1st Grade - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 21 Old 08-28-2013, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
seawind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My son just started 1st grade a week ago. He was previously in a Montessori program for 3 years and now in a regular (private school) setting. So, he is used to a more orderly, structured day within which children are given autonomy to choose their work and also receive direct instruction from the teachers as needed. Most of the teachers were quite approachable, I received updates every month about what they were learning, communication was pretty good overall.

 

In contrast, at the current school, my son remarks about the lack of structure and organization in the classroom. He says the teacher is not very communicative in class, ignoring requests for help with classwork. It's early days yet, but I would think helping the kids settle in by listening, communicating and assisting is not too much to ask for. There are 20 kids in the class. She actually told the kids today that she was in a bad mood! I, myself, have not found her to be a particularly friendly or warm kind of person. As long as she is a good with the kids, that's fine by me...

 

Is this a typical experience going into 1st grade and above? I don't know what to expect because we are used to Montessori, which was not perfect, but nothing like what's going on. Experienced moms please share your thoughts!

seawind is offline  
#2 of 21 Old 08-28-2013, 10:36 PM
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 3,443
Mentioned: 76 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)

From a 1st grade teacher's perspective I would either volunteer in the class if you can to find areas your son's teacher may need support or ask if you could come and observe the class for reading or math .

I always had an open door policy in my classroom.

All so you can see the dynamics of the classroom and feel more in the know.

Did you get a welcome letter from the teacher the first week. Do you get weekly newsletters?

tracyamber is offline  
#3 of 21 Old 08-29-2013, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
seawind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thank you for the ideas, I will schedule an observation to get an idea of what is going on in the class. Since this is a private school, I am not sure if they have opportunities for parents to volunteer in class.

 

There was a 'meet and greet' event to introduce the children and parents to the class teacher a couple days before school started. But, I haven't received any communication since- nor a newsletter nor a teacher's email.

 

There was also an incident that happened today that has been really bothering me...my son told me that the teacher grabbed him by the hand and in the process one of his fingers sort of bent in causing some residual pain. When I asked why, he said she asked him something, he did not realize she was talking to him and was walking away when she grabbed him by the hand! It sounds as if she was upset because she thought he was deliberately ignoring her, but even so, that does not justify her action.  I would like to get to the bottom of this incident but am wondering how best to do this. After hearing this, I was hoping to shift him to the other class but it is already full, do private schools have a upper limit for how many children can attend a class?

 

I am so worried, it's just been a week and instead of easing in, seems to get more tense.

seawind is offline  
#4 of 21 Old 08-29-2013, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
seawind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

This morning he was reluctant to go in, because he feels he will make a mistake and the teacher will get angry.

 

School's response to my observation request also met with an odd response. They said observations are usually scheduled for a couple of parents together, she is not sure about an individual parent coming in to watch. Waiting to hear back on the observation scheduling.
 

seawind is offline  
#5 of 21 Old 08-29-2013, 12:30 PM
 
whatsnextmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,930
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by seawind View Post

Is this a typical experience going into 1st grade and above? I don't know what to expect because we are used to Montessori, which was not perfect, but nothing like what's going on. Experienced moms please share your thoughts!

 

It was not typical in our situation. In our district, teachers tend to be nurturing through 3rd grade. Certainly 1st grade involved quite a bit of hand-holding. Each year the expectation for independence in the students went up but 4th and 5th were when the teacher/child relationship got more "professional" though my kids still were quite bonded and affectionate towards their teachers.

 

It's more likely your son got a "dud" in terms of teachers. They aren't all good and they are hard to get rid of. Some shouldn't be teaching or shouldn't be with the age range they are assigned to. 

 

They can't keep you out of the classroom if you want to observe. I'd be upfront with your concerns. I'd push harder to move him to the other class. Yes, they want to keep the numbers at 20 but most states don't have laws against 20 + kids in a class... they just advise against it. 


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
whatsnextmom is online now  
#6 of 21 Old 08-29-2013, 05:50 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,565
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)

Because it is a private school, they can do what they want.

 

I work at a school and last year spent about 1/2 my day in first grade. I think that the first week or two of school can seem disorganized as everyone is getting settled into the new routine. I don't know that a mildly bumpy first week really says a ton about how the year will go. As far as ignoring requests for help, it really depends on what she is doing instead. Kids see things from their own perspective, so he may have been put off because she was helping another student, dealing with a student with a health issue, addressing a discipline problem, etc. Sometimes kids get put off because something else is more urgent, or they just have to wait their turn. (I tend to see things from the school's perspective)

 

However, grabbing a child is never appropriate. Children should NEVER been manhandled. Putting off a request to observe is big old red flag. It's your kid. You should be welcome in the room at any time. The fact that your child is developing anxiety about attending school is a significant issue. I suggest scheduling a meeting with her very quickly and laying out the issues. Meeting at the end of the day tomorrow, right after pickup, for example. Send her an email and request a meeting ASAP.

 

Depending on how that meeting goes, take to the head of the school.

lauren likes this.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#7 of 21 Old 08-29-2013, 05:57 PM
 
Ragana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Chicago area
Posts: 1,862
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by seawind View Post
School's response to my observation request also met with an odd response. They said observations are usually scheduled for a couple of parents together, she is not sure about an individual parent coming in to watch. Waiting to hear back on the observation scheduling.

 

That would be a red flag for me. My kids attend public school, and the doors are always open to prospective and current parents. So much so that the middle schoolers dread the part of the welcome speech where the principal tells the parents it's OK to come in & eat lunch in the cafeteria with their kids. I do think that they should be willing to let you come in.


Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

Ragana is online now  
#8 of 21 Old 08-29-2013, 06:02 PM
 
One_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,735
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
The first few weeks tend to have a lot of assessments at dd's school and teachers don't provide help on those, they are to see what a child can do independently. I don't think taking a child by the hand is at all wrong but it is wrong to do it roughly or aggressively. My dd's perception of things and reality were very different so I tend to go on how my DD feels about school after the three week initial adjustment and I email the teacher anytime I have questions.
One_Girl is offline  
#9 of 21 Old 08-31-2013, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
seawind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thank you all for your helpful replies, I appreciate them! I am going to schedule an observation soon and meanwhile also thinking about volunteering to become a parent representative for the class. I sense that the school seems overall more focused on developing independence in children but that should not come at the cost of listening and making the child feel heard. I might have felt differently if it were a public school but given the small class size and the fact that it is a private school, these are not very high expectations!

seawind is offline  
#10 of 21 Old 09-25-2013, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
seawind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

So, I tried to set up an appointment for the observation and got fobbed off. Reason- due to student confidentiality concerns they don't allow parents in the classroom while in session! Is a school allowed to do that even if they are a private school? I am not feeling good about it all.

seawind is offline  
#11 of 21 Old 09-26-2013, 07:34 AM
 
Peony's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 25,342
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Even more so in a private school, they really can do what ever they want. We are at a private school currently and most of our educational experience has been at one private school or another. At our old private school, we could volunteer in the classroom or observe if we signed up ahead of time and it was teacher approved. Our new private school does not allow any parent in the classroom during regular class time for any reason. We had a parent tea yesterday and we had to wait in the lobby until 10 minutes prior to the time to even set up. We were then only allowed into the classroom after the children had been escorted outside, they were later returned to the classroom when all the parents were assembled.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
Peony is offline  
#12 of 21 Old 09-26-2013, 08:11 AM
 
blizzard_babe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Land of Beer and Cheese, baby.
Posts: 4,910
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by seawind View Post
 

So, I tried to set up an appointment for the observation and got fobbed off. Reason- due to student confidentiality concerns they don't allow parents in the classroom while in session! Is a school allowed to do that even if they are a private school? I am not feeling good about it all.

This is possible not "even if" it is a private school, but "especially because" they are a private school. With private schools, they can always say, "You don't like it, go somewhere else," because you are choosing to be there. Now, you may also have additional sway in that you can say, "I'd like to see access to classrooms or I'll take my kid somewhere else," and that means money for them. But at the end of the day, private schools can generally do what they want, and your recourse (or threat of recourse) if you don't like it is to go somewhere else, taking your kid's tuition money away from them.


Me+DH+DS1+DS2+Dog=me and a house full of guys, which is really just peachy, thanks.
blizzard_babe is offline  
#13 of 21 Old 09-26-2013, 08:36 AM
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 3,443
Mentioned: 76 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
This private school experience makes me think twice about putting ds in one. I would want to feel welcomed at a school and want it to have an open door policy. It feels like not being able to observe the classroom would make me feel there is something to hide or signing up for an observation but having it be teacher approved. Don't get me wrong, a lot of times the classroom is a second home and we usually like when we know we are going to get guests but.........
Is there no direct dialog between parent and teacher for any of you??
tracyamber is offline  
#14 of 21 Old 09-26-2013, 09:04 AM
 
Peony's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 25,342
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I can only speak to our experience. I do have a direct dialogue with my 1st grader's teachers (there are 2), but only because I insist on walking her to the classroom every morning which is not encouraged. I am only one of the handful of parents that do out of the entire school, I have been asked not to but since the school policy does not (yet anyway) say it is not allowed, I stood my ground. I have no dialog at all with my 5th grader's teacher since there is only a 5 minute window in the am where parents CAN be in the hallways at school and I use that time to be with my 1st grader who needs me more then the 10 year old. 

 

I will say that our old private school was much more relaxed in previous years, I had direct conversations daily with all my kid's teachers but that too has changed this year. The public school locally is also very similar, the rules got extremely tight this year as well.  All of these changes are being made in regards to either school safety or student privacy. I LOVED the open door policy that we previously has encountered but it also made for a very chaotic classroom because there were parents in and out all day long every day it felt like.  


There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
Peony is offline  
#15 of 21 Old 09-26-2013, 05:28 PM
 
Polliwog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,066
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
I would never let my child attend a school where parents weren't allowed to volunteer and/or observe. And I certainly wouldn't pay for one.
tracyamber likes this.
Polliwog is online now  
#16 of 21 Old 10-03-2013, 05:17 AM
 
IdentityCrisisMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 10,639
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by seawind View Post
 

So, I tried to set up an appointment for the observation and got fobbed off. Reason- due to student confidentiality concerns they don't allow parents in the classroom while in session! Is a school allowed to do that even if they are a private school? I am not feeling good about it all.

 

Sorry about this, Seawind. I can add that I am OK with schools having strict guidelines for observation. I think parent observation "at will" can cause a disruption and I have also personally observed some parents interacting in classroom/academic settings that I think should be limited. For instance, our DC went to a school with one particularly involved parent - she was the "class parent" and etc. and often had access to the classroom. Her discipline style to her own child was just not appropriate in the classroom (lots of yelling) and she was distracting to teachers and etc. I have a feeling that school's limited observation may be more about addressing this type of concern as well as just distracted children more than any more devious thing. For elementary school, however, I do think it's essential that families can walk their kids into the school building and have that very personal interaction with the staff and other kids/community. 

 

That said, I think the explanation they gave you is bunk and it sounds totally fake to me. So, I while I think it's fine to have well thought-out reasons for how you structure visitation, that needs to be expressed to parents honestly - not some fabricated dramatic idea of confidentiality. 

 

Re: nurturing teachers -- DC has had a lot of teachers (including 1st grade) who were not super nurturing on the surface. I'm fine with that. I care more that they are good teachers with lots of patience than their specific "vibe".  


Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
IdentityCrisisMama is offline  
#17 of 21 Old 10-06-2013, 04:46 AM
 
lauren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In a state of grace
Posts: 6,784
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

I guess I might ask to see their school confidentiality policy, depending on how you want to approach this (this approach would clearly drive things into a more conflictual place).

 

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-school-confidentiality-policy.htm

 

Confidentiality usually applies to protected health information, such as children getting special ed services, children with medical issues, children taking meds; stuff the school nurse has. The existence of children in a classroom is not really protected health information. Then there is "privacy" and states often have additional laws governing privacy. But you already know "who" is in the class so this doesn't seem to be matter of privacy. Unless they are referring to the teacher's confidentiality...... I'm confused and I think it is a strange excuse they have given you. In public schools, usually observation is granted.

 

I think parents get confused because they think that private schools have to adhere to the same types of laws that public schools do, and they just don't. They really can do whatever they want if they can get parents to pay for it.

 

I guess this seems like a fairly untenable arrangement, and the teacher sounds fairly inexperienced. How many years has she been teaching? They should be able to give you that information? 


 
lauren is offline  
#18 of 21 Old 10-06-2013, 10:53 AM
 
grumpybear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 918
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Is this environment the same in other classrooms? Are the public schools absolutely awful where you're at?
My son (2nd grade) has been going to a public school since kindergarten and the teachers have been nothing but lovely. They communicate very well with me. Although it's the first quarter and frankly, there is little to communicate about. But there is contact nonetheless, whether it be a quick anecdote about what my child did that day. Also, while building security is strict, there is an open door policy and we can come in anytime to observe, volunteer, etc.
grumpybear is offline  
#19 of 21 Old 10-06-2013, 03:55 PM
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 3,443
Mentioned: 76 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
No, don't get me wrong. The observations should be arranged and if it get to a point where there is a disruptions teacher should be able to say no or a school for that matter. But if my son was in a class and I had concerns and I was not able to observe for an hour or walk him to class then I would be upset. I guess I come for a public school perspective. When I taught 1 st grade it actually was important for me to see parents in the morning so I could make that quick connection.
tracyamber is offline  
#20 of 21 Old 10-14-2013, 08:27 PM
 
peaceful_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: #12 Grimmauld Place
Posts: 4,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have not asked to observe this year. Having had my daughter in a high parental involvement program last year, I figured out quickly that my child acts differently in my presence.

I am planning to have lunch with her soon. I also have called her teacher & talked to her before school on several occasions. I get daily behavior reports because of some issues she b had adjusting, nite she is doing VERY well.

I got a welcoming vibe, invites to volunteer & have lunch. If I didn't, I'd reconsider. Both my

lovin DH since 1/04, SAHM to 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), and one 13 wk (10/13) just your average :ha ng multigenerational living family!!
peaceful_mama is offline  
#21 of 21 Old 10-14-2013, 08:34 PM
 
peaceful_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: #12 Grimmauld Place
Posts: 4,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
first & 3rd graders have very caring teachers who have gone the extra mile to help them succeed. Like I said, daily notes & rewards for my DD & suggestions for working together to help her. DS teacher gave him an assignment book, called to let me know homework was forgotten at school & noted when things were "off" in the book. I wouldn't want mine in a school that doesn't communicate or welcome me.

lovin DH since 1/04, SAHM to 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), and one 13 wk (10/13) just your average :ha ng multigenerational living family!!
peaceful_mama is offline  
Reply

Tags
School

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off