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Originally Posted by LindaCl
Yes of course. And it is a completely acceptible expectation that a teacher can handle this level of discipline all by herself, without angry letters to parents about how it's all their fault first graders are horsing around when they're not supposed to at school.

::snip::

I wish teachers were given more useful classroom management tools and techniques. Programs like Positive Discipline in Classroom are really good. Years ago I worked with one of the authors, Stephen Glenn, who was giving somewhat related workshops for teachers into 'developing capable students', which focused on how to better instill self-discipline in young people. He was fantastic, but I don't know if his work is continued now--he passed away a few years ago, I understand.

Linda

no, sometimes the little things need to go home too. There are a good number of kids who start the school year thinking they can do whatever they want and their parents won't care. They think it's ok to run away from adults, create dangerous situations, and act disrespectfully.

Then there are the kids who don't want to cause major problems, but just don't take things seriously. They think it's ok to play around b/c the school won't use punishments anyway. Many, many punishments are illegal or likely to provoke a strong parental response, even if they are milder than a time out. Teachers need to get the parents on board early in the year to talk to their kids every day about what they are learning at school, how they are acting, etc. Not every parent wants to be involved. I can't tell you how many times I've been told "While he's at school, you deal with it. It's not my business. Don't involve me in his school behavior."
:

So the notes like that need to go home for the benfit of all parents and all kids hearing it, which means involved, helpful parents will also have to hear things time to time.

Consequenses in school systems are actually a major problem-- schools hands are tied to punish a dangerous student, yet they must legally keep the other kids safe. It's impossible to find a balance there.

Situations with subs can quickly become extremely dangerous. Kids need to know that they have to stay safe and keep the same tone, regardless of how is there.

And yes, this even happens in schools that exclusively use PD. We use PD at my school and parental contact is a big compenent. Lighting systems (red, yellow, green lights) CAN be part of PD if it serves as a "cool down" kind of warning.
 

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Originally Posted by chfriend
I'm just so curious. What punishments that are illegal or likely to provoke a strong parental response, yet are milder than a time out are you referring to?

Removing a child from an activity gets VERY strong parental responses, so we can't do it. Our princiapl won't allow it, b/c it often goes home as an exxagerated story. I'll give an example (similar to what was happening in my room today):

Students and teacher are doing a cooking lesson. Every student gets to take turns doing the mixing and pouring. One child is 100% out of control (which is normal for this child, and he has extensive behavior systems in place to help him). Even as he is trying his hardest to destroy the activity for all involved, I am not allowed to send him away from the table while we work. If he *wants* to he can go to the break area for a cool down time, but the break area is not a time out place, he can't be forced to go there.

So 1 child is allowed to ruin an experience for a group of kids. The activity has to be stopped numerous times.

Wouldn't it be great if there were crisis teachers in every school to come by and take the child for a walk and cool him down? Wouldn't it be great if guidance or administration would come help with the child? With a child that does this all day long, there's not a chance in the world someone will come to help. Not until he does something extremely violent.

Most classes have quite a few of children like this, as I mentioned in previous posts.

Of course, there are much less dramamtic examples of kids just not doing the right thing. How can a teacher be so flexible as to what every child wants to do at every moment (talk to a friend during the cooking lesson, bang hands on table, etc) and manage to teach anything?

As for what's illegal-- it's illegal in my city to raise your voice at a child. Of course, that's not my style anyway and I don't think it would help a class regularly. However, when you're in the middle of a dangerous situation (child throwing chairs, for example, that's an unfortunately common one here) it's VERY hard to get things safe without raising your voice at all. It's human nature to verge on yelling when you're worried someone will get killed. A very experienced teacher can find a way to calmy keep everyone safe, but it takes YEARS to learn these skills, and we are never *taught* them, we must figure them out through trial and error.

I like what Beth said about expecting perfection from people in really hard situations. I don't expect that parents are perfect, and I don't expect that etachers are perfect. If EVERYONE is trying to be better than yesterday, better than last year, then that's what's important. Great teachers take time to develop. It's an art that takes years to perfect.
 

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Originally Posted by LeftField
Really? Often? This is one of the reasons we are opting out of the school system when our time comes next year. I don't want someone else, possibly someone with little or no personal parenting exp, to tell me how to parent. They have no idea how I parent at home and they are certainly not a parenting expert. This just bugs me. Parenting my kid is my realm and no one else's. I wouldn't expect the school to follow my personal parenting practices, like gentle discipline, so there's no way I could be expected to start instituting punishment/reward schemes and other teacher-approved discipline systems at home.

That's not the point. If your parenting system is working well for you, then you're not in need of any help. There ARE many many parents who think it's a great idea to give a child soda and candy for breakfast before school. That REALLY affects the school day. Then there are parents who tell the child "You don't have to listen to the teacher. If she tells you to do something and you get in trouble for not doing it, just tell me and I'll take care of it." I have been physically threatened by parents more times than I'd like to share. Then you wonder why their child is beating up others.

It's really sad how many kids come from homes like this. The anti-publich school mentality (meanwhile sending your child to PS) can be really confusing for the child. I'm not saying anyone here is doing it, but it happens, and it's really hard on the kid. If a child does something wrong at school, and the parent doesn't care at home, then that's a problem. Yes, I believe it's the parent's job to insist the child try his/her best at school. That doesn't have to be through any particular parenting system/method. It just needs to be there.

There is literally no way to teach a class if students perceive that what happens at school stays at school. Do PS parents really want teachers to have no discipline? would they really rather the kids do what they want all day,and no one learns? The challenge of getting 20 kids (or more) to attend to learning at one time is a big one. we NEED parents' help, or we're screwed.

In my school we are encouraged to send letters home detailing our school discipline system, and detailing consequences/rewards that were given. That sounds like what this teacher did. We are also encouraged to mention to the parents that it's great when they can help us by asking about behavior and backing it up at home. you can REALLY tell which parents do this and which don't. When the child sees that the teacher and parent are both working together, a lot of minor problems just stop. It generally does not take long. It can take all year if the parent/teacher are on different pages.

Ideally, no school would need sticker charts/rewards or consequences. Our children would be intrinsically motivated to learn and would have been brought up knowing that education is important. Then the teacher can set a positive tone and build on it. That's not always the hand we are dealt. Even in PD schools, we need to do things to create enough order that things can get done. You cannot have 20-30 kids in one room doing as they please unless every kid is intrinsically motivated. That's not an easy task.

ETA: I think it's easy to foget when talking to AP parents that not every parent is doing what's right for their children, as you are. A lot of people really have no clue what to do as a parent. It's a horrible, sad fact... but there are a LOT of not-so-great parents. There are many things you can do to hurt/harm a child that is below the threshold of being removed for foster care. When a teacher sends a note home to everyone, she is probably targeting the parents who aren't doing ANY kind of discipline (and I don't mean TCS or GD, i mean just plain lazy larenting). But of course, you can't send out a letter just to them. So you can send a note home asking for help backing up school rules at home. If your child is doing the right thing at school, or you DO have some parenting ideas at home, then it doesn't apply to you.
 

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Originally Posted by hopeland
Unfortunately if you do not have enough money to pay for private school and you end up in a "bad" school district you are stick with it. Perhaps there are some great public schools but there are also some severe problems with public school in general.

I agree there are bad schools/districts. But they are bad for more reasons than one. There are a million reasons why entire districts start to fail.

I disagree that there are severe problems with PSs in general. I believe there is a lot of amazing work happening at PSs, and I live that great work every day, even though my school by every statistic should be a failure (Title 1 high-poverty inner city school). School systems change when parents become involved and demand changes at the district level. (Which in turn starts to draw more highly-motivated good teachers to the district. Good teachers don't stick around when they can't do their jobs.)
 

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Originally Posted by LeftField
I just wanted to say, "thank you" to Altair and BethSLP for explaining the parenting comment. Admittedly, I'm a bit sheltered, I guess, in this area. I had no idea that so many people do things like give their kids Pepsi for breakfast. I can't imagine doing that.

Thank you. I think that was one of the hardest things for me to get used to when I started teaching-- I can't single-handedly turn a child's homelife into a nuturing, thoughtful place. There are just way too many kids who do not have a single caring, consistent adult at home. So I hope that anyone who feels like the school is telling them what to do takes a step back and thinks about these kids who NEED some kind of structure at home. Kids don't thrive on parenting through TV, threatening, and junk food.

They really crave having an adult who cares enough to ask about school and help the child do what needs to be done at school. They don't want TV as a babysitter all day every day. They don't want to be yelled at all day.

It's a very hard balance for a school to find-- home life DOES affect school life, and we do have limited means of "intruding" into homelife (social worker if the family needs things, counseling, CPS reports if there is abuse). Beyond that we can hold parent seminars and hope some will come.
 

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Originally Posted by hopeland
I told her that I would let her know ahead of time. (this seems to be a big deal to them) She replied with the plans but then reminded me that she would need to know at least a day ahead. I am thinking why...like there is something I cant see?
I would def want to know ahead of time! Yes, there are certain activities that would make it more disruptive to have someone else in the room. I would not want to do practice city tests then b/c they are required to be done under normal testing circumstances. I would not do a very messy experiment b/c the messier it gets, the tighter the ship I have to run!

Visitors are a disruption, no matter how much they blend in. My program is the first of its kind in our city, so we have visitors CONSTANTLY and we make do. I do need to warn the kids ahead of time, however, there are a LOT of kids who don't like their routines messed up!
 

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Originally Posted by Lillian J

It's not as if much of importance is learned during those few restless days when a teacher is absent, but some really creative and productive things could be going on. Oh well, I'm preaching to the choir here...
Lillian

I do this to an extent, but I'm not allowed to do it completely. We have a lot of subs in my school b/c the teachers get a lot of professional development at Columbia University before each new unit of study. If subs only did fun things, we'd be WAY behind!

I usually provide a list of my normal routines, have copies ready, everything prepped, etc. At the bottom of the sub plans I mention that I understand if not everything is completed. There is always at least 1 fun activity, but they day can't be 100% different from a normal day.

And I talk and talk and talk and talk about the importance of good behavior with subs. I impose my same rewards/consequences as if I were the teacher (when I come back). This works when I get a good sub. When I get a not so good sub, it's hard to punish the kids for their behavior if they've been screamed at all day. My discipline policy is "I will never be disrespectful to you, so I expect the same in return." It works very well. It doesn't work when someone screams at them. I come back to find my best students got into fist fights!


Teaching kids is just hard, period, whether you're a sub or a teacher!
 
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