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DS finding work too easy

(20 Posts)
bubblegumble Thu 22-Feb-18 13:02:06

DS just turned 6, he's in year 1. Mixed class of 15 yr1 and 15yr2.

He had the same teacher for reception and year 1.
DS is very bright. His previous teacher called him a sponge, by February half term in reception, he was where he needed to be at the end of year one.

So year 1, his teacher goes up with him and puts him with the year 2s because he is finding the year 1 work too easy.

All fine and DS is getting on really well.. except a few weeks ago his teacher went on maternity leave.

The problem is..
His new teacher! She has no previous experience as a teacher - though is qualified. DS has been put back in with the year 1s and is bored because he's finding it too easy. The spellings aren't testing him, he doesn't even need to practice them.
I've had to tell him to pick books of a higher band because he can read the ones he'd been coming back with without any issues. DS is reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid at the moment. He's already finished Harry Potter & the Philosophers Stone!

I found out yesterday that my friends VERY confident son is crying because he doesn't want to go to school. The new teacher isn't helping him like previous teacher did and is telling him his writing is bad. Another mum has said similar things.

What do I do?!
DH said I should look for work sheets online and give him extra spellings.
But I send him to school to learn! His teacher is supposed to be teaching him this stuff, not me!

Is it worth speaking to the teacher?

ivenoideawhatimdoing Thu 22-Feb-18 13:09:07

I agree with your husband that you should facilitate further learning at home in a fun way. You stand a very great risk he could lose enthusiasm for school for life because of this so continue his passion for learning and get him to take it in and see if he can show his teacher and chat about it.

I would also call for a meeting with her and the head and state he isn’t being challenged. We do X Y and Z at home but you would like for him to be returned to year 2. If this carries on would moving schools be an option?

BlueChampagne Thu 22-Feb-18 13:10:17

Definitely talk to teacher, and if nothing happens, book a word with the head.

irvineoneohone Thu 22-Feb-18 13:19:19

With the word for spelling, he can do extensive work with it. Use it in the sentence. Find the synonym/antonym. Make it into adjective/ Adverb.
Find other words with same prefix/suffix. Find plural. etc.

PerfectlySymmetricalButtocks Thu 22-Feb-18 13:24:48

I have the same problem with DD 10. The school's in danger of losing her mentally. You seem to have to subscribe to the online worksheets, we can't afford that.

bubblegumble Thu 22-Feb-18 13:25:18

Luckily for the minute, he still loves school.

It takes him 10 minutes to write a sentence for the 10 spellings he gets. I don't need to help him think of a sentence either.

He is actually at the best school around here (it has Outstanding). It isn't even our catchment! He didn't get a place in our catchment school.

I have no plans during the day tomorrow so I will browse the internet for any printables. Also going into town at the weekend so can pop into The Works, Waterstones and WHSmith to see if they have any good books.

I'll see if I can arrange a meeting with her and if that doesn't go well, I will speak to the head.

bubblegumble Thu 22-Feb-18 13:26:25

I meant it takes him 10 minutes to finish all 10 sentences!

RicStar Thu 22-Feb-18 13:33:04

Is his writing bad though? Could you work on this? Spelling and reading books are at homework really and only a tiny bit of school life. At school on year 1 dd does writing, art, French, p.e. maths, phonics, reading, topic work, singing/music / making models. Some bits she likes more than others but they are very busy learning lots of different things. Is it all at the wrong level? Perhaps have a chat to the teacher but also give her and your ds a bit of time to get to know one another.

TeaforTiger Thu 22-Feb-18 13:36:27

Did you ask the teacher why your child has been moved back to working with the year ones?

I wouldn't bother with the worksheets, unbelievably dull! He's only 6, just let him play, follow his lead and support his interests.

bubblegumble Thu 22-Feb-18 13:45:12

@RicStar It's not my sons writing that's been called bad.. thats my friends son.

I haven't asked, DS has told me. He would constantly talk about a group of children (previous teacher had told me they were in the group with DS) Then he stopped talking about them and people I know are in year 1 so I asked him.

bubblegumble Thu 22-Feb-18 13:47:50

I'll speak to DS after school and ask for a run through of his lessons.

TeaforTiger Thu 22-Feb-18 13:54:06

Just reread your OP, the teacher has only been there a few weeks! She doesn't even know the children yet.

Just talk to her, going to the Head would be very premature at this stage.

RicStar Thu 22-Feb-18 14:03:13

Sorry I misread. Dd is super confident but not good at even mild criticism. I am sure that a mid year change of teacher is hard especially in a split year class. Of course you want your ds to be challenged and he should be. Dd school seems to do a lot (much more than I remember) and I am amazed they fit it all in and allow for a wide range of abilities as they do so. It's not all perfect for dd (she also gets too easy books sent home) but overall she is happy and clearly learning - I would try not to focus too narrowly. Of course if it's all at the wrong level / boring that is poor.

Naty1 Thu 22-Feb-18 14:11:00

What book band has he been put on?
Tbh i would not worry about it. As if he does y2 stuff now he may end up repeating it next yr.
My lg is very advanced reading and can read almost anything (y1), and we just read stuff at home. It's annoying but they are only listened to by teacher about twice a term so languish ages on a band.
What i would do with a bright child is read the next level or 2 up to see how they get on (once past the learning phonic stage).
Ive been doing a bit of maths at home as no idea what they are doing at school.
I think differentiation is a good idea but would rely on a teacher knowing the students (so is difficult at the start of the year or on changes).

Naty1 Thu 22-Feb-18 14:13:13

I mean if i were the teacher as ours seems to read the home book of current band only rather than testing if they can do more

LetItGoToRuin Thu 22-Feb-18 14:20:19

You will need to pick your battles. The old teacher was great and the new teacher has stepped into very large shoes and will have 29ish other children to learn about mid-year. The previous teacher was clearly differentiating well for your son, but many teachers, even those that would like to challenge a brighter child, struggle to find much time at all to keep an exceptional child fully challenged, when they are dealing with an already crazy workload.

So, two examples you’ve given are two of the easy ones to address. I posted on MN once about spellings, and was told that unless I wanted my daughter to enter spelling competitions I should consider myself lucky that spellings are easy for her, and spend that time productively on other enriching things. I have taken that advice! We simply encourage wider reading, discuss unusual words when encountered, occasionally randomly test spelling for ‘fun’. Irvine’s advice about discussing synonyms etc is great too.

Reading. We’ve certainly wasted plenty of time worrying about the books DD brings home from school! If the book is very easy, make a suitable note in the reading diary, take him to the library and encourage him to read a wide variety of other books, and note every single one in the reading diary. You can choose to fight for him to be moved up the book bands, or you can take matters into your own hands. The latter is easier and much more fun.

In my mind the thing to watch for is that he’s stimulated in the classroom, that the teacher is encouraging that critical thinking and expects more/better from him, and that he is keen to meet/exceed these high expectations. In Y1 we struggled with this: DD would come home saying that once she’d finished her work she helped person X, then person Y, then person Z, then read her book. When I spoke to the teacher she said D was ‘so helpful’ and ‘I really must put a learning plan in place for her’ and such platitudes, but not a great deal happened. Still, DD was happy enough and we didn’t escalate further. The teacher tried a bit (bought ‘special books’ etc) but it wasn’t great.

In Y2 it is so much better. The teacher just seems to know how to stretch DD. She almost never ‘just reads’ but the tasks are more challenging, and the teacher expects a better level, eg of written work, so DD is kept busy. Her books are full of little extension activities which the teacher has set for her. Our impression is that the teacher is experienced and easily able to differentiate. Maybe not perfectly all the time, but sufficiently to keep DD busy and challenged.

Is your DS confident to speak to the teacher if the work is too easy? In Y1 when they were dictating sentences we encouraged DD to ask for a harder one. We encouraged her to focus hard and work quickly even if the task was easy, and then as soon as she was finished to ask for something else to do. Basically to be very proactive, but politely so. DD is confident and a bit of a goody-two-shoes so this was quite easy for her, and it did mean the teacher noticed! We also encouraged DD to set her own harder challenges, eg in maths when she’d finished what they were doing, we said to try bigger numbers etc. and write them all down. DD found it fun and the teacher never complained (to us). It does take a certain personality to do this though!

If your DS is unhappy or switching off, that’s the battle to have, IMO. That can’t be ignored. It’s easier, however, to do the positive things above, than argue with the teacher that they’re not stretching your child.

LetItGoToRuin Thu 22-Feb-18 14:20:38

(hideously long - sorry!)

Julraj Mon 26-Feb-18 10:47:55

Buy some workbooks for use at home, there's plenty on Amazon, Exam Ninja, Waterstones, WH Smiths etc and they're all very cheap. Far cheaper than a personal tutor and kids can get surprisingly excited/motivated using them!

WhoAmIReally99 Wed 28-Feb-18 19:50:07

Speak to the teacher. She is still getting to know the children and as shes new to teaching she may still be finding her feet.... so maybe call and ask for a meeting to discuss your dc, explain what work he was doing before and ask why he's been put back to yr1 work.

THOUGH..... could it be that shes giving the yr 2s too easy work?

if it carries on I would suggest a meeting with or a call to the headteacher.

BubblesBuddy Thu 01-Mar-18 14:02:25

The teacher should have detailed assessments from the previous teacher. It’s not entirely a case of getting to know DD, it’s a case of understanding assessment data and using it to plan lessons. This is what Ofsted expect and the Head should be checking that this is happening. If it isn’t, the Head should do something about it.

Also there is nothing to stop you going to the library and getting more books. If she can read Harry Potter, I guess phonics will be a little dull! Some children learn quickly and plough their own furrow. Get her to write about where you visit, make up stories using specific words etc. What about reading poetry and writing poetry? There are lots of ways you can enhance learning and many of us never left it entirely to the school due to variable teaching.

The system of differentiation should not be down to individual teachers. The school should have a policy where they differentiate work and this must be based on their assessment policy. Ask the Head about this and why one teacher did it and this one doesn’t. The vast majority of Ofsted reports refer to lesson planning being based on assessment data. The school/teacher needs to do this for all children.

I am curious that a teacher is qualified but has no experience of teaching. How is this possible?

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