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Elementary Aged Kids Your little ones have grown up right before your eyes! They are no longer those little babies they once were, and soon they are moving to adolescence.

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Old 11-08-2002, 05:10 PM
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Teacher-Parent Communication

I have a problem with my son's first grade teacher. First of all back in Sept when they started school, they started on a Wednesday with a 1/2 day. Thurs & Fri were full days. In his daily folder on Friday, the teacher sent home a note that said "Brandon is having a hard time making good choices. I know that he can make good choices, as I have seen him do it." and "Also his science teacher is worried about his behavior."

OK, now for some background. He is new to this school, I moved him out of his previous school by doing "school of choice" because his teacher there for Kindergarten told me that he needed to be put on Ritalin. His old school has one elementary and one building that holds the Middle School and High School. The graduating class is about 54 students. They are a class C/D school system. The new school system has 7 elementaries, Navigator which is 5th & 6th, Pathfinder which is 7th & 8th, and then a $54 million High School. I don't know how many are in the graduating class of the new system, but 11 years ago when I graduated there were 226 students. It is a class AA school system. BIG DIFFERENCE.

Secondly, he had 2 years of preschool which were 3 or 4 days per week a few hours each. Then he had kindergarten which was 5 days but 1/2 days. Now first grade is 5 days, starts at 9am and gets out at 4 pm. That is a big change for a child. I don't think it was right to send home a note on the second FULL day of school. What really makes me mad though... is the wording of the note...It did not tell me what his bad choices were, how was I suppose to correct things or punish him or help him if I don't know what he was doing wrong?

This is getting long...SORRY...Please bear with me....
After that I have heard nothing!! UNTIL...
I picked him up the day before Halloween and she informed me that Brandon had to talk to the Principal. She said she didn't normally like to have children talk to the principal but Brandon has been hitting and threatening kids since the beginning of the year and it has been getting worse. WELL, like I said I have heard nothing since the note. Automatically I looked at him and said "NO TRICK OR TREATING" well as you can guess that set off a tantrum. When I got home I realized that although it is his fault for hitting, it is not his fault that his teacher didn't inform me that there was a problem. Anyway, I wrote his teacher a note that said that although I appreciate her informing me of the "problem", I am curious as to why I had not been informed earlier. I told her that I couldn't help with the problem, if I didn't know there was one. Well that afternoon I helped with the Halloween party and she never said a word! as I was leaving, she thanked me for the note and said that she would have sent a note home the first week of school but didn't know if she should. HELLO???

This is really turning into a book...YIKES...almost done..
She also said that she had Brandon talk to the counselor and they would be entering into a contract on a daily basis with Brandon deciding a reward (extra recess, extra computer time) and a "punishment" (no recess, no computers) and they would be sent home each day. Well the week is over and I have only rec'd 2 of these.

I am really worried about all of this because Parent/Teacher conferences are next week...WHAT ELSE IS SHE GONNA SPRING ON ME? I am waiting until after that to go to the Principal. I think there is a major lack of communication and I don't want to be labeled as a mom that doesn't care and I don't want my son labeled as a PROBLEM CHILD. I am really curious if she would have waited until he had been in school 2 1/2 months (when conferences were scheduled) to even tell me anything, if he hadn't acted up that day.

HELP PLEASE, any advice/comments would be appreciated if you are still awake to read this sentence. LOL
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Old 11-08-2002, 06:27 PM
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I don't have a child in school, yet, but I wanted to let you know that I think your son's teacher showed she doesn't make good decisions HERSELF! It's not right for her to send a note home like that after the 2nd day of school unless there were a serious problem. She should have clarified her reason for sending a note home or given you a call to tell you about his behavior. She also should have let you know of any further problems! I think you should go ahead and have a talk with the principal BEFORE the conference considering the teacher has already had your son talk to them. See what knowledge the principal has about the behavior and let them know your situation about not being informed. Good luck with everything!!!!!!
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Old 11-09-2002, 02:00 AM
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Hi, I have 2 in school and I'm a former teacher (at different times, grades 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, and high school) so I can look at this from the different angles.

The teacher was definitely negligent in not keeping you up to date on any problems that were going on. She should have contacted you the FIRST time your son hit someone, and most likely things would have been stopped a whole lot sooner than this!
It was right of her to send a note early on to alert you that something was up. But she should have followed up on it, and given you more information. You need to know what he is and is not doing at school. For example, he IS very helpful and shares things with others, but he IS NOT able to keep quiet when the teacher is talking. If you don't know his strengths and weaknesses, you can't help him.
Obviously after 2 1/2 days of school the teacher noticed that something was wrong. She could also observe that he could do some things right. It's right of her to let you know--but she needs to give you more to go on.

Since she is not taking the initiative here, it will be your child who is stuck with the consequences unless YOU take the initiative. Set up a weekly appointment for a phone conference or an in-person conference (if need be, but a phone call should do it). I have no idea why she would have been under the impression that it wouldn't be a good idea to call--especially if hitting was going on. I'm also a little surprised that you hadn't heard from the principal earlier, if children were being hit.

Start documenting EVERYTHING: all contacts with the teacher (notes, in-person talks or phone calls) so that if things don't improve you have records to show the principal.
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Old 11-09-2002, 06:08 AM
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Pinkie Winky Thanks...

for your responses, I am just so frustrated.

I don't have a problem with the note home, in fact I welcome them, but to tell me that he has a hard time making good choices tells me NOTHING.

I have documented everything so far, but I am going to wait until conferences on the 13th just to see what else she plans to spring on me.

Thanks again...
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Old 01-28-2003, 12:54 AM
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Wowwee! This is scary! For someone working on going into the teaching field, that story makes me want to be 100% sure that is never me. I believe that there should be a strong communication between parents and the teacher, because sometimes the parents can tell the teacher things that are going on that can be helpful, and vice versa. This teacher goes against everything I have learned in my classes.

As far as the note home the first week of school, this woman must have no control in the classroom. The children are still adapting to the new class, and at such an early age it takes time and the teacher has to teach what she expects of her students. Coming from Kindergarten to 1st grade is a big jump. Most Kindergarten teachers are much easier on their students behavior-wise because for most children this is their first year of structured school. 1st grade is when they crack down on behavior. As far as the teacher telling you that she sent your son to the principal is horrible too. The teacher should ALWAYS talk to the parent before it comes to having to see the principal. The same thing goes for the counselor. All of this should have been things that you were aware of ahead of time.

Nothing personal, I don't know you or your son, but you mentioned that the Kindergarten teacher suggested Ritalin. Have you ever had your son tested for ADHD or ADD? You may want to have him tested. I'm not promoting Ritalin, but if you find that he has ADHD or ADD then there are other steps besides meds that can help reduce the behaviors. This may the same behaviors that the Kindergarten teacher saw that the 1st grade teacher is now dealing with, but many teachers won't say anything to parents as far as ADHD or ADD goes because they are afraid that a parent may try to turn it into a lawsuit.

I hope that your parent-teacher conference went well and that the teacher takes a turn for the best!

Last edited by ladyjade; 01-28-2003 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 03-22-2003, 08:39 AM
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Exclamation ADHD and parent-teacher communication

My head spins when I get on this topic. I have a son in third grade who has been diagnosed with ADHD. We are currently in the CSE referral phase with the school. I find that I have gotten to the point where I don't even want to hear from the teacher half the time because her weekly notes tell me almost nothing. She tries and I know that it is difficult having someone in class whe tends to journey off into his own world with sound effects is difficult but since he is academically on target, they don't know what to do with him. It is hard for me becasue I am not there and I cannot do anything about many of the behaviors they are concerned about. I am hoping that we can work on modifications in his program which will allow him the opportunity to be challenged in a way that will make his work interesting enough to keep his attention. I like the suggestion of setting up a regular time for a weekly phone call. I work full time and, frankly, often don't remember to make the home related phone calls once I am off and running at work. I have learned that, having a child who is different from the norm, even when he has no other learning disability, is something that will never be resolved. The challenge continues and evloves. I can say, though, that my son is excitable and can be loud and impulsive, but, he is one of the most loving and kind people I have ever met. I worry more about his gentle soul surviving the disappoints and frustrations of a system developed for a middle of the road mind than I do about his academic success.
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