Thursday, March 31, 2011

Heart Broken

I am torn right now between the mom in me and the teacher in me. I started my teaching career with a baby in my tummy and a rowdy bunch of Kindergarten students. It was probably best that it was my first year teaching because I had the patience of a saint and an attitude that I could make a difference no matter what. Not too much of that has changed, but my baby is now in Kindergarten himself.

He has pretty much been raised in school and surrounded be teachers who thought he was the bees knees. T was always eager to come to school with me so he could sneak peaks into different classes and chat away with the teachers. it wasn't unusual for me to hear giggles coming down the hallway from him. Everyone welcomed him in like he was their own. We had to move before his first year of school and he was sad that he wouldn't be attending mommy's school. We worked over the summer so he was very prepared...I didn't want him to have any more anxiety then was needed. How can you go wrong with a Kindergarten teacher right? I don't think I've met a Kindergarten teacher who hasn't been bubbly, warm, and motherly...until this year.

Well, it hasn't been the year we had hoped it would be. T enjoys going to school most of the time but has now been asking if he can stay home because he doesn't want to go to school. As a mom and teacher, this just breaks my heart. School should be a place where children are excited and inspired. A place where they can grow, be safe, and challenge themselves. This has not been the case. I have already spoken with the principal about my concerns and little seems to have been done. I know that a teacher has a huge responsibility in the classroom and that there are WAY to many children in a classroom but I can't have my son upset about going to school.

Today, I found out that my son is showing up late to his accelerated reading group because his teacher is holding him in class. When he tells his teacher that it's time for him to go...she yells at him. He is going to reading group in tears almost everyday. I am angry and sadened to hear that my son, a kindergartner, is crying at school because of his teacher. I want to go into his school; claws barred, notes in hand, mama lion roar ready. What do I do? I WILL NOT have my son scarred because of a bad year. I would love to hear suggestions from this amazing community. My son is my life and it is tearing me apart watching this happen.

Here is what I am thinking: I will ask if I can have a meeting with the principal and my son's teacher. I will state that my son is going to reading class late daily and is constantly in tears. This is not acceptable to me and I'd like to know what is going on and will be done to remedy this problem. Help!


  1. As a mom of two grown sons, I can tell you your son will have great years and some not so great. You will have to decide when to interfere and when to wait it out. We stepped in three times for our two children over a span of K-12. Every time we knew we had to interfere for out child's sake. We have never regretted our decisions. When our youngest son learned to read in Kindergarten, he took his first book he could read to school to share it with the teacher. He asked her if he could read it to her, she told him, "We don't read in Kindergarten" and sent the book home. He would not pick up another book until first grade. We did not interfere that time. We just continued to read to him and read our selves and let him decide when to try again. Do what you believe is right. That is all a parent can do.

  2. Dear Elizabeth,
    Your motherly instincts are right. When your son is unhappy and you are frustrated you have to take some action. I recommend that you first go to the teacher only, make an appointment and share with her what you said to us. Look for the solutions together with the teacher. May-be it helps. If not, then it is time to speak to the principal. I so hope, that this issue has a positive solution.

  3. Boy--that is a hard one...and frustrating...and it should not be that way.
    It's always hard to know what the "right" thing is, but I do think that it's time for you to approach the teacher. Maybe starting by telling her that your son has been saying daily (or almost daily) that he's upset about being late for reading but doesn't want to get into trouble in class either. Then ask if she has some thoughts about how to handle it.
    But if this does not produce a workable solution (not just for her, but for your son!), then ask to meet with the principal too.

  4. My advice would be along the lines of Wanda, but as you can see we are older and have the lovely perspective of time, which is the hard thing about being a Mom--we are always so In The Moment when we are raising those tykes and when they are sad, we are too. My mother used to say a mother is only as happy as her saddest child. I do believe that only you can decide if you want to shore up the child--teach him about how there are people who are not always easy to live with and give him some teensy tiny skills to get him through--or to intervene in a difficult situation. Like Wanda, I've done both.

    Since you are a teacher, you have to ask yourself how you would like to be approached by a parent--and then follow your heart.

    It's been nice slicing with you, and thank you so much for all your comments on my blog--I appreciate it!

    Elizabeth E.

  5. As a teacher/mom and especially as the teacher/mom of a child who struggles in school, I have bitten my tongue so many times. If she is making him that unhappy, however, I think I would definitely want to meet with her. I think I would try meeting with the teacher first also, and then go to the principal if I didn't get results.

  6. I've been in your situation more times than I can care to remember with my three - I always followed my instinct as a mother knowing what my child felt, and wanting to share that with his/her teacher in the most constructive way.
    P.S. Thanks for all your supportive comments - I'll keep checking in, slicing or no slicing!

  7. Well, I have to say that I feel so sad for your son, & immediately feel your feelings of 'gr-r-r'. My grandson went through a similar time in Kindergarten; fortunately for him the teacher left at mid-year. It is such a hard decision. I guess I would start with the teacher, to be sure the story is correct, & ask if there are any issues with your son that you haven't been told yet. Then, if so, ask for several strategies for the parents to help with, & ask for a follow-up conference to check in to see if things are better. If she has nothing to say, then tell her something is making him unhappy & you'd like to do all you can to turn it around fast. Maybe she doesn't like accelerated readers-who knows? But she is the adult, & it's up to her to make things better, & you can 'ease' her into doing it by helping, or offering at least. A good team is so good for the child, & I hope this teacher appreciates your help.

  8. Wow. This is tough, but I have to agree with the previous comments. As a teacher, think about how you would want to be approached, share your thoughts about the situation and that you are looking to work together to solve the issue. I think that is most important so that the teacher doesn't go on the defensive. Who knows if there are other factors involved, but there is no way your son should be feeling the way he is!!! Kindergarten is the garden of hope and excitement for learning! Let him grow!

    Best of luck and I hope we hear a success slice soon. It's been great slicing with you - I've really enjoyed it!

  9. I say go to the teacher first and share how your son feels and why she thinks he would feel this way. Do not start at the top. The teacher needs to be clued in. If you feel she doesn't know or understand or you don't like what she is saying, kindly let her know your frustrations as a mother, seeing him so sad. Work something out with her. If you don't feel satisfied with that, you can mention to her that maybe a talk with a counselor would help, also. Teachers go to the counselor for hlep. Mothers should be able to do this also. Work at it first. If she knows you and sees your concern, and if she's a good teacher, she will try to help solve this problem with your help and maybe a counselor. It's hard. When my kids were older, they shuddered at the idea of me going to the teacher. But he is still young, and you need to feel out the school as a mom, too. You want him to finish the year on a positive note. If she doesn't help you or a counselor, let the principal know what is going on. Sometimes we think it's us when really sometimes there is a bigger problem. Good luck.

  10. The teacher in me says to start there. Start by meeting with the teacher. Plan what you want to say and stay centered. Approach that meeting as a sort of interview with the teacher. Find out her take on the situation. Don't plan to 'solve the problem' in that meeting. The main purpose of that meeting is to tell you whether or not you feel she is capable of "solving the problem." If you get a good vibe (which you will only stand a chance of receiving if you are open to it), then hooray- that's more than half the battle. If you don't get a good vibe, do what you have to do to get your son into a better situation. I am not a mom, but as a teacher I have seen bad teachers ruin a year for a kid. The teacher can make all the difference.

  11. Thank you all for your wise advice. I know that I am a reactor, so I give myself a good day to think and reflect in hopes that I make the right choice. After talking more with my son, there seem to be multiple issues that need to be discussed. I'll be making an appointment with his teacher tomorrow in hopes of learning more and finding solutions. Thank you for validating my worries and helping me put the pieces together.