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Etiquette etc.

(50 Posts)
mashooka Tue 24-Jan-17 14:07:08

So, I went to see the reception year teacher at my DD's school. And the first thing she was me was 'is there a problem'. I asked for the meeting and felt that's a bit of a strange start. Does there need to be a problem in order to want to meet the teacher? Anyway, she says, we noticed a change behaviour in your DD last week, on friday something happened between her and another child, your DD tried to explain what was happening and in the end said, my mum said the other girl was a slug and that the other child was upset. We think your child has a vivid imagination and so at times when she doesn't know what to say, she blames things on someone else. Aside from that the teacher said, oh your DD chats a lot, she needs to focus on what she is doing more but she's a bright child and she is keeping up with the pace of education at the school so far. But your academic questions can be reserved till the parent-teacher meeting.

I had more specific questions for the teacher, can you explain how you are teaching number bonds (counting on, mental math etc.) and that it would help me reinforce things over the weekend when I do spend time with her. The teacher was rather dismissive and said, get your DD to explain what she did at school (well if my DD did that properly then I wouldn't have to come ask you, would I??!!!!) Anyway, I walked away feeling very dejected.

I was very disappointed with the teachers attitude, to me it almost came across like a lack of caring - I do happen to pay £5.5K a term for what is supposedly the top school in the country, the least I expect is a bit more than 10 mins of time (that too outside of the parent-teacher meeting) and some more tips on what I need to do with my DD to help her manage any playground fights or disagreements a bit better.

I came home and asked my DD, she said - she had a lot of difficulty explaining what happened that day, but as it transpires the other kid wouldn't agree to taking turns in being 'captain' in some game. I spent a lot of my time explaining to my DD that calling someone a slug because they wouldn't take turns or blaming it on mummy was not the right approach and that she needed to apologise. But I feel like I should be doing more to reinforce how to express one's feelings properly in words (without causing any upset).

Aside from my that, I was rather annoyed about the ' DD is keeping pace' comment as my DD spends a lot of time daily in reading, writing and doing maths. So, if anything - she'd be more than keeping pace. Is my DD getting bored at school because she's already done a lot of the work they are covering again and is therefore not paying attention?

Can I get some views on how to help with managing emotions for my DD. What do I also do in order to help in managing being bored due to repetition of work and also being able to sit/focus and talk less.

Separately, am I being over dramatic by being disappointed with the teacher's attitude. Anyway, I always felt that this teacher is very distant (you'd think that reception year teachers would be a bit more caring?). Should I be asking for a meeting with the pre-prep head and expressing my views or is that taking it too far?

Thanks in advance and sorry for the LONG post.

irvineoneohone Tue 24-Jan-17 14:42:49

I don't understand your problem either.
If the teacher says you can wait till parent meeting, there isn't any particular problems to talk about, maybe? She's doing fine, like teacher says.
As for academic stuff, she maybe bright, but there must be lots of other bright kids as well, so she's keeping the pace with others, if she goes to top school in the country.

highclere Tue 24-Jan-17 14:53:08

Unless your DD is unhappy or the teacher suggests a problem, I would honestly step away, let her settle in and only go in if there is really a problem. Even at the top school in the country.

mashooka Tue 24-Jan-17 14:54:48

Thanks for responding. I wanted to meet with the teacher not because there was a 'problem' but because I wanted to understand the techniques they are using for maths at school. Instead the teacher started off with a 'whats the problem' question!!!!!

Is it that teachers cannot make time for parents in between parent-teacher meetings (considering there are only 2 per year)?

No doubt my DD is studying with other super bright kids, it would have been much more helpful to me if the teacher's response was a bit more descriptive than just keeping pace e.g. needs to do more in this area of academics.

irvineoneohone Tue 24-Jan-17 15:05:48

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Verbena37 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:07:02

I think the teacher perhaps meant there wasn't really anything more tangible she needed to discuss with you at the moment.
Maths-wise, the school should have ways of moving the children on if they're bored.
Perhaps she isn't bored, perhaps her chatting a lot means she doesn't understand it?
At only aged 5, I'd assume the teacher wants to make sure that she has consolidated her understanding.
Even though she is at a private school, you can always check out the national curriculum for Early Years, Reception maths. Most private schools still base their teaching on the NC.....you might also be able to see how modern maths is taught from that...number bonds to 10/20 for example.
If she is fine with bonds to 10, rather than never doing it again, they would make sure she knows them to 20 before she moves on etc.

State schools tend to have parent maths and phonics evening to demonstrate how they teach your children...you could always ask your school reception head of year if that's something they could arrange.....because by the sounds of it, 5.5k per term isn't doing much for teacher/parent communication!

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 24-Jan-17 15:14:23

Maybe they have a phonics/ maths session for parents planned at some point and that is when they would address these academic concerns which is why she asked if there was an issue. She probably saw your dd's behaviour as more of an issue as if she is able enough then if she listens in class she will master the academic challenges.

Verbena37 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:15:24

TBH, I find it hard to believe it's £5.5k a term for prep infants at a school like, say Manor Lodge.....which is £3425 a term.
Even Laxton, Oundle isn't 5.5k.

mashooka Tue 24-Jan-17 15:16:52

thanks verbena37 - that's helpful, thank-you. I found that my DD was applying concepts correctly in some areas (when we practise at home) but not in other areas, so I might need to continue working on consolidating her understanding.

irvineonehone - If you can't contribute anything helpful to assist a concerned parent, then don't contribute at all.

TeenAndTween Tue 24-Jan-17 15:21:33

Normally when a parent asks to see a teacher there is a problem.

In your case the problem was that you don't know how they teach maths.

Was this a scheduled meeting or a random 'at pickup one'?

Agree with others that if this is a top in country selective school then keeping up with the pace is expected even of bright kids.

corythatwas Tue 24-Jan-17 15:28:03

"Aside from my that, I was rather annoyed about the ' DD is keeping pace' comment as my DD spends a lot of time daily in reading, writing and doing maths. So, if anything - she'd be more than keeping pace."

If this is a top school, then surely you would expect the other children also to spend a lot of time daily in reading, writing and doing maths? So why is there anything wrong with your dd keeping pace? Why assume that she should be charging ahead of her classmates, if these are all bright children from families that care about education?

It could be that she is bored, but it could equally be that she just enjoys being a little chatterbox. Plenty of 5yos do.

I do wonder if you are perhaps a bit over-anxious here.

LilaGrace Tue 24-Jan-17 15:29:10

Verbena- many junior schools charge upwards of £5k per term- certainly here in north London (although I'm not sure where the OP is located). The ones I'm aware of are all part of schools that go through to age 18.

Verbena37 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:30:02

The bit about helping your DD cope with playground fights etc.....check out Steve Biddulph's book Raising Girls. I haven't read it but lots of friends with girls of all have and they say how fascinating it is and it makes a lot of sense. It helps look at why girls behave the way they do and how to manage the different stages of their development.

Verbena37 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:32:49

Sorry Lilagrace yes, you're right.
Sorry Mashooka I can see that some preps do charge over 5.5k.
My mistake x

sirfredfredgeorge Tue 24-Jan-17 15:35:02

There is nothing wrong with wanting to see the teacher in a fee paying school, you are a customer and you should absolutely take advantage of being a customer and exploit that, the teacher handled it very badly. Although asking if there was a problem is not necessarily a bad thing, some people can be unwilling to bring things up unprompted.

Yes you should go and see the head, and escalate your complaint, just as you would with any other expensive professional service.

Of course, due to the lack of competition in many areas, there's a very good chance you'll just be managed out, rather than taken seriously, but yes you should expect more.

irvineoneohone Tue 24-Jan-17 15:48:36

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WyfOfBathe Tue 24-Jan-17 15:53:11

Do you have an email address for the teacher so that you can send her a quick email to ask about the maths curriculum? Or alternatively just pop your head round the door and say "I was wondering how to support DD's numeracy at home". If a parent asked me for a meeting, I would assume that there was a particular problem that needed to be solved urgently, e.g. bullying or school-related anxiety.

Unless your prep school teaches a wildly different curriculum to state schools or has an intake who all come from the same nursery, there isn't going to be an "area of academics" for your DD to work on as such. Reception is, in my mind (my DD1 is in reception now) about skills like forming friendships, working collaboratively, improving hand-eye coordination just as much as literacy/numeracy/IT.

DD's school do also send home a booklet at the beginning of each half term explaining what each class is doing in each subject for that half term - so this term I can see that in week 1 they're doing speech bubbles in literacy, number bonds in numeracy, using drawing tools in ICT, dance in PE, etc. Does your school do anything like this?

mashooka Tue 24-Jan-17 16:41:51

Thanks everyone.

Verbena37 - I will look into the book you recommended later today, thats really kind and helpful.

2014newme Tue 24-Jan-17 16:42:53

Our state school has information evenings where they tell you this stuff but it maybe that at the "top school in the country" they have different methods. Teacher was a bit rude to you I think though. It's tough at the top! 😀

mashooka Tue 24-Jan-17 16:46:33

2014newme - Spot on! Thats what I was thinking, I'd hoped at least it would be a more polite flowing conversation.

mrz Tue 24-Jan-17 17:16:21

*"*^*Verbena- many junior schools charge upwards of £5k per term*^*"* but the OPs child is in reception hmm and depending on birthday would qualify for gov subsidy

highclere Tue 24-Jan-17 17:28:48

Fees for some central London preps are nudging £7k a term now (Afaik that's even in reception). Although I don't know about the actual top school.

LilaGrace Tue 24-Jan-17 17:30:19

£5k for reception is normal at some schools. There is no government subsidy for kids in private schools in reception....

FuckOffDailyMailQuitQuotingMN Tue 24-Jan-17 17:33:32

highclere yes, that's what I've seen as well.

FuckOffDailyMailQuitQuotingMN Tue 24-Jan-17 17:33:50

What gov subsidy confused

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