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Advice please about dd and Maths

(39 Posts)
Dancergirl Mon 12-Mar-18 19:18:06

Dd is in Year 10 at a girls' grammar. She's not bad at Maths but in a high achieving school like this she thinks she is near the bottom.

They were supposed to be set for Maths this year but the school have decided not to this year, much to dd's disappointment. She was hoping for the bottom set which would entail a smaller group and hopefully a good teacher.

Dd has had poor mental health for a while, we are just waiting for an appointment to see a therapist. In the meantime, she is really stressed out about her work among other things, especially Maths.

In class, dd sits near the teacher's desk and apparently the teacher is on dd's back the whole time. Asking her if she's understood multiple times, has she done the homework and so on. Dd is made to feel as she's at the bottom of the class. This teacher also talks a lot about GCSE grades, she wants them all to get 9s. Dd would be very happy with a 7 or 8 but the teacher tells her to aim for a 9 even if dd thinks that is unrealistic.

Dd is really trying with her Maths and always does the homework. But sometimes she leaves questions out if she genuinely can't do it and the teacher tells her off about this. Dd says she is doing her best, she asks friends for help, she looks at online resources etc, she's certainly not resting on her laurels.

Last week dd missed a Maths lesson as she had her GCSE Drama devising performance for most of the day. She obviously missed work and now is struggling with the homework. She's dreading Maths tomorrow as she thinks she will get another telling off.

Dd doesn't want me to get involved but I'm finding it very hard to stand by and see dd's health and self-esteem go downhill.

dementedpixie Mon 12-Mar-18 19:37:51

Do you or her dad help with the homework? I help if dd/ds are struggling and we look up how to do it

Dancergirl Mon 12-Mar-18 19:43:31

demented I do try but it's a long time since I did Maths and a lot of it is beyond me.

dementedpixie Mon 12-Mar-18 19:45:23

That's why we look out up. Mathsisfun and BBC bitesize are helpful websites

Dancergirl Mon 12-Mar-18 19:51:12

demented she DOES use BBC bitesize a lot plus other resources. My post is really not about that.

whampiece Mon 12-Mar-18 19:56:03

I genuinely don't see anything wrong. The teacher is asking her often if she has understood because your DD struggles. I also see nothing wrong with encouraging kids to aim high.

You sound a bit precious tbh, your DD is one of many, she is getting teachers attention because she needs it, not to make her feel like she is bottom of the class.

I do sympathise with your DD and her mental health, but at the same time I can't see any reason for you to become involved here. If you want to help you could do as PP suggest and get on some websites to help her complete her homework. Placing blame on school here isn't the way to encourage her.

Dancergirl Mon 12-Mar-18 20:03:50

Thank you. I am genuinely not one to get overly involved but dd is so down at the moment I feel I have to fight her corner a bit.

Is that usual then, for teachers to tell students off for leaving out a few questions in the homework although they have clearly tried their best? Dd is spending a LOT of time on Maths and is trying hard, but it seems whatever she does isn't enough for this teacher.

TresDesolee Mon 12-Mar-18 20:07:42

Can you talk to the teacher directly, see if you can explain more about what’s happening and how much pressure your daughter feels? The teacher might be happy to have the info and adapt the way she works with your dd a bit.

Don’t go in all guns blazing, just frame it as an information exchange. You might discover that the teacher thinks your daughter is doing fine and is surprised that she feels stressed.

AalyaSecura Mon 12-Mar-18 20:10:01

I don't think you sound remotely precious! I'd be looking for clarification on exactly what the teacher wants your DD to do if, despite all her extra efforts, she isn't able to answer the homework questions.

Oblomov18 Mon 12-Mar-18 20:11:05

Talk to the teacher.
Get a maths tutor. I know it's a lot of money, but after only a few lessons, it makes a HUGE difference.

mineofuselessinformation Mon 12-Mar-18 20:13:41

First of all, does she have access to online help (such as mymaths)? She could look at the online lessons there as they will walk her through the topic. Bitesize is also good, as well as Samlearning and PiXL.
Methodmaths is very good for online practise papers (the teacher can set it so the pupils get hints and it tells them what grade they're at and how many more marks to get to the next grade).
I know that's not the main thrust of your post, but it sounds like your dd could do with some resources she can call on for help.
I second what pp have said about contacting her teacher - if they're genuinely trying to support her by questioning whether she's understood, they might need to back off a bit. If not, and the school should know about her struggles, you may need to go via the head of maths or the special needs department.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Mon 12-Mar-18 20:20:13

This sounds just like me at that age. Except that we were set.

How long is the wait to see a therapist? They might be able to help with some strategies.

If the maths teacher is approachable, I don’t think here’s any harm in saying she finds the constant attention difficult. Especially if she can ask for help if she needs it.

Unfortunately the thing about not answering questions is totally normal, although counterproductive. I don’t think there is a way round this one other than developing a coping strategy.

Dancergirl Mon 12-Mar-18 21:27:05

Thank you. She has had some private tuition in the past and I am going to contact the tutor again to arrange some more sessions.

I don't know. It just seems to be so results driven these days. I'm not a teacher but I would hope the aim of a good teacher would be to inspire enjoyment of the subject. Not to be in total dread of the next lesson. If you're worried and stressed you can't learn effectively can you?

be47 Mon 12-Mar-18 21:36:56

I'm not a teacher but I would hope the aim of a good teacher would be to inspire enjoyment of the subject. Not to be in total dread of the next lesson.

Maybe in the days before performance related pay! But now if you want to keep your job and get a pay rise the results are all that matter sadly. The pressure's not just on for the kids anymore.

Dancergirl Mon 12-Mar-18 21:59:06

Good point be So in teaching terms, teachers' pay rises are directly linked to how many A*s/9s a student gets?

BarbarianMum Mon 12-Mar-18 22:24:30

<<It just seems so results driven nowadays>>

Yes it is. And especially in grammar schools.

DreamingofBrie Mon 12-Mar-18 22:29:05

Hi DancerGirl,

I use these revision videos from MathsGenie with my classes - I link them to the homework tasks that I set. Sometimes it helps for a child to see the examples being demonstrated again in such a way that they can rewind and repeat.

Hope she finds them helpful.

DreamingofBrie Mon 12-Mar-18 22:30:24

There are also past exam questions with solutions on the site, which will hopefully help.

JustRichmal Tue 13-Mar-18 08:16:09

Nothing stops you learning maths like the anxiety you will not understand it. Stress to her she does not have to understand it straight away. She just has to read over it, let it flow past her, try the questions and decide whether her understanding is high middle or low. Leave it a couple of days then try it again and ask whether her understanding has improved. I have a dd who is good at maths. She does not expect to understand things straight away. I think if your dd could break this spiral of thinking she is not good at maths so getting anxious about it and so not doing well, she too would start doing better.
I can recommend the Letts or CGP revision guides.
My dd too would hate the constant attention from the teacher in class. The teacher is obviously trying to help, so I would have a word as she obviously does not know your dd as well as you do and does not realise the affect it is having.

Dancergirl Tue 13-Mar-18 10:34:36

Thanks for that link brie

just I actually have no worries about dd's ability or performance in Maths. My oldest dd did GCSEs last year - she also struggled with Maths but had the benefit of being in the bottom set for most of secondary school (different school). They had brilliant teachers and worked at a slower pace. She also had a bit of private tuition which I arranged. She got an A smile

Dd2 is more able academically, I have no doubt she will get at least a 7. But her anxiety stems from the lessons and this teacher rather than the work itself. As I have said, she uses online resources and works hard at Maths. But she also has 10 other subjects to focus on, there is a limit how much time she can spend on one subject.

be47 Tue 13-Mar-18 13:26:50

It's not linked to number of 9s, but most teachers have a target in place about students achieving a certain grade (ours are calculated based on KS2 data), and you can only progress past a certain level on the pay scale if you meet those targets. It's normally not 100% of students, more like 75-85%, but it does put a lot of pressure on the staff to make sure the kids achieve.

Dancergirl Tue 13-Mar-18 19:01:58

Thank you be that's very helpful. Can I ask dd's teacher for her target grade or is that info for the school only?

From past experience, teachers have been cagey about predicted grades - they usually say it's down to how hard they work!

be47 Tue 13-Mar-18 21:12:10

The school should tell you - how else are you supposed to know if DD is achieving in line with where she should be? If they haven't provided it, ask for it - then you at least know what the line she's being measured against is.

Snowysky20009 Wed 14-Mar-18 07:40:54

I was like your dd with her teacher. In top set, but really wanted to move down, however they would not allow it. I used to dread every lesson, and get told off for not answering a question- even if I didn't know where to start with it.

We done a past paper once, had it marked and the teacher commented that no one had scored full marks on the last question. I raised my hand and 'Sir, you have given me full marks'. He replied 'yes I forgot, somehow Snowy managed this question, what a shame she didn't manage the rest of the paper'.

It knocked me to the ground. I felt that even though I had achieved something, I still could not get any praise. I got a C in the end. But believe if I had been in the set down, set the other maths paper, I would have got a B. Up until Year 10, maths had been my strongest subject, I left year 11 hating it.

Toomanytealights Wed 14-Mar-18 07:54:52

The thing is your dd would be under the same pressure in a comp as she'd be in a top set for maths particularly if she did well in her Sats.

I'm sure the school would understand if she wanted them to back off.

My dd has Sen and is in a high achieving grammar. Just had parents evening and they've been superb,all bending over backwards to support her and offer strategies in the subjects she needs them.Ime this MN idea that grammar school staff are heartless slave drivers just isn't true.

I'd speak to school and work with them,we can advise you all you like but they are with your dd everyday.

As an aside has your dd got any online learning facilities from school? Our schools use DR Frost and it is very good for enhancing core areas which might help with her self esteem.

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