My son is in 3rd grade and lately he has been coming home with some stories that are causing me to be concerned about his teacher's disciplinary style. There seem to be a handful of kids in his class that are getting in trouble/being sent to the office in a daily basis. Lately, however, it seems that the teacher is trying to address this by punishing the whole class for the behavior of these kids, possibly to try to get the misbehaving kids to feel pressure to behave from the other kids?
At some point recently, the teacher took away "choice time" for all the kids, which is their free time at the end of the day to read, do art, build legos or whatever. Now she has a policy of putting a marble in a jar on the days that the whole class behaves. When the jar has 10 marbles, they can have choice time. My son tells me that they haven't had choice time in weeks because of this, as if any person misbehaves during the day, they get no marble.
Next is the issue of the lunch line. The class walks from the cafeteria up two stories to get to the class room. If, at any point during that walk, any of the kids talk, the whole class walks all the way back to the cafeteria to start over--even if they were right outside the classroom when somebody talked! Not only does this seem like an incredible waste of time, but I am not clear as to why the kids need to be silent in the first place. Or why can't the kid who talked be sent back down.
What pushed me over the edge was a note that was sent home the other day. Apparently the class was trying to watch a movie and a lot of kids were acting out. I know a couple were sent to the office but my son made it sound like up to half the class was involved (but not him, he says, and I do believe him). So the teacher decided to make the whole class write a note home to their parents. The note said "dear mom, today my class was not able to watch a movie because we were being very disrespectful. I promise to behave in the future" . I just think it is so unfair that the kids who do behave are being punished for the behavior of those who don't! I encourage honesty at all times with my son, and this note essentially asked him to lie by taking responsibility for something that he did not do. Not to mention that some kids bringing that note home could face harsh discipline from their parents. It just does not sit well with me for a number of reasons. I have issues with the whole punish/reward style to begin with and this could easily backfire on the teacher because if the kids who do behave are punished, then what incentive do they have to continue? The note had to be signed and returned so on it I wrote a note requesting a meeting to discuss my concerns. I like his teacher, and at the last conference she said that their were some kids with behavioral issues in the class and that my son was not one of them. So I really do believe him when he says that he is not involved.
So I guess what I am looking for is assurance that this type of discipline is problematic, and possibly some resources that I can print out to bring to our meeting. Thanks!