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to feel sorry for the kids my sister teaches?

(36 Posts)
LissyGlitter Sun 04-Oct-09 23:58:48

My sister is a year one teacher in a fairly deprived area of London. She says that my DD (2.5) is at about the same level in many ways as about half of the kids in her class. DD is pretty much average for her age. My sister gave an example of how a typical child in her class would tell her a simple story and it was basically the whole vicky pollard stereotypical thing, but I thought that teenagers only speak like that because they think it is trendy. I know I am a parent of a toddler, so don't really "get" older kids yet, but surely if they can't tell a simple story or count to ten or even recognise their name written down, they don't have many chances already? I just found it desperately sad that these kids were already so different to the kids I am used to, and it's not even like I come from a very privileged background.
She also said that a lot of kids will have terrible attendance, and it is down to the parents not seeing the point in sending them to school. They will also turn up with things like a packet of biscuits instead of a packed lunch.
She said the kids themselves are lovely, but she spends so long in class trying to teach them really basic things, that they really have no chance of getting even near the targets.
We are pretty poor (ie we are on benefits, in a rented house, no assets and so on) but I like to think that we are lucky enough to have the background for it not to affect DD. No one would purposefully harm their kids chances (or at least very few would) so the parents must be in such a bad place. Not every kid in the class can have SN, surely?

Seabright Mon 05-Oct-09 00:07:52

You're right, they can't all have SN. I would think it's almost entirly down to parental input (and lack thereof). The really sad thing is there really isn't a cure for that, as I'm sure the parents would not see a problem.

jennifersofia Mon 05-Oct-09 00:59:01

I am in a similar situation to your dsis and can relate to what you are writing about. It is true that there is a lot of time teaching children basic things (ranging from no hitting to the right way to hold a book) it can be frustrating. I would put most of it down to parental input, or lack thereof. However, I don't blame many of these parents, as many of (the ones in my school anyway) them come from very difficult socio-economic and cultural situation.
Almost all of my parents really do mean the best for their child, but simply don't know how. E.g. if you are illiterate yourself, or don't speak english, (or both) it is very difficult to help with reading at home. If you grew up in a very poor area where the children were just left to get on with it while the adults were struggling to put a meal on the table, you might not know how to guide a child, or help socialize them. If you have 4 boys, and no dad around, and no money, you might not have the energy to do anything much at, especially not looking in bookbags at the end of the day.

What is lovely is seeing the children moving up primary and seeing the ones that start pulling away from that and begin to 'fly' of their own accord. Also being surprised out of one's own prejudices when you do find the parents that are 'motivated'.

claw3 Mon 05-Oct-09 01:08:39

Your sister teaches teenagers, who cant even recognise their names written down?

nappyaddict Mon 05-Oct-09 02:29:42

year one is aged 5 and 6.

deaddei Mon 05-Oct-09 07:48:19

Yes welcome to the real world. I work in lots of schools and the emotional deprivation (never mind the physical) many children experience is unbelievable. Children who'se parents never did well in education, do not see it as important, and give no support whatsoever.
Contrast their lives with some of the threads on here - these children are the growing up Baby Peters.
Thank goodness there are some amazing teachers out there- you sound likeone of them jennifersofia.

scrappydappydoo Mon 05-Oct-09 07:59:39

Ok without being patronisingly middle class - what can we (the 'ordinary' public) do to support these children and their families??

CybilLiberty Mon 05-Oct-09 08:01:31

That is why a nurturing approach in education is so important. Without a childs basic needs being met how can they possibly even begin to learn?

The problem is, often the parents of these children have had poor life experiences themselves, truancy, no exams, broken marriages.

Sometimes it takes a school to help a family break the cycle by giving the child what has been lacking so far.

claw3 Mon 05-Oct-09 08:20:22

Nappyaddict - I thought the op meant her sister is in her first year of teaching. It was the 'but I thought that teenagers only speak like that because they think it is trendy' and the fact it was almost 2am in the morning that threw me!

Yeah, but no, innit

piscesmoon Mon 05-Oct-09 08:31:32

Unfortunately home background is the most important thing in education and it is a cycle, if parents were brought up like that themselves it is very difficult to break the cycle. Good schools can make a difference and although depressing it can be very rewarding to work with the DCs from that type of background.

Bucharest Mon 05-Oct-09 08:35:32

Hopefully your sister can make a difference.

sarah293 Mon 05-Oct-09 08:40:55

Message withdrawn

hotpotato11 Mon 05-Oct-09 13:14:43

I recently spent a morning in a relatively deprived school and I tell you it was a real eye-opener ! In a year one class many of the children had real trouble stringing a sentence together.The problem was compounded by the fact that the school had areally draconioan disciplene policy and the children were too institutionalised.
i would imagine the cause of poor speech would largely be too much TV on at home ?

sugardumpling Mon 05-Oct-09 13:37:41

we live in a relatively deprived area in London (Tower Hamlets) and I agree with it being all about home background. I've lived here all my life and grew up on a council estate and knew first hand when I was at school that some of the kids weren't as lucky to come from a loving home where education is important, their parents just couldn't be bothered because of lack of education, bad home life ect.
Am still seeing it with kids at my sons school now and its actually got worse over the years. It is a vicious cycle.

dmo Mon 05-Oct-09 13:42:03

i know a child aged about 6 and mum gets up bout 11ish and sends child to school for his free school meal then picks hime up at 3 and goes to pub till 9ish, kid has crisps for tea sad

musicposy Mon 05-Oct-09 14:01:06

My first teaching job was in a deprived area and it was shocking what some of the children didn't know by the time they came to school. Some had never seen a book or pencils before - because that was the school's job! We had to teach them what a book was, how to hold it the right way up, how to turn the pages. They really needed a good term just being allowed to scribble, to experiment with crayons and paper, and lots of playing with stuff they'd never seen before.

Further up the school, I had a little boy who regularly turned up back at school "I've come to give you a hand, miss" because his mum either wouldn't let him in (had the boyfriend in bed) or had gone out. Some of these children used to cry when I said it was school holidays next week. School was the only safe, secure, predictable place they knew.

And all this against a b**** government who were only interested in our league table results angry

tiredemma Mon 05-Oct-09 14:07:29

When I volunteered for Homestart (in a local 'deprived' area) we used to do a 'walking bus' to school twice a week (tues & Thurs). We had to stop when transpired that those were the only days that the children were attending school. On the other days no-body could be arsed to go with them.

jennifersofia Mon 05-Oct-09 14:20:04

Oh musicposy, that makes me want to cry. It is so unfair, isn't it! It isn't their fault.

V. kind of you deadei, but I am not amazing at all, sometimes quite a struggle. I do care though.

It just seems a shame that it is up to schools and teachers to police these things (like attendance) because it also means that the other children in the class (who come from slightly more motivated background) get deprived as well because it is very hard to keep attention from falling always to the most 'urgent' cases.

sparechange Mon 05-Oct-09 15:09:43

scrappydappydoo, are there any homestart/drop-in centres near you?
I volunteered for one near me (south London) which used to run a homework club for older children
It was aimed at girls who were on the margins of education, and they would organise for 'inspirational' women to come and speak and general do things to keep them motivated and in education.
Sadly, I moved this year so can't go anymore, but I found it a very positive and worthwhile thing to do

UnquietDad Mon 05-Oct-09 15:11:24

"more mixing" will never happen because there is not just no enthusiasm for it, but actual active resistance.

3littlefrogs Mon 05-Oct-09 15:14:51

I used to work as a volunteer helping children with learning difficulties to read and write. We had 17 children in the group from year 5 and 6. It was a real eye opener. Most of them had no books at home. None at all. sad

sarah293 Mon 05-Oct-09 17:03:17

Message withdrawn

ABetaDad Mon 05-Oct-09 17:11:12

My sister was a TA in some pretty rough deprived London schools.

She said that little children Reception/Yr 1 would often sit playing with plastacine rolling long sausage shapes. One day she asked one little boy what he was making. He turned round and said "I'm rolling a joint". That is the absolute truth. It reflected this child's daily experience.

She often asked parents if they ever read to the their children. She said the answer she mostly got was "No, never have because it is the school's job not mine".

shonaspurtle Mon 05-Oct-09 17:13:15

My mum thought that ds and dn were geniuses because they could do things that a lot of the children she used to teach would only grasp with a lot of teacher input at around 5yrs.

Then she did some supply work at a local nursery and realised that her grandchildren weren't really unusually able, her expectations had just been set at the level of the very deprived area she had taught in. It made her very sad.

Having said that, a good proportion of the children at the school she taught at go on to have very successful lives - in no small part to the role she and her colleagues played in narrowing that gap imo.

sugardumpling Mon 05-Oct-09 17:17:57

We have quite a mixture at some of our local primary schools, disabled children, and from all different classes and cultures. I think kids need to mix with children who are different from them,but agree with Riven unfortunately not everyone feels the same

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