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Yr 6 teacher pushing child too hard-advice please.

(32 Posts)
Green18 Wed 05-Nov-14 16:15:44

Hi, my youngest DS is in yr 6 and up until now has had no issues at school. She does well in most subjects (already a 4a and 5c in Maths and Literacy tests respectively) The problem is that her new Maths teacher is pushing her with the higher level work in class. DS is finding it hard but coping. But if she doesn't complete "enough" or makes ANY errors, she has to come back at lunchtime and do it. This has been happening on at least 3 days a week. DS works hard during the lesson, does not chat and so it feels like she is doing her best. I feel uncomfortable with her missing her recreation time and she is miserable, her confidence in Maths has dropped because she is panicking about staying in at lunch time. If she was misbehaving in class and wasting her time then I would support the teacher's actions but it seems she is giving her all. Help!

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 05-Nov-14 16:22:46

Have you spoken to the teacher? Can you engineer an opportunity to just casually discuss whats happening and that your DD (the DS and her thing is a little confusing to my tired brain) has mentioned being called in at lunch etc.

Is it possible that your child has misinterpreted and is generating the pressure herself?

Green18 Wed 05-Nov-14 16:30:12

Hi thanks for responding. I have considered these things. DD DS? No idea I don't often come on here! She is an honest girl, can be sensitive and so this is why i've kept encouraging her and saying it's just that the teacher wants her to do her best etc. I did mention it to her form tutor who said it's not a punishment but an opportunity to get help but daughter says she gets no help at lunchtime, just has to redo or do more work. Parents evening is v soon so I will mention it again. Maths has always been her weaker subject so could really do without her confidence being knocked this year when actually her levels are good.

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 05-Nov-14 17:37:15

DD - Darling Daughter, DS Darling Son.

Parents evening sounds like the way forwards. My eldest, also yr6, generates a lot of pressure on himself. He doesn't always interpret whats been said/ meant correctly and as he's very conscientious takes any minor comment as criticism.

Thatssofunny Wed 05-Nov-14 20:41:15

Instead of talking to her form tutor, the Maths teacher might be a better choice. He/She might not see it as a punishment or might not be aware of the effect this is having on your daughter. I asked one of my boys to come back a few times at lunch to have a look at certain things last year. Generally, it was only a question of taking another look at a problem for five minutes with me for him to understand it and get it right,...after getting himself muddled and in a bit of a state during the lesson. This happened perhaps three or four times in a year, but he still needed quite a bit of building back up to begin with, because he thought he was being punished.
By now, he's happy to ask me during the lesson, when he is finding something difficult and we can sort it out then. Last year, he didn't want to be the only one of his friends to find things difficult (my top group put a lot of pressure on themselves and are quite competitive), but I push them quite hard and they are all finding things challenging every now and then. They've learnt not to get upset about not being able to do everything immediately, though.
Does she ask for help in the lesson?

smee Thu 06-Nov-14 12:23:25

How can staying in at lunchtime not be a punishment?! We had similar at the start of the year (ds also year 6). I went and had a quiet word with the teacher. My son happens to be dyslexic, which makes him slower than the other kids so she was really out of order to push him as she was, but I think keeping any child in if they're genuinely trying is really worth wading in on. You don't have to be confrontational, just smile and be assertive/ say she's stressed and demoralised.

PastSellByDate Thu 06-Nov-14 12:57:32


I think you need to talk to the class teacher. First, all you know is that your DC is not completing the work - but you don't know what the teacher is seeing (too much chatting in class/ day dreaming/ struggling).

If it's the first two - well I'm afraid the solution is simple - concentrate more in class and there's likely to be no problem.

if it's the latter - than perhaps talking to the teacher might help you see this a bit differently....

I don't know....of course....but just being Devil's advocate here....

Your DC was getting generous evaluations of Maths performance previously or perhaps up until now Maths work was very easy for them and the new teacher is finding that for whatever reason right now there are real problems with calculation skills/ recall of multiplication facts/ the next step/ etc....

They're giving up their break as well - and working quietly with your child to help them get over whatever hurdle there is...

Again - I don't know that is the case - but it could be (and I hope it is)...

having been at a school where teachers didn't do this kind of thing - perhaps rather than seeing it as a punishment - see it as someone on your child's side - they believe that your DC deserves the help/ support to learn how to do whatever (let's say long division/ maybe solving simple algebra equations) but they're struggling to make the transition to the next step in maths easily.

having been at a school where it was very definitely left to parents to work out what the problem was and extra help from teachers was unheard of - I wouldn't presume this is 'a punishment'.

again - I think you should go and talk with the teacher. I know that break is important and many kids can't wait to get out and run round with their friends/ play football/ go on the climbing frame/ etc.... But... learning to divide is important too. And maybe sacrificing part of break to help get through whatever struggle there is in maths is also worth it.


Green18 Thu 06-Nov-14 13:38:56

Thanks everyone. There is NO talking allowed in this teacher's class, not allowed to ask another child if they're doing it right so she says she works hard solidly throughout the lesson. I am of the opinion that if a child works very hard but only does 4 questions say, it is entirely different to a child that messes about and only does 4 questions. She is working her hardest. I have always had good reports about her. This teacher is known for being strict and I respect that.
I feel that any issues with her work should be dealt with in the next lesson or if she is really struggling then I should be told or given work for home. She can't be doing that badly if she is already (last test in Oct) a 4a. She has a good understanding and knows her timetables back to front, always completes her homework.She is not the only one kept back at lunch. She tells me that the work is very hard but she understands it but as she is given the higher work, it is long winded( fraction problems) that involve many mental calculations with large numbers and no calculator, so one question could take 10 minutes. If her answer is wrong the teacher says redo it but won't help her to see where she went wrong.
She is dreading school each day. I will bring it up again on Parents Eve. I wonder, are teachers allowed to stop a child's lunch break this often? I take the point that the teacher is doing something to help, but i really think they need to to reflect away from the classroom before coming back in to start the afternoon.

Green18 Thu 06-Nov-14 13:42:33

Thatsofunny: yes she does ask for help in class but as it's a mixed ability group, the teacher is busy with the other end of the class and says things like "Come on you should be able to work that out!"

MilkRunningOutAgain Thu 06-Nov-14 15:10:50

She'll be in secondary next year, she may need to get used to this type of thing. I'd ask whether she is getting or needs help at parents evening, or if she just needs to speed up a bit by practising more.

Green18 Thu 06-Nov-14 16:22:30

Yes I realise this. however my eldest DD is in yr 9, is a high achiever and says she didn't do this level of work until yr7/8 so it seems like because she is already at the expected level they are pushing her on to do much harder stuff. I think she can cope, just needs to go slower and with less pressure. Problem is, I try to go over it at home to help her but this has made her so negative of maths she won't do it!

Mashabell Thu 06-Nov-14 16:51:08

The SATs results matter to teachers far more than to the pupils.
They are about their standing in the league tables, and some end up pushing their pupils far more than in healthy.

I would be honest and tell the maths teacher, in a polite letter if need be, how this is affecting your daughter - as u do in your opening post.

Green18 Thu 06-Nov-14 20:41:40

Thanks all.

pusspusslet Thu 06-Nov-14 21:53:40

I'm shocked to hear that your DD's teacher is taking your DD's lunch times away for extra work. TBH, I'm surprised that others aren't equally as shocked.

Is your daughter just 10 years old? She needs a break in the middle of the day! I think it's great that the teacher wants to encourage your daughter to do her best, but I think she must have forgotten that she's dealing with a little child. I wouldn't be willing to allow that. TBH I think it's nuts! I wouldn't wait until parents' evening to step in, if I were you.

htm123 Thu 06-Nov-14 22:00:17

Today, pick-up time @ my DC's school overheard a group of mums complaining about a teacher "not challenging a bit more the bright but laidback children". (Year 6- level 4a is bottom group in DS's class).
OP the teacher probably saw potential worth challenging in your DC but if your DS is not happy you should inform her I think. At my DS's school a lot of competition & many parents are asking for their children to do more work during lunchtimes if work not finished at break time. Good luck!

Thatssofunny Fri 07-Nov-14 07:05:40

Is she actually staying in for the entire lunchtime? I have a limit on 10 minutes...we usually manage in 5, if I have to quickly explain something again. If that is the case, do have a word with the actual Maths teacher.
4a wouldn't be the bottom group in most schools (and I wouldn't want parents to get that impression, either...there's just no need to get so stressy). Mine are a mixed-ability class and range from 3c to 6b at present. All of them are making at least good progress, considering their starting points, with many of them exceeding their targets based on KS1 results by miles.

PastSellByDate Fri 07-Nov-14 10:43:21

Hi Green18:

I get the impression you don't approve of this teacher or like her methods.

But I still suspect you aren't working with all the facts. My advice is just talk to the teacher. Be neutral - say you understand that there are some problems in maths and that your DC is doing extra work at lunch and you'd like to see her work to understand a bit more about the problem because she's not explaining it very clearly.

Give the teacher a chance to explain what she's trying to do.

It may turn out that you're right - the teacher is horrible & unfair.....


it may turn out that the teacher is correct - there are some basic errors there - simple mistakes/ misunderstandings - that need to get sorted out - preferably swiftly.

Green18 Fri 07-Nov-14 13:22:32

Yes I plan to do this at parents' evening. DS is on the 'top' table, highest level child is a 5b. It's not extra work, it's making corrections i.e if she does 10 questions and gets 2/3 wrong she has to go and eat her lunch(told to eat it quickly) then come straight back to correct them. No help given. The questions are long winded and take about 10 mins each so in a 45 min break, she can miss up to 30 mins. teacher checks answers with a calculator so if wrong DS not being shown where mistake is. Told to rub it out and do it again(another 10 mins) I know i'm only hearing one side it's just that my DS doesn't usually fabricate or exaggerate these things.
Why can't corrections be made in next lesson? Usually teachers allow time for that in lessons don't they?

DoughnutSelfie Fri 07-Nov-14 13:30:38

Going on your most recent post don't wait til parents evening to raise your concerns, ring school to make an appointment asap

noblegiraffe Fri 07-Nov-14 14:56:24

If she is doing long winded questions then if she is going to have to correct them she should be given the answers to check after each question or so, and then correct them immediately. No point in doing a load of questions, getting a lot wrong, and not knowing until the end then having to come back at lunch. That's just a waste of time.

I'd give the student a calculator so they could check the answers themselves but I'm a secondary maths teacher and the thought of kids all doing maths in silence fills me with horror.

Green18 Fri 07-Nov-14 15:08:46

Yes noble giraffe me too! My eldest DD is in yr 9 and says this never happens there. If a child is struggling the teacher will get a few chn together and work through the problems. I think it's a year 6 SATS thing( teacher under pressure to get results no matter what) they sometimes have maths in the morning and afternoon as well as lunch, but sadly no music or languages...mmmm no SATS in those subjects. sorry i'm getting a bit cynical aren't I?

prettywhiteguitar Fri 07-Nov-14 15:14:17

Speak to the school straight away, she needs a break otherwise the teacher could be totally putting her off something she's genuinely good at. Sounds like the teacher feels she's really bright and just working her too hard.

Thatssofunny Fri 07-Nov-14 18:48:38

noblegiraffe I don't get the "No talking" idea, either. I actively encourage mine to talk to their partner during a lesson and to work through problems together. Mine are used to this concept and explain and help each other (they don't just copy from each other). I couldn't manage such a wide spread of attainment in my class otherwise.
Green18 I don't think it's just an issue of it being Year 6. We've got four Maths lessons and four English lessons a week at the moment (we've also got guided reading, mental maths and Grammar slotted into the timetable at some points during the week). I've blocked Music and Art for my class, so that there will be Music and Art every week - unless we are off timetable that day, which is unlikely. We do Humanities and Science and PE /Games every week, MFL and RE every other week. It sounds a little like your DD's school are a bit panicky, if they start to be so full on with the Maths and English so early on in the year. The kids will be exhausted by the time they get to SATs.

Green18 Fri 07-Nov-14 21:50:40

The no talking thing is new. All previous teachers have encouraged talking in pairs and working in groups. DD has been told by this teacher that asking your neighbour is not fair on them as it slows them down. But as noblegiraffe says, the teacher can't help all of the children in a mixed ability class, the TA is with the lower ability, the teacher helps the middle and leaves the highers to work alone.
Today DD had a good day and they have moved on to percentages and she got all of her work right. Perhaps fractions is a weak area for her. I do appreciate your opinions, Thatsofunny, I take it you're a teacher.
Thanks for taking the time.

Thatssofunny Fri 07-Nov-14 22:09:48

Green18 I teach Year 5/6...and do find the idea that they should work in silence and completely isolated very odd indeed. I know our Maths leader and my headteacher wouldn't be happy, if my bottom group got stuck with the LSA constantly (who is only with us two mornings a week anyway) and I only ever bothered about my middle ones and left my higher group to fend for themselves. We rotate a lot in lessons, my groups are very fluid and I teach all of my groups for most of the week. It de-skills the LSA and the teacher, if they get stuck with one all the time.
Fractions are an issue for most children. It's taken me most of last year to get the attitude out of my class that they are "too hard". We haven't done much with them this year, though...they already knew how to add and subtract them and we have moved on to multiplying fractions. (My less able only multiplied the fraction by a whole number, tops can multiply and divide a fraction by a fraction.) Mine tend to find percentages a little more difficult. That's mostly because we haven't done a lot with that.
Perhaps take a look at some of the Level 5 KS2 workbooks, so she can see what she is finding difficult and work on these areas at home.

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