Preschool: Addressing the Negative Report Card
Nine months after starting preschool and two parent-teacher conferences later, we received the following report: Carter’s having trantrums, he’s really disruptive, he refuses to participate in circle or help clean up. It was hard for me to take. I sat in disbelief. Now, don’t get me wrong. Carter is by no means an angel, but it did not quite align with our experiences outside of school. We were full of hope that his preschool which came with much praise and accolades from other parents was the right fit. We talked about discipline and strategies we used at home as well as schedules, factors that could induce such be behavior. We discussed consistency at school and at home to improve his behavior. I didn't walk away feeling like we came to a good understanding on both sides of strategies that we could both use to improve the situation. But we decided to keep him with his current teacher since my husband and I felt that Carter will have difficult relationships with others as a part of growing up and will have to learn to work through them.
We continued to solicit feedback from his teachers and the reports varied by the day; some better than others. By summer, it appeared perhaps that the worst of the behavioral issues seemed to smooth itself out until I received the dreaded email:
“… feeling a little concerned about some of Carters behaviour that has been persisting all year and are very aware that he will be moving on to a new class soon…A couple of examples are when we are all sitting down to snack/lunch Carter chooses to wander around the room and refuses to come to the table with everyone else. Also requirements during 'Circle time' of sitting on the mat and at least trying to learn the games. He will lie down on the floor or initiate play with other children. Clean up times he refuses to help and continues to play his game until, with the teachers gentle insistance it results in a loud screaming tantrum.
As we've spoken about before Carter is still using the technique of 'Tantrum' when the teacher ensures he follows through with what is expected of him and will throw a loud tantrum, strike out at whatever is close by and call the teachers names e.g "Stupid [Insert Teacher’s Name]". This can happen some days at least 3 times in the morning….”
That was the final straw for me. Carter wasn’t exactly thriving in his current situation, and I was agonizing over the fact that I hadn’t been more proactive in figuring out ways of making his current school situation work for him. I was frustrated beyond belief that obviously he was not getting along with his teacher. She must have been frustrated too at having such a disruptive child in her classroom. But ultimately, I felt like it was a relationship issue and as much as she was searching for issues and problems in our home, it came back to her relationship with our child.
Since then, Carter’s at a different school (we agonized over moving him), and we do hope that the change will be positive. In hindsight, we might have worked with his school to see if switching classrooms would have been a more appropriate response. Has your child had behavioral issues in school? What have you done to address the issues? When do you realize it’s time for a change in schools or teachers? I’d love to hear from both teachers and other urbanParents!