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Demotivated in Year 2

(20 Posts)
Tabymoomoo Wed 09-Nov-16 21:01:13

Hi I basically asking if I'm making a fuss about nothing and how I should handle this situation!

My dd is at a private school in a small year 2 class. They have a new teacher this year (she has previously taught older children) and a whole array of schemes to motivate the children. There is an ongoing star type system for good deeds or effort, there is a daily level system for effort/behaviour (you move up and down during the day) a board where good handwriting is displayed, a cuddly toy to take home for the night for good effort (actually there is 3 of these toys awarded daily!) and a once a week award for one child who has done particularly well/tried hard etc.
Dd is generally a shy, quiet child but reasonably able and I've had nothing but positives on her academics and behaviour from teacher in parents eve. She's got 100% on all her spelling tests and has comments like "fantastic reading!" in her reading diary. However she doesn't seem to be getting any of these rewards and is feeling a little demoralised (it doesn't help that best friend gets them a lot) she seems to do ok on the levels and star chart but never gets one of the cuddly toys or weekly award. She says she trying really hard (although I'm not in the class so I can't test this!)

DH wants to go in and complain, he thinks it's the show off kids and the kids who usually behave badly but are trying hard that one day who are getting all the rewards. I'm thinking I might go in and ask what is dd doing wrong/what does she need to do more of? (Tbh we would both like to go in and say why are there so many bloomin ways of rewarding shouldn't you just be getting on with teaching them!)
Any suggestions on how to approach teacher? Or should I just tell dd not to worry about it all and let it go?

Kiwiinkits Wed 09-Nov-16 21:04:30

I think at year 2 you shouldn't fight her battles for her but rather teach her how to fight her own. She might be shy, but she can be taught some phrases that help her be more assertive. Assertiveness is a skill that lasts a lifetime.

So, talk to her, see if it's bothering her, see if she has her own solutions and teach her phrases like, "Mrs X, I'd like to win an award. What can I do today to help me win it?" or "Mrs X, I'm working hard today and I'm looking forward to winning an award."

Kiwiinkits Wed 09-Nov-16 21:05:29

So basically, your role as parents is to help your kids learn the skills they need to solve their own problems. You'll achieve nothing by solving this one for her.

irvineoneohone Wed 09-Nov-16 21:30:16

No, I don't think it's a good idea to complain, but I think you could go in and have a chat with teacher about your dd's feelings, ask about how the reward system works etc.

sirfredfredgeorge Wed 09-Nov-16 22:20:14

I agree it's well worth saying that the reward system that is in place is demotivating. It's completely failing as a reward system if it does that, if the teacher doesn't already know (and you'd hope they would) then they need to be told. Yes if your DD can do this herself then that's great, but if not, certainly go with her to discuss it with the teacher.

Reward systems in schools are not about equality, or fairness, or really the rewards, they're about getting the kids to engage when they possibly wouldn't otherwise. And no one system is going to work for everyone.

DD is completely disinterested by all the reward systems in her school, she knows it, we know it, the teachers know it, but she's currently motivated to engage anyway so it doesn't matter.

Tabymoomoo Wed 09-Nov-16 22:21:17

Thank you. I do agree dd needs to learn how to fight her own battles but I tried today to suggest she talks to her teacher and she said she really couldn't, please could I talk to her. I hate to think of dd being sad and getting demoralised at school. When she first started school it took a while before she could talk to her teachers at all and she used to ask friends to ask the teacher if she could go to the loo etc so she is really very shy. I worry she is forgotten about because she is quiet and leaving it to her to sort out will mean it won't get sorted out.
Maybe I will try the quiet chat first.

MrsKCastle Wed 09-Nov-16 22:27:03

I agree with you, OP. I think you should go in, explain that your DD is feeling upset about it all and ask what she can do. I wouldn't teach kiwiinkits' sentences because a shy child will really struggle to use them and from a more outgoing child, they could sound a bit off.

FWIW, I think the teacher is nuts having so many rewards and I would worry that she's not getting the children intrinsically motivated to behave well and succeed in their learning.

In my Y2 class, I only really use one external reward system and I keep a careful record so that children know that they will get a reward if they earn it. But the children are just as motivated (if not more) by 'I did it' feeling when they learn something new, and the praise/smile/high five when I see it.

Ashers40 Thu 10-Nov-16 22:44:45

My two quiet but industrious DDs would chop their hand off before they would ask the teacher for a reward! Three toys being given out every day is crazy, and by now each child in the class should have been rewarded at least once. I would ask the teacher if there are any particular reasons your DD is not being rewarded, and mention she is becoming increasingly demotivated. I'm sure it's just an oversight but the teacher should be made aware her system is back firing. I've not always agreed with teachers methods of motivating children and mostly I just bite my lip, but on this occasion I think I would speak up if I were you.

Dixiechickonhols Fri 11-Nov-16 09:24:19

Yes I'd speak to class teacher and say DD is finding all the new rewards confusing and is getting demoralised and what does DD need to do more of/less of to be in line for a reward.

Teacher may shed some more light on things. DD's school have implemented a new discipline policy which seems way over top to me but whilst speaking to head about something else she said one reason they had introduced it was so the good 99% of time children get rewarded.

Mine is in yr 6 in a small non selective private. The relationship is different in a private to state. One of things I've liked is that any issues have been sensibly addressed. School stress if any concerns staff are available beginning or end of day or email/request meeting. It is part of what you pay for.

Just wondering if teacher has moved from state or much bigger school. We had a very good teacher join from a state school and it has taken a while for her to get the vibe of the place and parents. Just thinking teacher may have always done the reward schemes but what works in a class of 30 older kids may be sledgehammer to crack a nut in a class of 12 little ones.

Usernamealreadyexists Sat 12-Nov-16 19:06:55

Very interesting thread. I have a child who has faced these ridiculous charts since Receprion. The number of systems is mind-boggling and Inhave no idea how teachers can be arsed to spend so much time on these. They are full of bias and, whilst my ds is resilient (and at the bottom as he simply can't compete with the other kids due to ASD), there are 2 other kids who constantly find themselves at the bottom and are totally demotivated and disheartened. I can't work out how a human in charge of kids (5-6 year olds) can't see this as being unfair. Their parents are also very upset by the whole thing.

I have actually taken it up with the Head and he is willing to change it. I suggested a team based system which doesn't expose the weaker kids. I feel this absolutely was a battle worth fighting for my child and the others who find themselves feeling shit. The teacher started placing a chart in his desk as he felt good when he received points. Deapite telling me about the good things he did, he revived 1 point for the entire week. I questioned her about it and she said she forgot to give him points. I asked her to remove it from his desk as it is reinforcing for him what a failure he is.

This is a fascinating article which sums up everything that is wrong with these systems.

Tabymoomoo Sat 12-Nov-16 22:34:21

Thank you all so much for your advice! MrsKCastle - I agree kids should be motivated enough by words of encouragement than all these systems!
Ashers40-my dd sounds like yours!
usernamealreadyexists- fascinating article that I completely agree with. Particularly like the reference to "the wall of shame". I feel bad for my daughter who rarely seems to move from her position but the poor kids who have to face the shame of being moved down for the world to see - so negative and demoralising.
I've also read more recently about "the invisible child" in the classroom which I think dd most certainly is.

Anyhoo here's an update on our particular situation:
I did go and talk to the teacher as I felt putting pressure on my dd to do it would just make her more stressed and upset. I basically went along the lines of "how have you found dd in class recently? As we get the impression that she is feeling a little demoralised lately" I also said although I didn't know exactly how she worked in class, she seems to be trying hard but sees her class mates being rewarded and she wants to understand what she has to do to get rewards. Teacher seemed quite surprised said dd was fine in class, is a very capable girl and doing very well. She basically admitted the rewards were there to motivate those who needed a bit more encouragement (implying dd didn't need any motivation). She went on to try to come up with ways dd could try harder. Tbh they sounded a bit crappy and off the top of her head - she said as dd liked to get everything right she was a little slower than a few of the other kids sometimes (I've spoken to dd about this and she is unconvinced that faster and less accurate is a better thing!) and that dd is not great when working in a group she would much rather work on her own (shyness which she needs more help and encouraging with!)
Teacher did say thank you for letting her know and she will talk to dd to let her know what more she needs to do.
So we'll see what happens next....

(I was very tempted to tell what I really thought of all these schemes but I bit my tongue 😐)

mrz Sun 13-Nov-16 07:34:26

Slightly off topic but can I recommend the girl who never made mistakes

TeacherBob Sun 13-Nov-16 11:40:01

Growth mindset classroom (#justsaying)

mrz Sun 13-Nov-16 11:59:11

Mine or the OPs child's?

paxillin Sun 13-Nov-16 12:06:56

By year 3 ours had all worked out what these awards are for. "Jimmy must have been naughty last week, he got star of the week today" and "Sam got maths star because he did his homework for a a change" are quotes form the kids.

TeacherBob Sun 13-Nov-16 12:30:03

OP's mrz, but should be every classroom (you may see a recurring theme in my posts) :p

paxillin that is exactly why awards etc don't tend to work in general.
I have the usual reward systems in place, I very rarely use them. And the children in my class have great behaviour, are learning at a good pace and the home learning they are doing is amazing (I can't keep up with what they are bringing in atm).

My belief is children need to make good choices (both behaviour and learning, challenge etc) because it is the right thing to do. They need it to come from within and not because they are getting a reward. The reward is their own progression and sense of pride.

mrz Sun 13-Nov-16 12:41:45

*"*^*There is an ongoing star type system for good deeds or effort, there is a daily level system for effort/behaviour (you move up and down during the day) a board where good handwriting is displayed, a cuddly toy to take home for the night for good effort (actually there is 3 of these toys awarded daily!) and a once a week award for one child who has done particularly well/tried hard etc.*^*"*

This doesn't say "growth mindset" to me more old fashioned assertive discipline mixed with naff

irvineoneohone Sun 13-Nov-16 13:11:40

I think there are children who can easily be forgotten by teachers. And those are normally hard working, well behaved ones.

My ds was always the one to be chosen as last child to be a star of the week in KS1. I'm so glad they don't do it anymore in KS2.

Tabymoomoo Sun 13-Nov-16 15:35:39

I like that story! Defo one for dd.

We are continually trying to get her to realise that perfect isn't necessarily better and to push her beyond her comfort zone but the teacher needs to do this in the classroom as well. Supposedly they have growth mindset in the school but I don't think they are applying it well with the younger ones.

What I would like to see is the teacher extending her out of her comfort zone and rewarding her for trying. Actually ideally I'd like her to get rid of all the reward schemes as well but that is not going to happen. At the moment I think the teacher is just letting her get on with things as she can easily cope with the work and behaves well therefore isn't much work and doesn't (so far) need motivating to do this with rewards.

Paxillin - that made me laugh - so true!

Usernamealreadyexists Sun 13-Nov-16 18:17:47

I can't imagine what it must feel like for these poor kids on a daily basis. It's another level of pressure and scrutiny they don't need. The kids are all very aware now of their pecking order in class.

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