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Old 11-15-2012, 07:35 PM   #1
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How to approach teacher: extremely bright child who is also extremely shy

My daughter is starting kindergarten next year. She will just have turned 5 a week or so before. However she is already reading very well. She can read basically anything and she reads with comprehension. (I ask her questions about what she read to figure this out). Her preschool teacher labelled her as 'gifted' and said she has in 30 years only had a handful of kids like this, even though I hate that term 'gifted'.

The main problem is she doesn't like to stand out, so she won't read, or talk or do anything to 'show off' in front of other kids or adults. She can also write very well but she does not do that at preschool. When I asked her why she asked the teacher to write the story for her instead of doing it herself, she said that is what the other kids do. So basically, she doesn't want to be different or to stand out, or to have attention focused on her. She has always been very very shy, to the point that she still cries or stands in the corner when people sing happy birthday to her.

With her starting school, I am a little worried. I guess I am just worried that she doesn't take initiative and because she is so socially shy that she is 'dumbing herself down'. I worry that the teachers won't realise her true abilities so she won't get the help that she needs and will get either bored or just not progress in herself.

I really want to speak to the teachers about all of this, but I don't even know where to start. I want to make sure they are aware that her reading etc is very advanced, but I don't want to come off sounding like a pushy parent or somebody who just thinks the sun shines out of my own kids b%&@. I want them to have a heads up that she doesn't like to show off what her abilities are and that she needs a bit of pushing. Those who have btdt how do I approach the teacher in a sensitive way? And when?

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Old 11-15-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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Re: How to approach teacher: extremely bright child who is also extremely shy

When you have the first meeting with her teacher, let them know you have some concerns. Tell them she is able to do most of what is asked of her, but she is embarrassed to do it in front of others. Telling her teacher that she's extremely bright, etc. might give the teacher the wrong impression, so I would just say that she doesn't like to read aloud, have alot of attention focused on her, etc. Those are things they work on and are sometimes graded on in school though, so be aware of that. Social behavior is something that is worked on in school as well and most teachers I know will have open conversations with parents when they feel there is a problem. HTH!
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:10 PM   #3
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Re: How to approach teacher: extremely bright child who is also extremely shy

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When you have the first meeting with her teacher, let them know you have some concerns. Tell them she is able to do most of what is asked of her, but she is embarrassed to do it in front of others. Telling her teacher that she's extremely bright, etc. might give the teacher the wrong impression, so I would just say that she doesn't like to read aloud, have alot of attention focused on her, etc. Those are things they work on and are sometimes graded on in school though, so be aware of that. Social behavior is something that is worked on in school as well and most teachers I know will have open conversations with parents when they feel there is a problem. HTH!
Thank you. Yes, i really don't want to use any words that set off alarm bells. I tend to just say to other people IRL that she is very capable.
I really do want her to go to school and not be homeschooled even though academically she would probably be better off home schooling, because of the whole social aspect of school. I feel like it is something she really needs to help her come out of herself.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:23 PM   #4
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Within the first few weeks of school there are parent teacher conferences, that is a good time to bring up bigger concerns, I think. They expect you to have concerns/questions then. I think all parents with kids starting kindergarten have things they feel they need to explain well about their kids but the teachers learn quickly about the kids on their own.

Also, starting kindergarten almost a whole year away. She could be completely different then!
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:07 PM   #5
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In our kindergarten, they test kids within the 1st few weeks of school for levels. Any teacher should be able to see how bright she is, since it's individual testing.

I would just approach it from the shyness angle. You worry she is so scared of putting herself out there that she doesn't show her true abilities. Avoid the term gifted. Plus, once you meet the teacher you should get a feel for how they'll be.

So many parents come into kindergarten thinking their kid is amazingly smart (you're child does sound very advanced for her age, so not trying to put you down at all), that I think any teacher is likely to be secretly a little dismissive til they see what she can do. But with a good teacher who's willing to work with you I think it will be ok
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:16 PM   #6
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Re: How to approach teacher: extremely bright child who is also extremely shy

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In our kindergarten, they test kids within the 1st few weeks of school for levels. Any teacher should be able to see how bright she is, since it's individual testing.

I would just approach it from the shyness angle. You worry she is so scared of putting herself out there that she doesn't show her true abilities. Avoid the term gifted. Plus, once you meet the teacher you should get a feel for how they'll be.

So many parents come into kindergarten thinking their kid is amazingly smart (you're child does sound very advanced for her age, so not trying to put you down at all), that I think any teacher is likely to be secretly a little dismissive til they see what she can do. But with a good teacher who's willing to work with you I think it will be ok
Yep, exactly that. I don't want to come across as that parent. I actually never said anything to her preschool teacher, and she is the one who brought it up when we had a parent teacher meeting. I really was not sure if she was average or how she fared with other kids in her age group although I knew she was a little ahead, and so I was almost a little shocked when the teacher started using the word 'gifted'. But what made me more sad is that her preschool teacher didn't realise she could actually read and thought she was just doing the same thing as all the other kids in the preschool when they would pretend to 'read' books to themselves. She didn't realise she is truly reading to herself silently. Even though she'd been reading for a few months I actually did have to tell the teacher that she could read, so that the teacher now prompts her and pushes her a little. Fortunately she is a really good teacher and also it's a very small school with 3 staff permanently there to assist. I worry that going into public school with bigger classes etc she might get a little lost. Thanks for your input about the testing for levels. I am going to try to find out a bit more about that here.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:24 AM   #7
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Re: How to approach teacher: extremely bright child who is also extremely shy

I was a kid like that. My teachers knew that I was an advanced reader, etc., but I didn't want to seem different from my peers. In third grade, for example, I would read the kind of books in my free reading time that the other kids were reading, like Bunnicula. At home, I would read books like The Hobbit. I recall that my teacher wrote in my report card, "I know M reads books at home that are above grade level." I still liked doing the things the other kids did, like the little phonics workbooks in first grade, etc. and never felt bored at school. Eventually I ended up in all the "accelerated" classes in middle school, the honors/AP classes in high school, and was the valedictorian of my high school graduating class. So I don't think your daughter liking to appear more typical in front of her peers means that she is dumbing herself down or will end up not achieving her potential. Actually, it will probably make it easier for her to fit in socially if the kids don't perceive her as some sort of show-off. Just let the teacher know that she can read, give some examples of the books she is reading, and mention that she is shy and doesn't like to appear more advanced than the other children. I think she will initially find that balance at school, and her abilities will shine!
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:19 AM   #8
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Well, it sounds like despite what your daughter is doing to fit in in her current class, teacher has observed her abilities. I'm sure your daughter's abilities will shine through to her future teachers and they will adjust appropriately. I know you feel like intervention is necessary, but it probably isn't. Give your daughter's capabilities and weaknesses an opportunity to show themselves first.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:27 AM   #9
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Re: How to approach teacher: extremely bright child who is also extremely shy

I think we'll be in a VERY similar situation next year when our Pre-K-er heads to kindy. I actually didn't say anything to her Pre-K teacher. I let her figure it out herself. And at first parent-teacher conference, low and behold, she'd figured it out herself and has been able to challenge her accordingly.

As a silly aside, at the "open house" for Pre-K, I somewhat put my foot in my mouth that DD would be a teacher's dream student. I probably shouldn't have said that, but I wasn't wrong. lol
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:24 PM   #10
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Re: How to approach teacher: extremely bright child who is also extremely shy

In some ways, a larger school might help. If there are other bright, advanced students in her class, she may be more willing to show her abilities, since it won't be just here.
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