Kindy teacher not willing to teach... - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-18-2011, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS, 5 and in K, is pretty bright I guess, not quite gifted probably but a bit ahead especially in math. They put him in the "high reading group" and just now it seems they formed a high math group. He's been breezing through the counting and comparing worksheets and such very quickly and the teacher up til now has asked them to color or sometimes go play a game if they finish early. At home he adds and subtracts for fun and counts to 100, at school he's asked to color a certain amount (1-10) of objects or trace numbers. I can't help but feel this high math group is a bluff to try and prove these kids aren't ahead at all and she isn't wasting their time on the regular curriculum. She handed out papers of new assignments (not too difficult but new procedures) and didn't tell them the instructions, he said he couldn't do it and she wrote it was too hard for him and sent it home rather than telling him how and encouraging him. At home I read him what it said to do (the instructions were beyond his reading level) and he got through it on his own just fine. My son swears up and down they never told him what the assignment was and that if he asks for instructions they tell him to hush and do it himself. He lost part of his recess time for not following directions and doing his work. I don't want him giving up just because he doesn't feel like doing things, he's good at this stuff and it's actually still below what I've seen him do. I know he's just 5 but he thrives on challenges and structure and the worksheet format works for him, if allowed to play without structure he does well for a while but his behavior gets pretty bad after a while. If given lots of easy busywork, he does ok but gets bored and talks to other kids. He does have trouble listening to directions if he gets it in his head he already knows something or that the speaker is wrong.

 

I wonder, what do I need to tell my son? How might I help the teacher meet his needs? We plan to homeschool next school year, if I could afford a curriculum yet I'd go ahead and pull him out after winter break. School has been great to teach him schoolwork habits and that he can already read small words (he refused to believe it before), and to find what clicks with him, but there's a lot that isn't working too.

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Old 10-18-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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Have you had a conference with the teacher to get an idea of what is going on? It's always good to get the other half of the story. I'm not saying your son is lying but 5-year-olds can misinterpret things. It sounds like the challenge work itself is appropriate (since he doesn't know how to instantly do it but he needs a little instruction. Before you do anything else, I'd encourage you to have an upbeat, positive meeting with the teacher. Tell her you really appreciate the higher level work but express your concerns that DS can't read the instructions yet and what can be done about it.

 

You might also look at what the benchmarks for kindergarten are in your district. In our district, by the end of the year, kindies read and write sentences. They do a lot of addition and subtraction, skip counting, ect. Both mine started K advanced. My eldest was an unusual case in that she was 2 to 5 grade levels advanced all around but my DS was only about 2 to 3 years advanced. They accommodated him pretty will in kindergarten despite it. It just takes a lot of communication.


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Old 10-18-2011, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We spoke last week, at the time her plan was to keep on doing the basic stuff with everyone and offer math related games (puzzles etc) to the quick finishers and have them hide behind her desk out of the way so both teachers could work with the ones that still needed help. DS was happy with that and I was kind of ok with him playing at school and learning at home. I can tell it's a dilemma, she's got struggling students and required curriculum, why waste time with kids who can do what they need to already? If he doesn't feel like doing something challenging they don't encourage him to. He already can do all the math they're supposed to for the year and most of 1st grade, but it seems she doesn't believe it or care.

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Old 10-18-2011, 06:32 PM
 
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A lot of the math they do in K is to develop a very good understanding of what the numbers are in a very concrete way.  A lot of children who can add and subtract (and even count high) can't transfer that skill to concrete objects and that is something that is viewed as a problem, hence the focus on activities that involve really working with items and boxes in a concrete way.  It may also be that this teacher views differentiating for high level students as an opportunity to have them go deeper into the topic rather than as an opportunity to push them to go through the curriculum faster. 

 

I think you should ask for a conference with the teacher to see what the goal for this group is if you are concerned.  You should also check to see if what your son is telling you about her instruction is accurate (stories about school often get distorted and misinterpreted at that age).  If he tends to daydream or refuse to listen when he doesn't feel like he can get anything out of listening then he may really not be getting the instruction she is giving and she may truly think he can do the work and is just being difficult by not getting on with it because he has done work that is harder or just as difficult in the past.  A conference can help you both bring what you know about his work habits to the table so you can support him in his learning at school.

 

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Old 10-18-2011, 10:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

We spoke last week, at the time her plan was to keep on doing the basic stuff with everyone and offer math related games (puzzles etc) to the quick finishers and have them hide behind her desk out of the way so both teachers could work with the ones that still needed help. DS was happy with that and I was kind of ok with him playing at school and learning at home. I can tell it's a dilemma, she's got struggling students and required curriculum, why waste time with kids who can do what they need to already? If he doesn't feel like doing something challenging they don't encourage him to. He already can do all the math they're supposed to for the year and most of 1st grade, but it seems she doesn't believe it or care.


Do you volunteer in the classroom? Perhaps there is something you can help with to free up the teachers time. If there is a group of kids,  you can volunteer to do the math games with them once or twice a week. If he's choosing not to take the challenge work though, there isn't a whole lot she can do. If he's not actively showing her he's capable, well, it's hard for her to encourage him to take on more. Kids do have to be pro-active and actively prove they are capable of more to get more. It may not seem fair but it's far easier to advocate for a child who is doing the classwork and taking on the challenge work. Normally, I'd suggest a subject acceleration but based on what you said, I'm not sure he'd be a good candidate (1st grade math can require a lot of reading and writing.) 

 

We went through several different accommodations with our own kids before finding the right balance. What worked for one didn't work for the other. It can take a lot of trial and error and patience. It's important to stay positive and not write off the teacher because things don't immediately work. Remember to encourage your child yourself to take the challenge work too. Make sure they understand that the best way to get accommodation is to continually do their best on whatever work is handed to them.

 

If all that is holding you back from homeschooling is price of curriculum, you can look to see if your area has any homeschooling charter schools. Our county has several where curriculum is free, work done at home but you meet with a teacher once a month to check progress.

 


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Old 10-20-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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yup volunteer.

 

that is what i did.

 

and i learnt SOOOOO much.

 

i could see what a huge cross section of kids the teacher had. there were some who couldnt even go past 5 while others were multiplying.

 

i got to understand what a huge struggle it was for her.

 

she was a higer grade teacher so she knew the huge impact it had on kids if they were behind. she did not want to keep anyone behind.

 

so the smart kids didnt get much enrichment. they got to take more harder work home. they had access to harder games and higher reading level books if they needed it.

 

most important she also went by other abilities - so the more - how shall i put it - obvious leader kids got to play leadership roles. the do'er's helped out with classroom tasks, etc. every child had some responsibility but she watched out for more beyond that.


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Old 10-20-2011, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't volunteer, unfortunately. I have a 2 year old with me 24/7, he's not allowed in and any form of parent visits are extremely restricted. This week we're clashing about more than just accelerating his work, the values in this school do not line up with ours and she's picking on my son now because I spoke up (they said in the newsletter they wouldn't do Halloween things out of cultural sensitivity then turned around and made all the lessons centered on it, but hey as long as it's fun and not scary then death and candy and magic are great subjects for every song, story, and worksheet all month). I need to find a way out of this school, he hates it, he learns nothing, they try to prove he knows less than he does, and now he's talking all evening about how fun necromancy would be, heh lovely.

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Old 10-21-2011, 05:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

  and now he's talking all evening about how fun necromancy would be, heh lovely.



What??

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Old 10-21-2011, 05:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post I need to find a way out of this school, he hates it, he learns nothing, they try to prove he knows less than he does, and now he's talking all evening about how fun necromancy would be, heh lovely.

 

I would just pull him then, particularly since you are planning on homeschooling anyway. There may be a free curriculum out there you can use, though KY doesn't have compulsory education until 6yo so you may not be required to do anything at this point.
 

 


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Old 11-18-2011, 01:54 AM
 
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Yes, pull him out now!  You do not need to purchase curricula . ..so many free resources out there.

 

Math programs that are good but not $ are Singapore Math and Miquon.  Both require little investment.

 

If you want to leave him in, insist that he be tested.  Principals LIKE it when students who score high on standardized tests (and want to keep them in the school)-- so if the teacher does not budge, take it to the next level and go to the principal.  I am guessing your son would do well with subject acceleration in math.


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Old 11-18-2011, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He's been home 3 weeks now and doing well. The problem is given the choice, he chose stuff that took no effort, but then got bored. If it took him any effort they sent him back to easy stuff. I do have to push him to focus and get started on his work but he does great once he quits talking and fidgeting. We got a few curriculum books from A Beka as that came well recommended by my friends. He's already good at everything the school stated as their goals for the year and then some and is on track to move on to 1st grade work in the curriculum in Feb. He does need to kept busy and challenged, if he isn't his behavior gets terrible. As we're doing it now though, busy and interacting a lot til 3pm, lots of breaks to go outside between work, he's the best he's ever been.

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Old 12-06-2011, 04:57 AM
 
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You can get all the material you need online and at a library.K is really easy to teach at home. If you keep him in supplement on the weekends with fun learning activities. I pulled my ds out of K just before winter break.Taught him and he tested well on the IOWA test in the spring.

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Old 12-08-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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As a former advanced child with some behavioral/boredom issues myself (who has spoken to my mother many times about how she coped with me) I think a lot of the advice above is great.  In K I was really advanced in reading and my teachers had no idea what to do with me, but they also considered me a "problem child" because I would occasionally get into fights.  My mom suggested that I was given a leadership role to read out loud to other students, and this actually carried through and worked great for me for the next 5 years of school.  Even though your son is home now, maybe maintaining some kind of positive leadership role in the skills he's advanced in would help him realize the value and importance (and excitement!) of learning.

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