Primary teachers is this normal or unreasonable.(21 Posts)
My DD is 6, and in year 1. She tries extremely hard to be good, and works hard at school. She really thrives on praise and gets upset if she feels overlooked. Her teacher is a NQT who has 2 small children of her own. My DD has written a note to her teacher (with no encouragement from us) to say to her teacher that she feels sad when she works hard and no-one notices, and saying that she would like more feedback on how she is doing. (Weird for a 6 year old I know – I think she has a great future ahead of her in HR!).
The teacher referred to the note to my mother who was picking her up yesterday, as DD was crying because naughty children who were sitting well were praised but she who ‘always sat nicely’ wasn’t praised. Teacher said that the way they do it in class is that if naughty children behave well they are praised very highly, which is understandable of course, but if you are always a good child, it is just taken for granted which must be hard.
I don’t actually know what to do. I’m sure the teacher doesn’t have time to give the 30 children in her class one to one feedback sessions, or weekly reviews, but can you think of anything I could suggest?
It does feel so unfair when this happens. In my ds's junior school, they have a house point system. When ds1 was there (years ago, but it probably still happens), I remember him coming home very disgruntled to say that X had won the class prize for the most house points, mainly by dint of him being given a house point each morning and afternoon, if he hadn't misbehaved!
Are the children allowed/encouraged to sit in on parent/teacher consultations at your dd's school? If it's likely to be full of positives, then it may be a good opportunity for her to receive some feedback there. Is the teacher approachable enough to be receptive to setting up something of the sort?
My DD is in P1 and is desperate to win star of the week, a child is chosen every week, and despite staying on green each week, and being told at parents night that she is a joy to teach and very helpful, she still hasn't been picked. It's low class sizes at her school so some pupils have had it twice. The disappointment is increasing each week. I'm in no way a pushy parent but it is getting to the stage where I feel I want to say something.
We have a system of 'chance cards' in some of our classes which helps to reward the 'good' ones each week. On a Monday each child has 10 chance cards (raffle tickets), and they have to keep hold of them all week! If they are naughty a teacher can take away a chance card. If they lose all 10 they have to see the Head teacher. On a Friday afternoon the children who have 10 get a little certificate, and get entered into a raffle with their tickets, 1 is chosen and they can choose a prize from the teachers pot (pencils, rubbers, gel pens etc...). There is a second raffle where everyone gets to put in whatever tickets they have left and one is drawn out. It is supposed to encourage the children that even if they have lost 1 chance card it is still worth trying hard so they have more chances of winning. The ones with 10 tickets obviously have more chance of winning and get entered into 2 draws. We find that this is a way to reward those who are genuinely well behaved all the time rather than focusing on those who are rewarded for behaving occasionally.
I'd arrange to have a chat with her.
I'm not a teacher anymore, but I used to be.
Funnily enough, my 8 yr old has been asking why I praise my 4 yr old more than him. I was honest and said it was about encouraging good behaviour. But it really made me think and I think it's true that this kind of thing happens all the time.
I can remember giving a 'Star point' to a girl who I hadn't heard a peep from all day. ( I was doing supply) I said it to the whole class. She had just done all her work with no fuss. No attention seeking from her at all all day. Which is why I wanted to give her some. I think this teacher needs to remember all of the class and try to remember all the ones who just get on with things. She's an NQT though and likely to be feeling a bit defensive, so watch how you word it.
Your daughter sounds very perceptive and lovely!
You are learning the hard way that a child being plastered in stickers does not mean they're top of the class for behaviour!
However, praising the "naughty" ones for behaving nicely for a few minutes does not mean that you can't also praise the "good" ones. There are numerous ways to do this, but an NQT might not have them at her fingertips yet.
my DS sounds v similar, yet his school still manages to dish out praise equally well. they do star of the week, which tends to go to those performing well or who are just consistently well behaved (DS got one for 'always trying his hardest and exceeding every expectation'), and they do behaviour of the week for the less well behaved. Each child gets one per half term. Plus he gets a certificate every term for attendance, plus they have ' special helpers' every day. It all sounds a bit OTT but he loves it, and it's done even handedly so no one feels left out. DS is six, BTW, and it was a real worry for me- that as he is quiet and really wants to get things right, he'd just fade into the background (which is what happened in reception; his teacher didn't know him at all). Maybe express it in those terms to the teacher, rather than 'you're not doing enough'?
Funnily enough, DS's reception teacher was an NQT.
My dd had this issue a few yrs back. Very naughty twins in her class that were uncontrollable. They were then encouraged to behave and rewarded for doing as told by playing with lego in the cloakroom. Got to the point dd said she was going to be naughty so she could have same rewards! At which point they were then excluded and no more issues. I did go in and speak to teacher and she justified it as that was how she was advised to treat them and that was no other way.
It is really hard though when your dc are not rewarded and others are
DS's school had a star of the week. It took us three years to figure out that DS always got his star the third week in January. This caused much amusement for his remaining primary career. It does show that the whole system was fake.
Dear All, excuse the name change, thanks for all your replies.
MrsRuffdiamond yes she does come to the termly parent's evenings, and the feedback is always very positive, I think DD would like them more often though.
WowOoo you sound like you were a lovely teacher, that little girl probably still remembers that sticker.
amandatanen sorry to hear your dd is feeling overlooked too, It's so sad when you child is disappointed at school isn't it, you want them to be so happy and keen!
birdsnotbees your school sounds lovely, DD loves helping.
I also wouldn't want to make the teacher feel criticised either as she is really fun and enthusiastic, just maybe not very sensitive iyswim. In reception they used to come home plastered in stickers every day, so I think the change in year 1 to a sticker a week if you're lucky has probably not helped either.
So irritating when this happens, your poor dd I can imagine it's so hard to understand when you're very young.
In high school the lowest set in science used to have a break for tea and biscuits half and hour through the lesson because they couldn't be expected to pay attention for longer than that.
Top set never even got a biscuit crumb!
It doesn't stop at school unfortunately. Where I work people on performance improvement plans get all sorts of rewards and morale boosters for "improving" while no one even notices people like me who regularly exceed. I need to do something "above and beyond" to get any kind of recognition.
If I were 6 I would cry too.
Most children actually deal with this really well. They know (or learn) that everyone gets rewarded for doing well "for them"
e.g. My DS got pick of the week last week for a piece of writing. It wasn't the best work produced in the class but it was much better than average for him. This week it was a child who had managed to get through the whole week without a red card, when of course most of the children rarely if ever get a red card.
Sometimes the children who get rewarded most need it more. As parents we have no idea of the circumstances of other children in the class but the teacher knows that your DD is loved and praised at home. She may know that some of the other children get nothing but insults at home
'Most children actually deal with this really well. They know (or learn) that everyone gets rewarded for doing well "for them""
Clubname that's a really good point - I will explain that to DD.
PourquoiTuGachesTaVie I would like to say how beautifully you are sitting this evening, and how much we all appreciate your excellent effort. <large gold star & glass of wine>
Aw sarf thanks I am really amazing at sitting now that you mention it, so glad someone finally noticed.
<polishes new gold star>
On a serious note, I completely understand how important it is for children who struggle to get recognition when they've done well. I think it's important that everyone gets a turn at being noticed for their achievements.
I don't do 'star of the week' or anything along those lines, however our school does give out achievement certificates each week at assembly and teachers can give out however many they feel may be warranted that week. I refuse to give certificates for "sitting still" or anything that I expect as a basic level of behaviour in the classroom. To get a certificate a student needs to do something above and beyond what is normally expected such as offering to help me do something or by extending themselves or providing a particularly exceptional piece of work for their standard. All students will get a couple of certificates each year, but a student who just coasts along will not get a certificate merely for that. I want them to need to make some effort to achieve them.
As for approaching the teacher, a better approach is 'DD would like to know what you would expect from her in terms of behaviour or achievement in order to be considered for classroom rewards' or along those lines.
I'm a teacher, and always try to praise those who just get on with it and do their best, as well as the ones who need a bit more encouragement to do minimally well. Especially with little ones who are still learning about appropriate behaviour, and also don't understand so well about children who need a bit extra support. If anything though, I praise the good ones a bit more, sort of to use as an example "oh look at Katie sitting so nicely, and Lewis is listening so well, and Susie is doing exactly as I asked..." Hint hint to the ones not doing it, usually works! Then of course lots of praise to the ones who generally don't do as asked so easily!
I worked in a school with a lot of behaviour issues, and did not agree with the management system of overly rewarding ones with bad behaviour anytime they did minimally well, with nothing for the children who always did their best and had to put up with the badly behaved children, so I always try to be fair about that.
I think having a nice informal chat with the teacher, not accusatory in any way, just saying your DD is really keen to do well & please her teacher & feels a bit overlooked, is fine. Saying you understand it's difficult to give every child the attention they want/need. I'd feel terrible if one of the lovely hardworking children I teach felt like your DD and would def try to address it. Also explain to your DD that her teacher does appreciate her efforts and how some children find it harder to behave/work hard and that her teacher knows she can trust your DD to keep trying hard when she has to deal with the other children, but understandably it's hard not to get feedback.
Thanks for that Bonbon I will do as you suggest and will talk to the teacher. I guess I live in constant dread of DD losing her love of school, so am very conscious of it being as positive as possible for as long as possible! I do try not to show it though, don't interfere and trust the school to do a good job. Her teacher is a really nice woman, very driven, high energy, larger than life, the class love her, but I guess a quiet little thing sat in the corner with a quivering lip might not be first on her radar. It must be really hard not only to teach 30 children but also to consider their emotions and feelings too.
I should add that I also provide regular feedback in the student home journals which is targeted to the students (although the parents obviously read it). I feel this is more personal and valuable for the students than a generic certificate and since it is aimed at the students rather than the parents (like their report cards are) I find that they take on board the comments that are made. It also builds up in to a nice portfolio for them by the end of the year to show their work and progress.
My DD would love that kind of regular feedback, but I don't think it happens like that in her school. Homework isn't often given or marked, so not much scope for that kind of comment, sounds really helpful though.
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