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Boy on DS's table distracting and upsetting him

(21 Posts)
katalex Thu 18-May-17 12:10:45

Last term DS (year 5) was getting distracted by one of the other children on his table who kept talking while they were supposed to be working. He was having trouble concentrating on his work. He told his teacher on many occasions that this boy was talking but apparently she didn't say anything to him (not in front of DS anyway). He put up with it for weeks and it didn't get better, despite telling the teacher so I asked if he could move to another table. For the first day or two everything was fine and DS was much happier but then he told me that there was a boy on the new table who was even worse than the first one. He doesn't stop talking and trying to make DS to laugh. DS tells me that even if he ignores him, they both get told off for talking. This boy keeps making fun of him and saying horrible things. When he told DS that it was a mistake that he was born I spoke to the FLO (because I couldn't get into school that day to speak to the teacher and I wanted it to be sorted quickly). I also mentioned about him talking too much and distracting DS. She said that she would speak to the teacher and get it sorted.

Unfortunately things haven't improved. DS comes out of school everyday upset about what this boy has said or done. Yesterday when I picked him up, he was so upset and angry that he couldn't get out of the school quick enough and it took him several hours to calm down. He was so frustrated in class yesterday because this boy was talking so much that he just couldn't concentrate and get his work done and he was also making fun of the way he talks. He hasn't spoken to his teacher about it because he doesn't believe that she'll do anything about it. He also thinks that he shouldn't have to keep moving to other tables. It makes him feel like he's the one in the wrong and there appears to be one chatty boy on every table so he'll just end up in the same situation.

I'm sure lots of kids would just laugh it off or tell him to shut up but DS has very low self esteem. He thinks no one likes him and he's stupid. His friends make comments about the fact that he writes slowly (he's had issues with his handwriting so he has to write slowly to make it neat) and therefore doesn't write as much as they do. He has already had to stop playing with several of the boys in his class (including the two mentioned above) because they always make him the chaser when they play 'it'. They know he can't run as fast as them so he can never catch them and they make fun of him for that.

DS was very happy at school but now he is miserable there and says he can't wait to leave and go to secondary school.

I'm going to speak to his teacher tomorrow to try to get this resolved but I need to know what action would you reasonably expect a teacher to take in this situation? Would you ask to have this boy moved to another table?

MycatsaPirate Thu 18-May-17 12:26:08

I would ask that your child is moved to a table of children who are able to work quietly and without talking, whether they are girls or boys.

Explain that while you appreciate that 5 year olds do chatter, the fact that the 'chatter' is upsetting your son and the other child is calling him names and mocking him is making your son reluctant to attend school It's destroying his self confidence and you are concerned that the class seems to be slightly uncontrollable.

A teacher should easily be able to tell who is talking and keep an eye on the 'known talkers' especially if there are numerous complaints about their behaviour from other children.

As for playtime. Encourage your son to make friends with some of the girls or the quieter boys. It's far too soon for your son to be wishing to go to high school - where life is much tougher!

One other thing is to tell your son to ignore. Don't look at the boy, don't react, don't talk back, just carry on with his work. Encourage him to be confident in his abilities and strengths and let him know that it doesn't matter how much he writes but WHAT he writes.

katalex Thu 18-May-17 12:35:26

Thanks Mycatsapirate. He's in year 5 so secondary school isn't that far away unfortunately. I'm confident that his year 6 teacher will sort the chatty kids out (dd had her last year) but I'd really like DS to enjoy the rest of year 5.

Atenco Thu 18-May-17 12:58:23

Sorry, OP, no suggestion about the boy at the desk, but is there anything you could do to help your son improve his confidence?

Does he have any hobbies? Maybe drama classes would help him, for example, to fake it till he makes it.

kesstrel Thu 18-May-17 13:05:13

No adult would be expected to spend hours every day at work under these circumstances. It's disgusting that it happens to children. Why do we have this obsession with sitting 10 year old children around tables like infants, so they can bully with impunity?

My daughter had the same problem, again in Year 5. She is also dyspraxic, and so was a target for bullying (sounds like your DS may be dyspraxic as well). We moved her to a different school.

katalex Thu 18-May-17 13:23:49

Hi Atenco - re: the confidence, he's always been very quiet and shy outside of the house. He's getting better every year but he won't even entertain the idea of going to any clubs if I'm not there. It was 4 years before he would go into school without crying, clinging onto me, running back out again.

kesstrel, that's so true. I will make that point to the teacher if she doesn't want to move him (hopefully she will).

irvineoneohone Thu 18-May-17 13:31:10

Some teachers have no idea what goes on between children.
My ds was bothered by a girl once. Normally he is quite capable of ignoring and getting on with work. But this girl was just too insistent, and he asked me to speak to the teacher, so I did. Teacher said it can't be true because they are not even on the same table(they sat back to back), and the girl was not the type.
Fast forward few weeks, I was called by a teacher saying that my ds made the girl cry by shouting into her face. I was thinking, what do you expect, if he was constantly poked, hair been pulled, whispered something mean into his ear, etc. for weeks.
Funny there was no consequence for ds and this has stopped since.

kesstrel Thu 18-May-17 16:24:53

Irvine To be fair, it is very difficult for teachers when some children always have their backs to them, and when they are expected to move around the classroom themselves. Children can be very good at limiting their bullying to when the teacher can't see them. Tables are often too small for older children, as well, which means they are close together physically. There should be a good amount of space between children by Year 5 at the latest, and they should all be facing the front, even if they don't have individual desks. (Personally, I loved having my own desk with space under the lid to keep my things!)

BrexitSucks Thu 18-May-17 16:57:21

Wouldn't most parents like their kid to only sit with the quiet obedient children. Someone has to sit with the chatty kids.

For me the key thing is that your son is being picked on and the chat isn't just chat but it's comments that pick away at his self-esteem. This is what needs to be fixed. The teacher can consider possible solutions. OP can try a few things, too.

I know it doesn't work with 9-10 yr olds... but if it was my son I would point out that the other lad is only talking to him so much for one or 2 reasons:

Chatty-lad gets a strong emotional response so he feels like a boss boy for provoking that; learning to ignore annoying people is a useful lifeskill and it makes them stop.

&

Chatty-lad actually likes OP's DS & wants his approval & attention. He may have a funny way of showing it, but why else does he want so bad to always talk to the OP's DS?

MaryTheCanary Fri 19-May-17 12:39:50

Wouldn't most parents like their kid to only sit with the quiet obedient children. Someone has to sit with the chatty kids.

Well, not necessarily. They could sit in rows with space between the desks as Kesstrel suggests.

I just think seating should be fit for purpose? Put tables into groups if the kids are actually going to be engaged in group work for a while. When they are working alone and/or listening to teacher (which is most of the time), rows of single or paired desks makes more sense.

I don't get the UK obsession with having children congregated around little tables. It causes particular issues for kids with weak English or hearing/eyesight issues, or who are naturally prone to getting distracted.

SteelyPip Fri 19-May-17 13:20:33

Hi,

Could you ask the Learning Mentor for ear defenders or send him in with his own headphones?

That would be a reasonable request for the school and is what happens at my DS's school.

BrexitSucks Fri 19-May-17 19:46:00

Mary, you're saying the kids should spend time rearranging the furniture several times each day. It's not practical. confused

irvineoneohone Fri 19-May-17 20:11:51

Brexit, my native country do this in primary. It is actually very practical.
Each child has own desk and chair, sit in a row. When doing group works, desks are easy to put together to make bigger table.
It's whole class teaching anyway, so group work doesn't happen everyday.

BrexitSucks Fri 19-May-17 20:21:56

How much time is wasted moving furniture around?

I don't think British classrooms are big enough, not for the single-person type desks we had in high school & university. The idea of asking 5 yr olds to move their desks into and out of fixed patterns, is making me twitch, frankly.

They do group work on-off for 60-90 minute sessions every day, ime.

Ericaequites Mon 22-May-17 17:38:26

I prefer separate desks and less group work for primary students from seven or so. Sitting at tables with peers encourages, talking, copying another's work, and fooling around. Mind, I have no children, left school thirty years ago, and had a very old fashioned education even then.

bojorojo Mon 22-May-17 22:14:45

Children learn from each other and peer to peer learning is a very effective way of helping the less quick child. Discussion of ideas is helpful between children and is encouraged. Fooling around? God forbid!

MaryTheCanary Tue 23-May-17 00:39:23

Personally, I like the paired desks in rows which they have as the "default" setting in many countries. It allows for things like testing each other or marking each others' work and other simple collaborative activities, but it limits distraction and ensures that everyone can see and hear the teacher. If you want to do group work, you just swing every other pair of chairs round to the other side of their respective desks and click two "pairs" together to make a four--it takes a minute to do. I never liked horseshoe arrangements much because it is harder to rearrange the desks if you need to--everything has to be dragged into the center. I know some teachers like them, though.

irvineoneohone Tue 23-May-17 06:56:44

Yes, what Mary explains is default setting in my country. So, during normal lessons, you can still get help from paired person if needed, and still, not so much distraction that teachers cannot see. If you have desk setting this way, there's no need of carpet time, since whole class teaching is so much easier.

Last year my ds complained of neck pain because he had to twist his body all the time just to see the teacher/ white board.
This system is flawed at least for KS2, imo.

kesstrel Tue 23-May-17 07:00:26

Children learn from each other and peer to peer learning is a very effective way of helping the less quick child.

Well-designed paired tasks can be useful for this, but the evidence for working in larger groups is ambivalent. This is especially the case for working in groups for as long as 60-90 minutes per day, as quoted above, since designing high quality group work tasks, and then trying to manage multiple groups in the classroom, to ensure they are all working effectively, places a huge demand on a teacher's skills.

Children can and do learn from their teacher, and many argue that this is the most effective use of their limited hours in school. High-achieving Finland, for example, apparently has traditionally made little use of group work, and arranges children's desks in rows.

kesstrel Tue 23-May-17 07:00:53

Children learn from each other and peer to peer learning is a very effective way of helping the less quick child.

Well-designed paired tasks can be useful for this, but the evidence for working in larger groups is ambivalent. This is especially the case for working in groups for as long as 60-90 minutes per day, as quoted above, since designing high quality group work tasks, and then trying to manage multiple groups in the classroom, to ensure they are all working effectively, places a huge demand on a teacher's skills.

Children can and do learn from their teacher, and many argue that this is the most effective use of their limited hours in school. High-achieving Finland, for example, apparently has traditionally made little use of group work, and arranges children's desks in rows.

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Tue 23-May-17 07:22:11

All my dc's classrooms were arranged in rows or a horseshoe fromY5 onward (and my youngest is inY5 now, so this is current). They have all vastly preferred these arrangements, for exactly the reasons in the OP: it enabled them to cope better with distraction, whether that was children who upset them or just generally chatty children. Two of mine are keen students, one is one of those chatty children, and even he recognises that he works better in a row rather than a group.

When I have visited to give a talk about my subject, and ask for the room to be rearranged into 3 groups for an activity, the transformation is so quick and efficient that it is almost impossible to follow. The children know exactly what to do, and it takes no more than a minute.

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