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40ish and beyond... 40ish and beyond...

Advice Please

Posted by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 2:02 PM
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My daughter is 7 and just started 2nd grade.  She has  leader type of personality, and can be a little fiesty sometimes.  That being said  her new teacher (who was a 5th grade teacher and now switched to 2nd grade for the first time) Called me on the 3rd day of school asking me about her saying she is having a hard time adjusting. My daughter struggles a little academically, but gets the job done.  She has never had a problem with a teacher.  I told the teacher to make a chart with a smile face for good and not one for not so good.  Well everyday but one, the teacher has told me not nice things.  (basically complaints like she was very tired, not cooperative today)   It got to the point where I wrote her a note saying Only tell me things if she is having a really bad day, but also let me know something good she did.  I believe in  positive reinforcement.  And to top it off she is sending home class work to do every night on top of homework.  The other 2 second grade teachers give two homework assignments.  This teacher gives 5 to 6 every night.  This is where I need the advice.

by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 2:02 PM
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BL2010
by Just Me on Oct. 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM
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Can you go in and talk to her in person? Maybe have the principal there too.

LFosterfarm
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 2:06 PM

 sounds like teacher is still stuck in 5th grade mode.  I made it a point to volunteer alot to see exactly what was going on in the class with my kids.  IDK if that is an option for you or not, or even a once or twice thing, no warning, just show up to volunteer, as a norm they can't/won't turn you away.  I would address your concerns with either the principle and or school councelor to see if you can get to the bottom of this.  Ask your DD how her day is everyday, discuss class work, homework assignments, why she didn't finish this or that, and basically non chalantly (sp) get to what issues she may be having.  hope this helps.

suzi960
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 3:27 PM
2 moms liked this
I agree with these ladies here as well,meeting in person , and ask around about this teacher ... Going from 5th to second grade is a big difference ... Sorry momma. Maybe just take ur daughter out and put her in the other 2nd grade class !!
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MentorMom1
by Gold sister on Oct. 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Help me understand. So your daughter told the teacher at school that she (your daughter) is having a hard time adjusting? And the teacher called to tell you that?  Or did the teacher ask you if your daughter was talking to you about having a hard time adjusting at school?

I find it hard to believe that a child would talk about having a hard time adjusting. They would show behavioral signs, I think. I mean, some kids might say things like, I can't get used to this, but more like it, they'd start acting out.

It sounds like your daughter has strong self-esteem from your description of her as a leader-type. And she can be feisty. What do you mean? Can you give some examples?

And she has never had a problem with a teacher. That is telling, too.

A little struggling academically but gets the job done. Is she catching up in her skills, perhaps, or getting a handle on reading? In what ways does she struggle?

With more clarification, I might be able to lend more insights. But, the whole chart thing tends to put your child in a box without looking at her as a whole person and without looking at the whole picture. The teacher is now looking for behaviors that she deems appropriate. But is that really what you want? And is it right for your daughter? What if the way the teacher teaches and manages the class is part of the problem?

Of course you will need - without apology - to go to school and spend time observing your child's interactions and how she approaches her work. But ALSO, how the teacher interacts with her and the other kids and how the teacher approaches teaching.  Another commenter said she may still think she's teaching 5th grade.

We often expect kids to deal with difficult situations that even we wouldn't want to tolerate.

Just because your daughter struggles a bit with learning doesn't mean she isn't smart. Not by a long shot. She is at the age when her skills of reading, writing, spelling are becoming what they call "automatized." And if her foundation is shakey, it will make her tentative in everything else. Even skills like copying off  the black board can be and should be taught to kids as a specific skill.  But a lot of teachers brush right over the small stuff, and think kids "infer" this knowledge like osmosis. Some children do not.

And some teachers are not great at teaching basic skills. They want kids to memorize a bunch of sight words, they don't teach decoding strategies, they don't give kids plenty of practice with new skills. And they rush everything.

If your daughter is able to conduct a regular conversation with age-appropriate vocabulary or above, she probably has an average to above average I.Q. If she remembers verbal instructions, like three simple tasks, and can perform them, she's fine. If she can sit and look at a book for 30 minutes. Don't worry.

Kids with high self-assertion skills sometimes are not smiled upon by teachers. These kids love to lead and have a chance to excell. And so it may be that your daughter is feeling a conflict. On the one hand, she has plenty of confidence in herself, and wants to be a leader. But on the other hand, her academic skills are maybe a bit less that stellar. That dichotomy can mess with kids' minds. These are the kids I taught as an Orton-Gillinham tutor in private practice and as a remedial reading teacher in school.

They know they are smart, but begin not to believe it. If she's saying she's tired, and you know that you are doing your best to make sure she's getting over eight hours of sleep, what else could it be? And you're making sure that she couldn't possibly lack good nutrition. Some kids need a snack to boost them at certain times of day. If you do your job, then you can rule that out.

Then I would look at her work. Say there are ten sentences to correct, or math problems, or whatever. Does she do the first five and not have time or energy for the rest? Does she peter out? Does she take a really long time to do her homework? If this is the case, she may be using all her mental energy to decode the words she's reading, and has less energy for comprehension. (BTW, some kids can read like little Banshees and not understand what they've read. They've just memorized words). But it's more likely that these kids are having decoding problems.

Also, how is her handwriting? Her pencil grip? Check to see if she struggles with letter formation, or if she's fluent. And her spelling. Does she lack basic spelling rules, or have a hard time with writing down certain sounds and sound combinations?

Also, is the teacher using mostly auditory teaching? Does she mostly talk to the class to give instructions?  Or does she use visual and hands-on as well? When a teacher tells a child who doesn't understand something, "You should already know how to do this," that is not helpful. Or the child comes across a word in a reader and stumbles but the teacher says, "We learned that word yesterday!" It only serves to put down the child. It diminishes their self-esteem. And they stop wanting to perform.

So when you go to school, watch exactly how your daughter works to complete tasks. What is her approach? Does she have a set way to go about it that she's been instructed in? Or is she scattered? Does she chat with other kids when she doesn't understand what to do, instead of getting on task? What gets her in trouble? What exactly is giving her problems and where is she making mistakes? Does she lose it when she has to copy something from the board? Or when she has to do a particular type of task?

Just analyze this sort of thing so you can see what's going on.

One thing I know for sure, you would rather have a confident kid than one who takes a back seat and is unassertive. There are teachers I have dealt with, concerning my older daughter, especially, who resented her amazing sense of self and how she led her peers.  She would teach them Broadway show tunes on the playground and ask the teacher if they could perform them after lunch recess!! And there wasn't a group project that she didn't take charge of. They wrote on her report card that she should try to take more of a back seat, so she would have more friends.  (That daughter ended up a communications officer in the Air Force and is getting her second masters in psychology.)

What the teacher thinks and feels about your child is really important for you to know. Because you can buffer relationship difficulties at home. If the teacher tries to tamp her down, keep her from using her gifts, then you can provide more opportunities at home. Put her in an organization that helps girls become leaders, like Girl Scouts.

My daughters asserted for themselves from a very early age and were involved in scouting through high school. It really helped shape who they became in life.They are highly successful young women today. So I think those early personality traits matter. They need to be protected and developed in our kids, not knocked out of them because some teacher lacks the ability to deal. Or is even jealous.

About the homework: First: Everything the teacher sends home should be PRACTICE with the skills and concepts that have already been taught. Not new material that the child is teaching themselves, or that you have to teach them.

Second: YOU set the limit on how much time you will allow your child to spend doing homework. Ask the teacher how long it should take. If the teacher says one hour, then sign off after one hour of supervising your daughter with her homework. You can writer a note saying where you stopped, because your child  had done enough for one night and needed to do other things.

And you shouldn't have to do the homework "for" her. If you are sitting in the room with her at the table, then she  can ask questions if need be. But I seriously question why she's sending home classwork. Does the whole class get it, or is it make-up work, only for kids who are behind? 

Kids need to have respect for their teachers, which is hard if the teachers are doing things that tick parents off. So commiserate with your daughter. But I would withhold my harshest criticism for when I talked to my husband! Sometimes my kids' teachers assigned "idiot" homework, like word searches, that I wouldn't let them do. I told them to go read a book instead. And I wrote notes on their homework as to why it was not done, which I'm sure raised a few eyebrows. You are in charge of your kid. You only give the school permission to teach her.

Just remember that your daughter is not the problems she is having at school. She is a wonderful human being.  

sunflowers12
by Silver sister on Oct. 4, 2012 at 6:35 PM

i would send the home work back saying " please stop sending so much home work" .. the start e.mailing her and blow up the phones and start talking to principles/vice whatever you can get hold of eventually they get tired of hearing about the kids and the parent constantly calling and they will find common ground... 

i have had these issues many times and this is what is do to resolve it i call and keep up on it til we are all happy with the out come.. teachers are just ppl and i get that but many times they to get burnt out and think that the way they are handling the student is ok.. especially on that's been in an upper grade they tend to have very poor coping skills with younger groups depending on how long they have been there too.. not all are bad don't get me wrong but sometimes just like kids they need redirection...happy

rosebud727
by Mac Goddess on Oct. 4, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Sounds like you need a one on one with the teacher. You know, some teachers do send home a lot of homework, and some don't.  That's why people often will select a teacher beforehand that they have heard good things about if the option is available. 

If you don't get anywhere with the teacher meeting, maybe it's time to think about moving her to another class.

Good luck!

escade
by Sister on Oct. 5, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Thank you for all the info.  I actually called the teacher yesterday after another not nice note.  It said she got a late start while the other kids started there work, and that also while another teacher was in the room she had to tell her to be quite or something like that. (I don't have it on me because I send it back in with a signature)  She said that she is not paying attention, but academically she is doing well when she wants to.  She just struggles a little with the math.  I didn't mention the excessive home work, but I did call another parent who said she has her daughter skips the reading because it is so much homework.

When I mentioned how my daughter has a leader type of personality, she also is very insecure about her academics. I don"t know what is going on, but I did ask if I can sit in on a class, and she said I could not due to the other children's privacy.  One other thing that I did notice is that her handwriting was an issue last year, because it was sloppy, but in one month her handwriting is 90% better.  Thank you again for the advice :)

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