Finally got the 'I am bored' attitude...(17 Posts)
DS is G&T in maths, more like in the top 10% rather than the genius category, and is top of the class at English. He is in year 5 and his behaviour and attitude have always been positive, good support from the school, no major issues. He now has an NQT, she has decided to sit the children differently so DS is with one other more able child and three children who really struggle in maths. I initially thought that's ok, he will step up and help the others, but honestly he is really struggling. One of the children can't do 10-5 in her head and ds tries to explain to her how to subtract negative numbers. He keeps on telling me 'she is just not listening, I don't know how to explain it to her' and yesterday, the bombshell, 'I am learning absolutely nothing this year and I am BbOoOoooored...'
Do I just tell him to stick with it for a little while or do I say something straight away?
Is he supposed to be teaching maths to the others or does he keep getting asked?
He finishes his work, does the extensions, and then when he is done he is asked by the teacher to help one of the children on his table. The problem is that the other children are really struggling to understand even the most basic maths exercises. If they were just average it would be fine, but they are the lowest attainers in the class. He doesn't know where to start and how to help a child who can't take 5 from 10.
My ds is sometimes put on to the task of helping least able children. I find it helps him better, rather than helping children who are ok/ expected levels.(Who seems to just want to know the right answer. )
To teach somebody who doesn't get basics, he really needs to break it down the concept to try and explain it to them. I think it really helps to think about how his brain works, which normally he doesn't even think about it.
He has been doing this since start of school life. I already lost hope of school to extend him. It's not ideal, but he is fine, enjoying school, just do extra at home.
The ability to do maths and explain maths to a child who is struggling with it are two very separate skills. The later takes a lot of patience and ability to really concentrate on the child you are teaching to know where their ability is and how you can help them to increase their understanding.
I would have a meeting with the teacher explain your son does not like explaining maths to others. The teacher will probably explain that one of the best way of learning maths is to explain it to others rather than differentiation is nearly impossible over a wide ability range so she needs TAs.
I would say the best outcome you could get is if you get the agreement that once he has finished the extension work, he gets on with work you set him from home.
Hope it works out for you, OP.
I had a conversation with my ds which really depressed me.
He says he loves school, enjoys it, but he also said he sometimes feels like he's wasting so much time at school when he can do so much more if he was at home.
I had numerous conversations with teachers over the years, but seems like our school is not interested.
It does sound depressing Irvine. DS is in Y2, I am gradually coming to terms with the fact that his school is not serving him well. In YR and Y1 he was still young and it was hard to gauge what he is like academically, but it has since emerged that he is quite capable. The sadness for me is that so much of his time is wasted during the school day. The school placed so much importance on English and Maths at the expense of everything else that it is sucking the joy out of his school day. And he can actually manage the curriculum well so he doesn't need so much English and definitely not the Maths that repeats and repeats concepts that he has grasped. He could be having fun group learning musicianship or practicing his ball skills or doing drama to embed learning literacy. These are provisions that will actually benefit him, but they all sounds like pipe dreams. How, as one parent, can I change this situation?
Mine was bored, we then started picking up music. You can never get bored with it. If they feel unchallenged then there are exams, competitions, you have to work hard and repetition is the key. She hasnt complained since, there is so much to learn. And I can put my feet up and relaxed...
My experience is that you say something at the Autumn parents' evening and are told it's too early. Then at Easter you mention it again, and they say things will change. Get to the summer and realise nothing has changed. Then it's new teacher and Autumn again. I've not yet found a way to break this cycle, though I'm still trying.
I think the only way to manage this in a non-selective school is to provide plenty of stuff that challenges them in a different way outside school, and see school as covering the basics (albeit slowly and with lots of unnecessary repetition for your child) and providing socialisation. Music, sport, drama can all be really stretching and interesting in different ways.
But even if you do stuff outside school, the school hours during which you are supposed to do eg maths are really long. Older dc had a good teacher but dc3 was often in tears in the morning. In the end I moved her to a different school
Depressingly have DS saying "I'm bored" in year 3 and DD getting frustrated she hasn't even got to read a book yet in reception.
Mine do music and love it. But that's no substitute for continuing to progress in areas they're good at academically, or compensation for the time wasted in school on stuff they already knew. So agree with Drivingmadness.
My current plan says go to parents' evening, and request a follow up meeting before the end of the autumn term if they're still saying "too early". And take DS along to it so he doesn't do his usual thing of hiding in class and grumbling at home so the teacher thinks I'm a batty pushy parent.
One way to approach this would be to say to the teacher "please let someone else help those children instead, next term". Maybe your son lacks the ability to connect with them, but someone else might be able to help them or your son might connect better to others.
I don't quite understand why not challenged. Usually it's possible to refresh an old skill by taking a new angle... like kids who know their 12-times tables very well can be handed 672 / 12 for a different way of using what they already know.
ye The 'new angle on an old skill' thing is fine, but they've got to get the level right. My Y4 child was apparently 'challenged' by doing column addition with four figure numbers, instead of two or three figures. She has been able to do that for years. OK, so after that there was an extra challenge (which she also found easy, but at least it wasn't the same thing yet again), but she had to do all the basic questions first. Which she said was boring, and I can see why.
I tell her that she can still work on speed and accuracy, but on something like that I genuinely think she couldn't get much faster or more accurate using the method that school wants her to use. It's a shame, as she's not a natural mathematician so it shouldn't be that hard, she's just a child who learns fast and memorises easily, whatever the subject. But I do understand that she's never going to be a priority compared to a child who is struggling, and I have to accept that and (as I said up-thread) find other areas in which to provide challenge and stretch.
I don't quite understand why not challenged.
I keep thinking this too. DS is not particularly out there on maths, if he's bored I doubt he's the only one in the class. (Or perhaps I'm massively over-estimating what 7 yr olds are normally able to do from reading too many MN threads...) What I'd like to see is a lot more multi-step problems and open ended questions. Things that don't need any more teaching, so you could just chuck a worksheet at them.
So, going through all this my advice would be:
1. talk to the headteacher or KS leader, ask if your kid could do advanced stuff maybe
2. don't overwhelm him outside school. The problem is not there. The problem is the wasted x hours IN school.
3. by now, I would have looked at other schools for sure. But don't have high hopes: primaries cater for the average and their main goal is to get the below average to an acceptable level. Which -from a sociological viewpoint- is admirable and good, but on a personal level, leaves some kids feeling frustrated and disheartened.
Just for context....
We've been in this kind of situation. DS is now in yr6 and we have just moved schools for this last year even. He started school in yr2, without any English (literally knew eat, drink, toilet as we moved here that year) and he was on an IEP by end of yr2 in English and Maths. He was occupied and happy. In yr3 new teacher, GT coordinator left, in about 2 months I was hearing Boooored every day. We gave it one more shot: yr3 wasn't any better. We moved and it made sense to change school. Found a good one. Perfect again for yr4. The teacher acknowledged DS's giftedness, even let him work on "home projects" after extension work was done. He had special projects set up by me and him at home. He chose the subject (greeks, then archaeology, then quantum physics (wtf on my part )) and together we came up with projects. Yr4 was good, only some booooored comments.
Yr5 - omg. Got an NQT who did almost the same: put my son to teach others. Understanding and teaching are two very separate things! And one of the worst things you can do to an able child. I've talked to the teacher at least 5 times through the year, offered to help in the same way as before (and not interfering with the class progress). But he wasn't up for it. After 7 months of Booooored every day and constant behavioural problems in and out of school we decided to change school, again. 2 months in, again it's booooored all the time, and according to his half term report card he is well above his level, so bored is probs an accurate description.
The real problem is not that the school doesn't accommodate a gifted child's needs (that too, of course), but more that they make these kids waste time and get disillusioned at a very early age. They get used to not putting effort into learning and they will have a hard time when getting to the point to have to actually learn in school.
This teacher doesn't understand differentiation properly, and your dc is not being challenged.
You need to find a productive way to ask the teacher to let him work on new skills. Suggest 'anchor materials'. This could be a booklet of general maths puzzles, problems or concepts which he can take out and work on when he has finished his extension work. He can't work at the pace of weaker students, it's not productive enough. You need to keep pace up to keep engagement up.
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