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December 2012 / Bronx/​Riverdale Family / Brooklyn Family / Long Island Family / Manhattan Family / Queens Family / Staten Island Family

Dear Teacher

School’s too slow for my son

Bored first grader with no challenging work

Dear teacher,

My first grader has become bored in class during the last few weeks. I can see why. His readers are below what he had in kindergarten, and his spelling words are simple three-letter words.

We have tried talking to the teacher, but she becomes aggressive, and says we are attacking her teaching. The principal has agreed to look into this matter. While I am waiting, I have decided to homeschool him. The teacher is definitely not challenging my son enough. What should we do? We pay more than $20,000 a year for this school, and his education is not appropriate for his abilities.

Dear parents,

Since you are paying, it is easy to deduce that your son is attending a private school. You might want to consider sending him to a public school as many, especially charter schools, have programs designed for gifted children. Also, a different private school could be a better fit for your child. Removing your son from this school and deciding to homeschool him could be the answer to his getting a challenging education. There is also the possibility of his skipping to second grade or taking a few subjects with the second grade class. This is another solution to discuss with the principal.

Keep in mind that school has only been in session for a little over three months. Students enter first grade at all different levels. Some have completed kindergarten and even pre-k, while others never went to kindergarten. It is challenging for the teacher to get everyone up to speed, so they are working as a class. The curriculum could become more appropriate as the teacher gets better acquainted with the students.

Hopefully, the principal will address your concerns soon, so you can make the best decision for your child.

Is this teacher unfair?

Dear teacher,

My eighth grader is very unhappy with his algebra teacher. The teacher gives out demerits all the time for the slightest misbehavior, offers very quick and inadequate explanations of new material, and never reminds the students about future assignments after they have been assigned. Once, my son got a D for handing in an assignment one day late.

It seems to me that this teacher is handling the students as if they were in high school. I am not alone in complaining. Other parents are complaining about his teaching.

My son is doing well in every other class but only getting a C in algebra. This is not a great grade for someone going onto geometry in high school. I want my son to be a responsible student, but I feel that this teacher is unreasonable. How should I handle this?

Dear parents,

By now, your son should realize that this teacher has high expectations about how students behave in the classroom and does not hold students’ hands when it comes to reminding them about future assignments. Your son obviously knows how to behave in order to avoid getting demerits, and it is his responsibility to do so. It is also his responsibility to write down all assignments when they are given and to put long-term assignments on a calendar. This is a habit that will serve him well in high school.

Teachers vary greatly in how they present material. It is possible that this teacher is simply not realizing that eighth graders need more explanation than older students. Unless this teacher changes, your son and his classmates need to study their math textbook very carefully. There are also websites where they can find good explanations of algebraic concepts.

The teacher could change instructing style if a group of students approached him about needing more explanation. If this fails, a group of parents could ask the teacher how their children could improve their knowledge of the material covered in the classroom. The last step is for the parents to discuss this situation with the principal.

Resolutions to boost your children’s skills

Dear parents,

It’s New Year’s resolution time again. Too often, people go overboard in trying to change too much with their resolutions. Sometimes a simple resolution or two can pay unexpected dividends. This year our resolution suggestions center on building your children’s academic skills through supporting their interests. One of the biggest assets children can have is an overwhelming interest in something accompanied by a desire to learn more and more about it.

Children who are mad about baseball can improve their math skills through learning how the all-so-important statistics are figured, read more to learn about recent games, and have a great deal of information to use in reports. They can also study the science involved in throwing different pitches. It’s the same story for those who are absorbed in hobbies from stamp collecting to photography.

Resolve to support your children’s interests.

• Give them books, magazines, and articles to read about their interest.

• Help them get more involved in their interests by finding classes (music, art, photography, golf) for them to take or going to places (baseball games, museums, plays) where they can see their interests firsthand.

• Respect their interests and speak glowingly about them to others.

Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.com or ask the columnists on their website at www.dearteacher.com.

©Compass Syndicate Corporation, 2012. Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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