We moved cities/schools (private to public school) mid-year and our previously model student 6yr old has got his first report card from the new school. His teacher refers to 'minor but consistent poor behaviour choices' and goes on to write a very damning assessment of his behaviour. Her descriptions of his academic progress sound as though they were written for a 3rd grader, criticising his lack of imaginative vocabulary and structure in his writing. She admitted to perhaps 'expecting too much of him' but we're not sure what to do, particularly as he may have the same teacher next year.
He is in a public school while we wait for a spot in a private school... clearly he's not thriving, but bad reports will kill any chances we have of getting him out of this environment where he says he is bored and finds class 'not interesting'. We feel stuck and unsure what to do. In terms of his school, and fixing his behaviour while at school.
Do we approach the principal to discuss it, or pull him out and homeschool, or hope for the best and pray he improves his report card even with the the boredom? He has 3 enrichment activities/week but even in those he isn't learning anything new, just practising his writing, etc, and he is says he finds it equally unchallenging. And as for the teacher, do we request a different one next year and if so, how, without sounding like we're shifting the blame and excusing his behaviour?
Thanks for any advice!
Have you had a live conference with the teacher? I'd schedule one and find out exactly what she means. It's easy to read the worst of intentions on paper. When you go in, take a look at the work he's doing next to what they expect him to be doing. If your DS is "bored" but not working to the level expected of the class, then you need to find out why. I'm assuming he's in 1st grade... perhaps his former school was still more play-based at this stage and his current school more structured. It could actually be that school is MORE challenging than he's used to and saying he's "bored" is his way of coping with the fact he has to actually "try" and possibly not always succeed now. He may not be used to being encouraged to work at his level... he may be a kid who took pride in getting easy work done fast and doesn't like that he has to put real time into doing quality work now. Maybe the work truly is below level but until you get in there and look, you aren't going to really know. You say he was a "model student" before but that was pretty much kindergarten right? There is a big shift in how kindergarten and 1st grade are taught generally. He could be reacting more towards that change than the change in school.
Make sure to instill in him that being bored is not an excuse. Certainly, it can be a sign that things need to change but an excuse for poor behavior? Nope. If he doesn't do his top work, he's not going to get the challenges he wants in any school public or private. It's unfortunate and a complication but it's the truth.
These enrichment activities... why do they include practicing writing? They should be interest based and fun! Get him out of any program that's just more "school" and into something that has him up and moving, being creative, learning an instrument or the likes.
Whether you continue or homeschool is up to you. Personally, I'd want to know more of why my child isn't succeeding in this school before making any changes just so you don't end up with the same issues at home. Go in and talk to people. Work in the class. Don't approach the principal until you've got as far as you can with this teacher in person.
I agree that the first step is a conference with the teacher, and if possible, observation of the class.
He may not be responding to this teacher's classroom management style and discipline methods, particularly if he is used to different methods at his previous school and at home. Without a better understanding of the specific behaviours that the teacher finds objectionable and the possible triggers or underlying causes, I'm not sure that the principal will be able to help you much at this point.
Academically, you say he is bored and unchallenged, yet the academic expectations are too high. That also needs to be addressed with the teacher. Is there a disconnect between his learning style and her teaching methods? Perhaps he prefers to observe and receive direct instruction and she is using more hands-on, experiential and exploration kinds of learning tasks in the classroom - or vice versa. You won't know how to help him until you have a better understanding of where the issues lie.