3.08.2010

School Blues - The Conclusion

Oh my goodness are you folks smart! I just got an email from my cousin about my story and I decided to include my letter back to her here, following up on the conclusion of my story from this morning. So, here is what happened:

Well, I just got off the phone with the teacher. I actually called the principle first to ask his advice on how to approach it and he suggested I let him broach the subject with her and have her call me. I was hoping I could keep my emotions in check.

When she called, I greeted her warmly and told her I was so happy she called. I tried to say as much as I could without seeming like I was attacking her, but still make my point. She began by saying she had noticed a marked difference in my son's disposition this week - more sullen and depressed. I thought, "Great! This is my opportunity!" I told her I think I've narrowed down the reason for this change in behavior and told her about his perceptions when it comes to things in the classroom, "good kids/bad kids".

She listened and seemed truly shocked. (This teacher is about 60 years old with adult children and has only been teaching for about 6 years.) She said, "Okay, what is the plan? What is the solution to the problem?" I told her that the shaving cream thing is distracting and embarrassing for my son and on top of that allowing one of those same students to give the test creates a feeling that that student is above the others, like a teacher.

She said "Well, I'm not going to stop the shaving cream. That is a reward for those students." I told her that sometimes a reward for one group is perceived as a punishment for the others. We negotiated back and forth and eventually compromised. The shaving cream will stay, but those students will be moved to the rear corner of the classroom while the other students re-test. She also agreed to stop allowing students to test students.

So, I think we came to a good compromise and maybe she will think a little about how her choices can be perceived by little kids. Overall, I'm pretty happy. I guess we'll see how she treats him tomorrow.

I have a splitting headache from the stress of it, but it was non-confrontational and pretty friendly, though she didn't "get" all my points. It was a starting point and I have to remember that.

I felt so much better to read all your messages that backed me up and gave me strength!


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28 comments :

  1. I'm SO glad you had the phone call and that it was very non-confrontational. You both handled it so well in reaching a compromise. Yay for you and your son!!!

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  2. yeay!! I'm so glad to hear that you had a positive, productive conversation!

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  3. Yay! So glad to hear it was productive and went good:)

    amy[www.theprikazskys.com]

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  4. Glad you feel better..now go have a glass of wine but do it in the corner so we 'Bad' kids don't get distracted ;-) you've had a loooooong day!

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  5. I'm so glad that worked out well.

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  6. i'm not sure how i missed your post from this morning! i'm so sorry that he was going through that! poor thing. i'm glad you were able to speak with her and at least come to a compromise. hopefully your son feels more comfortable. those are the days i am dreading as a mother...i think you handled it well. A+, mama!!

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  7. Yeah, keep it up! stay strong!

    A child's perception is always different from an adult's perception. Now matter how hard that teacher wants to believe something is working, it may not be to the best benefit of a child's mind.

    Good luck, you did great! :)

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  8. Way to go Jen. I bet you feel a lot lighter this evening. Good to know you have your principal's support too.

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  9. I'm so glad that you got to deal with this quickly. So proud of your for sticking to your guns, and so happy for the little guy. Fingers crossed for good change.

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  10. Good for you!!
    Now you can get some good rest tonight, momma!!

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  11. Maybe because she is from a different generation she doesn't "get" the whole peer pressure thing. But I'm glad you talked to her and reached some kind of resolution.

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  12. Well I'm glad it worked out for you the way that it did. I give her credit for being receptive & being willing to compromise rather than getting defensive & not backing down. Now you just have to check in with your son & see if she's following through. And since your conversation went alright, now you know you can talk to her about other issues that might come up in the future.

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  13. Way to go mama! I completely disagree with a student "testing" their peers. Thank goodness you addressed it!

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  14. Way to go, Mama Bear! Good job. Now, go. Read my comment on the original, because her pretest still scare me. (I just posted it before reading this post.)

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  15. Thank God!!! Hopefully her eyes were opened!

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  16. This went far better than I hoped for you! The fact that you were able to have a conversation with her is great, and like another lady said, you won't be scared to talk about problem that might get on the way in the future. What you did, I am sure, will also affects other kids that was feeling the saw way your boy did.... I really, really don't understand why she stick to the shaving cream! But at least you got her to stop student to test other students :D We're all proud of you!

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  17. i read you original post, but just didn't know how to respond...i couldn't seem to find the words at the time to convey my feelings. then when i came back by later, you had so many responses saying how i was feeling about our situation.

    i must have thought about you & your situation 100 times today.

    i am so glad that you were able to talk to the teacher without it causing a big fuss.

    i hope you see good things come from it!
    xo

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  18. Yes, you're right.......this is a good starting point...of course you will have to stay diligent and keep on top of things.......but for now just hug him and take a deep breath!

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  19. Good for you...I am very proud that you were able to have that conversation...I hope things only get better.

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  20. Good for you for calling this teacher out! You have to be an advocate for your child because no one else will. Hopefully now she'll be more aware of the effect her actions are having on all of the kids in her classroom.

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  21. Jennifer, do you know what a rarity it is for a mother to be so deliberate about their child's education?

    What a huge encouragement you are to other mothers (and fathers) who feel intimidated or hopeless about situations at school.

    I haven't read through the other comments, but I am sure I am not the first one to commend you! Not just for having the conviction but to act on it!

    My girls went through elementary in public school (we homeschool now) and I very often felt alone in my concerns both in the classroom and the playground.

    And the stress??? Yes, sister. I do remember the stress. Especially when having to raise a concern and potentially rock the boat. If more parents were as diligent about the education of their precious children then the public school system would be a much different place.

    Sorry for the soapbox.

    One more thing ;) Don't lose that intuition and grit to fight for your kids. So many parents are either exhausted or apathetic by the time their kids get to junior high that they completely quit ...

    Keep it up momma :)

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  22. good for you! i missed a chance to comment on the previous post but wanted to say, as hard as it is--and it is hard--to stand up for our kids--they have no one else to do it for them!
    You've done a good job raising him to respect his teacher even though he feels wronged.
    but it is our job to protect them.
    I always remind myself I am like a mother bear-- and nobody wants to mess with a mama bear!

    you were right to go to the principal first. :)

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  23. Glad you were able to voice your thoughts. At least she heard you. She maybe didn't listen, but she heard. Hopefully things take a turn for the better and soon. Good luck Jen.

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  24. here is another comment to say "you done great girl!" :)
    It is so hard to speak up and to do it in a way that is respectful to both the teacher and yourself and your son is essential for a good outcome.
    I suspect that it won't be the last time and this teacher has a lot to learn aobut child development. Do they require a unit or two on it in teachers college in the USA? I sure hope so, but it seems like this lady just ignored all of it and made up her own stuff which is way outdated.

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  25. You go girl!!!

    You did a good thing!

    Lou Cinda :)

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  26. Good for you, happy its better then it was! Even though I don't know her I can totally see her saying "I won't stop the shaving cream!" How can she not see what a distraction that is? I have to say I have been telling a few people about this. My daughter's teacher, my husband and my sister in-law. They all agreed that it needed to be dealt with. I wonder if you hadn't brought all this up if she would have approached you about your son's demeanor?

    Well I am praying this all gets better for your son. With that face how could anyone be mean to him!

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  27. Just me - but it sounds like she would have been a better Kindergarten teacher. The whole point of upper elementary school is to teach children NOT to give in to peer pressure - good bad or otherwise - to think for themselves. I feel for your son - and you kept your head on straight. I am not so sure I could have been so gracious - but then again I always have had a low tolerance for questionable behavior from adults in charge of children...
    Stay on top of it and don't back down. And just remind your son - the year is almost over and he will encounter many more teachers, peers, and co-workers when he is older - and they won't always get along. My oldest is now in high school and I could tell you several tales similar to yours.

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  28. I'm glad you handled this situation, Jen. And it sounds like you did a great job.

    Although, I can't say that I agree with the teacher's methods. The whole "forced" peer pressure thing really rubs me the wrong way. But when you said she was 60 and had only been teaching for a few years, that kind of answered my question. She's not in tune with kids these days.

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