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Two Months into School and the Class Is in Trouble

A mom's perspective on school punishment.

Yesterday when I picked my kids up from school they were all rambling along about their day; who was absent, what they did and who they played with at recess and all the while I was just agreeing and shaking my head. They all have so much to say at once and with three of them in the car I typically feel like a bobble head in the front seat trying to listen to all of them.

My youngest son, who is in third grade this year, waited for the afternoon hype to die down and then he hit me with a question about a comment his teacher wrote on one of his papers. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but it was more of a jumble of statements than a complete sentence and I think this confused him. Regardless, I specifically recall hearing phrases like, “when the teacher is talking” and I immediately went into panic mode.

This is the second month of school, what has he done that he needs to be reminded that he can’t be doing something when the teacher is talking?

Like most parents, I like to believe that I am raising my kids to know right from wrong and that I’m teaching them to be respectful and good listeners. Likewise, I like to believe that these behaviors are displayed with excellence when my kids are at school or around other people. Yes, I know I’m probably kidding myself, and I did lead off with “I like to believe”. A mom can dream, right?

Trying to get a grasp of what went down, I began interrogating him. I started with having him read what he wrote so I could better understand the teacher’s response. He read what sounded more like a list of rules than a paragraph.

More questions.

“Why did you write this?” I questioned. “Everyone in my class had to write this”, he replied.

Vague answers get children nowhere. Don’t they know this?

I continued prodding. I asked him why the teacher had everyone write a list of rules. I’ve found that when I ask questions with more words it tends to get me my answer faster. We parents are sneaky like that.

It turns out that the entire class spent most of the day talking while the teacher was teaching, disobeying in the hallways, and not getting their work done. Her consequence was to have each of them write an eight sentence paragraph explaining what they thought the ideal behavior of a student in the classroom should be.

Of course my son claimed to be “the only one” in class who wasn’t participating in this nonsense, but really, who does he think he’s kidding? Being his mother, I know him and regardless of what I “like to believe” I wouldn’t honestly believe that for even a second.

After a discussion of proper behavior and how disappointed I was to hear that he was a part of this behavior, we went on about our day.

Today when I picked him up, I was stopped by one of the teachers who informed me that he seems to have conjured up quite a sense of humor this year. When I asked what she meant I was told that she had to pull him aside because he was making quite a few sarcastic, yet funny, remarks and even though she understood it, that some teachers were perceiving it as rude.

How embarrassing.

No parent wants to be told their child is rude, however, I gave props to this teacher for telling my son he was rude before she told me. I’m pretty sure it resonated with him because when I picked him up he waited in the hallway trying to avoid hearing our discussion.

Having someone other than your mom or dad call you out on something sure can get a kid back on the right path. I certainly hope that’s not a pipe dream and her little chat with him worked.

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