Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Parenting doesn't get any easier, that's for sure :)

As some of you may know, we are having a challenging time adjusting to Kindergarten! Alden is so smart and he is doing well in the academic parts of school (His frog is already on the number 4 lilly pad) but it's his "conduct" grade that will not be so good this first 9 weeks! I have really struggled about what to do about the number of white reminders that are being sent home. We are trying the "No playstation" rule if he gets moved to white (which is the same as red when we were young, but I guess white sounds better so they have green/light green/white) and we are trying the "Get x amount of days on Green and you get a prize" rule. And we try to address the exact problem the white reminder was sent home for like for playing at rest time, we practice by having a rest time at home. But really nothing seem to be working well. Which brings me to my dilema-Are the white reminders (that take 2 points off your conduct grade for each one) being given out too freely or am I being "that mom" that thinks her child can do no wrong? Now I know that Alden is not a perfect child. He is what we call "All boy" which means he is likes to make noises and run around and he loves to make people laugh. The last being the main reason he is getting white reminders. Let me give you the latest white reminder scenario and you can decide. Okay, yesterday at Alden's school they had a pep rally to kick off this Boosterthon Fun Run that they are doing (by the way if we haven't called you to see if you want to donate, you'll hear from us soon :) and I was there for most of it but I had to leave to go to Katlynn's school. While I was there, they guys were trying to pump the kids up with loud music and having them yell and sing and all the fun things to do at a pep rally. Well, sometime after I left, they had all the kids standing up and somehow Alden and four other boys were playing with a string of flags that were attached to a speaker. Now my first thought is "why is there a string of anything attached to a speaker within reach of Pre-K through first graders" but anyway with the playing the five boys were doing, somehow the speaker gets pulled over and hits a teacher on the head who then falls on two other students before she has to leave to go to the doctor to get her head checked out. Needless to say, not what you want to be told as you are picking your son up. Well, when we talked to Alden he said he didn't pull it but he was touching it (how convenient right) and he said the teacher wasn't watching or it won't have hit her. So we explained that watching for falling speaker is not what a teacher should have to do and we followed through with the no playstation for the rest of the day and made him take a rest when he got home. He, of course, was upset and his next response is what made me stop and think. He said, "I was trying to be so good today and my card was still on green and they moved it straight to white and I didn't even get to move it to light green" This is where I have to question whether the system is working. I know that the outcome of Alden and the other boys actions could have been extremely harmful but were the actions themselves that bad? Let's consider, the boys (in their minds) were simply playing with a string of flags. They probably didn't even know what it was attached to much less that if they pulled it a speaker would fall. Should the boys have gone straight to white or should they have gone to light green first? I don't know what to think but I do know that I am tired of having to worry about Alden getting white reminders because I think each one is a blow to the kid's self-esteem since once again "I wasn't good enough today". So if anyone else has any suggestions PLEASE let me know!


amyelder said...

Ok first of all I think that it was the teachers responsibility to be watching the string if it was attached to something that dangerous and you are right why would they have put something like that near a bunch of kids. Have you had a parent teacher conference because that would be my next step. It sounds a little obsessive with the white reminders. Abbie is a crazy little girl and she has had three sent home since school started which I find crazy but I don't think that she is not doing anything during the day I just think she is given warnings before she doesn't get a star sent home. That needs to be addressed does he gets warning and how many warnings do they get before it is moved. Were the boys warned not to touch the string or was it just placed there. That might have overreacted a little because someone did get hurt but the boys shouldn't have been 100% in the wrong the teacher needed to take some responsibility for that. If it was that dangerous the kids should not have been able to even be near it. Other thing to ask is how many other kids get white reminders everyday is Alden the only one. Is he being singled out or is she overreacting to every child in the classroom. Ask the parents!

stephrojas said...

Hey Natalie!

I couldn't agree more w/ the person that posted before me. I feel your frusteration more than you know! Alden reminds me SO MUCH of AJ, who is now in 2nd grade. We had a lot of similar situations w/ AJ when he was in Kindergarten! AJ is also a lot like his daddy was at his age and my younger brother as well. Bryson (my brother) had a teacher who had the same type of system for conduct. This was his 1st grade teacher and it DID effect his self esteem a lot. Bryson is 23now and my mom still gets angry at that 1st grade teacher...crazy I know! Anyway, my point is to follow through w/ a parent teacher conference involving you, Jason and Alden's teacher. If you don't like the outcome of that conference, I would definitely take the next step and do what you feel is neccesary. IF it actually is Alden's behavior, I would just continue to follow through w/ what you say you are going to do. AJ really was the problem in kindergarten and we did everything we could to fix his behavior problems before he continued on to 1st grade. We put him in Karate, read books (from a series of behavior books called "Help me be Good") where we could give him examples of how he is behaving and he didn't like what we had to point out, we also put him in the corner and...some don't agree w/ this...but he got spanked and if he were to get in trouble for saying something mean or mouthing back to his teacher he would get hot sauce when he got home. By the second half of the school year, AJ was being praised for his behvior and hasn't been in trouble at school since! I know Karate helped a lot because they follow through w/ a reward system as well...involving behavior at school. Yes, my husband is a manager/head instructor of a karate center, but that is not why I am suggesting karate. There is so much more to karate than kicks and punches! It has made a huge difference for AJ and helped Aleigh a lot too!

Good luck! I sympathize with you and relate! I think the situation today was the teachers fault! That was dangerous and the kids should not have been punished for doing something that they were doing in innocent fun in a pumped up and energetic environment! They couldn't possibly have known that what they were doing was going to make a speaker fall and injure a teacher!

hinesleymom said...

Okay, first of all I will admit that I am a little prejudiced. Having said that, I do feel that his teacher is being too hard on him. It sounds like she is lacking in the patience and nurturing that is needed when dealing with 5 year olds. Working in a school I see a lot of this. It is very frustrating for the child who is trying his best and just can't seem to measure up to what the teacher expects of him. None of Alden's behavior is malicious. I am sure that he had no idea that playing with a string could have caused the speaker to fall on someone. However it is the job of the adults in that school to provide a safe environment for the students. They dropped the ball on this one! What if that speaker had landed on a child? The purpose of a pep rally is to "pep" you up. Anytime the whole school gathers for a function it can be overwhelming for the younger children who have not been exposed to activities like this before. Of course they are going to be a little wired! That is totally normal! If you feel like there is a personality conflict between Alden & his teacher then maybe a conference with his teacher, the couselor and principal might help.

Daughter said...

Hey Natalie! While reading your post I felt like I was reading something that I would have written when Cameron was in Kindergarten. His teacher had a really stupid way of measuring their behavior. Each student had a pig that got moved across the board to a different color. Camerons pig was almost always on red. And when I would speak to the teacher about it the things she would say would sound like a typical 5 year old's behavior. She didn't have children of her own (and many might disagree with me), and I think teachers of younger children who don't have children have unreasonable expectations. It finally got to the point, after several conferences, and countless numbers of notes between the teacher and myself, that when Cameron would tell us his pig got moved we were like "oh ok" was so often that it didn't MEAN anything anymore. Does that make sense to you? Whats REALLY bad behavior? The teachers definition and yours may be two different things...

Now the children were being pumped up ON PURPOSE - they should have expected some disruptions. The speaker was the fault of the teacher who put it there in the first place. I'm just glad it didn't fall on the boys pulling the string!

I know I didn't give you any real answers...but I can tell you that I've been there...and we made it through. Be sure you continue to talk to Alden about it everyday and let him know he is not a bad boy and no matter how many white notes are sent home his mommy and daddy still love him and are very proud of him.

I love you guys!

JNAKBoswell said...

Thanks so much to everyone who has helped me with dealing with this trying issue! It means more to me than you know! To give you an update, Alden has been doing a lot better and after I had a talk with his teachers again he was on green for over two weeks straight. I think they might have been just afraid to give him a white reminder since I was almost in tears at the meeting when I told them Alden didn't think they liked him. I also told them that Alden does a lot better when you catch him being good and praise him for it and that makes him want to try more and when you are down on him all the time it makes him give up and not want to try at all. They both talked to Alden and told him that they love him but they have to help him make better choices and he understands that so I think it is going better. He is still getting a few white reminders here and there but the number is definitely going down :) We are working towards 10 days without a white reminder right now and he's on number five ;)
Thanks again to everyone!