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How to make constructive suggestions to maths teacher

(48 Posts)
greencatbluecat Thu 22-Nov-18 22:40:44

DD is 16 and in y12, studying 4 A Levels, including maths.

She is very bright, quietly confident and chilled. However, I found her crying over her maths homework today. This is most unusual for her, so I am worried. She had spent 2 hours on it and had done less than half. I asked her why she had so much and she told me that she has to catch up because the teachers have added an extra lesson but she can't ever go to it because it clashes with one of her other subjects. This seems very tough on her.

The teachers have said she can come to them if she wants help but I know she won't, so I am hoping the teachers can do something a little more proactive.

It's parents evening soon. What can I suggest as a constructive plan to make her feel more supported? I know teachers are massively overworked, so I want to bear this in mind and not be too demanding.

OP’s posts: |
Carpetglasssofa Thu 22-Nov-18 22:43:32

I think in Y12 the onus really is on the student to ask the teacher for help. Why don't your dd do that?

Carpetglasssofa Thu 22-Nov-18 22:43:46


noblegiraffe Thu 22-Nov-18 22:43:57

So the teachers have offered to help and she isn’t going but is instead crying over her homework? The solution would be for her to make appointments to see her teachers for help as they have suggested.

In the meantime there are loads of video resources on the internet, is she making use of those?

Wolfiefan Thu 22-Nov-18 22:46:15

They have added an extra lesson into the timetable but it clashes with another subject? I would chat to head of 6th form. DD shouldn’t be forced to choose which of her subjects she should miss out on.

Caffeineismydrug35 Thu 22-Nov-18 22:51:53

If the teacher has offered to help her you need to make it clear to her that the help is there and she needs to take it. A Levels are tough and it’s hard watching them struggle but she needs to make it work for her. There are lots of online resources so maybe ask her teacher which ones they’d recommend. Organisation is key so ask her to draw up a timetable for when she’s not in lessons to do her work, tell her to plan it so when she sees where she’s struggling she can seek help.

Wolfiefan Thu 22-Nov-18 22:59:36

OP says an extra lesson. So teaching she’s missing out on. Not extra help which I’d optional.

Caffeineismydrug35 Thu 22-Nov-18 23:37:48

Just reread the original post. I was referring to the teacher saying she can go to them if she needs help. I think she should go to them, regularly.
The teaching she’s missing out on because of the clash is terrible and shouldn’t happen. I would arrange a meeting with the head of year about this, it’s actually really unfair.

greencatbluecat Fri 23-Nov-18 06:01:38

Thanks for your replies.
@noblegiraffe I think she was crying over the overwhelming volume of the work more than anything else. She has more to do because the teachers added on a class 2 or 3 weeks ago that clashes with one of her other subjects, so every week she has extra work to catch up on this extra lesson. She is a hard worker, top student etc.

OP’s posts: |
jeanne16 Fri 23-Nov-18 06:45:38

She really mustn’t miss the extra maths lesson. Not only will she miss that work, she won’t understand the next lesson so will get more and more behind.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Fri 23-Nov-18 06:48:13

How have they been allowed to just add another lesson on? Imagine if every subject just decided to do this! It seems very odd to me. I would contact Head of Sixth Form to check that they're aware this is happening.

greencatbluecat Fri 23-Nov-18 06:50:21

She has to miss it @jeanne16 because she already has another subject timetabled in that slot. Any ideas on how I can approach it when with the teacher when I go to parents evening next week?

OP’s posts: |
Surreyhillsbutnobike Fri 23-Nov-18 06:52:29

It really depends on how strong a student she is and why they added the extra lesson. If she is able, as four subjects suggests, then it may well be possible for her to reduce the number of questions she does, eg just do the odd numbers. Is the extra lesson because the whole class needs more time or for support? If she is missing teaching during the extra lesson then the amsp has great stuff which would help. ( And if she is so stressed in the first term she might like to rethink the doing four decision, three is plenty with the new courses and universities want to see they do other things than study as well. )

LauralovesLuke Fri 23-Nov-18 06:54:37

To be fair, maths A-level is a massive jump from GCSE....I have sympathy. I went from A* and ended up getting a C.... Anyway. I suppose I was wondering, does she need an A-level in maths for the uni course she wants to do? If not, I would seriously consider dropping it. I have a Doctorate degree now - I didn't need the maths and I wish I had saved myself the stress when I was 17!!

MaisyPops Fri 23-Nov-18 07:00:39

I've known staff have approval for additional hours if they've had a class that needs a bit of extra time on things. Equally, it doesn't always fit perfectly because of the nature of timetabling. Often there won't be a two children who have the same timetable.
She's not losing her normal timetabled lessons. She's missing an extra.

At 6th form students have frees to study in and the onus is really on them to speak to the teachers directly.
A levels are a significant step up from GCSE and students have to develop new independent study skills. I'd be getting your DC to speak to their teacher before you get involved as a parent.

Piggywaspushed Fri 23-Nov-18 07:02:20

Yes, she should go for help but I don't necessarily agree the onus is completely on her Maths is a notoriously hard A Level to amke the jump from GCSE and she is routinely having to miss a lesson. That is not on. I am pretty sure if your DD went for help she would get arushed 15 minutes at lunch or break, which is not fair on anyone and hardly the same as an actual lesson.

I am not sure why this wasn't raised before now, really. It's not a parents' evening issue : it's a raise with the teacher /HoD/ Head of Sixth Form the minute it happens issue!
Did the teacher just find an extra slot on her/his timetable and suggest everyone pop along? (this does sometimes happen). is your DD the only student who can't go?

The A Levels should all be taught on a set number of lessons. The maths teacher (if it was a unilateral decision) can't just declare everyone needs to come to an extra one!

The fact that your DD is bright and the extra work is making her cry speaks volumes to me. Sounds an unfortunate situation all round.

Does she definitely need to do 4 A Levels?

I am obviously more militant but this situation is not of the child's making ! The teacher created the problem so i think the onus is on her/him to resolve this (or stop doing the extra lesson!)

MaisyPops Fri 23-Nov-18 07:08:30

Did the teacher just find an extra slot on her/his timetable and suggest everyone pop along? (this does sometimes happen). is your DD the only student who can't go?
That's how it's worked when I've seen it happen.
The teacher finds the free that overlaps the most to consolidate things/go through a few more examples and then students turn up or don't and material is available for independent study if they want/need it.

WitchyMcWitchface Fri 23-Nov-18 07:13:39

Maths is really hard. Maybe do the extra maths and miss the other subject, maybe the other teacher is more flexible. But it is hard for the teacher too to get the work covered. Or pay for tuition but it might be hard to find a good tutor at this level.

samlovesdilys Fri 23-Nov-18 07:21:42

Could she swap with the 'other subject' timetabled then? Perhaps alternate so she misses each one occasionally. I would speak to head of sixth form, this 'extra' lesson should be used to consolidate and practice, not for new learning - she shouldn't feel penalised. I do however agree that SHE needs to speak to teacher in question, maybe take a friend for support if she is nervous?!

Carpetglasssofa Fri 23-Nov-18 07:29:36

Why won't your dd ask for help?

OhTheRoses Fri 23-Nov-18 07:30:17

It's a timetabling issue and it disadvantages your dd. She shouldn't be the one who pro-actively seeks help, the school should proactively ensure she gets the same contact time as others and needs to schedule a formal, additional lesson where she us actively taught. I think you should write to the Head of Sixth forms and ask for a resolution.

Mine went to independent schools and that absolutely would have been the expectation. It shocks me that this goesnon in state schools. It is neither right nor fair and contradicts equal opportunity.

I am sorry your dd has been put in this situation.

AChickenCalledKorma Fri 23-Nov-18 07:37:34

In terms of what you say at parents evening, this is your opportunity to make sure all relevant staff know that the timetabling issue is causing major stress and risks leaving an able student behind. Although I agree that your DD does need to take up the offer of help, you could ask them specifically when an alternative opportunity is available for her to cover the material that she's missing. Or ask whether there is any scope to adjust the timetable so that the clash doesn't occur.

HettySorrel Fri 23-Nov-18 07:41:36

I agree with those saying to contact the head of sixth form about the extra lesson. Your response really depends on why the extra lesson has been added. For example, if it was added because due to a timetabling error maths wasn't allocated the correct number of hours then the onus is on the school work out how DD will get the extra contact time, but if it is because the teacher realised a few students were struggling and has volunteered to give extra help in her PPA time then it is really up to DD to seek extra help at other times.

Speak to the teacher about her struggling and ask for ideas for the best ways for her to use her independent study time.

greencatbluecat Fri 23-Nov-18 07:46:15

@Carpetglasssofa I think she would it were something like "I don't understand how to do these three questions." I don't think she knows how to approach the teacher because she can't say anything as specific as that. I think at 16 the thought that everyone else is going to a lesson that you can never attend is a little daunting. Every single week, she has to catch up. Thinking about it, I think she feels a little overwhelmed and fed up.

OP’s posts: |
Piggywaspushed Fri 23-Nov-18 07:53:05

OP, this needs sorting before parents' evening. Youw il probably meet the teacher for 5 minutes and will want to discuss her mathematical progress and ability at that point. This is a logisitcal issue and I bet there is quite a tale behind it.

maisy is right that some teachers pop in extra lessons: but that doesn't make it right (especially when all DCs can't attend it). In theory, there is enough work at A Level enyway without having extra catch up work involuntarily!

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