When to Change Classroom/teacher ?

Updated on October 16, 2012
E.M. asks from Omaha, NE
19 answers

My child has been in the Montessori program since he was in pre-school (about age 4). He is currently in 2nd grade. Initially I figured that Montessori would be ideal for him. He is very energetic and talkative. I imagined him bouncing around a traditional classroom and getting in trouble alot.

He is extremely bright. He has a phtographic memory (since he was a preschooler). He learned to read early and is a voracious reader, loves math and science. He is extremely social too. All of these seem like great qualities but he spends much of his time bouncing around the classroom. Lately, he has been complaining of his classmates 'bossing him around' - telling him to sit down or move to another table or do his work. Seems to me that should be the teachers job. I can't tell if there is a lack of supervision or if he is bored or if he is just bugging his classmates.

I can't put my finger on what is going on. But I can't help but wonder if he needs to go to a traditional classroom, a new teacher, or someone (who?) to evaluate him to see if something else is going on here.

I should note that he has been in the same classroom /with the same teacher for 2 years now, since the classes are multi-age. She has told me that there is no doubt he can do the work, but lack of focus is a real challenge for him.

Has anybody out there experienced something like this?? If so, what did you do?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the input. I have been wondering if he is bored in class. As I said before, I have no way to know if he is being asked to sit down, leave other students alone or if this goes beyond that. All I know is that he feel like he is being denigrated in some way. I should also note here that we have had a few confirmed bullying issues on the playground. So I am not sure if he is feeling left out rather than redirected.

WHile I think it is possible that he may be experiencing the 'natural consequences' of roaming around the classroom, I do not know for sure that his hurt feelings are a function of something else going on in the classroom. I readily admit that he could be bugging his classmates and I have spent a great deal of time going over important social cues and classroom rules with him. (His teacher has noted lack of focus last year but no problems following class rules... )

We have also done all the things many of you noted: virtually no screen time, absolutely no video games, lots of physical activities, including team sports, piano, science, and lego camps even caefully monitering his nutrition. At home and in piano lessons, baseball, you name it- he has matured at an amazing pace. He shows discipline, focus, attention to detail. (He is a perfectionist). And he is not without discipline at home. He will even have long stretches of fantastic focus and discipline in the classroom. And, then we begin to see that he spirals, losing focus at school primarily (even though he gets his work done).

Yet, I really have very little sense of what his progress has been at school. I hear from his teacher only when I have a concern (and only 50% of that time does she respond) or twice a year during conferences. So it is hard to gauge if he deserves redirection or is being subjected to something else. (I should note I have 2 other children in montessori settings and I hear regularly from their teachers if anything needs attention.)

I will speak to his teacher today to see what she thinks and hopefully I can figure out what the nature of the problem is and what needs to be done next.

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answers from Salinas on

This is tough because I feel for you son if he truly has a hard time sitting still. Second grade is still young and lots of kids (boys particularly) just have a lot of physical energy at that age.

That being said, this does not sound like a case of bullying as others have posted. I don't even agree with the bossing around label. He is annoying the other children through his inability to settle down. If it continues it's going to become a problem in any classroom. As he grows the expectation for him to be able to focus will be much higher.

I do get a bit resentful when my daughters have had to deal with one or two kids in a class who are so disruptive and intrusive that they cannot concentrate on what they're doing. I teach them to stand up for themselves and politely ask that the child to quiet down or leave the area. I see nothing wrong with that and it is clearly not bullying or even bossing.

I would speak with the teacher about what she thinks is going on. I doubt a regular classroom would be better as they will expect more focus and less movement. He may just be bored, if he's really bright he needs to be challenged in a way that keeps him interested. Whatever you do don't flip this on the other kids, it isn't their fault he is acting disruptive and he may very well be robbing them of a positive learning environment.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It sounds like he could possibly be bothering the other kids and they are just trying to get that point across. I have seen it with my own daughter on occasion. She can be a bit clingly and it tends to get on others nerves and finally they just break and tell her to leave them alone for a bit.

It comes out mean, but they are frustrated and don't quiet know what else to say. We are working with her to help her recognize when she is doing this and to help her recognize when others have had enough.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Columbia on

Lack of focus isn't the issue, from what I can tell...lack of self discipline is. Because he's never had that expectation placed up on him. As soon as you saw that he "bounces around" you put him in a school where that's okay more often than in a traditional classroom. And that's helpful sometimes, but it's not okay ALL the time. He has to learn that.

Have you asked your son what he is doing? If the other kids are telling him he needs to do "his work," it's probably because he's not doing his work. He's bouncing around and lacking self discipline.

Mom, you need to teach him to behave appropriately in academic situations. If he's in a learning environment, he needs to be doing what is expected of him, regardless of his intelligence or tendency to "bounce around." Bouncing around isn't always appropriate. There's a time and a place for everything. Being a genius isn't an excuse to act inappropriately and infringe on the learning of others.

I would tell him "when you're supposed to be working, you stay where you're supposed to be and do that work. Stop bothering other people. Next time I talk to your teacher and she says you're not staying on task, I will ____________(natural consequence)."

Best of luck.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I admire your trying to get the right classroom fit for your child. That said, it does not mean that he doesn't need disapline. Apparently he thinks when someone else tells him to do something that they are bossy. Do you tell him what to do or do you let him rule? I have a college kid and a hs kid and I have seen a lot of classrooms. I have seen very smart kids with no disapline get into a spiral that defies logic. Smart and unfocused and undisaplined equals big trouble. Before you medicate or diagnose him get some sound parenting advise, read a few parenting books and listen closely to what people are saying. He has been bugging kids. His teacher says its a big problem. You wanted him in Montessori school because it would allow him to bounce around. I am not saying he shouldn't be allowed his own personality but not to the extent that it inhibits his learning, not inhances it. You want to instill self disapline now. He needs people to achieve success. Smart and unfocused need not apply. Change your parenting and I believe this can get 100 percent better in 6 months, no med needed, no change in school.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Why can't his classmates request of him to sit down and do his work? I'm not sure I understand your reasoning there. Of COURSE they should be allowed to let him know that he's disrupting their learning. Of COURSE they should be allowed to ask him to sit down and stop being disruptive. Sometimes peer pressure has far more of an effect than anything parents or a teacher can say about classroom behavior.

I would make an appointment with his teacher to get her point of view. From your son's point of view it's being "bossed around" but from the teacher's point of view and the other children, it's likely something very different.

Whether or not he should be evaluated... listen to your instincts. If you suspect ADD or ADHD then take him to a pediatric neurologist. His behavior is affecting his education and the education of others, so this IS an issue you're going to have to address.

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answers from New York on

Christie Lee had a great answer. As soon as you saw he had a tendency to "bounce around" you found a school where he could, and you and the school allowed him to "be himself". He is in NO WAY ready to switch to a regular public school!! Start teaching him at home to increase his focus, and attention. If he's using electronics and TV cut the time drastically! Continue to give him lots of outside time and sports. Encourage him to try a martial arts class where they require focus and attention! Since he is very bright, do complicated puzzles with him, science experiments, etc and if he can only focus for only 15 minutes the first day, keep increasing the time by one minute a day. Read chapter books to him that would be too hard for him to read himself, but something he is interested in, and again demand he sit still and focus a little longer each day. Intersperse physical activity between each quiet activity. After you see progress at home, ask the teacher for a behavior chart at school so you can reward his good days at school. You can be the teacher who teaches him to increase his focus, or you can skip the hard work and try to find someone who will medicate him or you can give up and never ask it of him. If you make it a goal and try very hard and he doesnt improve then you will have your answer, he needs evaluation.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Speak with his teacher. She is in the classroom with him.
I am sure she can give you a better idea of what is going on.

Also you may have missed the traditional kindergarten "heads up".

"You believe 50% of what your child tells you goes on in school and the teacher will believe 50% of what your child tells her goes on at home."

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would just ask his teacher about it. I imagine she is letting him experience the natural consequences of his behavior, "what you are doing is affecting others and they are asking you to stop."
I know how annoying kids "bouncing around the classroom" can be. My youngest is ADHD and I know for a fact she gets on some of the kids' (and a few teachers') nerves with her constant back and forth, up and down, and fidgeting.
Have you spoken to his teacher about ways to help him sit still and focus longer? There are different methods and tricks teacher use for this, depending on the age and particular needs of the child.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

**Clarification: my son and the other classmates do NOT "Bully" that boy in their class. The school and Teacher does not tolerate that. They have workshops on it for the kids. They KNOW the school's rules.
Assuming my son and the classmates are "bullying" that other classmate, is not correct. And no, he is not "labeled" at all. But if that child is bothering others, the kids do say so. I know this boy and his parents... the parents know their son. This boy, has friends including my son, and they all play together. But the boy, routinely disrupts the class. The Teacher handles it. It is a must. The boy, calls me "Aunty" and even hugs me when I am there. There is no bullying. But the boy needs correction. He is not ADD or anything.

The classmates are doing that because... THEY are getting irked/irritated by your son. And they don't want him by them and they don't want to be by him because he is bothering them. And the kids are speaking up. Most kids are taught to speak up... if someone bothers them etc. I teach my kids that.
Sure, the Teacher is in charge of the class. But, they don't have eyes around their head.

My son has a classmate like that in his class. My son speaks up to him and tells him to "stop..." or "go away..." or he tells the Teacher. All the other kids find that boy irritating too. The Teacher knows about that boy and daily... he has to be corrected and the parents called. The boy even had to go to the Principal's office once.
That boy, is just very bothersome. And he disrupts the class/classmates... AND that also means, he disrupts the other kid's learning time. I am sure, the parents don't appreciate that.

My son's Teacher is very proactive and attentive, but she has a classroom of other kids too. And, at any given second, she can't just be RIGHT next to that bothersome boy. So, if a he is irking some kid, the kids will speak up and tell that boy to "stop it...."
I am there in that class because I help in my son's room. The Teacher... even made that boy APOLOGIZE to me AND my son... because he was being bothersome. After that, the boy was more respectful.

Now, a kid, by 2nd grade, needs to learn classroom rules and manners.
It is not always the teacher's fault or the other kids. The other kids are "bossying" your son, because he is bothering them and they are speaking out. OR, perhaps one day a kid will go home and tell their parents. And then a parent complaint may occur.

The Teacher, also needs to handle it.
It is causing an impediment and disruption to the other kids and their learning time and quality.

Perhaps, talk to your Pediatrician.

And perhaps, the school, do they have other programs for kids that are bored or need to be assessed? Or any gifted classes?
Maybe, he needs to be in another type of learning environment.
And not in mixed aged classes.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you're paying for private school anyway, maybe another setting would be better. My kids went to Montessori for preschool and I consider it MORE rigid than some other programs. And I agree with one poster that the other kids are telling him to stop bc he's annoying. There's a girl in my daughter's class the past 2 years whose mother thinks she's very smart but I volunteer and maybe the girl is smart but she's also very disruptive and annoying so it's not fair to the other kids. There is only so much one teacher can do and sometimes peer pressure works as well or better than a teacher constantly scolding so your son's teacher may be tryign that approach. I'd definitely sit down with the teacher and I'd also have him evaluated and then another type of school may be recommended. It's good to know for his sake and to be fair to the rest of the class. I know one school around us for gifted kids allows a ton of freedom and self expression, self starting etc. That may be better and seems the opposite of Montessori.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Can you somehow observe him in school without his seeing you doing it? If you sit in the classroom in person, he and other kids will behave differently; you need a way to observe without being seen. Observation can tell you a lot about dynamics -- does the teacher have enough control of students (or too much), does the teacher yell or is she too soft, do students rule the roost, do they really boss your son around or is that his perception when they merely ask him not to talk to them while they're working, etc., etc.

He may indeed need a more traditional classroom now, with peers his own age rather than a mixed-age group and perhaps more structure than Montessori embraces. But it's hard to tell based on a post. You need to observe and talk a lot to other parents who both have kept kids in Montessori into the elementary grades, and parents who have moved kids into more traditional settings out of Montessori. Be open-minded to either option.

I notice you mention "evaluate him to see if something else is going on here" -- I take "evaluate him" to mean seeing if there are conditions going on like ADD? Don't go for diagnoses just yet; see if there is an academic and/or social reason for these very recent issues first. In other words, take care not to jump to the idea of a condition being behind what sounds like possibly a need for more structure and supervision. If he is super-bouncy at home and everywhere else, that would be more of a red flag for a condition, but if it's only at school, look first at school.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I would meet with the teacher and get her pespective on what is going on. My daughter is bright, very energetic and thrives on social interaction. I once visited a montessori school. ALL schools are different. Having said that, this particular one was NOT a fit for her. She needs rules and structure and social interaction. Self paced, independent learning (while wonderful for some kids) was clearly not a fit fo her. Someone once told me that the key to a good school experience is to find the right "fit" for your child. Maybe this school is not the right fit for him? Best of luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Have a meeting with the teacher and talk to him/her about your concerns.
If there is a problem with your son, you should have been notified by now.
I would get to the bottom of it with the teacher first and go from there.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

If the kids are speaking up (not one but many) it is because your child is distracting/bothering them. I have taught my kids that if the adult isn't handling it or doesn't see it, they can/should speak up...that tells the offender what is wrong AND allows the adult to realize what is happening and address it. It could just be there way of making sure the teacher sees.

Maybe he is too comfortable after being with the same teacher for so long. I am not that familiar with Montessori but is it not a class and would require sitting down to do your work like other classrooms?

Maybe your son needs more one on one attention to keep him on task. Maybe he needs more advanced work (could he be bored?). Maybe the multi-age group is not a good fit for him...rather than being a big 2nd grader he sees younger kids and is modeling some of their immature behaviors. Maybe he needs to be evaluated for learning disability (which could be as simple as a discrepancy between knowing and doing, or different levels between on subject and another) and/or something else (ADHD or any number of conditions). For these types of evaluations, you need to speak to the teacher first...what does she see? in her professional opinion is he bored? struggling? just to hyper? too comfortable and maybe need a change? Your next step for evaluations would be your local public school district and/or your pediatrician.

**I have now read the other posts and just have to say...every time someone speaks up does not make them a bully. While I understand that every child is different...learns differently and thrive under different circumstances, it doesn't mean that things should just be a free-for-all. What I mean is that just because Suzie has ADHD does not mean it gives her a free pass to disrupt others...what about their needs? and their education? I urge everyone to realize that special needs may require special accommodations but lack of special needs does not mean they should get shoved aside. That is how the average student (or sometimes really gifted kids) can fall through the cracks because they didn't need anything special and they didn't excel because of all the "special cases" around them so they just didn't stand out and got missed!

Also, I have seen kids that have been diagnosed with ADHD sort of get a free pass for bad behavior because "they just can't help it". While I understand and know that they can't help it, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't expect some structure and some discipline....I have seen it work miracles. I think we do need to "cut them some slack" but still work towards desired behavior. If not, by the time they are teens they are out of control.

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answers from Boston on

Moving a child is a last resort. It doesn't solve a whole lot of problems, and it gives the child another adjustment to deal with when he already can't do what's expected.

He's had the same teacher for 2 years, and that teacher has told you he cannot focus. The school should and must provide some evaluation services. You cannot be the one to do it, as your presence will be distracting to him and you also won't know what to look for.

Yes, the teacher is the one to direct him, but she probably has. I'm not sure how large the class is, but she cannot be everywhere. I have quite a few friends who are teachers in the early grades, and I have taught myself. I can tell you that even one child who is "all over the place" takes a lot of time away and creates a lot of neglect of the other children. This teacher may have 6 or 8 kids who have some issue that requires additional attention. It's possible that your child is leaving his area and bugging the other kids, so it's appropriate that they speak up and "use their words" to say what they don't like. Your child may be lacking in social skills and may be unable to read the body language of the other kids, so he doesn't know he's being inappropriate.

There can be a million reasons why a child behaves as yours does, but it's clear that he is not happy and neither are some of the other kids. You cannot make a decision to move him to "a more traditional classroom" unless and until you know what his issues are. And that requires an objective assessment from a skilled professional. You are entitled to this, either from the school or from the district or from the state. Get on the phone now with the teacher, set up a conference, and go from there to the school psychologist. Even private schools have a psychologist on call. Use the services to which your child is entitled.

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answers from Philadelphia on

He doesn't need a change. You need to have a meeting with the teacher and find out what's going on. He may need an evaluation for ADHD or the like. This problem will follow him so don't change schools or classes. Fix what's going on. Your son may be saying what the other students are saying but it doesn't mean that the teacher isn't saying something. And sometimes the teacher may not always be aware of every little thing going on in class so make her aware of what you're hearing when you have a meeting.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

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answers from Minneapolis on

I loved Sandy L's response. And, I'm sorry to say, not all Montessoris are created equal. I'm wondering if he is bored, and I'm wondering where the teacher is in all this. I would definitely have a talk with the teacher about it.

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answers from Cumberland on

Sounds like he may need more structure and more challenges-maybe go to 1st grade or so?

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answers from Miami on

My daughter is very energetic as well. She started in a public school and it did not server her well. There were to many bullies messing with her. Getting her into the montisorri was the best thing I could do for her. She can move around and does not have to be glued to her seat. The schools are generally smaller and the principles of the montissorri way make it hard for really bad bullies. He has to learn to funnel that energy.. Get him into karate or tumbing classes where he can learn how to funnel that energy. Now not all montissori schools are the same. Make sure your's is acredited. If it is not for him find him another montissorri. His bouncing around would make public school miserable for him . S.H. is exactly the type of parent involved and children I want to keep my daughter away from. A second grader is labeled irritating and is told to go away???. How awful for that child. Maybe he is ADD and can't sit stil. Maybe he is acting out because he is lonely and wants attention. And bad attention is better than no attention. By SH allowing this to happen while she is in that classroom has set up a bully situation were the kids with the approval of the parents will bully that child. And the poor kid is in second grade.

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