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    #249633 - 04/14/22 01:23 PM Math acceleration and teacher attitude questions
    coveln Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/21/13
    Posts: 70
    My DD is 11 in 6th grade. New school district/new state this year. DD displayed a lot of interest and aptitude in math at an early age. She did an early entrance to a gifted kindergarten which was great but then for other reasons, we moved her to a regular public elementary school then moved states after 2nd grade. Neither elementary school had a gifted program at that age and neither made any effort to appropriately challenge her. I believe her scores on the school assessment (STAR testing I think) at the start of 1st grade was at the top of 4th grade. Over the years math dropped from being loved to being her worst class. No surprise there given her experience. Occasionally her dad will bring up something math related and they will write out equations up to calculus level and talk for hours so I think her passion could still be ignited.

    Her current school is more progressive especially for math. She is technically identified there as gifted (based on testing we had from 4y of age) but they don't offer anything for that in 6th. They do, however, stratify math abilities. My daughter started in 6th grade math and was bumped up to a compacted 6th/7th grade class with the expected path to move to a compacted 7th/8th grade class in 7th grade and algebra I in 9th. There are however several 5th graders in her class and they do sometimes bus 8th graders to the high school for geometry.

    The class is slow and unchallenging and I wasn't sure they were even going to make it through half of 7th grade. I asked teacher about her assessment and the expected path over the next few years. Teacher did not respond to my email but did give my daughter a test (7th grade?). As she gave the test she told my daughter that "most kids in this class (her current class) get all the questions right on the tests". I can't see any positive reason to say this. It sounds like she is telling her that she is not special. Anyway, the teacher gave the test to the 7th grade teacher to grade and later said to my daughter that "pushing kids ahead in math can make them not like math". Again I thought this was a bit odd. I'm not sure if she thinks I'm trying to push too much or what but of course there never is any concern about years and years of under challenging a student (who now says she hates math). Eventually she emailed me and said that they feel the 7/8th grade compacted class next year is the best placement.

    So....
    would you call the teacher out on the weird comments and discuss more?
    consider pushing for online 7/8 grade classes this summer to move into Algebra next year?
    A one grade skip would be useless even if they agreed to it.

    I don't know how she did on the assessment. She may not know everything in 7th grade. She hasn't been exposed to anything new in math in years. Her sister is in algebra now (9th grade) and I am pretty sure she could do most of it right now or with minimal teaching.

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    #249636 - 04/14/22 05:42 PM Re: Math acceleration and teacher attitude questions [Re: coveln]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 142
    Loc: Australia
    In my experience, calling out a teacher, as I expected, didn’t end well and I have tried to avoid it since. I have two anecdotes to share which may serve as calibrators to help evaluate your daughter’s teacher’s comments and determine the more appropriate response. My eldest had a science teacher who played favourites to the extent that she proudly boasted that she was helping the career of a junior teacher in the school who had been her favourite ex-student. In contrast, she seemed to resent our daughter’s privileged background and tried every way possible to deduct marks from my daughter and put her down.

    Whilst my husband and I both caught glimpses of her resentment from parent teacher interviews, we did not get involved until she, astonishingly, gave my daughter a merit certificate literally for ‘Coming second in X topic test’ on the only occasion that my daughter didn’t come first in an assessed activity, having never given her any sort of merit recognition before that test. My best friend agreed that in the overall context of her general attitude to my daughter, it was devious provocation, so I found errors in her marking and wrote to the school questioning her understanding of the topic concepts, whereupon an interview was organised, during which she broke down in tears and accused us of ‘bullying’ her. After that, I told my daughter she had taken enough subjects that she didn’t need high marks for that subject and she quietly continued to do her best in that class whilst avoiding any direct contact with the teacher.

    My daughter also had a maths teacher who taught her intermittently for three years. At every single parent teacher interview, she would keep stating to me that boys are slower developers than girls and that they would at some point overtake my daughter (which never happened BTW). In the last interview, I decided to take a different tact and after greeting her at the beginning of the interview, I asked how her sons were doing at Uni, which led to a pleasant chat about her sons’ achievements over the entire allocated time for the interview and an improved classroom relationship between her and my daughter, according to the latter.

    With three kids, I’ve gone to a lot of parent teacher interviews and ‘gut feelings’ usually turn out to be quite accurate, but I’ve found it much more effective to work with my children than to try to actively influence the dynamics at school. My kids, particularly my son, have also been very fortunate to have had some fantastic teachers who have gone above & beyond to make a lot of opportunities available, so we try to focus on the positives (I nominated one of my son’s teachers for a prestigious external award and she received some well deserved recognition).

    FWIW, I’ve found that the best approach is to let my kids drive the agenda and just throw appropriate resources & support behind their campaigns. In your specific situation, I wonder what your daughter wants. Natural aptitude doesn’t necessarily result in a passion for maths. My daughters both also have natural aptitudes for maths but apart from being early school entrants, weren’t interested in any further subject acceleration, so whilst they have each taken the highest levels of maths studies, they haven’t formally worked ahead of their classmates. Instead, they always focused on being on top of topic contents and have achieved without acceleration. My son, however, loves maths and explores the vast bulk of it himself, so when the maths HoD gave him the opportunity, he completed four years of the high school curriculum online in six months because, for him, most of it was just revision.

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    #249641 - 04/15/22 07:14 AM Re: Math acceleration and teacher attitude questions [Re: Eagle Mum]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4845
    Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
    devious provocation
    What an excellent phrase, I have witnessed this phenomenon in play many times and have never been able to describe it so eloquently.

    How interesting that a teacher who engages children in this negative manner would then play the victim and accuse parents of ‘bullying’ her.

    Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
    I nominated one of my son’s teachers for a prestigious external award and she received some well deserved recognition)
    We have done a similar successful award nomination, and were pleased to see a particular teacher acknowledged. In response the local public school system created its own internal nomination process and award of the same name, obfuscating and diluting the perceived value of the external award.

    Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
    I’ve found it much more effective to work with my children than to try to actively influence the dynamics at school.
    ...
    FWIW, I’ve found that the best approach is to let my kids drive the agenda and just throw appropriate resources & support behind their campaigns.
    Sage advice!

    coveln, if you may feed a need to advocate for your child, this roundup may be of interest: http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post183916

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    #249643 - 04/15/22 07:29 AM Re: Math acceleration and teacher attitude questions [Re: coveln]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4845
    coveln, the teacher's comments may be skewed in favor of the teacher's efforts to "close gaps" in the classroom (performance gaps, achievement gaps, excellence gaps) so that all students are recorded in the gradebook as learning, knowing, being "the same." Teachers and schools are increasingly rated/ranked on having no "gaps" in the classroom.

    Closing gaps may consist of efforts to bring up the bottom.
    Closing gaps may consist of efforts to cap growth at the top.
    Demographics may play a role in determining whose growth to cap.
    This old thread may be of interest, lend insight, and assure you that you are not alone.
    - http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post245083

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    #249644 - 04/15/22 08:08 AM Re: Math acceleration and teacher attitude questions [Re: coveln]
    spaghetti Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/05/15
    Posts: 467
    Definitely would NOT call her out. She has reasons for her beliefs, true or not. She is unlikely to say "you were right".

    We had similar situation. A gifted teacher insisted my child was barely even gifted because she was so quiet. We asked for a grade skip (child was struggling and needed out of elementary school) and this teacher "would never do that to a child". Our plan was to skip this second time and then pull out to homeschool for a year to undo one of the skips.
    We got the grade skip. GT Teacher gave dd a project to do on genital mutilation (trying to prove dd was not mature enough to be twice skipped). And GT teacher said dd would not be allowed in twice accelerated math (4 years for her). We said no problem. We are not trying to have her in the top and we're going to undo the skip anyway. Within a couple months, she sent us an email begging us to let dd go into the accelerated math (as if we had said no). Our focus was not on level of academics. It was on social fit and emotional health. The teacher saw that when dd was in a better academic fit, social fit was better as was emotional health. DD started talking and smiling.

    FF to After the year of homeschooling. School system wanted to place dd at age level. (which was the same as repeating a grade she had already passed). The GT teacher went to the district and fought for DD successfully. She had become a believer and was dds best advocate.

    I truly believe if we hadn't let this teacher see it with her own eyes, she would have continued to work against dd. That's our story. Of course every story will be different.

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    #249648 - 04/15/22 06:08 PM Re: Math acceleration and teacher attitude questions [Re: indigo]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 142
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: Indigo
    We have done a similar successful award nomination, and were pleased to see a particular teacher acknowledged. In response the local public school system created its own internal nomination process and award of the same name, obfuscating and diluting the perceived value of the external award.

    It’s wonderful that you did this.
    I think a local award is a nice idea but they should have used another name - this thread does seem to be revealing that there’re a lot of hidden motives and hijacked award systems.

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    #249652 - 04/16/22 08:26 PM Re: Math acceleration and teacher attitude questions [Re: coveln]
    coveln Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/21/13
    Posts: 70
    Thanks everyone. I've missed this forum. I appreciate the thoughtful comments and examples and have been reading through the linked posts. We moved to a new state a few years ago and my oldest was doing well in a private school there and my youngest had really no hope of getting any accommodation so I just let it be at school and stopped trying to think about it. We moved again last summer and now I feel like there are opportunities here to advocate. I guess I'm rusty though. So I'm back on here and realize how much I miss the discussions that helped me so much when my oldest (14y) was little.

    I agree that "calling out" will get me nowhere as I am calmer. In reality, I agree that "pushing kids too far/fast in math" or whatever subject could cause them not to like it anymore. The problem is that we haven't determined what "too far/fast" is in my DD case and also I don't think she is considering the negative effect of slowing a child down. I actually think she is a good teacher and that she cares about my daughter overall. She has gone out of her way on health related issues. Its actually part of why these comments were a bit of a surprise to me.

    As far as my DD's wishes...she is not one to pick up a textbook after school but will talk for hours with her dad about math stuff if given a chance. When she was younger she was obsessed with dream box and prodigy but she dropped dream box when she moved to the older modules which weren't as fun and prodigy stopped being a challenge years ago. We tried beast academy a couple years ago and she obsessed over the puzzles but wasn't interested in just doing math. And yet, if you do get her started doing something...like IXL, she can go for hours. Generally she would love to work at her own pace but doesn't want to do it after school as she will still have to sit through math at school. She dislikes her school math class which is very slow. Her sister suggested to her that she could do 7th/8th grade online this summer and then go into algebra next year and now she really wants to do that. I have no idea if that is possible, who to do it with and if the school would go for it. I looked at CTY and they have pre-algebra 1 and pre-algebra 2 and I have no idea if that corresponds to 7th and 8th grade but seems to be all there is after 6th. There will be other 7th graders in algebra next year but they are already in a 7/8th compacted class right now.

    My only wish is for her to be more engaged with math and a bit more challenged as I've seen how natural it is for her and how she gets into it. I want her to have a solid understanding of math and have no need to "push her" but I feel like she deserves a chance to learn. Right now her career aspiration is to be an astrophysicist. Who knows but I suspect that she will head down some scientific/engineering type path.

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    #249653 - 04/17/22 01:17 AM Re: Math acceleration and teacher attitude questions [Re: coveln]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 142
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: coveln

    Generally she would love to work at her own pace but doesn't want to do it after school as she will still have to sit through math at school. She dislikes her school math class which is very slow. Her sister suggested to her that she could do 7th/8th grade online this summer and then go into algebra next year and now she really wants to do that. I have no idea if that is possible, who to do it with and if the school would go for it.
    ...
    My only wish is for her to be more engaged with math and a bit more challenged as I've seen how natural it is for her and how she gets into it. I want her to have a solid understanding of math...


    What a great suggestion from her older sibling who cares enough to consider her sister’s situation and come up with a practical way forward. The very fact that your daughter is keen to do it when she was previously reticent to work on maths at home is good reason enough to give it full support. Whether or not the school accepts her into the algebra program next year is a secondary issue which can be dealt with in the future, if it even becomes necessary - mastering the 7th/8th grade content from the online resources fulfils your main goals now, of getting her to become ‘more engaged’ and having ‘a solid understanding of maths’.

    Teachers are more likely to make an effort to extend/accelerate a student when the latter can actually demonstrate that they’ve mastered content, rather than on assertions of capability without formal demonstrations of proficiency. In the ‘worst case’ scenario that she is not skipped by two grades and is placed in the compacted 7th/8th class, I suggest trying to negotiate for her to participate in the group teaching part of each lesson (revision never hurts) and work further ahead on the online materials during the time allocated for individual exercises. My son has always been in classes with similar aged peers and works on differentiated content (3-4 grades ahead) during the time allocated for working on individual exercises. It worked well for him and he has never complained of boredom.

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