When my middle son was in kindergarten, his teacher would email me weekly about his behavior in class.
He was distracted often, had terrible work habits, and often came home with a “yellow” day from those cursed behavior charts (or what I like to call public shaming). He occasionally had a red day, meaning that day was full of warnings and redirection. Plus, there was no note on his paper telling me why the day was colored yellow. I specifically remember her asking me in a meeting if I gave him consequences for yellow days. I very frankly told her “No. I do not give him consequences for that as I don’t know why he had a yellow day, and he doesn’t remember why either. That would be like disciplining a puppy 3 hours after it peed on the floor. That puppy will not remember having done that. The consequence that you give to him should suffice.” There was one other incident where she was complaining to me again about his behavior without details, and I responded with “Maybe we should have a meeting about this with the principal in case this becomes a problem next year.” I copied the principal too and the teacher backed down. We didn’t have a problem for the remainder of the year.
Have you had a teacher that would rely on you to give her ideas on how to deal with particular behaviors she is witnessing in class? Did you find that a bit odd? I have heard similar from parents regarding this issue, as well as having experienced this with my boys. I understand that teachers would like some feedback or ideas from parents since the parents know them best. Parents know what motivates them, their strengths and weaknesses, and what consequences work at home. Though some teachers develop a reliance on their parents when they become overwhelmed. Let’s face it, teachers are overworked. However, I do ask that if you have this issue with a teacher that is ongoing to the where you cringe when you see their name pop up in your email, you follow this simple guide. This is mostly for children that have IEPs but can be tailored to those that do not.
- When a teacher emails saying that your kid is having this certain issue and asks you for feedback, first ask them what they have tried so far and what were the outcomes.
- If this continues, ask them again what they have tried and what were the outcomes.
- If the problem continues to persist, then ask if the IEP team has been made aware. Maybe the child has sensory issues that could be causing said behavior. Has the OT been contacted? Have they been in to observe? Have they offered suggestions and accommodations?
- If the problem continues and it was reported to you that IEP team members have been in, then call an IEP meeting about those concerns. That way everyone comes to the table, can get on the same page, and hopefully offer up some suggestions.
I’m sharing this with you as a mother. Life is stressful and we as parents do it all. We work, we drive kids around, we feed our families, we do homework, we do bedtime routines, then get up the next day and do it all again. This is about advocating for our child, making sure the teacher is doing the right thing, and us letting go of some things. We can’t control all of the things that happen at school and teachers shouldn’t rely on us to help them all of the time.
If you happen to know another parent that may benefit from my weekly emails, please feel free to share my contact information with them.
We’re in this together!