September 11, 2008

My Kid's Too Smart and I'm Complaining

School is in session and we are in first grade this year. Six weeks into the new school year, I'm stressing. I don't think Oldest's teacher is challenging him enough. It's to the point that I woke up the other night at 4 am and tossed and turned about the situation until six am. Hubby said that one night while sleeping I started yelling out, "Who are you picking up from school!!!" He thought I was nuts but after I evaluated the situation, I believe my yelling is related to his teacher. I'm no dream analyzer but it made sense to me.

My anxiety really began about three weeks ago when I sent Oldest's teacher a very friendly email "inquiring" about suggestions for homework. For three weeks we were doing "silly work," as Oldest put it. At first I thought the teacher was still trying asses each child's strengths and weaknesses so I tried to be patient. But after three weeks of Oldest completing homework that resembled what he was doing the first week of the previous year, I was concerned. We are at the same school so I can't figure this all out.

For example, the goal of the math homework is to practice questions so that the student can complete 30 problems in three minutes by Thursday. He does all 30 on Monday in about 45 seconds. One time he was done in 32 seconds, no joke. The reading instructions are to first read the book to the child, second day, read every other page to the child, see if child can read the other pages, and Wednesday and Thursday the child should try to read the book alone with most words correct. He's reading the book from start to finish on Monday. I don't even bother to read the book past Monday because it's silly. Last year, his teacher had the children reading a series of books and each child moved on to the next book at his or her own pace. Oldest was done with the series for the entire year by March so his teacher moved him on to another series suitable for second graders. We were so proud. He didn't finish the series by the end of the year so the remaining books were on our summer reading list. We worked our booty's off to ensure that we finished the entire series by the end of the summer. This year, the entire class reads the same books. So now I've resorted to reading our own books at home.

Back to the email I sent the teacher, when I told her our situation and asked for tips on what to do, she said that she doesn't give separate homework to the children, but recommended some websites to do for "fun" and to read our own books that would challenge him more. Okay, I understand she doesn't want to custom fit homework for 20 children, however, how about she work on one program that allows the teacher to select different levels of work for various students? Why can't she by like last year's teacher?

So now what? I have no idea. But my kid better start coming home with homework he finds too difficult or else I'm going to have to send another email and I can't figure out how to make it sound nice.


Mekhismom said...

You have to remedy this right now. When I was a child I spent all of 3rd grade self-taught because my teacher gave more time to the less advanced students. It was a waste of a full year - my mother refused to let me skip but I would have been better off in the long run.

All children are not the same and if the current teacher cannot provide what your son needs take it to the principal and discuss options.

Do not let her stifle his greatness by keeping him bored in class.

Sorry for the rant but I feel passionate about this because of my own experience.

kisz4tj said...

I wouldn't send another email. Instead, I'd request a conference. While I can understand it may be unreasonable to customize work for each kid, if he's not learning anything new, than something has to change.

If they have more than one class for the same grade, he may need a different teacher. Online lessons, and books from home should be a nice extra. It shouldn't be a necessity to fill in the gap.

Justice Fergie said...

i agree that you have to act now. this time is too precious to waste. i suggest you meet with the teacher/principal in person to discuss options. maybe he does need to skip a grade?

what a great problem to have though - your kid's too smart for his class!

Molly said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I think some teachers just can't be arsed these days - if I were a teacher and I saw that one of my pupils had slightly more potential than the others, I would want to challenge them and make sure they were getting what they needed.

Hope you get it resolved!

Rhonda said...

I agree. you must not wait. I don't know whether another email would work or not but the teacher, the school or somebody needs "another something"! don't let her put you off like that... I think you have the starting statement right there in your blog "I understand she doesn't want to custom fit homework for 20 children, however, how about she work on one program that allows the teacher to select different levels of work for various students?"
she has no job if she doesn't have students and students are not the same evenif they are in the same grade. she has little individuals in her class not little drones or "borgs" (star trek -next generation fan). extra is just that "extra" it is not to supplement what she should be doing. She doesn't have to be last years teacher ...she just has to be a better "this year's teacher"!!! I'll step off the soap box now...

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