To be worried teacher thinks my daughter is unhappy

(50 Posts)
Blossompetals Fri 07-May-21 16:51:40

Can't stress enough that this isn't a teacher bashing post. I can't explain my daughter's behaviour and sometimes worry about her myself.

She's happy at home. Got a brother and me and her dad. She was a happy baby and toddler.

After her brother was born she started shutting down in regards to talking to adults. She got painfully shy like she was anxious. It took her three years to even speak to family members again. She loves her brother and never expressed any jealous behaviour. She has always had a close bond with him.

She's now 6. I was worried when she started school. But she spoke to everyone. Enjoyed it. Seemed to settle in fast. After a couple of months the teacher said she wasn't listening and struggling to grasp the routine.we had her eyes and ears checked. All was fine. She started to improve and was picking up the routine and they expressed she was like a new child. She had a little bit of extra help with a few other children who also needed guidance with work. Then coronavirus happened.

Her writing and reading improved and she was reading CVC words and going onto lots of four letter words etc. Writing is neat. She is really artistic. Everyeone who meets her comments on how good she is at drawing. The school were abit concerned about this at one point in reception as all she wanted to do was art and colouring. They had to encourage her onto other activities.

She started year one. I was hopeful she would be ok after such a long time off. I had done lots with her at home. She had matured emotionally and was confident again with her talking. She is now speaking to all adults again and her brother has really helped her with that.

She had barely started year one and the teacher asked about her eyes and ears like the last teacher. I said they had been checked. Then she expressed concerns over her concentration. She wasn't listening or grasping things. She seemed to be finding it hard. They decided to get her assessed.

For two days she was assessed. The verdict was a 26 page document saying she was a perfectly normal Child. Average on everything. Was able to do every test and activity and there were no concerns. The report suggested the teachers needed to adapt their teaching styles and made several suggestions. It read as though they were being told to get creative and do what they trained to do. I was quite surprised at the report as the school seemed so concerned I expected something to flag up.

I called the school for an update. She said she is doing much better in small groups. Still can't focus as wel in the main classroom.

We talked about her confidence. I told her at home she hesitates to say her answers like she's anxious incase it's wrong with her homework. The teacher said yes and have you noticed anything else at home. I haven't personally just the nerves with trusting herself with what she wants to say.

She also asked me about her imaginary friend and if I was aware of this. I know she has one and didn't really realise she had been talking about it at school. But she has. Apparently she's using her to express herself and stuff.

The teacher seems concerned about her and I think she was hoping I had noticed things about her myself.

I am aware of her being abit anxious and she struggles emotionally with things like me talking to other children for example.

I don't know why she fears getting into trouble. She's a daddy's girl. He's a really loving balanced character. I also spend time with her and expose her to as much as I can. I try and keep her busy and happy. I am slightly stricter than her dad. She has a loving household. We don't argue and she's not around anything toxic.

I'm just concerned that the school are suspecting she's unhappy and I can understand why she comes across that way sometimes. I'm just fearful they are concerned about her home life.

Anyone got any experience? She's my first child so I'm not sure whether one day she will just click if that makes sense.

OP’s posts: |
fallingfastly Fri 07-May-21 19:24:58

No useful advice here at all - but just wanted to bump this in case someone sees it who can help

Chipsahoy Fri 07-May-21 19:31:46

She sounds like my little boy. Have they referred her to the school nurse? Not that she helped my ds much but she was able to reassure the teachers that he’s anxious around a lot of people so he won’t speak up.

My dc on paper is failing everything. He’s perfectly capable but won’t speak much to show he’s understood.
Smaller groups and finally in year five a teacher who gets him has helped a lot. Lockdown was good for him in terms of learning as he learns better at home when he isn’t anxious.

Generally we have seen a steady growth in confidence and he’s a different child to what he used to be.

Push back on the school. Say she is ok at home, just anxious with lots of people or other people outside the home. She doesn’t trace a disorder she merely doesn’t fit in their box and they need to stop trying to stuff her into it. Advocate for her and don’t let them blame you or her, there isn’t anything wrong with her, she is who she is and they need to adapt to help her learn.

Chipsahoy Fri 07-May-21 19:32:44

Have not trace!

Hankunamatata Fri 07-May-21 19:34:22

Do the school have social groups to help her with her skills? Could she just be an incredibly anxious child? Some children are and just need more nurturing. Lockdown has set so many children back emotionally/socially. Class can seem overwhelming after the quiet of home.

Is she saying with anyone in playground or does she stay by herself? Could the school get her a buddy for breaks?

Hankunamatata Fri 07-May-21 19:37:00

It's also rare for schools to refer children to educational psychologists unless they have serious concerns. Most urgent children are prioritised and schools usually only have funding to refer 1/2 a year.

toiletbrushholder Fri 07-May-21 19:37:24

Sounds to me as though a big part of it is that the school need to accept her for who she is and support her strengths. She may struggle as part of a large class as I am sure a lot of children who are more introverted do. It's ok to be an introvert and have imaginary friends. One size dosen't fit all and our school system expects it too. Keep supporting her xx


Littlebluebird123 Fri 07-May-21 19:38:11

It's hard to make many suggestions based on what you've said. I would be interested in the specific suggestions made to the teachers in the report. (I'm a teacher, and it's unusual to get to the point of an assessment and there be nothing flagged.)
It's also unusual that two teachers have said she's finding things hard. It's unlikely to be teaching style as the two years are quite different. But without knowing the teachers, it's hard to be sure.

I know you are concerned but it's good that they are trying different things and trying to involve you. They seem to want to do whatever they can to help her settle and learn as well as she can.

Hankunamatata Fri 07-May-21 19:38:22

Reading it. Schools sounds like they arnt blaming anyone. They want your dc to be successful and trying to support her. Perhaps different school might be an idea if she hasnt settled

Blossompetals Fri 07-May-21 20:37:44

Hi. She has friends and is not shy in that respect.

I think she switches off in the classroom. She won't put herself forward in the main room. But in small groups she's enthusiastic. It's like she freezes through fear of being told of. Like if she's told to go to her tray she would hesitate so they needed to word it different like go to your tray straight away Mia (this was one of the suggested teaching styles)

They told them to try her at the front of the class. Using picture books. Special cards. Clearer instructions. Less distraction. Try different ways of explaining things. Make it as fun as possible etc.

I appreciate that they are teaching 30 children though and that makes it trickier.

It's been very hard. She's a good girl but so far I've never had a good parents evening. It's all focused of her lack of confidence or lack of understanding of tasks.

She can work at home or small groups. She needs alot of encouragement and guidance. As soon as she's left to do something alone she looses her confidence and isn't confident in what she should be doing so worries. Starts missing letters out of words she can spell etc.

It feels as though her brain isn't concentrating if that makes sense.

I do think she doesn't fit into the standard box which is understably frustrating. But she in total Has missed almost a year of education so that hadn't helped in terms of confidence.

I don't know what else I can do to help her as I do stuff at home with her. I read to her every night. She's a bright girl. Takes in alot of facts from subjects she learns about. She's very interested in space and can explain about the planets and starts etc. She loves fairytales like Goldilocks or little red riding hood. She is so creative and tells stories all the time. She's also doing ok with maths.

I am not saying the teacher has been horrible at all. She seems nice. But she seems to be struggling to say much positive wise about her. Other than she's well behaved in every other way.

I hope one day she finds herself abit more. I just feel abit sad that she's "hard work" that's how it's starting to feel abit. Like she's the only kid like it. I'm sure she isn't. But its sad because she comes home full of beans and telling me everything she has done and learned. But when her teacher describes her it feels like she's not with it half the time.

OP’s posts: |
Littlebluebird123 Fri 07-May-21 20:55:55


I know it's hard not to just focus on the negative, but saying your daughter is well behaved in every other way is a really positive thing. That means they know she's trying and it's not her attitude. It does look like they're trying to figure out what to do to help. The group work etc sounds positive. Perhaps she just needs more time to socialise with the other children as that is such a critical part of the early years of school and that was disrupted for her.

Being quiet and reserved isn't a problem at all. Not being able to follow instructions is a sign that there's something else going on. It could be confidence and in which case the teacher is trying to get a sense of if she behaves differently at home. For example, my daughter had a speech assessment as she was reluctant to talk to most adults at school but at home she's really loud and extroverted.

I hope that helps. I don't get the impression from what you've said that they are blaming you or thinking it's a bad home life.

IfIHaveToTellYouAgain Fri 07-May-21 20:57:00

I have no advice but offering a hand hold because you have literally described my DS. Only difference is that he is very confident around other adults and children. He’s a clever boy, excelling in reading and maths but can’t write for toffee because his brain just switches off. I’m getting reports from school that he is well liked but doesn’t concentrate at all and can’t focus. To me, it doesn’t add up, because how can he not be concentrating if he understands what he’s been taught? He also excelled during home schooling, when he didn’t have the distraction of a group. I am sitting here in tears tonight because he has been to his 4th swimming lesson, and for the 4th time he just floated around, completely oblivious to what he was supposed to be doing. I have no idea what to do with him or how to help him because, as with you, he is perfectly fine at home, if a little bit of a dreamer. There are no behaviour concerns, but you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head with the ‘hard work’ comment. It does feel like everyone thinks he is a difficult child, when really I just don’t think he is wired for group situations.
He is still only 5 so I really hope it’s just a maturity thing, but then I’ve been saying that since he was 3... and anyway, do I really want him to change just to fit into the mould of what other people say he should be doing? I don’t know 😭

AnnaBronskisSkirts Fri 07-May-21 21:10:54

It sounds really hard for you, but it's great that your DD comes back from school full of beans and the stuff she's learnt, even if the teachers don't see that side of her.

One thing that rang a bell was the not speaking to adults and not looking adults in the eye - my DD had this and still does in the classroom. 'Selective mutism' seemed to tick a lot of her boxes - you might want to look it up.

What makes it worse is pressure to speak - so teachers who frequently ask her for opinions (hoping to bring her out of her shell) make her freeze up more. She seems afraid of giving 'wrong' answers.

Could it be that your DD is freezing up pre-emptively in the fear of doing something wrong, to the extent that she can't concentrate on what's going on?

Tal45 Fri 07-May-21 21:12:29

I would imagine there is more going on here it just hasn't been picked up.
'They told them to try her at the front of the class. Using picture books. Special cards. Clearer instructions. Less distraction. Try different ways of explaining things. Make it fun etc'
These all suggest she is struggling with following instructions and filtering out distractions - exactly the sort of suggestions that would have helped my ds with ASD at that age (although that's not necessarily what's going on for your lo) . Are you aware of selective mutism? I don't know enough about it to say it explains everything but worth reading up on. It wouldn't surprise me if there is more going on but it might not be clear exactly what until she is older (my ds wasn't diagnosed until 10). I think the school sound good though, the teacher is obviously keen to help her. x

Violinist64 Fri 07-May-21 21:31:54

On reading your account and stressing that l am no doctor or psychologist, she sounds very like my own daughter when she was a similar age. She, too, found small groups more comfortable and it was always thought there was “something” but it took a long time to work out what that “something” was. My daughter was later diagnosed with auditory processing disorder. This is where someone will have heard what has been said but takes longer to take it in. Later on, my daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome (ASD). This is often more difficult to see in girls as they can mask many of the symptoms and copy other girls’ behaviour, thus fitting in more easily, especially when they are little. Later, the symptoms tend to become more obvious. It is far more noticeable in boys and many psychologists look at girls in the same way as boys, which is why it is missed. It used to be thought that the ratio of boys to girls with this able form of autism was 10:1. It is now realised that it is more likely to be 50/50. I would like to add that my daughter is now grown up and is an extremely loving, caring young lady, who works and is about to start a master’s degree. Whatever happens, I am sure everything will work out well for you and your daughter in the end. Good luck.

SaltAndVinegarSandwiches Fri 07-May-21 21:50:48

Like a PP I wondered about ASD/ADHD which presents differently in girls. It's very often accompanied with anxiety (in fact it's unusual for a child to be very very anxious this young without ASD/ADHD or some other similar cause). Presumably the assessment was focused on her academic skills?

Parrotsandpussies Fri 07-May-21 21:59:29

It could be anxiety. My daughter was similar at Primary. She once described how, when she was taken in a group to do writing, she couldn't concentrate because she knew any minute she would have to read her work out. She didn't like Secondary school. Left Uni because of anxiety. She still struggles, but has 2 jobs and appears to be a success. I just think school is not for everyone. I used to spend Parents Evenings being told that she "needed to be more confident". But no one could tell me how to actually do that!

Baggingarea Fri 07-May-21 22:08:08

Hi OP, I'm not sure if this is helpful but this sounds exactly like me when I was your daughter's age.

Had all the hearing tests too and was endlessly pulled out of class to be tested on various things. Loved daydreaming and was good at art but struggled with anxiety in big groups and worked slowly.

Did fine in my exams, went to uni and can vouch I'm a pretty normal adult. Hope that reassures you.

cansu Fri 07-May-21 22:17:57

Maybe she is just a quiet rather shy little girl who doesn't like big groups? I think there is a tendency to see people as having a specific problem or condition when actually it is just their personality. If you think she is OK then suggest calmly that she has been assessed and no concerns have been raised. Maybe she just needs sensitive handling as she matures emotionally.

DontGoIntoTheLongGrass Fri 07-May-21 23:20:36

Long shot but have you looked into auditory processing disorder?

eatsleepread Sat 08-May-21 04:38:10

I'm a TA and think your daughter sounds wonderful. It sounds like she needs a 'champion' at school. It concerns me slightly that the teacher finds it difficult to see the positive in her. There's positive in all kids. School life should be more than just a tick box exercise.

eatsleepread Sat 08-May-21 04:40:00

And just keep reinforcing the message that she's happy at home. Put the onus on them. If she's unhappy at school, what are they going to do about it ...

NoSquirrels Sat 08-May-21 04:57:17

I actually don’t think there would be any harm in telling the teacher you feel the feedback is rather negative and it is concerning you.

Fwiw I think she sounds fine. Some children need a longer runway to launch than others. I have a suspected dyslexic DC who struggles with things like some words, who is creative, has great friends and sometimes lacks focus. Confidence is the thing, and the right teacher can inspire that. She’s young yet and the school are proactive - try not to worry.

GlamGiraffe Sat 08-May-21 05:27:34

Shes dyslexic!
You are describing my now adult son.
Everything you have said us identical. Because he is so bright it was never noticed. Aged 9 i carted him off for a private assessment where they confirmed he was one if the worst cases they'd seen but one if the cleverest poeple so it would always be missed in school.
He always needed vert direct explicit instructions, gven singly, only nething at a timein a clear order. Pictures helped.
He drew all eay.avoided writing and drew if he had a chance.
A school ed psy assessment missed it completely. Hehas been seen by four or five private psychologists over the years who do a much wider battery of tests and they have all come up wiyh the same results.
Its really hard. Ask them yo yreat youf chold as if she was dyslexic and see if it helps. My son has a particular deficit in processing. Try googling slow/poor cognitive procesing in children and see if it rings bells. Pm me if you wish.
My son is now a really successful artist but battled until we found a totally unconventional school that acknowledged him for who he was.
Sory if there are typos.too tired to see as had a crying baby all night.

GlamGiraffe Sat 08-May-21 05:34:53

This might be useful?

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