Advanced search

Teacher doesn't 'get' my DS - what to do?

(37 Posts)
Biscuitsneeded Sat 09-Feb-13 16:06:04

Have reposted this here as it was on the Education board where I suspect there is less traffic. 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?

seeker Sat 09-Feb-13 16:09:35

Might it just be that your ds needs to "get" the teacher a bit too?

TheMagicMumber Sat 09-Feb-13 16:11:31

You could tell him to work harder and stop messing around.

BabyRoger Sat 09-Feb-13 16:16:43

From what you are saying it does sound like he needs to behave a bit better in class.

Talk to the teacher about your concerns - do you think he is bored in class which is why he is inattentive?

Biscuitsneeded Sat 09-Feb-13 16:20:41

Yes, he does need to 'get' the teacher, and to 'get' that listening to grown-ups matters. I'm under no illusions. And yes, of course I have talked to him lots about why it's important to listen, to concentrate etc. Am I coming across as totally precious? If so then tell me, but if anyone has anything less withering and more constructive to offer I'd be grateful.

gwenniebee Sat 09-Feb-13 16:28:53

I understand what you are saying, but if a child doesn't prove his or her ability in the classroom, it is very difficult to move them on to the more challenging work. How does your son do with the spellings etc when he is in school? If he's not getting full marks because he's messing around, for example, it will be hard for the teacher to justify moving him on. Can you have a conversation with him about whether he is bored (you don't say this but your post implies it), and will he understand if you tell him he has to "knuckle down" to prove himself to the teacher, and then she can give him some more exciting things to do?

If you feel this approach would work, it would be worth chatting with the teacher too so you can both take the same angle with him.

JumpingJackSprat Sat 09-Feb-13 16:31:06

all you can do is ask. i think you.probably need to be frank with her that you dont think he is being challenged enough. but without meaning to sound withering, if he is really being that disruptive perhaps you need to take a firmer line with him at home. i suspect if all the children were as wilfull, spirited, excitable and chatty as yours then nobody would learn anything.

TheMagicMumber Sat 09-Feb-13 16:31:49


No, you don't sound overly precious at all, but as a teacher it's incredibly difficult to extend children who can't be bothered to learn, so often it's a case of, yes, he might be doing work below this capabilities, but only because he's failing to show what his capabilities are.

To approach the teacher with an outright 'he's cleverer than you think' might not be overly helpful, as your posts shows you appreciate.

I wonder if suggesting to him that he asks for more/harder work, as a kind of challenge to himself to see how well he can do? Is there a weekly prize for effort? Perhaps he needs to see a clear goal.

I'm not sure what I would do in your position, but keep an open dialogue with the teacher, as I'm sure you are.

An interesting thing might be to observe the class for a lesson, to see how he works and how he's interacting with the rest of the class and the teacher. Obviously the school may not agree to that.

CatelynStark Sat 09-Feb-13 16:32:09

IMO, the teacher needs to see him completing the basic task before giving him more difficult work to do. Tbh, I think you are being a bit precious. Your boy needs to learn to sit quietly and engage with the task, without distracting anyone else. He may well be very bright but he seems to be disguising it well at school.

ChristmasJubilee Sat 09-Feb-13 16:33:07

My ds3 is 6 and a little bit like this. They don't really have any problems with bad behaviour but he "dreams and chats". (ds1 has ADHD and I have my concerns but teacher does not) He is a really good reader and at home is reading ORT 10 and beyond. He reads these without stumbling over any words and clearly understands what he is reading. At school he is reading level 7 but they have written work books to go with each book and he is slow to complete these, often bringing them home at night to complete, so he can't move up a level reading wise. (They also read in groups of 6 and his is the top group so it might muck up the numbers!) Could it be anything like that.

I just read and read and read with him at home and hope everything sorts itself out in the long run.

seeker Sat 09-Feb-13 16:35:38

I don't mean to be withering. Sorry.

But your thread title is about the teacher not "getting" him, rather than focussing on his behaviour. And you say that the teacher is young and inexperienced. All that before you say anything about him at all. And you're focussed in his reading level, rather than on his behaviour. So I think you are going to get people pointing this out.

You don't let him cheat, do you?

nkf Sat 09-Feb-13 16:39:28

ORT aren't the only books in the world you know. Get him some others. And tell him to behave better in school. And to stop cheating. Not a nice habit.

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 16:42:48

I replied on education grin I am totally with you on this as you know, it's all very well telling a child to work harder and be polite at home but how on earth do you get them to do it in school when the teacher style is so different to your own?

Yes, DS may not "get" the teacher, but then he is 6.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 09-Feb-13 16:54:34

Children don't develop all skills equally. Maybe the teacher is focussing on his behaviour and the reading is taking a bit of a backseat for a while. Just read with him at home, get some books from the library, do some extra spelling with him. You need a range of skills to do well at school and if his reading/academic abilities are far outreaching his behavioural/emotional abilities he will struggle.

newgirl Sat 09-Feb-13 17:06:40

Hmmm ive got a bit more sympathy with op

My dd was exactly like this in y1 with a nqt. No probs in recep, no probs in y2 - in fact v good behaviour in other classes and good at her work. Both other classes had experienced teachers - when you go into their rooms to read etc they are calm productive spaces but nqt class was chaos. But do agree that your child is going to have to learn some ways to do well in this class until ready to move on.

LauraPashley Sat 09-Feb-13 17:44:33

I am a teacher too, and have been quite frustrated by children like this before (bear with me!). The teacher can probably tell that he is bright and able BUT as someone said above, if he doesn't complete the work he is given there is no way he can move up! He might be able to spell all his words for you at home but in school might muck about and not even write them down etc.
I think if you have a conversation with his teacher you should try to find out where the specific problems are eg does he not cooperate at reading group time? Or carry on rather than write etc? Then you can try to work with him to get him to try to improve in these areas. Even have a brief weekly feedback /check in. Eg mrs x will tell me on Friday if you finished your story this week, make sure you do! Then we can do x y z this lovely thing at the weekend as a reward etc?
Sorry bathing small person so maybe not the clearest post but hope you get the gist

Floggingmolly Sat 09-Feb-13 17:51:16

silly, headstrong and probably a pain in the neck. Maybe she "gets" him all too well?

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 18:10:23

So floggingmolly do children like this (aged 6!!) not deserve a chance to mature and progress? Sadly people that just think that's how he will always be are perpetuating the problem.

I am always surprised by how horrible people can be about primary aged children on here, especially ones that aren't actually doing anything wrong they are just a bit immature and annoying. If the parents of said DC can see that and are asking on here for help with how to deal with this when the school have put the DC in a certain box surely they deserve a reasonable answer? Not just "yes you are right, your DC is a PITA, poor teacher, get your child to mature and change immediately"

If only it were that simple sad

Biscuitsneeded Sat 09-Feb-13 18:12:04

Well, thanks, it's nice to see a range of opinions! And some very good advice. Thank you MagicNumber, and those who suggested getting him to want to 'prove' himself. Maybe my thread title was a bit unhelpful. I've also perhaps depicted him as a little monster. He isn't - he's just on the lively and excitable end of the boy spectrum. No, I don't let him get away with cheating of course, and to be honest he's always giggling while doing it so he wants us to notice - he's mischievous rather than deceitful. My problem is just that I feel she hasn't noticed what he can do (or maybe he doesn't do it for her...) because he's one of about 7 slightly tricky and very energetic boys and she may just being seeing them as an amorphous mass of challenge, whereas actually they're not really that similar apart from their need to tear around and make lots of noise! I'm a teacher too (secondary though) so can totally imagine him being a pain in the classroom; I am trying to prevent him setting off on a path that WILL lead to him being disruptive further down the line. And of course ORT are not the only books; we have shelves of books and he will often choose one and read it to himself, or I read to him, or he to me. As for 'telling him to behave better in school', er, well, yes, I have tried that! I can only assume that the person who suggested that has only got naturally dutiful daughters... Lucky you! Thank you newgirl for your empathy. DS had no problems in reception either; the very experienced teacher noticed that he was very numerate and gave him lots of challenge. He has got a bit more tricky since then, admittedly, at home and at school, but he hasn't got huge behaviour issues. I am sure it's just a maturity thing, but in the meantime I don't want him to not make progress as he should because of misapprehensions about him not being able to. I will keep doing things at home with him and see if I can persuade him to ask for harder books/spellings, but as it's only half way through the year I don't know whether to try to raise this in some way with the teacher, or just 'supplement' by myself this year and hope he grows up over the summer and gets a more experienced teacher next year...

Biscuitsneeded Sat 09-Feb-13 18:18:08

Thank you jalapeno! You hit the nail on the head. Oddly, I might have been inclined to share floggingmolly's view if I had stopped at one child; DS1 always did everything he was asked and teachers love him. So naively I thought DS2 would be the same... Other than talking to him, explaining, encouraging, having star charts for days where he's been good at school I don't see that I can do much more to 'change' DS, but I just want him to do as well as he can!

jalapeno Sat 09-Feb-13 18:27:05

Mine are the other way around biscuits! My DS2 is much more chilled out! He is going to be one of the oldest in his class and DS1 is one of the youngest which I also think is part of the problem.

Biscuitsneeded Sat 09-Feb-13 19:28:47

I am realising slowly that boys really are slower to mature than girls in KS1, at least with regard to settling down and doing 'learning'. My DS2's Y1 class have to congregate in front of the classroom each morning. The little girls sit nicely along the specially designed wall and wait for the teacher. The boys run around like loons, mostly hitting each other with book bags. Aforementioned nice but young teacher comes out and says "Good morning everybody", to which the nice little girls chorus "Good morning Miss X" and the boys carry on whacking each other. I think boys who are young in their year have a double whammy to contend with. DS2 was 6 last week, so is in the middle of the year, but he seems no more grown up than the little girls I pick up sometimes from reception. Sigh. If we lived in another country he probably wouldn't even be at school yet...

DeWe Sat 09-Feb-13 19:47:17

I know what you mean about a teacher "getting" your child. It's not related to necessarily how good the teacher is, or how long they've been learning, but just they understand how your child ticks.

Dd1 had only one teacher throughout primary who didn't "get" her. One of those that "got" her, she didn't like at all. But the teacher did understand her and how she worked.

Ds has had 5 teachers so far and he's only in year 1. Three of the teachers seemed to "get" him very well. The most experienced teacher was lovely, did her best by him, but didn't quite "get" him in the way the other three did. (He sounds quite similar to your ds!)

Dd2 is in year 4 and I'd say she only has had one teacher who has "got" her. That teacher's had all three of mine and "got" (all very different personalities) them all. Interestingly one who "got" ds didn't get dd2. I don't think she's hard to "get" (nor do outside teachers) but just been unlucky in who she's got, hasn't gelled with her.

It's very difficult because if a teacher doesn't have that rapport with your child, it isn't necessarily their, or your dc's fault. And on the outside they may well not treat your dc differently, and your dc doesn't necessarily do any worse, but it can make a difference to how they feel about school.

moonstorm Sat 09-Feb-13 22:29:30

There's nothing to say the boys have to behave like that. Expectations should be higher. There's no reason the boys shouldn't be sitting like the girls...

seeker Sun 10-Feb-13 08:09:43

It would also be possible to say that it's a shame that the girls have been socialised to be compliant so early.....

I don't say that, by the way. I'm just making the point that it is socialization, and having lower expectations of boys simply because they are boys does nobody any favours.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: