Hi everyone, this is my first post, so let me give a brief background...
My son (3 yrs...almost 4) has been in part-time daycare/preschool for almost a year. We started last summer and ran into a few of the normal bumps while he adjusted, but otherwise he seemed happy, we both liked his teacher, etc.
In the fall, he moved to a new classroom and teacher, and everything seemed okay at first. Not perfect, but good enough. Ever since then, there has been a gradual change in DS's attitude about school. He started off somewhat reluctant to go, and being happy when it wasn't a school day...and now it is to the point where his teacher is having to practically peel him off me when I drop him off. The last two times I've dropped him off, he has been sobbing and asking me not to leave him there, which breaks my heart. :-(
His teacher and I have had several conversations, and my understanding (from her and from things DS says) is that he is in a time-out almost everyday because he can't keep his hands to himself, he wiggles too much, doesn't listen, etc. According to DS, his teacher is "always mad" at him, he is "bad," and none of the other children like him. This coming from one of the most extroverted, friendliest kids I know. I also get the general impression that maybe his teacher just doesn't like him.
There have been a handful of incidents where I'm wondering how much of the situation is DS and how much is the teacher/school. For example, when I picked him up yesterday, two of the assistant teachers were walking the kids to their cars. One of them was the assistant in DS's classroom, and when she approached him and held out her hand, DS put his hands behind his back and said, "No, I want the other one." (meaning he wanted the other assistant to walk him to my car) OK, well, not the greatest behavior he could have shown, but the teacher he refused rolled her eyes at the other teacher and said in an exasperated/sarcastic tone, "Oh, he wants that 'other one'...excuse me, I mean 'utter' one. He keeps saying 'utter' instead of 'other'."
Not cool. I can understand her being embarrassed because DS refused her in front of the other kids and the entire car line of parents, but it really hit me the wrong way that she was making fun of the way my child talks.
Anyway, sorry to write a novel just to get to my question! Which is...I have scheduled a meeting with his teacher for tomorrow morning, to try to get to the bottom of what is going on. Tomorrow is also a school day for DS (no school today), and I'm wondering whether or not he should still go? On one hand, I don't want to be "that" parent who overreacts...and I don't want to put his teacher immediately on the defensive by DS not attending. But on the other hand hand, I really don't want DS to go back until I know more about what is going on. An objective opinion would be greatly appreciated...
Welcome to MDC. I'm sorry that such an issue has brought you.
Mocking a child is unacceptable. Mocking a child for age-appropriate speech patterns shows a distinct lack of understanding of child development.
Regular time-outs for repeated behavior issues is a signal that the discipline approach is not working. But more fundamentally, do you see those behaviors when at home or in another environment with a group of kids?
Good luck with your conversation. I find it works well to verbalize what I see happening at home and asking why the teacher might think things go so differently at school.
See if you can observe the room for a day. If your son can work with it, ask if you can sit in the corner for a long-enough time to see what's happening. You probably won't see what's specific to your son because your presence will change everyone's behavior. Watch the interactions of the teachers with the other kids. What do they do when a kid is wiggly or talks out of turn?
That being said, you might want to start the process of finding a better fit for your son. Preschools are a dime a dozen (I know it doesn't feel like it when you're in the throws of problems), and while the shift might seem monumental, finding the right fit is worth it. This time of year, many have 1-2 openings.
Thanks for the reply.
I do see some of the behavior at home and when we go to the playground. Most of it seems to be age appropriate, and the rest is just his personality. He's an energetic, spirited kid, and he inherited my stubborn streak, lol. He responds best to playful but firm discipline, and the harder you try to force him to do something, the harder he will push back. I think I wrongly assumed his teacher would know this after the first few weeks, and that she would have had experience with similar personalities. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to find out more specific examples of what he's doing while at school and how the teacher is handling it. Right now, I feel like I have underestimated how unhappy DS has been and like I'm out of the loop of what is really going on during school.
Overall though, I really do like the school. If we can make it through the next couple of months, DS will have a different teacher, and that may be all that's needed. But, depending on how things go tomorrow, I may need to take him out until the summer session starts because it's just not worth it for him to be this miserable.