Author Topic: Politely asking a teacher about discipline--Update #29  (Read 8991 times)

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Jones

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Politely asking a teacher about discipline--Update #29
« on: August 29, 2012, 06:37:39 PM »
Jean Bean started first grade last week. In her class, the children have colored cards: green=good, yellow=warning, red=lose recess time.

Jean has come home twice now and told us she got a red card: Thursday last week and again today. This is a shock to me as she was never in any trouble (that I was told) during kindergarten or preschool. I haven't heard from her teacher, but I understand the reasons Jean tells me, and have discussed them with her (essentially, she didn't listen and distracted the class). I haven't had an email or call from the teacher, so I'd like to assume she feels it's under control, but I'm nervous that Jean will be seen as a troublemaker. (Two red cards the first week of school?? Ack!)

I don't know how to word an email that doesn't so come across as "Hi, I guess my kid is disrupting your class, do you need me to do something about it or can you handle a 6 year old?"  or "Hi, I'm a helicopter mom and want to know what's going on to contribute to Jean's actions today."  ::) At least, that's how I read them when I wrote it out.

Or should I leave it be and wait to see if she continues to get into trouble? If so, how long do I wait? I don't want to sit down at the parent teacher meeting in two months and be slammed with a file of problematic actions.



PS. I've mentioned on here before that Jean can get grumpy when she goes too long without food. The teacher totally understood when I told her, and I've sent fruit every day with Jean for a recess snack. Teacher liked the idea so much she sent a letter to all the parents last week inviting them to do the same for their kids...I think hungry grumpies is a widespread problem, but not the problem in this case.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 04:04:50 PM by Jones »

MOM21SON

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2012, 06:47:38 PM »
I would let it go until the teacher contacts you.  And she will if the problem continues.

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2012, 06:51:44 PM »
I would think she'd contact you if she were concerned. Kids sometimes take a while to adjust to the higher expectations as they go from grade to grade. She knows a few kids will have trouble. If it continues, you'll hear from her.

sourwolf

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2012, 06:52:28 PM »
I would let it go until the teacher contacts you.  And she will if the problem continues.
I disagree.  I think if you let it go until the teacher contacts you that means you are essentially ignoring the problem until it is too big to be ignored!  much better to proactively contact the teacher and ask if there is anything you should be working on with Jean so she does not continue to get red cards.  This lets the teacher know you are aware of the problem and are not blaming them.  Honestly the worst thing to do would be to ignore it and wait until the teacher contacts you.

jmarvellous

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2012, 06:53:12 PM »
My mom is a first-grade teacher of about 20 years (plus another 10 years of early childhood and special ed). She would appreciate a gentle note of concern, but I have a feeling neither of your examples is the right way to go. Maybe:

Hi Teacher,

Jean has told me that she's missed recess twice this week because she received a red card.  I was wondering if there's anything we can do at home to help encourage her to behave in class, or any rules she's having extra trouble with. I would like to better understand what's going wrong, as she's not had behavior issues in the past.

Thanks,
Jones

As a side note, my mom HATES using recess as a punishment because kids that age need some running around time (particularly ones who are acting restless or being overactive in class). And, well, the teacher has one more thing to pay attention to (kids sitting out) while monitoring another 20 kids on the playground equipment!

If it keeps being an issue, perhaps talking to the principal about a punishment that will teach her a lesson without restricting her playtime would be wise.

hyzenthlay

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2012, 06:53:19 PM »
First week of school is frequently rough. Many teachers are extra strict in order to cement their position as an authority, and every year in elementary behavior standards become more strict.

I wouldn't worry unless this continues through another 2 or 3 weeks.

MamaMootz

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2012, 07:01:43 PM »
It's always better to contact a teacher and approaching it from a helpful perspective, and not a combative one. If that makes sense.

So rather than:

Dear Teacher, why is DD getting red cards?

A better way to approach it is:

Dear Teacher, I understand DD has gotten two red cards in the past week. Is there anything I can do at home to help improve her classroom behavior?

And I wouldn't worry quite yet, because as other posters mention, the first week is always rough. People are getting used to the new routines and it's kind of a wiggle period where the classrooms are establishing their norms.
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Moray

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2012, 07:13:19 PM »
It's always better to contact a teacher and approaching it from a helpful perspective, and not a combative one. If that makes sense.

So rather than:

Dear Teacher, why is DD getting red cards?

A better way to approach it is:

Dear Teacher, I understand DD has gotten two red cards in the past week. Is there anything I can do at home to help improve her classroom behavior?

And I wouldn't worry quite yet, because as other posters mention, the first week is always rough. People are getting used to the new routines and it's kind of a wiggle period where the classrooms are establishing their norms.

Perfect.
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MOM21SON

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2012, 07:19:20 PM »
I would let it go until the teacher contacts you.  And she will if the problem continues.
I disagree.  I think if you let it go until the teacher contacts you that means you are essentially ignoring the problem until it is too big to be ignored!  much better to proactively contact the teacher and ask if there is anything you should be working on with Jean so she does not continue to get red cards.  This lets the teacher know you are aware of the problem and are not blaming them.  Honestly the worst thing to do would be to ignore it and wait until the teacher contacts you.

I disagree. The card system will not let it go that far. 
In my experience, the schools want less parental involement.  The kids do learn better without all the hubub.  It is hard but it works.

Pippen

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2012, 07:19:45 PM »
By the sounds of it the cards are a preemptive thing for the children, not as serious as getting a note to take home, more a way of teaching them to self manage without getting the parents involved. Maybe a quick chat with the teacher to clarify how they use them might be easiest rather than a letter.

"Hi Teacher. DD says she has been getting some red cards. Is this anything I need to back up with at home or would you prefer it to stay in the classroom? I'd like to know how the system works so we can all be on the same page with this.'

bonyk

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2012, 07:20:25 PM »
Speaking as a teacher, it is true that we are very strict the first couple weeks of school.  However, I think sending a note is a good idea:

Dear Teacher,

DD has told me that she has gotten a red card twice this week.  Is this something you would like us address at home as well, or do you feel that it is under control?  If you feel that it is something more than adjusting to a new school year we would like to know.

Thanks,
Helpful Parents

kherbert05

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 07:24:23 PM »
I would ask what is going on with the attitude of "what do we need to work on at home".


We have been doing things over and over and over again, till we get them right - but I'm not penalizing the kids' conduct grade till the end of next week. They are still learning the routines and the rules. So all my kids got 3 checks in the conduct folder that went home today. Several of my boys gave me startled looks.


Our principal said NO  taking away recess. ;D   Kids are required to have 135 minutes of physical activity a week in Texas schools. We meet that with 30 min of recess a day and 45 minutes of PE either once or twice a week depending on your specials schedule.  (My kids get PE once a week - but they are the only class in there - which means they get to participate more. Grades with 5 classes get PE 2x a week but it is 2 classes in the gym. The other kids are in art, music, or computers)
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Sharnita

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2012, 07:25:31 PM »
I would ask what is going on with the attitude of "what do we need to work on at home".


We have been doing things over and over and over again, till we get them right - but I'm not penalizing the kids' conduct grade till the end of next week. They are still learning the routines and the rules. So all my kids got 3 checks in the conduct folder that went home today. Several of my boys gave me startled looks.


Our principal said NO  taking away recess. ;D   Kids are required to have 135 minutes of physical activity a week in Texas schools. We meet that with 30 min of recess a day and 45 minutes of PE either once or twice a week depending on your specials schedule.  (My kids get PE once a week - but they are the only class in there - which means they get to participate more. Grades with 5 classes get PE 2x a week but it is 2 classes in the gym. The other kids are in art, music, or computers)

I like that approach

doodlemor

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2012, 07:31:39 PM »
Speaking as a teacher, it is true that we are very strict the first couple weeks of school.  However, I think sending a note is a good idea:

Dear Teacher,

DD has told me that she has gotten a red card twice this week.  Is this something you would like us address at home as well, or do you feel that it is under control?  If you feel that it is something more than adjusting to a new school year we would like to know.

Thanks,
Helpful Parents

POD from a retired teacher.

Jones

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Re: Politely asking a teacher about discipline
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2012, 10:11:22 AM »
Thanks for the advice, all. I will admit that after I posted, I decided the issue would keep a bit and I took myself away from the computer. To help make up for lost recess time I had Jean ride her bike around the neighborhood a couple times while I did my walking. She was real heartbroken, let me tell you.  ;) I disagree with the removal of recess time as a punishment too; that did feature into one of my drafts yesterday. Iím very, very glad I posted here, as I donít want the teacher to think Iím one of those difficult moms with a special snowflake daughter; the suggestions here have been great. I want her to know that we both have Jeanís best interest in mind, and I want to back her up if needed. I donít want her to think she has a troublesome child and the parent is ignoring the problem. I will avoid the recess removal topic for now.

I went ahead and put this together based on the multiple suggestions here:

Hi Teacher,

Jean has told me that she's received a red card twice since school started. I was wondering if there's anything we can do at home to help encourage her to behave in class, or if you feel itís under control. If you think that the issue is something more than simply adjusting to a new school year we would like to know.

Thanks,
Jones
As a side note, the teacher calls me by my first name but has never told me whether or not I should reciprocate. Should I address the email as Hi Firstname, or Hello Mrs. Lastname?