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How To Approach School And Teacher

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My 9 year old is pretty bright. I noticed things about him at a very young age. We have been having behavior issues out of him in the past few months at school. I notice that he has careless mistakes on his work, but when it comes to tests and something harder he does great. He does not want to stay in his seat and interupts in class. I know he is not ADD/ADDHD as I have discussed this with his ped and allergist. Neither think so either. He does have alot of energy, but when he is interested in something or he is learning something new he is very engaged. I spoke to his teacher about his disrupting class. His behavior at home is not out of the ordinary, typical for a 9 year old. She told me that he was one of the brightest students in the class, above average/grade level in his reasoning and comprehension and is very engaged when they are going over something new. I asked her to sit him at his own desk (they sit in groups of 4 -5 at tables and I don't like this) and give him some extra work to challenge him. Well it took her over 1 1/2 weeks to address the seating issue and she told me she didn't want to bombard him with lots of extra work. His behavior at school has improved some, but still same issues. If someone askes him how is school, he responds with "I hate school". He has said this since kindergarden. That said, he loves to learn. As long as he is engaged he pays attention etc. In first grade he wanted to create a science project and enter it in the science fair. His teacher flat out told us no and it was for 4th and 5th grades only. They could do one in 3rd grade but it would not be entered. I don't think he needs harder work in all areas, but some he does especially math and science. How do I approach discussing this with his school? I don't think much will change this year since he will be done around May 22nd, but I thought it would be good to get a jump on it for 4th grade so we can maybe avoid this. Last year for 2nd grade was a great year for him. We loved his teacher and she would get so excited about his enthusiasm for learning and she would encourage him. Definately not happening this year, he was excited up until around Jan. I have noticed little things each school year that should have clued me in. I just don't think he is being challeged enough in all areas. I don't think he is necessarily gifted per se, just above grade level in some areas. Any advice would be appreciated. I may enroll him in a outside class once a week to give him the extra stimulation.

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Hi Roda,

I'm a teacher in Ontario and I have seen many children who have situations similar to your son's. I think a lot of times kids who pick up new information quickly get frustrated with the pace that the teacher needs to go at for the class as a whole. Most children need to hear the same information several times and play with it in different contexts in order to have a good understanding of the new concepts. In the case of some children however they are able to understand the concepts after being presented with them only once or twice, yet are still required to keep reviewing them over and over along with the rest of the class. It is understandable that your son would be frustrated and bored reviewing the same information over and over when he already gets it and is ready to move on.

One thing you could suggest to the teacher is that your son take on a project, something he is interested in, that he could work on if he finishes work early. This project could be connected to the curriculum or it could be separate. Since your son has already shown interest in creating a science project, he may already have some ideas of things he would want to learn more about. The only thing the teacher would really need to do in this situation is to help him have access to the information he needs and give him some guidance if he gets stuck. I think this way it wouldn't be extra school work and your son wouldn't get to far ahead of the class, but he is still able to expand his knowledge and practice his skills in an area that interests him.

I think going into next year it would be a good idea to talk to his teacher early to build up that relationship, but wait to see how it goes. Some children are able to zip through concepts in the earlier grades then when concepts get a little more abstract and complex in higher grades they go at a rate closer to the norm.

Good luck with everything, I hope your son is able to keep that love for learning he has! I think it's just really important that you keep speaking up for your son and remain involved in his education. teachers may not always respond positively to your involvement, but it is so important to your son's school experience and success.

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