. The you'd have your work book so you could refer to notes made in class. They have four lessons a day, and without any prompt they're expected to recall something they started for the first time. Hmm. Maybe I'm out of touch.

I certainly feel bad at some of the silly hoops they have to jump through, but this isn't one of them.

TotemPole Fri 21-Oct-11 10:30:57

At that age I had an exercise and text book for each class. They 'lived' at home and we had to remember to take them in for the correct days. To me, it sounds odd that she isn't bringing the books home.

Definitely persue this with the dept head.

Also, think about getting a Letts revise for KS3.

Tangle Fri 21-Oct-11 10:37:11

I was lucky and had an aptitude for maths, but I always remember our A-level teacher standing at the front of the class after spending however long telling us about something new - he'd (apparently) see a sea of glazed faces and after a couple of minutes of silence comment "say something... scream if you have to but say something..."

IMO (having no experience of teaching from the professional side) a class that didn't ask questions in a maths or science lesson would stand out like a sore thumb. It is unrealistic to expect a class of 30 to pick up everything first time (or 2nd, or 3rd) and require no clarification at all. If they don't understand they can't learn. If the teacher is unable to explain such that they understand then the fault is with the teacher or the school (for not changing the student/teacher relationship). This does assume that the child is, fundamentally, trying to learn and understand...

Not having anything to refer to whilst doing homework seems bizarre unless the homework has been set as a type of test - which should have been made very clear.

(btw, I'm not running down teachers in general - I have memories of fantastic teachers who inspired me in the face of many challenges. But I also have memories of teachers who left me cold for the subject. There are fantastic teachers out there, but not all teachers are fantastic and not all "good" teachers are "good" teachers for all students.)

Loulou - if it were me I'd have done the same things as you. It sounds as though this teacher is failing your DD, and others, and is more concerned with trying to bluff her way through teaching assessments than with ensuring the students under her charge are progressing in their understanding. Her instructions before the assessment suggest to me that she is aware of the problems and is not interested in trying to resolve them herself - which, to me, means elevating the issue to the HoD is exactly the right thing to do. I hope you have a productive conversation and things improve smile

Fifis25StottieCakes Fri 21-Oct-11 10:41:45

we had this last week with english homework. It was something a lot of the parents hadnt been taught. I had a meeting with the head about my other dd and brought the topic up. I advised her that it would help if they send a sheet home explaining what it was about.

It happened a couple of years ago with the maths where the school use the farmers field method. We would carry ones. Its seemed a long way round to get to the same end result and felt totally alien iyswim.

Our school do maths and englsih classes for parents to learn them the new methods. I havent been but i think i am going to have to go.

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 21-Oct-11 10:47:30

Unofrtunately, it seems that nowadays classes don't have enough textbooks, so no one is allowed to take them home. Have had the same sort of thing with my DS2 who's also in Y8, also with maths. My maths isn't too bad, either, but sometimes I just need a bit of a memory jog to get going.

DS sometimes has to do online stuff with MyMaths that usually has examples to start you off, but on the odd occasion, doesn't. This makes it difficult, especially as somtimes I've learnt a different way of doing things.

I would definitely speak to head of Department about this teacher and also agree that sometimes, like for DS1 who was in a lower set for English, going down a set can be a great thing. In this instanced, set 2 got much better marks than set 1 as set 1 teacher had loads of problems, was off sick, hadn't organised himself properly... Set 2 had fantastic teacher, v organised.

Don't talk to the class teacher, go above their head now. Don't leave it. Maths is too important.

TotemPole Fri 21-Oct-11 10:52:23

Fifis, what's the farmers field method?

Renniehorta Fri 21-Oct-11 10:53:52

Not being allowed to bring home an exercise book or a text book is the sign of an underachieving school.

When I worked in such a school we only ever sent home photocopied sheets for homework. The reason being that such a high percentage of the books would never return to school.

This was a financial disaster for the text books, as each book had to be used by 3 or 4 different students in the course of a week. There was no way we could have continually replaced them. For the individual student the loss of their exercise book meant loss of all their work. This was also accompanied by standoffs when they refused to pay the 10p to replace the book.

Hopefully this will all change as the school improves. I would definitely invest in a Maths text book. You could ask the HOD for advice on which one would be best.

piprabbit Fri 21-Oct-11 10:57:21

Would it be worth finding out what textbook the school use for maths and then buying your own copy for DD to have at home?

I know textbooks are expensive, but it might be worth the investment.

Fifis25StottieCakes Fri 21-Oct-11 11:03:44

My dd 9 done it in ks1, its hard to describe it. A farmers field with a grid printed on. It was for sums but done differently to carrying ones. DD2 hasnt had it but shes still on very basic maths as SN so not sure if the rest of the class have learnt it the same way

Fifis25StottieCakes Fri 21-Oct-11 11:18:28

at our school you get books home. If a book is not returned you get a point. 1 point = loss of half your playtime. They have a spelling, 2 readers, times table and spelling book. The school tell the kids that books are their responsibility and not their parents.

Hence the numerous walks back to school when dd realises she needs a book. She never remembers on the morning, only when i get to the school gate.

Some homework they also get the option to do a power point or e mail work to the teacher. This is not for all homework just the odd bit. They are on the creative curriculum so i am now getting a lot less homework and a large project twice a year to do at home in holidays. Dd1's doing WW1, went to Beamish yesterday and has to build a ww1 plane next week which she has been researching. Dd2's doing eygypt and i think they are going to the hancock museum. Before they went onto this i was getting ridiculous amounts of homework back on top of spellings and tables x 2 dd's

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