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Dd thinks her maths teacher picks on her

(15 Posts)
Dancergirl Mon 09-Feb-15 22:49:15

Dd is in year 7 at a girls grammar. For the past few months dd has been convinced that the maths teacher picks on her and gives the impression of dd being weak at maths. This is a highly selective girls grammar and whilst dd IS stronger in English I would say her maths ability is perfectly sound and she achieved a Level 6 in the SATS. There are some very clever girls and I imagine dd doesn't stand out as being exceptionally able in that environment, I'm sure she's not at the bottom either.

Anyway, dd says that the teacher always makes a special point of checking that dd has understood something and doesn't seem to ask anyone else. The other day, dd was doing an equation on the board and was confident about it and the teacher said 'don't help her' to another girl in the class.

Dd is sensitive and can over react to things and I'm not the sort of parent to wade in at every little thing. I did have an email conversation with this teacher last term as dd can lose confidence quite quickly and it seemed that all was ok. Her end of term test mark was a little disappointing and the teacher said that for her ability she should have scored a bit higher. I told dd this and reiterated the fact that the teacher doesn't think she's stupid, but in the classroom dd says its a different kettle of fish and she FEELS like she's the worst in the class.

Whilst I accept that dd can be over sensitive and that learning to deal with teachers is part and parcel of school life, I also don't want to brush off her feelings just because she's sensitive if that makes sense. Dd says that some of friends agree that she's picked on so they've noticed it too.

Should I do or say anything? What's the best way of supporting dd?

Callooh Mon 09-Feb-15 22:52:31

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noblegiraffe Mon 09-Feb-15 23:21:45

Kids are often remarkably deaf to what's going on to other children in the class. However, it doesn't sound like the teacher is 'picking on her', rather trying to support her in her maths. What would you complain about? 'DD doesn't like it that you check that she has understood stuff or that you try to allow her to demonstrate her abilities without other kids in the group chipping in'?

Dancergirl Mon 09-Feb-15 23:25:48

I'm not thinking of complaining, as I said I know from past experience that dd has to toughen up a little bit. But I'm wondering if it's doing dd any good constantly being asked if she understands something when her classmates aren't asked that? Wouldn't it make you feel a bit singled out?

Callooh Mon 09-Feb-15 23:35:05

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sashh Tue 10-Feb-15 08:13:10

One of my teachers did this with me, it turns out when I'm concentrating I look worried and he interpreted it as not understanding - could it be something like this?

couldhavebeenrachel Tue 10-Feb-15 08:49:52

Hmm, in these types of situations I would put a positive spin on it and try to make my DD see it from the teacher's point of view. At parents evening you could speak to the teacher about your DD's lack of confidence with maths. You could help her not compare herself to her classmates and recognise tgat she is good at maths if she got a level 6 in her SATS. Are they in maths sets yet?

JudgeRinderSays Tue 10-Feb-15 09:28:16

It does sound as if the teacher perceives your DD to be behind the other girls and her disappointing test result would seem to bear that out.Without meaning to sound harsh ,the teacher is the one in the classroom every day and best placed to judge your DD's relative ability - not you.
Also secondary schools do not have great faith in primary SATS results

starfish4 Tue 10-Feb-15 11:18:16

Do listen to what she's saying, but explain it sounds like the teacher is actually doing their job and trying to ensure she understands. It might be worth having a word with the teacher from a different perspective, ie your DD is aware they are always checking if she understands (which you acknowledge is a good thing), but do they feel she is particularly struggling and is there anything that else that can help, ie extra work, help at home, or maybe she would be better in the next set down. You could tell her you're doing this and that she has all your support, even if she continues to feel the same.

My DD has what she describes as "the strictest teacher in the school" and I know she was nervous about him being her teacher - detention is issued immediately if anyone talks in class (other than if they put hand up to talk to him) and he decides where they all sit. She told me he's put her in the front row and many times has asked her what she thinks about what he's just said - my initial thoughts were that she messes around or he was picking on her, but she thinks it's just a bit of banter between them. Met said teacher recently and he turned to us in front of other parents and pupils and said DD was very bright, so it doesn't sound like there is anything to worry about. This is just an example of how things can be misinterpreted even by an adult.

shushpenfold Tue 10-Feb-15 11:22:15

I would agree with the other posters and although it's tempting to ask the teacher not to help individually, I don't think that you'd do your DD any favours through doing this. I would have a chat with the teacher and present it in the line of 'DD finds this difficult, we will be talking to her about it, let's plan a positive line of 'same message' so that we are singing from the same hymn sheet'. I would be very pleased as a teacher to hear this from parents as you're very clearly trying to do the same thing her - support her so that she can achieve her potential.

Notinaminutenow Tue 10-Feb-15 11:31:29

One of my teachers did this with me, it turns out when I'm concentrating I look worried and he interpreted it as not understanding

You've described my son sashh! Luckily his teachers have realised this too.

OP I would not dismiss your DD's concerns - Some teachers do pick on students. Can you ask the teacher what, if anything, you can be doing to support your daughter's maths? Also ask about her specific target and where she is in relation to it. Ask about areas she needs to work on. Don't get too hung up about where she is relative to her peers in the class. A good teacher will teach the maths; a great teacher will be sensitive to the needs of their students and recognise that slightly different approaches may be needed for certain students.

Maths, more than other subjects, is so much about having the confidence to try, even if you get it wrong. It's hard! I have a son who had zero confidence in maths leaving primary despite scoring well in Sats. It took a frankly brilliant y7 teacher to turn this around. When he told my son at parents' evening that he was "becoming a really fantastic mathematician", my son was amazed and on cloud nine. He had never thought this about himself.

Work on ways to build her confidence generally. She's clearly a very bright girl. Good luck!

Noodledoodledoo Tue 10-Feb-15 15:35:05

As a secondary Maths teacher (currently on Mat leave) I might be able to put across the other view point - when your daughter was going through something on the board - the teacher might have been aware that your daughter knew what she was doing and felt confident and it was the class 'know it all' trying to 'help' out - and she told them not to help in order to boost your daughters confidence.

As to checking she understands - if your daughter is lower in ability than some of the others it might be a habit the teacher has got into to make sure she is ok so not left floundering. It might be worth your daughter/you having a quiet word and saying your daughter will ask for help if needed - although I have been asked by students at parents evening to always check with them as they are too embarrassed/shy to ask.

I agree with a PP that students have a great selective deafness - I have been blamed for only telling one student off and never anyone else - I checked with my LSA (no-one is perfect and some students do know how to press your buttons) and they monitored me and said I didn't favour telling them off! Student wouldn't have it at all!

Dancergirl Tue 10-Feb-15 18:21:59

Thank you for your replies, really helpful.

Regarding Maths sets - they're not set for Maths (nor anything else). It is a top girls' grammar and the girls are all seen as being equal. I do try and support dd (and my other two dds) with their schoolwork as much as possible. I know I'm not a teacher but I can see from working with dd that she has good understanding of Maths. However she is now mixing with a lot of other bright girls, some of whom are off the scale clever, but even so I don't think she's at the bottom of the class. She does her homework usually with ease only requiring a bit of help from me or dh. When I explain something to her, sometimes she is a step ahead of me. I try to be honest about my children's capabilities and wouldn't big her up for the sake of it. Recently I know she is very good with probability but needs a bit more work on algebra.

But from dd's point of view, she thinks she has been pigeon-holed. Of course it's good that the teacher wants to make sure a student has understood something, but I don't think dd if asked would admit in front of the class if she hasn't understood something, especially if she's being asked repeatedly and she is the only one asked (but of course I'm not in the class so don't know how true this is!).

Dancergirl Tue 10-Feb-15 18:23:42

But I suppose, secondary school is also getting used to different teaching styles and working with teachers you might not get on with. Tbh, I'm not sure exactly what I'm asking, I'm just mulling it over.

couldhavebeenrachel Tue 10-Feb-15 23:14:52

That can help smile

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