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Old 08-26-2010, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd had her first day yesterday and it went very badly. She had many complaints and didn't seem to know where the drinking fountain was all day. I wrote her teacher to ask her about some of the complaints and to request that she show her where the fountain is (because dd is still getting over pneumonia and needs to stay hydrated). Her teacher wrote back saying dd seems anxious about work, makes innappropriate comments, seemed to be trying to intimidate her by saying she would "spy" on her after getting her name written on the board for chit-chatting, and said her hope and dream (during hopes and dreams time) was that a dragon would burn down the school and kill everyone except the girls. My dd is dramatic but I am shocked by all of this, especially the killing part. What do I do? This isn't my kid.
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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I am wonderring if she felt a little run down after the pneumonia? Being weak and in a new place might be overwhelming. It might even turn her filters off - when she is healthy she might have dragon fantasies - but when she is sick she says so out loud.

I would not discard her concerns, and I would keep an eye on things (as if you can do anything but!) - however I would not jump to conclusions yet.
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I would not discard her concerns, and I would keep an eye on things (as if you can doing anything but!) - however I would not jump to conclusions yet.



I'd also ask if something happened with the boys.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 08-26-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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I don't care for the teacher attributing motives to your dd's behavior, personally. Stating that she was trying to intimidate the teacher is the teacher's opinion. It sounds like your dd wasn't behaving well, but I'd also be worried about the teacher not liking your child and how that is going to impact the rest of the year.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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Stating that she was trying to intimidate the teacher is the teacher's opinion.
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The first day of school is very stressful for a child even when things go well. The fact that things didn't go well is probably the reason your dd didn't behave well. As you said, this isn't her normal behavior. I think it's common for kids to joke about wanting the school to burn down and not really meaning it. She'll probably adjust to school, especially when she's feeling better, and her behavior will likely improve. Hopefully the teacher's attitude will also improve. Did the teacher address your concerns or did she just complain about your dd? If she didn't even give an adequate response to your concerns then I would take the matter to the principal. It is vital that your child have access to water. I'm just guessing but dehydration itself might contribute to ill behavior.

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Old 08-26-2010, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Her teacher did address my concerns in a round about way and it turns out that my dd had a picnic right under the fountain and didn't tell her that she needed any help finding it again later. I sent her an e-mail telling her that I was worried about the negative assumptions being made on the first day and I outlined how truly crappy yesterday was for my dd (she is recovering from pneumonia, got her hand scraped up and half of her toenail on her big toe ripped off, felt like the boys treated her meanly, and thought her teacher didn't tell her the rules very clearly about talking while coloring). I hope things get better.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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And, to top it off, the teacher wrote her name on the board? Really?
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:51 AM
 
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And, to top it off, the teacher wrote her name on the board? Really?
What is wrong with that?
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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What is wrong with that?
Singling out and shaming for something as innocent as chit-chatting during colouring on the first day of class when many rules are not yet known or internalised......
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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I sent her an e-mail telling her that I was worried about the negative assumptions being made on the first day and I outlined how truly crappy yesterday was for my dd (she is recovering from pneumonia, got her hand scraped up and half of her toenail on her big toe ripped off, felt like the boys treated her meanly, and thought her teacher didn't tell her the rules very clearly about talking while coloring). I hope things get better.
Good! Have you gotten a response?
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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How are things going now? Are they getting any better?
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Old 08-27-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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Singling out and shaming for something as innocent as chit-chatting during colouring on the first day of class when many rules are not yet known or internalised......
Or any day, for that matter.
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Old 08-27-2010, 02:41 PM
 
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Playing devil's advocate here...

I don't see anything that the school did wrong. Your dd was even asked if she knew where the water fountain was, and refused help. Then she wished death upon people in the school. Threatening the teacher after she is doing what every teacher needs to do: establish respect for the rules in the classroom.

I can understand that you're not sure where this is coming from, but it has to be coming from somewhere. From your posts, I can't see anything that the teacher did wrong. I don't think there are any negative "assumptions"... they aren't assuming anything because your dd was very aggressive. Assumption means that you're coming to conclusions without evidence... in this case, your dd's comments are the evidence.

Sure, there is something going on here, but I'm not convinced that it's anything the school/teacher has done.
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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I agree with velochic. Dh is a teacher and if he can establish rules and procedures about classroom behavior in the first couple of days, it sets the tone for a much more positive year.

I don't see anything wrong with writing a child's name on the board if they are chatting. It's happened to my kids.

We also live in an age of ridiculous zero tolerance policies over every little thing, for every age group, with five year old kids getting kicked out of school for bringing in a plastic butter knife or drawing pictures of weapons. Your daughter needs to be discouraged from talking about the school burning down and people being killed at school.
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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I agree with velochic. Dh is a teacher and if he can establish rules and procedures about classroom behavior in the first couple of days, it sets the tone for a much more positive year.

I don't see anything wrong with writing a child's name on the board if they are chatting. It's happened to my kids.
Why shouldn"t they chat? Isn't school a place for social learning any more?

The problem is the teacher is engaging in a power struggle rather than getting to the root of the problem. It is also calling the behavior out to the group rather than working individually with the problem. It is also seems to be working more on external control than internal discipline.

Matt
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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Why shouldn"t they chat? Isn't school a place for social learning any more?

The problem is the teacher is engaging in a power struggle rather than getting to the root of the problem. It is also calling the behavior out to the group rather than working individually with the problem. It is also seems to be working more on external control than internal discipline.

Matt
They shouldn't chat because A). If the teacher is talking, it's rude and B). There are other kids that want to learn and if they can't hear, it's rude.

Yes, school is social learning... and it's learning to be social. Even if the teacher was not talking, if you're going to be engaged in a school room with many other children... and if everyone gets their own way... and they are ALL dealt with on an individual basis... there would be NO teaching. A teacher doesn't have time to deal with every child and their inability to participate in class according to the rules.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:21 PM
 
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They shouldn't chat because A). If the teacher is talking, it's rude and B). There are other kids that want to learn and if they can't hear, it's rude.

Yes, school is social learning... and it's learning to be social. Even if the teacher was not talking, if you're going to be engaged in a school room with many other children... and if everyone gets their own way... and they are ALL dealt with on an individual basis... there would be NO teaching. A teacher doesn't have time to deal with every child and their inability to participate in class according to the rules.
Absolutely. I'm here surfing for kindergarten stories because my 5 y/o is already telling me he hates school. Why? Because he can sit still and focus and is ready to learn, but he has to sit through endless rules rehearsals and teachers "yelling" (his word) over the kids who are unable/unwilling to listen rather than talk. His kindergarten has lunch and a morning and afternoon recess--plenty of free socialization time IMO. I agree that while the OP's daughter's experience is unfortunate (and hugs, OP, that must have been so upsetting for you as her parent!), I think the teacher is just doing her job.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:26 PM
 
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They shouldn't chat because A). If the teacher is talking, it's rude and B). There are other kids that want to learn and if they can't hear, it's rude.

.
They were colouring.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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We saw similar stuff at dd's local school. She told me that no talking was permitted between children except at recess and lunch. A public system of rewards and punishment was used to control behavior: card for "caught being good" and a clothespin for being bad (breaking the no talking stay in your seat rule for example). At the end of every week, everyone who had the proper amount of cards was allowed to choose a small plastic toy. By the end of the first few weeks, it was pretty clear that the same kids were getting the clips. This is the reality in many schools. Zero tolerance for many things that kids naturally will do, including forget where things are, or push boundaries or talk to their friends. I understand how hard it must be to educate students and many of these policies are district-wide, not up to the individual teacher. I do not like coerced compliance, but playing by the rules in school does smooth the way. We ended up changing schools and I'm grateful we had that option. Sorry OP for your daughter's bad day - hope the year gets better!

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Old 08-27-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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Why shouldn"t they chat? Isn't school a place for social learning any more?

The problem is the teacher is engaging in a power struggle rather than getting to the root of the problem. It is also calling the behavior out to the group rather than working individually with the problem. It is also seems to be working more on external control than internal discipline.

Matt
I'm not sure that students were ever allowed to randomly talk to their friends in class whenever they felt like it. We weren't when I was a child. Part of "social learning" is learning about power, and in a classroom the teacher has the power. No talking during a period when the children are supposed to be quiet is a basic rule, and the teacher has every right to enforce it. The teacher has 20 students +/- 5 and, no, she can't "get to the root" of every problem and find out why each individual child feels that the rules don't apply to her in every case.

I definitely feel for OP's child, because she's obviously lashing out against something. I think that OP should work with her child to figure out what's going on and help to fix it so that her child can go back to school and be prepared to accept the rules. I'm sure that the teacher has seen plenty of kids with bad first days who blossom into great students (and there are probably plenty of kids who appear angelic on the first day who quickly turn out to have some discipline issues!), so I would imagine that her mind isn't already made up about the DD.

But I don't think that the teacher did anything wrong at all.

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Old 08-27-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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Why shouldn"t they chat? Isn't school a place for social learning any more?
The problem is the teacher is engaging in a power struggle rather than getting to the root of the problem. It is also calling the behavior out to the group rather than working individually with the problem. It is also seems to be working more on external control than internal discipline.

Matt

Ok, that strikes me as hilarious. I went to a catholic elementary school with the stereotypical nuns in habits who would beat the bejeezus out of you with a ruler if you so much as whispered to another kid during class. Social learning back then? Not so much.

The teacher is establishing order in the first few days of school. I don't have a problem with that. I would have a problem with a teacher who allowed each and every child to chatter on at will.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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Then she wished death upon people in the school.
Not in a serious manner, though. She said her dream was that a dragon would do it. I'm guessing she knows they don't exist. If she had said she hoped a terrorist would blow up the school I'd be a little more concerned. I'm not sure she should be judged for revealing a dragon fantasy during a hopes and dreams session.

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Assumption means that you're coming to conclusions without evidence... in this case, your dd's comments are the evidence.
The teacher wrote her name on the board (which I agree with others is humiliating), and she responded by telling the teacher she would spy on her. The teacher ascribed a motive to her. She concluded that she meant to intimidate her. This is an assumption.

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Old 08-27-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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Fire dreams=fever. At least in my experience. Could there have been some hanging on of symptoms or experiences from the illness?
Gotta say, if it were me, I'd probably want to go to school with her for a bit, just to see what's up and offer any kind of help with what could either go away or what could be the start of crazymaking.

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Old 08-27-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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Isn't coloring sort of down-time? I get a little sad when I think of 20 kindergarteners all completely silent as they sit at desks coloring. I don't see the harm in a child saying something quietly to her neighbor. If it got to the point that every child in the class was talking loudly at the same time, I could understand the teacher saying, "Okay, let's all be quiet now." It's the first day of school. Cut the kids some slack. Schools are at their worst when they are prison-like.

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Old 08-27-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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Isn't coloring sort of down-time? I get a little sad when I think of 20 kindergarteners all completely silent as they sit at desks coloring. I don't see the harm in a child saying something quietly to her neighbor. If it got to the point that every child in the class was talking loudly at the same time, I could understand the teacher saying, "Okay, let's all be quiet now." It's the first day of school. Cut the kids some slack. Schools are at their worst when they are prison-like.
But where do you draw the line? Sarah talks to Sally quietly. Okay. Then Peter starts talking to Sam. Okay. Then Billy starts talking to Laura. Now it's too noisy. "Billy, please be quiet." If you were Billy's mother, you'd probably be pretty annoyed at this story.

If the teacher wants to establish coloring time as a quiet time activity, that's her prerogative. It actually seems like a perfect quiet down-time activity to me. If every child starts talking to every other child, there will be chaos during quiet time. So the rule is that no child may talk. What's unfair about that? "It's okay if SOME children do it, so long as they ALL don't" isn't a rule that any teacher is going to teach the class on the first day.

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Old 08-27-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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All I know is that it worked in my school. It wasn't that certain children were allowed to talk and certain other children weren't allowed to talk. But if the room got too loud we would be asked to stop talking. There's no reason to enforce rules so rigidly (unless you're trying to create a society of robots).

There's already SO much of the day that the no-talking rule has to be enforced, so that the teacher can teach and the children can listen. If you think Susie's red hair bow looks nice, do you really have to wait until lunch time to tell her? Can you imagine if your job was like that? Even if you do have a work environment like that (and if you do, I'm sorry), is that really what a 5 year old's life *should* be like? To say nothing of the fact that you can't necessarily talk to friends at lunch time either. When I went to school, we got 20 minutes for lunch, and 15 of that was spent waiting in line for food, so you had 5 minutes to shove as much as possible in your mouth. My daughter describes her lunchtime in about the same way. This could be a whole thread all by itself of course...

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Old 08-27-2010, 07:46 PM
 
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Absolutely. I'm here surfing for kindergarten stories because my 5 y/o is already telling me he hates school. Why? Because he can sit still and focus and is ready to learn, but he has to sit through endless rules rehearsals and teachers "yelling" (his word) over the kids who are unable/unwilling to listen rather than talk. His kindergarten has lunch and a morning and afternoon recess--plenty of free socialization time IMO.

None of my kids sat still and listened for any significant amount of time at 5 y/o. My oldest wasn't required to, except in very short, and engaging episodes, so that wasn't much of an issue for her in kindy. Interaction w/peers was considered a primary learning goal. My youngest was required to, but much preferred to explore, question, design, imagine, and engage with peers-he is gifted academically and nothing drives him more bonkers than sitting still and coloring quietly. Didn't have anything to do with being ready to learn. My kids are now passionate and succesful learners, and sitting still in kindy had nothing at all to do with it.

OP, I hate with a passion public shaming of children. And frankly, I think it's a little over the top to feel threatened by a child wanting to spy on you, or talking about strong emotions through the vehicle of an imaginary dragon's actions.
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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I'm not sure that students were ever allowed to randomly talk to their friends in class whenever they felt like it. We weren't when I was a child. Part of "social learning" is learning about power, and in a classroom the teacher has the power
I guess that's where our premises disagree. For me, my students have the power. They're the ones I look to to find out what to teach next. They're the ones who select activities. They're the ones I observe to see what they need...not the other way around.

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No talking during a period when the children are supposed to be quiet is a basic rule, and the teacher has every right to enforce it.
Even then, the teacher's method of enforcement was quite archaic and antique-like. Why not just slap the hand with a ruler if we're dragging it back to old methods of education?

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The teacher has 20 students +/- 5 and, no, she can't "get to the root" of every problem and find out why each individual child feels that the rules don't apply to her in every case.
Why? Isn't that the teacher's job to observe and learn what is happening in the classroom dynamic? I would be upset if my child's teacher ignored this job and tried to throw a numbers game at me. Why are there not enough activities and work in the room to keep all 30 children engaged while the teacher deals with one?
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I definitely feel for OP's child, because she's obviously lashing out against something. I think that OP should work with her child to figure out what's going on and help to fix it so that her child can go back to school and be prepared to accept the rules. I'm sure that the teacher has seen plenty of kids with bad first days who blossom into great students (and there are probably plenty of kids who appear angelic on the first day who quickly turn out to have some discipline issues!), so I would imagine that her mind isn't already made up about the DD.
Again...not thinking that. And yes...the OP should do that. Just surprised people disagree with the point that this practice by the teacher is clearly a factor in the aggravation.
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But I don't think that the teacher did anything wrong at all.
Agree to disagree.

First study I'd point you two is Leppert, Greene, and Nisbitt in 1973's study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Not on your coffee table? (Mine either...). I just know it since it turned around with a big smack to behavioralism.
It had to do with rewards, but showed how rewards offered decrease interest and creativity in the work done.

Also, the fact that the teacher seems to have quite a bit of control over everything in the classroom at a good portion of the time takes away from the child's ownership of thr classroom. When they have less control of choice, less learning happens.

Again, we can agree to disagree. But if I were in the OP's shoes, this would be a huge sticking point for me. Just want to make a case as to why.

Matt
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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None of my kids sat still and listened for any significant amount of time at 5 y/o. My oldest wasn't required to, except in very short, and engaging episodes, so that wasn't much of an issue for her in kindy. Interaction w/peers was considered a primary learning goal. My youngest was required to, but much preferred to explore, question, design, imagine, and engage with peers-he is gifted academically and nothing drives him more bonkers than sitting still and coloring quietly. Didn't have anything to do with being ready to learn. My kids are now passionate and succesful learners, and sitting still in kindy had nothing at all to do with it.
Why direct this at me? I know my child, and he is ready to learn. And yes, he needs to be sitting and listening to instructions before he can "explore, question, design, imagine" If the teacher is giving instruction, that's not the time to be "engaging w/ his peers." That's simple courtesy. No one here is saying kids need to be little robots, sitting silently for the entire day, but that for the teacher to do her job, certain rules must be followed, like if the teacher is giving instructions, the students need to listen. Not doing so is disruptive and prevents others from learning.
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MattBronsil View Post
I guess that's where our premises disagree. For me, my students have the power. They're the ones I look to to find out what to teach next. They're the ones who select activities. They're the ones I observe to see what they need...not the other way around.
That's because you teach in a Montessori school with a very specific child-led philosophy and only, what, 7 or 8 kids (who are from self-selected families who then go through an admissions process to weed out kids who will be a "bad fit") each year who need to be normalized in a classroom where the other 2/3 are already well accustomed to the rules. I'm sorry, but I think that the accepted behavior in a Montessori classroom is quite different than in a regular kindergarten, and comparing them isn't very practical or realistic.

Now, my DD goes to a Montessori school and I picked it for a variety of reasons. But if she went to a regular public school and behaved the way that the OP's child did on the first day, when the teacher is working overtime to teach the kids the classroom rules, then I would find absolutely no fault in what the teacher did.

Writing the student's name on the board is pretty normal, I think. When I substitute taught, it was what most of the teachers did. I think a comparison between writing a student's name down to give them a warning and hitting the student is inappropriate.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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