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Saw an ability list (i think) in dds classroom today - dd was at the bottom

(24 Posts)
patheticmom Thu 07-Jul-05 09:55:43

I am really embarrassed about my reaction to this. I saw a list in dd's reception class today where they had divided the class into 2 groups. dd was on the bottom of the second list (about 10 children, all of them not the brightest kids in the class). The first list had all the 'brightest' and most forward kids (about 20 kids), including all dds friends.

But the most shocking thing was my reaction. I felt so upset that when I got home I cried. I don't even know what the bloody list is for. And she is only in reception. I feel pathetic and I hate myself. I didn't realise what importance i placed on dds education until today. I was always the brightest in my class and I had a miserable home life and I can see now how much I relied on the sense of self-worth that school gave me.What on earth is the matter with me?

spursmum Thu 07-Jul-05 10:00:02

We all want to think that our kids are going to be brain surgeons or something and when the reality smacks us in the face it's heart breaking. I've just learnt that my ds has ASD so will not be everything i hoped for. Give yourself time to feel miserable and pathetic, you will then be grateful that he is healthy! Self pitying works wonders for me!! hugs 4 u!!

WigWamBam Thu 07-Jul-05 10:02:31

I think all you can do is have a chat with the teacher and ask what the lists were for. They might not be what you think.

Even if they are, this is only reception and there's plenty of time for your dd to catch up.

She's still your daughter, you still love her, and as long as that love is unconditional, it will give her more self-worth than anything on earth.

mizmiz Thu 07-Jul-05 10:04:51

I'm so sorry you feel like this.
I come from a very driven academic family and my little girl has significant communication difficulties. Being a salt (ah,bitter irony) i am all too aware of how this will impact on her schooling. The reality is driven home to me every day when I see her peers chatting together so effortlessly and confidently.

Have a good snivel,then dry your eyes and concentrate on giving her a wonderful happy and secure childhood. That is the number one thing you can do.

Also,for what it's worth,we are talking very early days. Years of working in the ecucation sector have taught me that children blossom at different times.

tiredemma Thu 07-Jul-05 10:07:31

(((((((BIG HUG))))))))

I understand why you are so upset, ( dontlike your name by the way- would prefer it if you called your self- concernedmom
really though, its very early to start assesing her full potential, she is only in reception. Have you considered an informal chat with her teacher, explaining how concerned you are?

Like yourself, i was always in the top stream at school, I took my ds1 to an open day at his new school yesterday and also worry that he wont be the brightest star in the class.

dont stress yourself about it, each child has its own special qualities, and as i said before its far to early to judge her full potential.

patheticmom Thu 07-Jul-05 11:27:46

thanks everyone. it all seems doubly pathetic with the news in London today. She is such a lovely girl and seemed to be doing brilliantly at school. I think its a big issue for me that have to deal with. I do worry that I cannot relate to a non-academic child. I know I get very frustrated with her when she doesnt know her numbers and reads so slowly. It has been a real eye-opener.

thank you so much for all your lovely posts.

WigWamBam Thu 07-Jul-05 11:28:59

I think the first thing to do is ask the teacher whether she's making progress, because at the moment you don't even know what the lists were for.

pabla Thu 07-Jul-05 11:51:52

i'm sure you know it is very early days yet - some of the kids who were deemed the brightest when I was at primary school never did anything much with their lives - my friend who was in one of the lower streams in secondary school was the only one from the whole year to go on and do a PhD. If you were bright at school there is a good chance she has inherited your brains so try not to worry too much.

grumpyfrumpy Thu 07-Jul-05 12:15:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nightynight Thu 07-Jul-05 12:21:36

you are not pathetic! I would be furious if I saw a list like that.
I was always top of my class at primary school, but my home life left a lot to be desired, and actually, that makes me quite cool about academic results. My dd is not doing too well at school at the moment, but I know she is bright, and I am confident that she can have a happy and successful life, and maybe go to a good university in time if she wants to, and I am sure that your dd is the same. You know her abilities better than anyone else, and children develop individually.

LIZS Thu 07-Jul-05 12:38:22

If that list is as you interpreted it would mean your dd has a better staff:ratio than the other group which can only be good. The fact that she was listed at the bottom may be completely random. Perhaps children have been switched between the groups previously and her name just happened to appear there.

Your best bet is to ask the teacher but I doubt that they are really segregating them that stringently at such a young age.

cupcakes Thu 07-Jul-05 12:46:06

I'm sure if her teacher really was so concerned to place her at the bottom surely she would have mentioned something at a parents evening about her abilities? The 2 groups may be split ability wise but I would be surprised (although I am just a mum, not a teacher!) if each group was then placed in order as well. They are probably together as they are similar abilities and I can't see any advantage to sorting them any further into order! Does that make sense?
I'd speak to the teacher if you are really worried - that list could be something comletely different!

throckenholt Thu 07-Jul-05 13:01:43

I would have thought the lists were not ordered in ability per se (your dd not bottom of the class), but split into 2 groups of approximate competency.

Eg my ds1 will only just be 4 when he starts reception in September - he no way compares to kids who are almost 5 who are also in reception. If they split them into groups then they can target appropriately and the ones who are not quite so advanced will not feel inadequate, and will get a chance to participate at their level, with out being drowned out by the others.

hana Thu 07-Jul-05 13:34:07

I have had lists of children up in my classroom - these are maths groups and reading groups - they aren't ability lists at all - just a reminder of who is in what group for myself and whoever else takes the class when I'm not there
I'd talk to the teacher about your concerns - hope you've nothing to worry about and I agree with what throkenhold has said as well

Lonelymum Thu 07-Jul-05 13:40:42

Is she a July or August birthday Patheticmom? That will make a huge difference at her age. I know how you felt as my ds1 was a very average performing child throughout Reception and Year 1 and I was desperate for him to be recognised as the bright child I hoped he was. His birthday is late June. It took until Year 2 before he began to creep up the class and, even now, in Year 4, he is not the all-rounder that I know I was in primary school. But he is not doing badly and I have learnt to be proud of whatever he does achieve. I am sure your child will come on as she grows older. Some children don't come into their own until they reach secondary school.

Just enjoy what she does and try not to look at5 the achievements of the others in the class or it will spoil your enjoyment of your child. It is harder when you have two or three at school, like me. Then you can't help but make comparisons between children.

berolina Thu 07-Jul-05 15:28:14

I've no real advice but if that was an ability list - WTF! was it doing hanging in the classroom???
I would be furious about that.

patheticmom Thu 07-Jul-05 15:33:29

I do accept that she may not be at the bottom of the group. I just feel so upset that they have effictively judged her against her friends and decided she is not as good as they are. The communication with the school is not great. We had a teachers evening a while ago where they said that she wasnt very good with numbers but everything else was good and she enjoyed school. I feel so cheated that maybe she has been really struggling and I didn't realise. She does enjoy school but I am so upset as they move a lot of her reception class up next year to year one and it looks like she is going to be kept back without any of her friends. I am so very angry with the school.

Enid Thu 07-Jul-05 15:34:24

are you SURE it was an ability list?

Enid Thu 07-Jul-05 15:35:11

We have this - where they split reception into year one and reception. Its a nightmare isnt it.


Fifi1976 Thu 07-Jul-05 15:45:03

Haven't read whole thread but if that is an ability list then I personally would be furious. I was a very self-conscious child and seeing myself at the bottom of a list like that would make me not want to go to school.

As for your child, I wouldn't worry about things at that age, just the fact there shouldn't be a list like that for them to see.

Hopefully the list is something completely different and nothing to worry about!

tamum Thu 07-Jul-05 15:58:34

You may well be right that there are two groups and your dd is in the lower ability group, from what you're saying, but I can't imagine for one minute that a reception teacher would have any way of judging children and ranking their ability to that extent. They will be able to group them according to ability in maths or reading, but unless they have done some all-round tests, which seems highly unlikely at that age, they wouldn't be able to give a meaningful order to the children even if they wanted to. I woul dbet that it's just broad groupings, and maybe even just for maths?

Please don't worry. They do develop at such different rates, too.

littleshebear Thu 07-Jul-05 19:18:53

I really sympathise as I always did really well at school, but had a bit of a miserable home life as well! I think doing well at school gave me a sense of security. I found it really hard when ds1 started school and had problems with holding a pencil, wasn't that quick at reading and was really quite "average" (if not below) for the first 2/3 years.He would have been in the second list, too. I was in tears about it too - didn't realise how much I thought any child I had would be like me, always top of the class.(Not that it's done me much good!)

He is now 12 and at Grammar school - not top of the class for everything but very intelligent. He didn't really start enjoying and doing well at school until juniors.It is just too early to tell how your ds will do at school, and I think the one thing my son taught me was that he is not a mini me, but completely his own person. It is hard with your first child - I think you feel everything has to be perfect and if you put the effort in they should be academically brilliant.

I now studiously do not get involved in finding out precisely which groups all my children are in at school - I think that way madness lies. All you can do is try to give them as happy a childhood as possible and encourage them to do their best, and find out what they are good at, whatever that is.

Sorry if this sounds sanctimonious - as I said I do know exactly how you feel - I was a bit of a madwoman about it , trying to get ds to do extra work to get him to do better - makes me blush now - and all a waste of time, and only caused more problems.

littleshebear Thu 07-Jul-05 19:20:03

Sorry, I mean your dd!

Kittypickle Thu 07-Jul-05 19:30:14

I think you definitely need to find out exactly what the list is, as others have said, I doubt a teacher would rank them so specifically into ability. I do understand how you feel though, my DD has dyspraxia and she was no where near achieving whatever it is they are supposed to by the end of the reception year. I'm pretty academic (was about to do a Ph.D when I got pregnant) and I realised that however much I didn't mean to , I had inbuilt expectations about DD. Things at the end of this year are very different though, she's made huge huge progress and has gone from hardly being able to read after Xmas to happily reading her Enid Blyton books from the library to herself and is making loads of progress in other areas. I feel that being pulled up sharply about my expectations has been a good thing. And I remember being devestated when in reception there were a numbers with people's names hanging underneath them - my DD's was the only one under the number 9. If I had been logical and rational I would have been able to work out for myself that it was how many letters in her name !!

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