i have posted before that i am having trouble with my oldest in his new K class. i am very frustrated b/c i feel like this teacher is singling him out, and more focused on punishing him than educating him. my Husband and i are trying to work this out. This morning was the first time Lee has actually seen the effects of what is going on at Jason's school. Jason woke up this morning, and i told him to get dressed for school. He looks so sad (depressed really...not normal in a 5 year old), and i ask him what's wrong:

Jason "I don't want to go to school."

Me "why not?"

Jason "because I'm just going to be left out again. I'm not going to get to do what the other kids get to do like go outside or have snack."

Me "why don't you get to have snack?" (now sidenote, the afternoon snack that i pack for him comes back home in his backpack a lot of times, or at the end of the week, the teacher will send home a bunch of items that he did not eat that were previously sent.

Jason "because I don't behave."

Ok, so here it is. Jason does not get to eat his snack with the other kids if he does something to piss the teacher off. WTF? He needs to eat. Witholding nutrition (and energy) is not a form of punishment, IMO, it is a form of torture. Not getting recess, i can understand losing some time for bad behavior, but a child needs to burn off energy, and no 5 year old can be expected to sit in a classroom all day without some type of recreation. He's not a bad kid. He's bored. He is a sweet, loving child who will do anything for someone who cares about him. One day he saw a wooly bear caterpillar get run over by a car and cried for days over that...wanted to pray for that little bug night after night. He is a person with feelings and needs. He is an outsider in this classroom, having come in in the middle of the school year, and not only are the kids treating him this way, but the teacher is doing it also.

I have met with the teacher, principal, and guidance counselor once about this problem, but i see that nothing's really changed. Here are some emails between myself and my Husband discussing the situation:

From Me:
i'm sorry to add to Your email stack, but i wanted to ask Your opinion.
The info i'm getting about snack and library books is from Jason, a 5 year old. i'm thinking about emailing the teacher and finding out what is really going on, so that W/we can make an informed decision. What do You think?
From Lee:
I think that is a good idea but I don't think Jason is wrong. Why else would he be bringing his snacks back. I would be nice to make sure this is what is happening.

From me: 
Here's my full plan. i am going to be respectful and professional. i am going to ask her about the consequences the classroom gets for yellow and red days. i am going to ask about snacks sent to school and when they get to eat them, and if the kids don't behave do they not get to eat snack with the rest of the class. i am going to ask about the acccelerated readers and when the children are allowed to get a book, or if that privledge is taken away for what reasons. i want to know if there are other children in the class that are having as much trouble with the "rules" as Jason seems to be. i also want to know what type of things she has come up with to keep him focused when he is bored with the curriculum (does he have more advanced pages of work, etc). i would like to know if he has been assigned a classroom "buddy" who he can assist them with learning (as was suggested by the principal). i am going to ask if she has allowed him to "help" her with any classroom activities. i want to know if he is being rewarded for good behavior, and what those rewards are.
Then, i was hoping that You and i would go through that info with a fine tooth comb over the weekend and discuss it (since we will have some one on one time together where we can discuss things openly without kids around). After we discuss it, i am planning on writing an email to her (again courteously and respectfully) telling her about Jason's "sadness" about coming to school, and not getting to do what the other kids are doing. i am going to remind her that he feels like an outsider. i am going to encourage swift consequenses (ie standing in the corner for bad behavior and then the punishment being over, or going to the office). i want her to see that Jason needs his snack, and needs to burn off energy by having recess. That constantly singling him out and taking away privledges is only going to make him more difficult to manage, and that those punishments aren't necessarily "fitting the crime". I want to let her know that she is accountable for keeping him interested reminding her that Jason's acting out is a direct result of boredom in her classroom, letting her know that it is her responsibility to keep him interested and challenged b/c she is the teacher and she is supposed to "teach" him, and currently what she is teaching him is to dislike school which is not in his best interest.
I am furthermore going to go to the principal with all of this information, and i want to get this problem solved once and for all. i believe that there is a personality conflict between Jason and his teacher. i believe that she is not a good match for him, and that he needs to be with a teacher less focused on singling him out for behavior, and more focused on meeting his educational needs. i want him to know that we specifically moved to this school district b/c we understood XXX to be a good school. He needs to know that this was not a problem in Delaware, that Jason was challenged and accepted for who he is, and that he was rewarded there for his successes, not held back b/c he did not "fit in to what the teacher wanted". i will tell him that i am meeting with him about this b/c in our previous meeting i was impressed by his sincerity in making sure each child got what they needed in his school, and as a result, i trust that he and i can work this out for Jason. i want Jason in another classroom with a teacher that is going to help him, not punish him constantly and single him out, someone who is going to work with him. i will make it very clear that what is going on now is going to stop one way or another, and that i am willing to give XXX a chance to fix the problem, but i will not hesitate to put Jason in YYY School (private school) if it turns out that is going to be what is best for him. i am going to give him a specific amount of time to see improvement, but that i am not going to allow his experiences here to have a negative effect on his future school career, I WILL DO WHAT IS BEST FOR JASON, no question about it.
That is my plan...sorry so long, i'm just beside myself about it, and i NEED to protect him from this. What do You think?
From Lee:
I think it is a great plan. Should we copy the principal on this email or wait to see her answer? I very upset that they do not let him eat his snack. I believe that if that is true then that is too great a punishment. He needs his snack and watching other eat theirs when he can't eat his is cruel and I will not stand for it. I want to know if this is standard practice at XXX school. I also question the advance reading books that he is being deprived of. I agree that punishing someone from acting up should be swift but not be withholding of snacks or learning. I agree that this teacher cannot or will not handle him and something needs to be done.
Maybe i'm just being a sensitive mom. i don't know.

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Feb. 1, 2008 at 4:47 PM

I wouldn't put up with that either! Gosh, I hope this all gets resolved! (Who is Lee?) In the beginning of the school year Nathan was having some behavior problems in school. His teacher does some type of straw system. Each time a child acts up, they get a straw in their specific cup. If you get too many straws a week, first the parents get a letter home, then detention and so forth. Well the teacher noticed that the straws weren't working for Nathan because everyone would see that he would have straws in his cup and he would be embarrassed. She decided to do something completely different with him. She put a picture of a lion on his desk and whenever she saw his attention straying or whatever she would just walk over and flip over his lion....So he knew he'd better straighten up or he would end up getting a straw. It has worked out beautifully!! We haven't had a problem since. I don't even know if that made any sense...LOL...but it worked.

I think withholding a child's snack is just ridiculous. She sounds like she is a real winner of a teacher. I really hope it all works out. I wouldn't even want my child in that class anymore. Good Luck! Let me know how it goes!

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Feb. 1, 2008 at 4:52 PM Never-mind, I went back and reread it. Lee is your husband! Duh, I guess I was confused because you were emailing him. Wait, maybe you're not together anymore! Who know, now I'm really confused. LOL.

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Feb. 1, 2008 at 4:57 PM

I don't think you're over-reacting or being a sensitive mom in a negative way. You know what works for your child and you've already been to the school once to discuss the situation. The teacher is wrong for making him feel like an outsider and the other kids are probably following her lead- kindergarteners are generally very accepting of new students and are excited to have new students introduced to their classes.

Withholding snacks and not allowing him some time to burn off some of that 5 year old energy is not helping him and his teacher needs to stop being such an ass so she can see it for herself. That's MUCH too heavy a punishment and it's only going to make him resent her, resent his classmates, resent school, and resent teachers and school in the future. She's not helping him develope a healthy, positive attitude toward learning or school in general and eventually he's going to stop enjoying learning all together. He may be 5, but he's not stupid- he has an active brain and a good imagination that needs to be nurtured. If she just took 2 minutes to give him some extra activities to do, I'm sure he wouldn't misbehave.

But first... she needs to care enough to do that.

I think emailing her is a good idea- get some feedback, talk it over with Lee and decide what you feel is best. It's sounding more and more like he needs to be moved to a classroom where he can get a fresh start with a teacher that will help him grow and learn and be happy that he's so eager to do those things. I may be jumping the gun a bit, but it just seems like she isn't prepared for an above average student or she just doesn't want to go the extra mile to feed a hungry mind.

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