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Any primary teachers about? Need some advice re DD's new class please

(30 Posts)
Poledra Tue 06-Sep-11 22:57:52

7-yo DD started back at school this week, in a mixed class of year 3/4 (she's year 3). She's been placed at a table with 5 boys, 3 year 4 and 2 year 3 - no other girls. None of these boys are friends of hers - the particular group of 2 boys and 2 girls that she is friendly with have all been placed together with 2 other year 4 children.

Why would a teacher do this? Why put her as the only girl, with none of her friends? She is a well-behaved, hard-working intelligent little girl - we have never had any complaints about her behaviour over the last 3 years at all. She's really not happy about this, and Im trying to be positive about it to her face but TBH I'm struggling and want to go and see the teacher about it, but don't want to over-react.

Any advice gratefully received! Thanks

PS DH is away on business, so I don't have another adult here to 'talk me down'

MrsGravy Tue 06-Sep-11 23:03:34

I'm not sure I see such a big problem with this...she's just on a different table to her friends not a different class right?! Is there a reason why this is particularly upsetting you or her? You almost sound as if you think it's a punishment, why?

Are they perhaps put on tables according to ability?

MrsGravy Tue 06-Sep-11 23:05:29

Oops, just realised this was addressed to teachers which I am not. Sorry. I am a mum of a year 2 girl though and can't say that the scenario you describe would concern me particularly...

ICantFindAFreeNickName Tue 06-Sep-11 23:12:08

Not a teacher, but my advice would be to have a quiet word with the teacher. They could have been out together in groups based on ability or something, but equally they could have just overlooked her friendship group, by mistake. It's easier to do if she is a quiet hard working child.

festi Tue 06-Sep-11 23:14:08

not a teacher, but can see how you feel. dd was grouped with one boy last year they had little in common and dd rarelt talked about him, other than learning abilty. I was a bit hmm but they only worked together, in which case I would expect dd to be able to interact with anyone she is required to interact with, in her free time at school she played with and interacted with her friends. It did not affect dds learning or happiness, I would just see how it goes and encourage dd that if she is sitting at school its for learning and so it does not matter who is either side of her. If dd struggles I would include these children in your general conversation about schools to make it seem perfectly normal and reasonable for dd to be grouped with these children. Im a nosey so and so and I would ask dd about her work also the other boys work grin.

Poledra Tue 06-Sep-11 23:15:01

I welcome any advice, MrsGravy! I guess I shouldn't have addressed it to just teachers. I am worried that I'm over-reacting but at the end of last year. she did have a difficult time with friendships - she was crying at night because she was lonely. Most of the other little girls had paired off into 'best friends' and, while she was generally well-liked (according to her teacher then, who I have a lot of respect for), she was being left out in the playground. She is a sensitive little soul, who builds mountains out molehills sometimes (wonder where she gets that from??) and I don't want her to come to dislike school because she's lonely.


festi Tue 06-Sep-11 23:17:16

P.S you should be looking to be "talked down" you are perfectly intitled to your concernes and to raise them.

Poledra Tue 06-Sep-11 23:22:53

Oh, cross-posted with other folks! I did think about the ability aspect, but I know she's a very similar ability to at least two of the children she's friendly with so would probably have been placed with them if that was the case. I wondered if they were mixing the abilities, but then these other children would be split out too. She said they were given an exercise to do today as a group, and only one of the boys worked on it with her - the others were too busy messing around. I don't want her used as an example, IYSWIM, to try and improve the work of others if it's going to make her unhappy.

She didn't go to sleep till after 10.30 tonight, despite being in bed by 7:45pm and being tired, which made me think she was worrying, though she says not. Mind you, it could just be the start of the new term that's stressing her - that's what she's like!

festi Tue 06-Sep-11 23:23:47

I was worried last year dd was being left out in the paly ground last year, according to dd she always played on her own, once I asked other parents and the teacher, all the parents had the same worries as children often said they didnt have anyone to play with or played alone, according to the teacher these children mostly either played together or where confident enough to play alone or with other people. she had a better idea of friendship etc than we gave her credit for. for instance dd would often decline playing with other children if she had her own game planned and she didnt feel the need to involve others and when she did she would seek this out succesfully.

If you are worried about friendships talk with the teacher it maybe that she is well awaire of all the childrens needs and prefrences.

Poledra Wed 07-Sep-11 08:43:46

Optimistic bump for any teachers who're not currently at work.....

mummytime Wed 07-Sep-11 09:01:50

Go and talk to the class teacher!
Tell her about the other stuff, the stress and "feeling lonely".
I would doubt that class tables are set in stone at this stage of term; my DD went back yesterday.

DeWe Wed 07-Sep-11 09:43:38

In yr 3 dd1 came home really upset because they'd sat them boy/girl round the class. Can you imagine anything more insulting than being sat with a boy!

Actually one of the boys has ended up being her best friend in class and they will now(in yr 6) choose to sit together/be partners. They do sometimes get teased now about being boy/girl friends, but it isn't that way at all. He is just a friend who is a boy. She sometimes describes him as her "secret best friend".

Poledra Wed 07-Sep-11 09:53:39

D'you know, DeWe, I'd be happier if they had been sat boy/girl - I'd be quite robustly telling her that she would have to get on with it, and everyone else was the same! My concern here is that she is the only girl who has been treated like this (seated with only boys). I did manage to catch DH on the phone late last night - he's not happy about it either but thinks we need to find out some more, if there are any other tables where there are a lot more boys than girls, or just one child of one sex sat with all children of the opposite sex, IYSWIM. And if there's not, then we'll be off to see the teacher!

PastSellByDate Wed 07-Sep-11 09:56:10

Hi Poledra

I'm also a Mum, not a teacher - but three things do occur to me.

I do understand how not knowing the whole picture can be a bit maddening as a Mum and why you are concerned. But there probably is a simple explanation and sometimes educational priorities (i.e. being placed in the appropriate ability group) do have to come before social ones (i.e. always working with friends).

In terms of being the only girl in the group - I agree with the other Mum's who have written in - ask the teacher about it. Not aggressively - try to express your suprise that your daughter is the only girl in this group. It may just be that this is her 'general work group' and she'll belong to other groups (i.e. reading and maths) with other students.

Do keep tabs on this - if your daughter is still unhappy at half-term - let the teachers know. However, try to give these boys a chance. Some of them may turn out to become friends too!

sarahfreck Wed 07-Sep-11 10:34:09

"She is a well-behaved, hard-working intelligent little girl".
"She said they were given an exercise to do today as a group, and only one of the boys worked on it with her - the others were too busy messing around. I don't want her used as an example, IYSWIM, to try and improve the work of others if it's going to make her unhappy."
It is just a guess, but it could be that the teacher is trying to use her to "encourage" better behaviour with the other boys. Not a good teaching technique IMO, but it is true that if you can "dilute" disruptive/boisterous boys by mixing in a few well behaved girls who will tell them off not tolerate their messing around, it does help improve boys behaviour.

I'd talk to the teacher - not challenging her strategy directly ( if that is what it is) but saying dd is unhappy to just be with boys and was finding it hard to work yesterday because of disruption on her table.

Is it a class with a lot more boys in than girls? This may explain why she has ended up with all boys in her group.

Theas18 Wed 07-Sep-11 13:13:17

I have only just (and my kids are 18 15 12) realised that it is usual to put one "star" child on each table (ie hard working well behaved and on task) to persuade the others to stay on track.

I can see why this happens but it also explains periods of enduring misery at primary school for all of them.

I see why there would be anarchy with all the good kids sat together though it seems unfair on the good kids......Teachers will move kids that are being a real pain BUT you are likely to get someone equally awful or worse to sit next to.....

friedrice Wed 07-Sep-11 13:38:07

I'm a teacher and would suggest you just ask why - gently!! It seems likely that your daughter has been placed on that table for ability reasons, however I would always be a little flexible with this is my classroom to allow children to have at least one person on their table they know well/same gender/enjoy working with. Also, is it just the one table all day? Maybe she'll get to move for different lessons so that might ease your worries a bit. My class always sit on three different tables, one according to writing abilty, one for maths ability and one table for mixed ability groups. Also, bear in mind that it's early days yet and table groups may change. Mine certainly changed a lot as I got to know the children.

peanutbutterkid Wed 07-Sep-11 13:47:20

For literacy, DS was the only boy on a table full of girls for literacy (none were his mates, a few he outright disliked); he got used to it, even found the girls a good laugh, he reveled in being the only lad (he's not a confident child, either).

TheFlyingOnion Wed 07-Sep-11 19:46:22

As a teacher, I would use her as a "good influence" on a table of chatters or lazy workers.

Could this be it?

TheFlyingOnion Wed 07-Sep-11 19:49:21

Actually, I have just moved a few of my children around again (as I get to know each better). It wouldn't dawn on me to put an equal spread of sexes on the tables together, I would just go by personality.

Mind you I've only got 13, with 4 girls so its pretty impossible to accomodate preferences anyway...

2ddornot2dd Wed 07-Sep-11 21:26:20

Not a teacher BUT I can remember being that age exactly and being on a table of six girls which were all my friends, and then coming back after summer and finding that I had been moved class (as I was born in the middle of the school year and the classes were split by age, I was moved to balance the numbers). I was put on a table of roughly half and half boys and girls, but the three boys began to bully me and continued to do so until the middle of secondary school when I got myself in the top set for everything and they didn't.

I'm not going to go back now and blame it all on that one decision, but it definately hasn't helped me. I am 32 now, and still wonder what would have happened if I had been allowed to stay with my friends. Try and get her moved onto a table where she has at least some friends.

Poledra Wed 07-Sep-11 22:29:03

Thanks all, for your input. I've also spoken to a family member who's a retired primary school teacher, and she thinks it's unfair too. So, I have asked for an appt to speak to the teacher, and will see what the reasoning behind it is. I will be polite, as I am aware that I don't necessarily have the full picture, but I will not have her made unhappy.

DD has confirmed that there are no other tables where there is only one girl placed with only boys (or vice versa). And she said that today, she did the group exercise by herself as the boys just wanted to muck about with the pencils and rubbers on the table.

And tonight, despite being absolutely knackered, she didn't go to sleep till after 9pm, so it does seem to be bothering her sad

Will update on how things go with the teacher. Thanks again.

festi Thu 08-Sep-11 09:16:27

I think if she is doing all the work you must get it sorted, that is unfair and will affect her own motivation. hope the school are helpfull.

SE13Mummy Thu 08-Sep-11 11:44:18

I think having a chat with the teacher about it is a good way forward. I'm a teacher (and have a Y2 DD of my own) and prefer mixed gender, mixed ability groups for most things we do in class. However, when I mix the children up I ask them to nominate three children they are friends with, and three they think they work well with i.e. 6 children in total (containing at least 2 girls and 2 boys) and use these to form my groups.

It seems to me that your DD's situation is less about being the only girl on her table and more about being separated from all her friends (boys and girls) to be sat with boys who seem unsettled.

Using mixed ability means I am also able to dilute the influence of some of the more disruptive children, whilst surrounding them with good role models e.g. 2 wriggly children sat with 4 conscientious ones. It wouldn't cross my mind to sit one sensible child with 4 or 5 wriggly ones as that wouldn't help anyone.

Let the teacher know that your DD isn't sleeping well and that you think it may be linked to what she's said about the children she's sitting with. Ask if the groups are fixed now or if there are plans for a reshuffle next week, now that the teacher knows everyone better.

No teacher wants a child to be unhappy at school and, on the whole, if there's something we can do to improve a situation, we will do it.

redskyatnight Thu 08-Sep-11 12:17:15

DS was the only boy on his table in Y1. It was partly due to ability and partly due to conflict of personalities (not his). He hated it too - but at worst it will be for a year (and presumably she doesn't sit there all day every day) and may only be for a few weeks until teacher reorganises.

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