Second Grade Teacher

Updated on February 24, 2018
T.D. asks from New York, NY
14 answers

Thank you so much for misunderstanding my question. With all the attacks to my parenting I am questioning why I bothered seeking advice.
My child's teacher stinks she has completely failed my child while teaching him that parties and rewards are what life is about. Skills he knew in first grade he now struggles with. Basic behavior is now a serious issue.

I have not ever told my child what I think about his teacher because I know it's only one school year of her.

There is only one second grade and only one third grade for this school. our district has things set up in the strangest way. and it would only confuse you if i tried to explain it.

Basically I feel as though if a child was not acting out from being bored, nor falling behind; Then this teacher did not do anything to help them reach their full potential. (We are in a special program we had to apply for and we have to maintain certain requirements or we lose our spot.. In the contract we signed they stated that expectations are higher and that teachers push each student individually in order to help all children in the program to reach their full potential) This teacher has simply not helped my child reach his potential. I as a parent need to help him where the teacher failed. But how? Supplementing with a workbook over the summer? Talking to his next teacher to see that she can help him?

I have heard from other parents that the third grade teacher does 'fix' what the second grade teacher screws up. So I am waiting this year out in hopes this is true

We do things with our children. We have done mentos in coke, we made an air rocket. We bake together and create slime. I have taught my kids things school does not teach like sewing and cooking. My kids will ask for "homework" during the summer because they like learning new stuff, and they love reading and writing.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I think my original post was more about getting the frustration off of my chest. Since I do not have many people in real life to talk to I turn to you lovely ladies to ground myself. But with how mis understood my original post was I had to revise it.

More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

i'm worried about your kids, tadpole.

not because of the 'party queen' but because you've decided that they need to be on a constant upward trajectory with none of the loss of focus or sidesteps or backsteps that kids always take as they grow up.

also because you've decided that supplementation is the best way to make sure that your kids can stay comfortably *ahead* of their peers.

i'm sure the party queen is a substandard teacher and that much of your dislike of her is warranted, but i'm equally sure that your implacable opinion of her is tainting your son's working relationship with her. at this point he is probably equally convinced that she is entirely responsible for every blip and wobble in his progress to that TAG label you so badly want.

i hope you back off and let your kids have a least some fun over the summer. i hope you don't dump all of your fears onto the 3rd grade teacher and expect her to fix all of the issues you blame solely on the 2nd grade teacher. i hope you find a way to enjoy your kids beyond their academic achievements.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Your son will not always be ahead. Kids simply don't learn and grow on an upcurve only basis. Boys in particular have a hard time in second and third grade (from my experience working in the classroom, and observing my own children and friends.) It's a time of overwhelming expectations and accountability. Basically school is no longer as fun and easy as it used to be. If he's truly gifted that will come out with maturity. No smart kid gets left behind because one "bad" teacher in second grade.
My kids had a few less than stellar teachers but that's life and I made sure they knew that. We got through it just fine and no one was damaged. Everyone went on to college as planned.
Parenthood is not a race, and neither is education. Be less concerned about your son's performance and more concerned about his study and work habits, attitude, curiosity and social skills. You have a very long road ahead, in middle and high school he is going to be dealing with things WAY more difficult than this, so try to relax and enjoy these relatively care free years while you can.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

It's great that you are so invested in your son's education, but the way you are going about it is very likely causing more harm than good.

How do you help your son love school and enjoy learning? By reading with him. By doing fun activities with him. By going to museums and parks and exploring life with him. Take him to the library and encourage him to read to you.

Workbooks and other supplements are only going make non-school time feel just like school. If he isn't loving school right now (maybe he is - hard to tell from your post), making him do more school work isn't going to help.

Relax. The fact that you care about his education is huge. Talk to his teacher. Ask her if there are any areas where he could use a little extra help. Consider what you can do that isn't going to just feel like extra homework and leave it at that.

Above all, keep reading with him and doing fun things. If he loves learning, he is going to be just fine. Extra work and tutoring - that's something to consider in high school if your son struggles with a particular subject. Grade school kids learn best by exploring and having fun. Adding a workbook isn't going to have the desired effect.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I guess I wouldn't be throwing the teacher under the bus quite yet. It really isn't very uncommon for some kids to test "bright" in K or 1, and then by grades 3, 4, 5, they are average or even falling behind. Sometimes these kids grasp early concepts, but then struggle when the concepts get more complex and/or abstract. Perhaps playing the "it's not my kid's fault" card isn't really the way to go here.

I get that you are not in love with this teacher's style. However, you are more than 1/2 way through the school year AND your son isn't being exposed to concepts that he can't catch up on at home or over the summer. Additionally, you don't know that while YOUR son isn't responding to this teacher's methods, that there aren't 15 other kids who aren't excelling academically due to her work. You also don't know that your daughter won't respond well to her teaching methods in a few years.

I would be careful of how you talk about this teacher to your children. They are eager to please you and if they think that this teacher is "worthless" you can expect exactly that return from them in their academic progress. I'd also not be cutting down a teacher to another teacher - especially in the context of "bringing my child back to being ahead of the class." Don't be "that mom."

At the point that you feel certain you can do a better job than the teachers, it is likely time for you to consider homeschooling. Otherwise, find a way to help the teachers help your child, rather than being the squeaky wheel who complains about her nearly gifted child and his terrible party animal teacher.

Good luck.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

First of all, the teacher has 30+ students to worry about, the ones at grade level are not of immediate concern so if you want extra for your child you, the parent, should be the one providing it. Second, many kids seem ahead of the pack in K and 1st and settle into the middle of the pack once they hit 2-4, this is normal because some kids get extra lessons or help at a young age and that doesn't mean they are necessarily gifted, just that they were exposed to more. Studies show this leveling out is extremely common. If the child belonged in gifted classes they would have passed the testing, if you feel something went wrong have them retested.

Caring about his school work starts at home and has nothing to do with the "party queen".

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You don't like the 2nd grade teacher. That's not going to change.

You don't know who the 3rd grade teacher is, right? Unless this is such a small school that there is only one class per grade? You seem to be sure that your daughter will have the same teacher in 2nd grade. So, no, if there are other classes, you can't go talk to anyone now - the teacher won't be assigned until June at the earliest, and August at the latest. And if you think that going in and laying out the deficiencies of her colleague is going to endear you to her (or that she will even sit and listen to it), you're going to have a very tough time of it through elementary school. As was said below, don't be that kind of parent.

I think you also need much more information about curriculum before you engage in supplementing. You seem to have the idea that workbooks and drills are the way to teach children skills, and to make them "love" school. You also seem to have a very high focus on testing for "gifted" students and I'm wondering if this over-testing is causing a problem. Even talking about "passing" such tests is really so unusual, I don't understand it at all. You have, no doubt, let your child know that you don't approve of his teacher or her methods. Do you think it's possible that he doesn't like school for that reason alone? There are so many ways to learn, and therefore there are many ways to love learning, but you seem to have certain methods in mind only. You want your child to have specialized teaching for "gifted" kids but you are in a small school, expect separate teaching for your child apparently, and yet your home "solution" is workbooks? Why aren't you reading with him? Does he have his own library card and the freedom and encouragement to pick out new things on many subjects? Do you have a membership at the nearest children's or science museum, or the art museum? Do you go on nature walks and explore the things your kids find? Do you go to kids' concerts at the library or the local arts center?

I think you should take 6 months to do nothing but the above, and also let your kids have creative play time that you do not direct or supervise, so that they can develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills without adult involvement.

My son grew up with a boy from another school system, whose mother was a teacher and decided that her brilliant children should not be doing the "busy work" homework the teacher assigned. She critiqued the teacher openly and her kids grew up very arrogant. She pushed one ahead by several grades, and he lacked the maturity to get through college admissions at 16. He had a miserable childhood, and now, at 27, he is just starting to find himself as a person. Don't be that mom.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I think that you are putting a few issues together that are actually separate.
Giftedness testing has nothing to do with what your child is learning in class. I understand that you are disappointed that he didn't qualify for gifted services and that it was probably a surprise to you since his K and 1st grade teachers were surprised. But putting that into this question just confuses issues because that is unrelated to the teacher.

As for the 2nd grade teacher, I would not discuss the 2nd grade teacher with the 3rd grade teacher. If you are concerned about that your second grader isn't learning and you want to talk to someone about it, you should talk to his current teacher. You can set up a conference with the teacher and discuss it. If you did and didn't get anywhere, set up another one and ask the the principal attend also.

All that said, my older is only a few years older than yours, and in my experience, my kids have had some fantastic teachers and some teachers that just didn't quite click with my child. This is part of life, and in the more challenging years, I supplemented at home by making sure we were reading challenging books together and I more diligently looked over his homework and tests in the evening to review any concepts that he didn't seem to have a great grasp of.

As for your daughter, I wouldn't jump ahead too much. One of the fantastic teachers my child had? I talked to another parent whose child struggled in that class. And the teacher that I thought was less than great for my kid? Another kid loved that teacher. I think it's a mistake to assume that just your daughter will have the same experience as your son - they are different kids, and they will respond to the classroom differently.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

What's your goal?
You talk about school like it's a race or competition - and that's a lot of pressure.
"my child's decline in academics"
"being ahead of the class like he used to be"
"supplement the second grade teachers slacking with home school lessons over the summer"
"working with her (your daughter) on over the summer to keep her up to the right level"
(No I'm not mocking you, I'm highlighting the pieces of conversation that points to a trend)

You've got an awful lot of your own ego involved in all this and It could very well be that your son doesn't want to play this game.
You want him starting college at 14 yrs old?
Who cares if he passes any gifted tests?
Being gifted and gifted classes aren't always what they are cracked up to be.

You want your kids to enjoy learning?
Have you considered increasing their love by blowing things up?
Take a look at the Mentos and diet pepsi trick - it's educational and totally fun (if messy - do it in the back yard - hose off afterward).
Soda bottle rocket launcher - you need a bicycle pump or air compressor to build up pressure.
Pumpkin chucker demonstrations and build a model catapult.
It's completely fun being a 'mad' scientist.

I know you have the best of intentions and you are a super mom.
But all this pressure put on them about getting ahead of their class can have the opposite effect.
There are many more ways of learning and never let the school/teacher limit what your child can learn - but don't stress over what you feel is a bad teacher.
If this is the only bad one they have in 12 years of school (or more if you consider college), then count yourself lucky you got it over with so early.

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answers from Columbus on

It's not at all unusual for kids who are at the head of the class to not excel in gifted testing in 2nd and 3rd grade. That's why the best school districts often don't administer gifted tests until grade 2. Kindergarten and 1st grade tend to level the playing field between those kids who had the advantage of enrichment activities earlier in life and those who didn't.

I'm curious about why you're using gifted testing as a measure of how well the teacher is doing. These aren't pass/fail tests. Students are scored on a percentile, so by definition 90-95 percent of students don't qualify as gifted. Furthermore, much of the test material isn't stuff that is taught in the classroom. The goal is to measure cognitive ability, so much of the tests consist of things like analogies and sequences.

If you really want to assess how your son's teacher is doing, then find out what the state's end-of-year standards are. Is your son on track to meet those standards? If not, then schedule a meeting with the teacher to determine the best way to get him there.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I like the answers given already. I think everyone has made some really good points.

My biggest concern is that you don't contact the third grade teacher. She/He does not know your child and has their own students to focus on. That would definitely be inappropriate.

Have you talked/worked with the teacher? I would always start there. We have one very bright kid who grew very bored in second grade. By working with the teacher, we came up with the idea that he could work on extra projects once he completed his work. He went from having no interest to enjoying the rest of the year.

Sometimes 'gifted' kids grow bored in class too. My friend's child was labeled 'lazy'. He just had to find his own way to work. He ended up going to a lab part of the day.

I think I'd work with the school as opposed to doing supplemental stuff at home. I'd start with the teacher, then maybe talk to the guidance counsellor (ask about the gifted test if you have further questions, etc.). We do reading, help with homework, etc. at home. I did some OT work over the summer for one of our children. It was fun and was more like games. If your son is still well within average, I wouldn't be too concerned. His grades will fluctuate over the years. That's very typical - even for very bright kids.

I get the teacher is not what you were hoping for. We've all had them. Trust me, kids pick up on this. We weren't thrilled with a coach one year, and our son had bionic ears I swear. He picked up on it and had stopped trying thinking "Why bother? This team sucks - we're never going to win." Lesson learned Mom and Dad. They pick up on our cues big time.

Positive reinforcement for when he puts in the effort and does well - as always. If I recall, mine goofed off in second grade a fair bit .. there's always that factor to consider too. It would be good to get feedback on your child's attitude in class as well - if he's paying attention, etc.

Good luck and keep us posted :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It's not necessarily the teachers fault that he didn't pass this test. You don't seem to like the teacher at all so my feeling is anything that you see is not right is her fault and that's not right. If your son is picking up on your vibes of dislike he will follow suit and not try. My son was tested for the gifted program every year from k through 4th and finally passed it. The teachers were shocked that he didn't pass each time. Well turned out he didn't even know the test was for and when it meant so he didn't even try. Sometimes kids just have off days or just don't want to try. This was my kid that in middle school had all pre ap classes and they wanted him to take them through high school but we said only 2 per year as he was in band. I think you need to work with him over the summer if you feel it necessary and talk to his teacher next year.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Kids can excel through parts of their life then hit a wall at some point. Another kid struggles through the lower stuff then one day it all clicks and they take off learning.

Kids go through times where things slow down. I hated our girl's 3rd grade teacher. She should have been able to bond with my girl, lots of reasons, but she took nearly an instant dislike to her. Through the school year I stayed out of it and allowed my husband to go to teacher's meetings because if I went I was going to burn bridges. We moved out of that school district for elementary school that summer. In 4th grade her new teacher kept our girl after school every Tuesday and Thursday til 4pm and tutored her in math, anything else she needed too but mostly math. She brought her up from barely 3rd grade math all the way through 4th and about the first semester in 5th. In one year.

I think you're going to find that your son will be okay. He won't be behind and never be able to catch up or end up not being ahead of everyone else anymore.

It will all work out in the end. They equal out at some point and they still learn.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Grades are not an indication of intelligence. Perhaps your son is gifted but he is bored in school and has decided the work is not worth is time. It is also possible that he is just leveling off. No way to know without testing him.

If I were you, I would have my child’s IQ privately tested. (Do not use the school) If you find he is academically gifted, you can then share the results with the school and work on an GIEP. is not uncommon for gifted kids to be underachievers in elementary school.

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answers from Miami on

I'm sorry you're going through this. At some point the school should figure out that her teaching is substandard by how her class tests compared to the other 2nd grade classes. I know that doesn't help you right now...

What I would do is talk to the guidance counselor. Tell her all of this. Before you go, detail as much as you can - those party dates, all of it, so that you don't forget what you want to say. Facts do count here. Tell her that you wonder if she has the amount of material covered in her lesson planning as the other 2nd grade teachers so that all the 2nd grade material is covered. Tell her that you are worried that your daughter will not be ready for 3rd grade. If you approach it THIS WAY, it's not just about her not passing the gifted tests...

I would definitely supplement her learning at home. SOMEHOW, find out what she is supposed to learn between now and the end of the year. Ask the guidance counselor if she can be re-tested and what you need to do to get that done.

This being said, I do want to say that 2nd grade is a continuation of 1st grade. It's more in-depth and prepares them for the rigor of 3rd grade. Their reading should be more fluent, their writing easier and ability to write in "story form" more organized. Girls are usually better at this than boys. The math becomes more complex and learning to tell time should be coming up if they haven't already started it.

What is most important about 2nd grade is that the she will be ready for the harder 3rd grade. This is actually more important than the gifted testing. I would worry about this part first, and the gifted testing second. Make sure to do summer bridge activities with her this summer. If you can swing Kumon, I'd do that too. It doesn't help her basic understanding of math, but it teaches working math quickly and you can push for her to do more difficult math. Finding fun math work online should also be something to help with her math comprehension.

3 moms found this helpful
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