velezla asks:

My first grader gets bored at school. What can I do?

My son has a very traditional teacher. He is getting bored at school. When we asked for advice and guidance from his teacher her response was that he was immature.
 Any suggestions on how to deal with this situation?
In Topics: Working with my child's teacher(s), Motivation and achievement at school
> 60 days ago



Oct 18, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Your two respondees are on the right track. A teacher does have responsibility to make education accessible to students by motivating interest.  The teacher's teaching style can be one cause of boredom. Saying your son is "immature" can come across as if the teacher is blaming your son for this problem. However, there can be other reasons a child gets bored. Let's take another look some others.

Some little ones are ready for school chronologically, but still developmentally not quite ready for the structure, and attention span requirements for optimal learning. Some kids lose interest and daydream, while others get tired easily or think about recess or snack. For children who are worried about something, feeling "bored" can signal issues of a psychological or emotional issue.  

While your son's boredom may indeed be  the result of poor teaching, I would recommend you consider every angle.  You know your child best. You also know what is going on in his environment. Give some thought to his developmental level and his emotional condition. Are you seeing any signs that he might be worrying about something?  Is there stress going on in the family that might take his mind off school?  This is one branch of investigation you can follow.

Depending on what you come up with you might decide to seek some professional help for him, or you might come away convinced it is definitely poor  teaching. In any case, here are some suggestions for dealing with the school situation.

I suggest you return to the idea of talking with the teacher, but this time from a perspective of partnership, to see if together you can identify the cause of the boredom. With a "teamwork" attitude, you might say something like,  "Let's see if we can solve this together.  If he is "immature" what does that mean in terms of adjusting the content of the learning to help maintain his attention and interest?" You might ask the teacher what she typically does to engage students who are "immature."  When you use her language, instead of being put off by it, you open up a discussion of what "tricks of the trade" she will use to motivate your son.

If the teacher seems to brush off another  attempt to partner with her in your son's educational experience, I suggest you ask for a consult with the teacher and the principal too. Again, I suggest you go into this with an attitude of "Let's figure this out together." This type of approach will probably have the best potential for effectiveness.  You may or may not decide to include the school guidance counselor in the meeting.

Most school's today want to be responsive to a student's learning needs and a parent's concerns.  That doesn't mean any individual teacher will give you the response that thoroughly addresses the problem. But don't give up.

There are other things you can try if the situation cannot be rectified. While I do not favor this as a first option, seeing if a change of classroom is possible might be a last resort. This is not my favorite solution because your son has been in his class for two months and stability and social familiarity are important too.

See how things go over the next few weeks. Possibly ask the teacher what you can do at home to enrich the learning content. Your son's learning interest may catch fire as he grows, especially if you are doing enrichment activities with him. There may be activities on that can help spark his interest in learning.

You may also want to consider the possibility of having a psychological test conducted to see if there are any underlying emotional, developmental or learning issues that are affecting the situation.  The school or your son's pediatrician can help guide you to the correct resources to have this type of evaluation done.

Bette J. Freedson, LICSW, LCSW, CGP
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Additional Answers (2)

ashita21 , Student writes:
I don't think this is of much help to you, but I have to wonder... A first grade teacher says that her student is immature for being bored in class? I believe it should be part of her job to make things interesting for students so that they enjoy school.
That is what I am being taught at teacher training!
> 60 days ago

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Jeanette38 , Parent writes:
It is up to the teacher to stimulate all the children in their class. If your child is getting bored is it because he is particulary bright or is it that he is misunderstanding things? How is his homework and grades?
I can empathise ... when my son was 8 he found his teacher very boring and because of this he ended up either daydreaming or mis-behaving. I had to discuss it with his teacher and we agreed a plan together as it was in both of our interests!  We ended up agreeing that if completed his classroom assignments before the other kids that he would get time to play on the computer in the classroom on a related topic.  
You really have to agree some kind of action with the teacher so that your son sees an aligned approach and the teacher sees that you are serious!
Good luck
> 60 days ago

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