Massive problems with dd2’s teacher

(34 Posts)
madnessitellyou Sun 02-Feb-20 09:18:17

Dd2 is in y4. She’s a quiet, sensitive soul who is often overlooked (never star of the week etc). In some areas she achieves highly but is never given praise. She’s come to hate school.

One area where she really does struggle is maths. I’ve mentioned the terrible time we have doing maths homework on numerous occasions to be told “there is no problem, she’s fine and just needs a positive mindset”. That’s a lovely thought but the teacher isn’t at home with us dealing with a sobbing child who cannot grasp fractions, for example.

Last week the teacher collared Dh at drop off to tell him dd is having huge problems with maths, they are very concerned and are moving her away from sitting with friends in class because she relying on them too much.

I couldn’t make parents evening (please no judgement; we simply couldn’t get there) so on the return slip I asked if there was any way the teacher could call for a 5 min chat. I’ve written similar notes on half completed maths homework. Dd is at after school club five days a week; I don’t often see the teacher (who has also told the class to tell parents to stop complaining...).

I spoke to the deputy head last week who felt that this entire situation is unacceptable - especially as I have been told there are no problems then suddenly there are - and has arranged a meeting for me with the teacher next week.

How do I tackle this? I want to support dd but how can I if the teacher won’t accept there’s a problem? It feels like it’s too late now sad

OP’s posts: |
BrokenWing Sun 02-Feb-20 09:57:07

It is possible after you spoke to the teacher she became more aware of dd and had realised she is getting answers off friends so moving is a good step. The teacher will then get a better idea of how much she can do herself.

The teacher telling the class to tell parents not to complain information via a 8/9 yr old I would take with pinch of salt.

Priority is how to support your dd in maths. She is only yr 4 of course it's not too late if you help her now, sounds like the teacher has taken steps by moving her, yr 4 maths level should be easy enough for you to support at home if the teacher can give you extra homework, or if you can afford it get a tutor for a few weeks to assess/help her to catch up again. We found teejay maths books good (Scotland, but there are English versions).

Whenever ds had struggled with anything I always see it as much my responsibility to get him back on track as it is the teachers, especially dealing with the sobbing during homework. Working in partnership with the school and both being positive will always give a better outcome.

cauliflowersqueeze Sun 02-Feb-20 10:08:17

The teacher obviously now does think there’s a problem. Just meet and listen and work out a plan together. How can it possibly be too late!? She’s 9 I assume?

madnessitellyou Sun 02-Feb-20 10:30:18

We can’t afford a tutor. What I’m upset about is that I’ve had the conversation about maths at least six times since September and I’ve been brushed off. The teacher snapped at me last week because I asked if we could have a new homework sheet. Dd had asked, repeatedly (I was actually there on one occasion), but hadn’t been given one.

I try very hard to work with school which probably isn’t coming across.

OP’s posts: |
madnessitellyou Sun 02-Feb-20 10:32:38

I’d happily do more at home, and we’ve been doing loads of work on telling the time and money which have been difficulties we’ve known about.

Mostly homework is craft-based. What if I asked for extra maths instead of creating a castle etc.

OP’s posts: |
MsTSwift Sun 02-Feb-20 10:34:26

I would make all efforts to find the money for a maths tutor as a priority. Dd had similar maths issues at this age found a magical maths tutor who she adores. She is now 2 years on middle of the road absolutely fine at maths and really enjoys her weekly maths sessions. . Never once had tears or “I’m rubbish” since we found the tutor.

madnessitellyou Sun 02-Feb-20 10:44:56

There really is no money for a tutor. At the end of y3 she came out with met expectations or whatever the phrase is.

The teacher insisted for months it was dd not having a positive mindset.

OP’s posts: |


KittenVsBox Sun 02-Feb-20 10:47:14

Would you or DH be secure enough in primary maths to help her? Weve got the Y6 english version of this because our previous school didnt do SATs, so the focus on grammar was lower. It's pretty good at explaining what's going on, giving examples, and then some questions. Might be worth a try? Go back to Y3 if you think it will help.

Good luck at school. It sounds like the teacher us now aware DD was getting g quite a lot of help from her classmates, and so hopefully has now seen the issues you have been concerned about.

BrokenWing Sun 02-Feb-20 11:05:52

What actually happened when you raised it before? I would not count a note in the homework jotter as raising a concern. Have you asked for/had meetings with the teacher before?

I absolutely would work with her on maths at home, get the TeeJay books for her level, or the one below and start doing 30-40 mins a day 1-1 to build on the foundations/concepts and boost her confidence. The internet is also full of resources to help.

Greta1985 Sun 02-Feb-20 11:21:25

As a teacher I would say her teacher is probably overworked, stressed and exhausted. You’d be hard pressed to find a primary teacher that doesn’t care about all the children in their class, it’s just that the job is so overwhelming it’s impossible to do everything you want to. If you go in for a meeting with the intention of working together you’ll get much further. There are programmes that some schools use such as MyMaths that she may be able to direct you to. If not look for fun maths games on the internet, they will help get your DD feeling more positive about maths again. She will be able to tell you the areas of the curriculum they are working on and you can then practice those problems together. Bring in something she’s interested in (for example inventing a board game or playing shop). Please don’t formally complain about her unless she does something to endanger the children, as parents have a lot of power and going through that process can break a person. Remember she does care about your DD!

SMaCM Sun 02-Feb-20 11:33:19

You could see how she gets on with bbc bitesize maths. It helped my DD at a similar age.

Ohdeariedear Sun 02-Feb-20 11:46:56

I think you have to let go of what has happened up until now, as hard as that might be. You and the teacher are now on the same page so focus on that and getting your DD the support and help she needs.

If I was having your meeting next week, I’d be asking how we (ie you and the teacher) can work together to get DD to where she needs to get to. Try and get info on where she should be, where she is now, and what the gap is. Then ask if she can suggest any resources you could be using to help Dd. Finally, I’d get a date agreed where you can have an update/progress meeting to see how whatever actions you agree upon are working. Keep it all very positive, you need the teacher on your side, not feeling like you are blaming them.

Trahira Sun 02-Feb-20 11:55:04

I agree with the advice to try and start afresh with this teacher. You have been brushed off in the past, but now the teacher has agreed there is an issue and you have a meeting to discuss it. Focus on the future and go in with an open mind. Ask what you can do to help DD. Ask what the school are doing. They'll do fractions again in year 5 and year 6 so it doesn't matter if she doesn't get the hang of them immediately. Try and stay positive and praise DD for any small successes to build up her self esteem. I wouldn't ask for extra maths instead of whatever homework the others are doing - little and often is better than overwhelming her with too much.

Glittercandle Sun 02-Feb-20 12:01:21

When ever I have these kinds of difficulties I ask what can we do together to help DD. Sometimes you have a draw a line after what has happened in the past and look at ways to move forward. It does sound like the teacher now wants to help.
Hopefully the school will be able to offer some help to enable your DD to make progress.

VerbenaGirl Sun 02-Feb-20 12:01:25

It’s not too late and good that you have this meeting lined up. Will the Deputy be present, as that could be useful? I think I would focus on discussing where her knowledge gaps are and what the plan is to fill those gaps, and what you can do at home to support that. I also think it’s a good idea to raise that she is unhappy at school and ask what pastoral support could be put in place. My DD had a bad time in Y3, but we did manage to get things back on track.

Fairenuff Sun 02-Feb-20 12:01:39

Loads of games are math based OP. Maths is mostly all about patterns. I would break out the board games and make sure she was really strong on the basics. Get a dart board and let her keep the score. Do baking with her and get her to measure and weigh ingredients. Get her to work out the budget for a small shop and take her with you to check prices and add it all up Can she tell the time and read a bus timetable? Just have a lot of fun, let her relax and not be scared of maths.

Witchend Sun 02-Feb-20 13:16:58

I would second to doing it at home. There are plenty of fun things you can do to support maths-cooking for example. Tell her you're doubling (or halving) the recipe, can she help you work out the amounts for example.

But I'm not sure what is so unacceptable about the situation.

You spoke to the teacher, and said there was a problem. Presumably then the teacher kept an eye on it and then saw that actually your dd, whereas seemingly coping at school is simply copying off friends. That's not unusual, but can be very difficult for the teacher to pick up between the "all working well and helping each other" and "A is not understanding at all and is just copying down the answer"

It's great you spoke to the teacher so they could pick that up.

The fact the teacher hasn't phoned for a chat, is not brilliant, but it is because you couldn't get to the parents' evening. Sometimes we can't, but then you're asking for the teacher to phone in their evening-presumably if she goes to afterschool club then you're asking them to call later.

I wouldn't ask for extra homework. She'll feel she's being punished and be embarrassed-others will ask "why are you having that homework?"
Ask the teacher what areas she needs to work at and if there are any resources they can recommend.
Google the areas she needs to work at for suggestions. For example, she can do a graph of number of colours in a smartie packet-actually put the smarties on the graph. She can eat them as she draws them. That sort of thing is much more fun.
Smarties can be used for all sorts-averages, graphs, basic counting etc.

BubblesBuddy Sun 02-Feb-20 13:27:33

Also making crafts can be all about measuring and area. Lots of maths could come into these tasks. The better person to be at the meeting would be the Maths Co-ordinator. They know the curriculum inside out and should be an experienced maths teacher. Hope it goes well.

MaybeDoctor Sun 02-Feb-20 16:03:05

I'm an ex-teacher and also support the advice to put the past behind you and now focus on moving forward together.

Shopping, baking etc is fine and to be honest, I would expect you to be doing that anyway - which you probably are. But now you need to be far more specific in supporting her in the areas where she actually needs help. Unfortunately, the school is unlikely to have the capacity to provide her with individual support within school time. From memory, the Year 4 requirements would include:

Understanding what fractions are eg. 1/3 is something divided into three equal parts
Converting fractions into their equivalents: 1/3 is the same as 2/6, 4/12 etc.
Adding and subtracting fractions with the same denominator eg. 1/6 + 3/6
Converting fractions into a common denominator in order to add or subtract.


Start by cutting things up: bread, pizza, sandwiches. Label them with their fraction. Show how 1/2 becomes 2/4.
Fraction cubes from Amazon - really helpful in terms of getting children to grasp equivalent fractions.
Khan Academy videos
Fraction games
Put posters or other display material up at home

Also begin to talk about decimal and percentage equivalents. "Oh look, you have half that pizza, aren't you lucky to have 50 per cent!"

mais Sun 02-Feb-20 16:11:31

When my dd struggled with Maths at a similar age we used Carol Vordeman’s website - I think it is called Maths Factor, I liked it because the video explanations were very child friendly and were followed up by lots of opportunities to practise. It has a structured approach and lots of incentives. I’ve used lots of other websites that are game orientated but when my dd was struggling we needed a structured approach to fill the gaps and I found it really helped.

MaybeDoctor Sun 02-Feb-20 16:13:39

To add, I always found 'Can you call me?' messages a pain as a primary teacher - it's not as if you have a phone on your desk! So you have to go to the office, dig out the details, make the call (without key information to hand) wasn't always an effective use of time.

Probably better to catch her in the morning and ask for a day when you can meet after school. It is not unreasonable to ask your employer for time off to attend a meeting at your child's school.

MaybeDoctor Sun 02-Feb-20 16:15:53

Ah, I have just seen that you have a meeting already arranged - that is fine then.

GrumpyHoonMain Sun 02-Feb-20 16:19:45

Do you have the skill to help her? Not being funny but if you should be able to show her how to do some things at home and the teacher may be assuming that too. If you can’t, be honest when you meet her.

GreenTulips Sun 02-Feb-20 16:21:06

Loads of websites
TT rockstars
XL maths
Look for times table practise

If she knows her times tables she’ll see the fractions. Try music CDs they soon get it.

Pud2 Sun 02-Feb-20 17:38:40

If she was at expected standard at the end of Year 3 then she really can’t be that far behind. Work with the teacher to see where the weaknesses are and how you can support. Does she know her times tables? These are so important. TT Rockstars is a great programme for supporting this.

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