Teacher doesn't 'get' my DS - what can I do?(20 Posts)
DS2 (just turned 6) has a young and inexperienced teacher this year. She is extremely nice, very organised and clearly working hard for the children and they all like her. However, my DS2 is a complicated character - excitable, chatty, spirited, silly, headstrong, and probably a pain in the neck. We've spoken about what to do with him when she can't get him to listen, how we can be consistent with the messages we give him at home/at school etc and we are making some progress. However, I think because he is a bit inattentive/disruptive/immature, she has DS pegged as not very able. He is stuck on ORT stage 3, gets given the easy peasy spellings each week etc. I'm really not being a precious or deluded mother here; he can read fine and learns the spellings with no problems at all, in fact with far more ease than his older brother who always scrapes onto the top table by virtue of being willing and biddable and I would say reasonably able...whereas I think DS 2 is actually bright. If we play games at home, DS2 will try to cheat, which would never even occur to DS1. And even if he doesn't cheat he always wins! I don't want to undermine the teacher or appear to question her judgment; I want us to work together and for her not to dread the times she has to tell me what a pain he's been, but how can I politely suggest he could be given more challenging work? I once asked if he was definitely on the right ORT level (when he'd been on Stage 2 for EVER) and she insisted he was so I didn't push it. It won't matter in the long run, I know, but I don't want him to get hold of the idea that he's deemed a bit middling, and for that to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What can I do?
Ah, I refer you to my threads I wish I knew the answer, I really do but you have my support on here!
had similar problems (at similar age) with one of DS2's teachers. What I did was get increasingly upset about it. With hindsight what IO wish I'd done was confidently help him a bit at home, hear him read more complex texts, help him learn tables etc, and when he showed signs of noticing his teacher didn't get him (which he was astute enough to do) try to help him stay confident despite that. They're going to get teachers who don't get or even actively dislike them if they are characters. Learning to handle that without letting it get to you is a massive plus in life. Though six is a bit young.
Just make sure you keep him up to speed, make sure his homework is always well presented and in on time etc. and work with his teacher to help him concentrate.
If it's any consolation, DS2 who was in her bottom group in yr2 has just won a scholarship to a school and looks set to also get offered a place at one of the most academic schools in the country, without much exhertion on his part, so long term he did overcome that chattyiness and lack of focus (took several years) and her dislike of him had no effect long term.
" However, my DS2 is a complicated character - excitable, chatty, spirited, silly, headstrong, and probably a pain in the neck." maybe rather than asking for the teacher to 'get what he can do' you need to start addressing this obvious inappropriate, disruptive behaviour that is impacting on not on ly his learning but those of his peers.
maybe you should read the op in this thread to understand that sometimes teachers can no to right for doing wrong
Cricketballs that link is about parents refusing to see bad behaviour. Biscuits (and myself, in a different thread) are acknowledging our DCs behaviour, that it must be challenging for teacher and annoying for all concerned. We are annoyed ourselves!
We are asking how to work together with the teacher to get this cracked when we think the teacher's strategies aren't working. How is this akin to thinking a child putting feet on a desk is better than a teacher? I'd be livid by that behaviour and be marching him in to apologise. I'm sure Biscuits would too!
We had similar with Ds2 when he was at primary. He only had one teacher who "got" him and he blossomed in her care. She did not bother if he knelt in the chair and had both elbows in the desk... She said as long as he was comfy in his own way (which meant he was not disrupting others) then that was good enough for her.
We had this in year 1. Ds had problems because of his truly awful writing (and not seeing the point in trying to improve it!) and the teacher essentially wrote him off. He is now accepted as being one of the smartest kids in the class, albeit with terrible handwriting. We just wrote off year 1 and are doing the same now dd is there. Damage limitation - tell them they're smart, encourage them to read, keep your temper in parents' evenings.
Jalapeño, I think what Cricketballs is getting at is the OPs description of her son and the view that the teacher doesn't 'get' him. Another person's way of describing him may be rude, disrespectful, disruptive, attention -seeking etc.
I think Cricketballs is suggesting that the OP should be more concerned with her son's inappropriate behaviour and how it impacts on the whole class than what spellings he is being given.
Also I have read your thread and think the situations are quite different, your son's school's use of social stories suggest they believe that his behaviour is ASD related, as that is generally when they are used. The OP on this thread gives no indication of any SEN that would explain his behaviour.
Yes, Biscuits's son may well be badly behaved at times and need help/guidance/firm boundaries/consequences around that. But conflating bad behaviour with lack of academic ability is surprisingly common (imo) in teachers and profoundly unhelpful. My huge pain in the arse of a young teenage son is constantly (rightly) in the doghouse for being disruptive and distractible and lazy at school but quite a few of his teachers seem genuinely stunned when he does ok in exams etc. Some of them honestly seem to think that life is fair and he will therefore do badly because he deserves to due to his pain in the arsery. It can lead to low expectations and boredom and thus a worsening of his annoying behaviour. Bit of a vicious circle really. Sadly teachers who "get" individual children don't come along that often (it is a bit of a tall order after all, esp. when you have
little fuckers complicated characters like ours) and I think racingheart's post is bang on the money really.
I had this problem with ds. His 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade teachers all told me in the beginning of each of those years that ds would probably have to repeat the year as he wasn't learning the material. I kept trying to explain to them that he knew all the material and was just bored and not giving the usual signals that he understood the material and clearly not giving signals that he was paying attention (as he wasn't because he was bored as he learned it the first time the teacher said it or when he read ahead in the text book as the class was moving too slowly). All of the teachers refused to check if he knew the material because they were so certain that he didn't. I finally had him tested in the middle of 3rd grade and it turned out that he had a genius iq and the tester couldn't understand how his teachers could not have realized this as he was clearly so unusually bright and knowledgeable about all sorts of random subjects (in addition to the standard ones). I finally moved ds in Grade 6 to a small private school that caters to gifted kids and no longer get teachers complaining about his learning ability. He gets to deliver lectures on Neutrinos to the high school students and is learning how to play Go Fish in Latin.
Thebuskersdog but OP knows that he behaves badly at times in school but is powerless to stop a chatterbox chatting at school. I just thought the comparison of the threads was a bit extreme given this is a 6 year old boy that can't sit still and keep quiet rather than a teenager being horrible.
My DS's story is given to show what happens when people get hung up on the behaviour without getting the correct reason why! (equivalent of "getting him" I suppose)... He has been assessed for ASD by medical professionals who say he hasn't got it and yet he is being treated as if he has it at school! This is clearly not working.
My ds is like this Biscuits.I know the teachers find him very frustrating as he doesn't conform.He gets utterly bored by doing the same things again and again.He has flashes of brilliance when interested in things and then coasts.He gets perfect results in bond papers[set by grandpa] and is now moving onto the higher level papers.But the teachers will not admit he is clever and actually argue that he isn't.I do feel like i am perpetually pushing for him to be moved up [book level was the latest battle] as i want him to be stimulated.I wish i could afford to send him to a prep school but i have 4 dc's and i can't prioritise one over the other.Keep on pushing and read different books at home.Cooperate with the teachers[i find that one difficult at times i must admit].As he gets older he will settle down and be more amenable hopefully.
but the comparison of the threads is entirely relevant jalapeno; the age thing is just a side issue - the op has already described her child as one who is a nightmare in terms of behaviour in school and she is questioning the teacher 'not getting him' just as the op on the other thread was questioning why there are some parents who think that it is the teacher/school at fault when their child behaves as the op has described her ds.
I think your thread title is misleading- it isn't that she doesn't 'get' him, you believe she is underestimating his ability.
With regards to the spellings, could you ask if he could try the next harder list if he is finding the current ones so easy? Is he scoring full marks each week then, if he is finding it so easy?
Sorry, I meant to come back earlier and thank you all for replies. All are valid, especially as I set myself up by saying the teacher didn't 'get' him, thereby implying the problem was all to do with the teacher. I fully acknowledge that my son must be difficult to have in the classroom (I am a (secondary) teacher myself and can just imagine him, sadly), but he isn't a 'nightmare'. Cricketballs, of course the teacher is not at fault for his silly and immature behaviour - I couldn't possibly tell you who is, other than genes, parental imperfections, any as yet undiagnosed issues - but that's not my gripe. My issue is that she can't see past the silly behaviour. I teach in a school in special measures, with lots of challenging students, successive low ability cohorts, lots of SEN etc but I sincerely hope that as a teacher I am able to tell apart the 'able but unmotivated and therefore naughty' from the 'not-very-able, therefore struggling, therefore naughty'. I would be failing both groups of children if I couldn't. And THIS is where I think the teacher's inexperience is an issue. Believe me I am the last person in the world to think that the school is at fault; I have sat in far too many parents' evenings and listened to parents making excuses for lack of work/poor behaviour to have any inclination to think that way.
Yes, he is getting full marks on the spellings each week so I am hoping she will move him up anyway, but I would cringe to go and ask her for the harder spellings, because I am so loath to be a pushy parent! I just want her to see him for what he is and not just see a silly boy who giggles instead of settling down to work.
Oh don't worry about being seen as pushy! Ask for harder tests if he's been given easy ones since September!
Increasing mental challenge will certainly diminish poor behaviour- as long as he is motivated by success- and most children are!
I think I would go in and speak to teacher. It's not being pushy! Tell her that you really think that part of the trouble is that he finds the work not challenging enough and that you think with work that stretches him more his behaviour might improve. Ask her if she is willing to try putting him up a group until Easter to see how it goes. Tell her that is he cannot cope with the work you are perfectly willing for him to be moved down again, but that this is something you would like to try. Good luck!
Without being antagonistic, the teacher may be young and inexperienced, but it is worth remembering that she is also qualified - and recently, so her training will be up-to-date and fresh in terms of her curriculum knowledge and use of current assessment strategies etc. A young and inexperienced teacher does not necessarily need more guidance from parents in assessing children than an older one.
Having said that, if you know that he is capable of more than his teacher is seeing, this is a problem. I would raise it a little bit more formally and ask for an IEP to be put in place so that you can monitor together the effect his behaviour is having on his learning.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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