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AIBU to question teacher?

(50 Posts)
DoobzToobznHattrick Thu 04-Apr-19 10:03:35

My daughter is in Reception class and is a younger child so will still be 4 when she leaves Reception.
Overall her learning is pretty good, she’s not the best behaved child, but equally she’s certainly not the worst. By behaviour I mean - not always listening, sometimes talking when she shouldn’t be etc....all things that we discuss with her and encourage her to make sure she’s not constantly repeat offending!
This week I had her teacher tell me that we needed to work on her comprehension as although her reading is good her understanding of what’s going on isn’t and she’ll often go off on a tangent and make up stories unrelated. Whilst I’m happy to help in any way with her learning and will of course support her additional needs, what I’m not happy about is the teacher asked a parent volunteer who goes into school to check her comprehension and report back on her findings.
I’ve been a volunteer at the school myself with both reading and other things that are specific to my field of employment but I’ve never been asked to make a judgement call on a child’s learning ability. I’m there to support the teachers and TAs and to help the children. I am asked to note how the child did, any problems with words/sounds they get stuck on etc but never specifically to report back on something.
AIBU to think that surely this should be something the teacher or TA should be supporting her with?
It is a very large class - over 30 and I did ask the mum specifically if she’d read with my LO and how she felt her comprehension was and that’s when I found out she was tasked with checking her comprehension.
Am I being a bit precious or should I address this with the teacher?

Whynotnowbaby Thu 04-Apr-19 10:07:29

It sounds to me like everyone who hears her read is asked to check for comprehension as this has been flagged up as an area needing additional support. I’m not sure what the parent told you means that she is the person who made the initial assessment of your child, just that she is one of the people involved in hearing readers and has been given the same instruction as others to ensure consistency of approach.

By all means ask for clarification if you are concerned but this doesn’t sound like an issue to me.

DoobzToobznHattrick Thu 04-Apr-19 10:11:05

Thanks. She was asked to look at other children specifically. I just wonder if the teacher has concerns surely she should be getting the TA to support her more rather than a parent volunteer.

sweetpea2811 Thu 04-Apr-19 10:12:50

I wouldn't say the parent volunteer has been asked to make a judgement on your daughters learning ability at all. Reading comprehension is a pretty obvious thing, it's clear when children are not understanding what they're reading. Having worked in a school, we always asked those reading with children for feedback on how the reading went. I would assume it was this kind of thing rather than a specific can you report back on so and so's comprehension. More a general, we are focussing on comprehension so can you ask a few questions about what they've read etc.

Honestly I would just concentrate on supporting your daughter with understanding what she's read rather than going in to school and questioning the teacher about it.

ForgivenessIsDivine Thu 04-Apr-19 10:14:27

Does she read with the teacher / TA regularly? If the teacher has highlighted a concern, I would be expecting that your daughter would read to the teacher on a regular basis and that at other times, she would read to a parent volunteer.

DoobzToobznHattrick Thu 04-Apr-19 10:17:13

She doesn’t regularly read with the teacher or TA. Because it’s such a big class they pretty much rely of the parent volunteers to tick the box to say that the children have been read with that week. They only read once a week currently and books are changed then.

Whynotnowbaby Thu 04-Apr-19 10:18:53

Is she only reading to the parent? I imagine she is probably being heard several times a week to keep her on track. The teacher and / or TA are probably doing some of it but they can’t possibly hear 30+ children more than once a week so they ask parent volunteers to help to give them more opportunities. It makes sense that those parents are given a heads up on any specific areas of focus and asked how the children they worked with got on.

DoobzToobznHattrick Thu 04-Apr-19 10:20:44

Thanks for your feedback sweetpea. I think now I’ve written it down that it’s not a big deal. The parent volunteer was asked specifically to concentrate on her comprehension and that of a few others and to write down her findings and report back with them. I just thought this was something that perhaps a TA should do as it obviously has been flagged up. The parent volunteer said she hadn’t been asked to do it before....

saoirse31 Thu 04-Apr-19 10:23:15

On a total tangent it seems crazy putting 4 year olds under such pressure.... not you op, the system

DoobzToobznHattrick Thu 04-Apr-19 10:29:04

Yes, only reading with parent volunteers regularly, once a week. I understand it’s a big class and would not be possible for the teacher or TA to undertake reading with every child - I just wonder if the children needing additional support should be read with by the teacher/TA in order for them to be able to help the child more with understanding and comprehension.
Obviously we will carry on supporting her at home to help improve things ourselves.

DoobzToobznHattrick Thu 04-Apr-19 10:31:05

Totally agree saoirse31. I don’t recall my eldest having to do half the things my LO has to do.....and be expected to do them (teachers words not mine!)

GillianUsedToLiveHere Thu 04-Apr-19 10:32:08

I am a parent volunteer but I am a qualified TA too with another qualification in SEND. I just volunteer for fun.

I do read with children and question them about the story, what has happened and what may happen next. It is easy to tell if a child has understood what they have read or not. It isn't making an assessment on a child in terms of their reading level it is merely a very easy observation.

As they move up through the school into KS2 there is a huge tick list of comprehension demonstration ie can the child recount the story fairly accurately to you? I then have to write what book it was, date it, and make a comment. It isn't rocket science.

At reception level it is difficult for a teacher to listen to 30 children read. Higher up it is easier as they get through more pages in the story.

What you are doing at home counts for far more than they can do in school. Ask about what has happened, what do they think can happen, why someone feels the way they do, ie why do you think they are sad etc. That foundation of reading improves their literacy skills and language skills. You are doing a great thing, lots of parents don't read to their child or have their child read to them.

Whynotnowbaby Thu 04-Apr-19 10:32:40

In that case I would expect that someone “official” would be listening to her more regularly, I have only ever seen parent helpers used to provide extra alongside teacher/ta support. See how it goes and perhaps have a chat with the teacher about how she is improving after a couple of weeks.

EmeraldShamrock Thu 04-Apr-19 10:33:46

I am sure the volunteers have a code of conduct, if you are not happy, speak to the teacher
She is will be still 4 leaving reception, wow it is very young, they start DC so young in the UK. sad

EmeraldShamrock Thu 04-Apr-19 10:37:19

Also to add in Ireland, you have 4 qualified teachers for reading time in class, so they can hear them individually and set them in groups.
It happens for maths lessons too.
The available resource teachers come in, we don't have TA's. My DCs class has a teacher and trainee teacher every day.

FrenchJunebug Thu 04-Apr-19 10:48:33

I am a parent reading volunteer at my son's school and sometimes I am asked by the teacher how it went and what do I think of the group. It's not an evaluation but I spend time with those kids, week after week, just my opinion. I was provided training and guidance to read with my group. My son also gets to read one to one with volunteers and I do not see the problem. You are overreacting and I do not understand your worry.

DoobzToobznHattrick Thu 04-Apr-19 10:54:07

Thanks everyone! I’ll keep on plugging away with my questions at home with LO one and see how it goes. Hopefully it’s her age and she’ll catch up rather than it being a learning issue...

GillianUsedToLiveHere Fri 05-Apr-19 16:55:33

@DoobzToobznHattrick she is just 4, it is hard to even get them to sit still enough to do a task. They are so little. Don't worry if it is a learning issue, it doesn't stop children progressing, they just need a little help.

But, again, she is 4. Just talking to a child, modelling language, correcting mispronunciations etc is all great. Ipad games are fantastic and a great teaching tool but modelling is so important. You are doing great just talking to her. It sounds awful but lots of parents don't.

In the moment things seem so huge. Ds1 is now about to sit his GCSEs, if you met him at 4/5 he was introvert, a worrier, would stand on the sidelines watching stuff rather than joining in, I thought he would never get words that rhyme like cat, hat, mat and his maths skills were non-existent. He is now predicted high grades.

As parents we worry, we are meant to. Your daughter sounds fab. Keep reading and chatting. It will pay off.

BarrenFieldofFucks Fri 05-Apr-19 17:34:53

Fuck me, she's 4.

DoobzToobznHattrick Sun 07-Apr-19 17:43:57

I know Barren - she’ll still be 4 when she leaves Reception, bless her!
She does try very hard at school but equally she can be a tad trying! wink And I know she’s easily distracted and can lose focus.
We’ve been given a list of things she (and I quote) MUST be capable of upon leaving at the end of the school year. NO EXCUSES. It’s way more than my elder two ever had to do. In the main, she’s there with it, just slower on comprehension.
My concern is that if the teacher is worried about her comprehension why isn’t she or the TA supporting her - why is it being tasked to a volunteer to monitor and report on. I’m guessing it’s because the volunteer reads regularly with her.
We’ll get it sorted though, just frustrating that she’s expected to be at a level in the class that others are who are almost a year older. Onwards and upwards!
Thanks everyone, valuable feedback from you all.

Alb1 Sun 07-Apr-19 18:18:09

Not a helpful comment here, but I’m surprised it’s a comment the school have given at all, DS will be 5 in September, so hasn’t started school yet, will be the oldest in his year and cannot read at all yet 😐 nursery’s parent consultation morning was last month and they said he’s right on track too. Your DD is so little I can’t see how going off on a tangent when reading 1 to 1 with someone could be bad anyway, but like I say DS hasn’t started school yet so I have no idea what’s expected really. I’m slightly nervous for him starting school now though!

IggyAce Sun 07-Apr-19 18:34:12

I’m a parent helper and I listen to a set list of readers each week, my target group currently is a mix of those needing help with comprehension or fluency.
My group are still listened to weekly by a teacher or TA so it just means they have at least 2 individual reading sessions a week.

GreenTulips Sun 07-Apr-19 18:41:34

I think if you complain your child will get no support from the volunteer and none from either the TA or teacher - it’s standard to ask questions when they are reading and understand new words otherwise what’s the point?

Justonemorepancake Sun 07-Apr-19 18:45:30

I am asked to note how the child did, any problems with words/sounds they get stuck on etc but never specifically to report back on something.
But that noting how the child did with their reading is reporting back? Unless you burn your notes after writing them, I presume they go to the teachers via their reading diaries? How the child did with their reading includes their comprehension of the words/pictures/story.

GinUp Sun 07-Apr-19 18:46:41

* "I did ask the mum specifically if she’d read with my LO and how she felt her comprehension was and that’s when I found out she was tasked with checking her comprehension."*

And this is why volunteers are usually told not to discuss anything that happens in the classroom. Parents only get half a story and then worry.

It's normal for someone to be asked to look out for specific things but speak to the teacher if you're concerned. The teacher may also be able to advise the volunteer on what to say/do if a parent asks them for information.

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