Why doesn't my daughter show her teachers the same skills she shows me?
Hi, my name is Eboni Washington and I have a five year old who is affraid to express with her teachers what she knows. At home my daughter is an open book. She pours all of what she has learned out. We could be out in public and out of the blue she saids "mommy, look a four", or she saids "mommy, this means happy or I love you". (she notices a few words spells them out and then saids this).My concern is in school she is affraid to express this kind of knowlede to her teachers. And they look at me like I don't know what I'm talking about when I inform them how she acts outside those walls. My daughter scored a five on her oral language. Now that is a low grade for such a child. The teachers are lost on how this is possible, but as I explain to them my child gets all the attention and there is always someone talking to her. I admit my child is shy if she does not know someone. But there should be no reason for this behavior with her school work. I want her to be proud of who she is and what she is learning everyday. As her parent how do I help her as well as help myself with the understanding of this matter?
I imagine it must be very puzzling and frustrating to watch your bright little girl wilt under the gaze of her teacher and classmates. Of course, it is difficult to know for sure, but my guess is that your daughter is demonstrating some performance anxiety within the classroom context. It is not uncommon for shy children (and adults!) to "lock up" with uncertainty when asked questions or when involved in conversations in which one or more people are perceived as "evaluating" them. For that reason, many children are very cautious when speaking in front of their teacher because they experience their teacher as the "expert" and the evaluator of their intelligence and worth. Not to mention the fact that students are often asked to demonstrate what they know in front of their peers. Public speaking fears anyone?
You can help your daughter by encouraging her to express what she knows with her teachers and classmates. Reassure her that everyone (even adults) learn something new everyday and no one knows everything. Therefore, she isn't expected to have all the right answers. Her teacher just wants to know how she can help her enjoy and grow in kindergarten. You should encourage her teacher to spend some one-on-one time with your daughter during class or recess to facilitate her comfort and bond with her. Also, her teacher should continue to call on her (avoidance will only make the problem worse) and find situations where she is more likely to be successful (favorite subjects and small-group meetings).
lilmscc02 - the member who asked this question - selected this as the best answer posted by another Education.com member.
from a fellow member
From a teacher's perspective I totally understand where you are coming from. It is very interesting that some kids are two different people, the "school kid" and the one at home. I bet this is frustrating, but don't give up!
First, I agree with both Laura and Kat, that some children "lock up" and that if possible having a family member spend time in the classroom with your daughter will help. Again, from my teacher perspective, I would do a few things. First, I would set-up a meeting between the parent and the child. Get to know the child on a one-on-one basis. Show that you, the teacher, care and truly want to know the child. Secondly, since you noted your daughter gets quite a bit of attention at home I would, as the teacher, appoint her to some assistance teacher duties. This would allow for greater interaction between the teacher, the child, and the peers in the class. Also, I would encourage the child to become more vocal in class. For instance when I taught 3rd and 1st grades I would have the children take 10 minutes a day to "Read to the Class." Not only was this the most popular thing of the day, besting recess by far, but it gave the students a chance become more confident in themselves and their abilities. At first I would sit next to the child to give them support, but as the year went on I would move away, sitting on the rug and eventually standing in the back of the room. Ok, my last teacher tip would be to get the class involved in a "Book Buddies" program. Last year my first graders buddied up with the 6th graders. I cannot tell you how many of my students came out of their shell and just blossomed, it was amazing! The same happened to my 3rd graders when they became the mentor to pre-K students.
All that being said, hope is on the horizon. So, my suggestion to you is to approach the teacher and see if she would be willing to do some of the things I suggested, maybe s/he already has. Lastly, as for the test scores, try not to get too discouraged. I didn't put much weight into these scores, but they do drive instruction in our schools. Some students are not good test-takes, me being one of them. Follow her other forms of assessment, such as asking the teacher which DRA level, or whatever assessment they use that is more holistic, meaning it looks more at comprehension at the child's pace instead of during a timed exam. See where she was at the beginning of the year and then see how far she has grown over the year. Ok, here is my last comment on that, sorry it is so long but I feel so passionately about this subject. I have had students whose oral skills were far superior than others. However, when it came to the assessments these students did very poorly. Keep in mind that just because a child has great oral skills doesn't necessarily mean they will have mastered certain reading skills and strategies.
I wish you the best with this Eboni! Peace, Michael
Hi Eboni, I have a five year old boy and it sounds like he has a lot in common with your daughter. He's very chatty and animated at home and with friends but he has a hard time talking to his teacher (she says he acts as if he's afraid of her) and acts shy in front of his classmates. One thing that has helped him a lot this year is my spending time in his classroom. When I volunteer there I'm interacting with all the kids and helping him do the same. I know work schedules don't always allow it but if there's any way you could spend an hour or two a week in the class maybe it would help.<br />
Time is also helping. The further he gets into the school year the more comfortable and confident he becomes and his teacher says he is "loosening" up a little.<br />
I'm interested to see if other parents have good ideas and I'd love to hear how your daughter does throughout the school year.<br />