Yesterday I saw a teacher at Son’s school do something I consider to be truly awful. This teacher locked a three year-old child out of her class as a form of discipline, leaving the child sobbing and me livid.
I did speak to the administrator yesterday afternoon. She agreed that the teacher made an error in judgment and told me the teacher promised not to do this again. She then proceeded to explain to me that the teacher often had unruly children walk out of the room and come back in when they were ready to be “a new John”.
As if that’s appropriate either.
Perhaps it’s me that’s crazy. Granted, I don’t know the first thing about early childhood education. But in my thinking you don’t ever have a child leave a schoolroom as a disciplinary measure, especially a pre-schooler. How this could not be against the state rules is beyond me. It’s one thing for a parent to have a child leave the room within their own home. School ain’t home.
And to me the whole concept of asking a three year-old to come back as a “new” version of themselves is a very poor redirection indeed. Three year-old children need specific instruction – “be a calm John”, or “be a listening Suzie”. A three year-old cannot possibly fathom what it means to be a “new” them.
For some reason this administrator feels there is nothing wrong with the way this teacher handles this often-challenging child other than the fact that she locked the child out of the room. I don’t profess to know the best way to handle a child with frequent behavior challenges, but there is such a child in Son’s class and Son’s teacher handles this child beautifully, always staying calm and giving the boy appropriate guidance. And positive attention.
The administrator said the parent was going to be notified, but I’m completely positive that the whole incident will be whitewashed. I’m fairly certain that the administrator didn’t tell the parents that their son was inconsolable, crying hysterically. And honestly I’m more angry about the damage too the boy’s psyche. I’d not be surprised if he remembers that incident for the rest of his life. I know I will.
As you can imagine, this conversation with the administrator did not go well. This isn’t surprising, considering this is the woman who still thinks one child biting another is an “accident”. Her defense of this poor excuse for a teacher (and the fact that this is a very …hormonal… time for me) had me absolutely incensed on the phone, talking about calling the state and considering pulling my son from the school. I’d already planned to keep Son home today (we had a planned toured of the school where he will start kindergarten this August), and I have spent a lot of time today discussing this with Husband.
If this was Son’s teacher there is no doubt that I would have pulled him out of the school immediately. No doubt. At all. Immediately. Never to return.
Son has a different teacher. A good teacher. He is thriving in her classroom and with less than three months to go he is learning so much. His teacher – a first year teacher – is committed and excited and steady and thrilled to see the progress her students are making. The children love her – and they respect her.
Do I pull Son out of a great class because the school and it’s other teachers are lacking?
This is what I need to decide. Soon.
March 24, 2009 at 10:28 pm
BeThisWay, this is a hard call. I definately would put in a complaint with the school board. No, you do not put a child outside of wherever you are – it is child neglect, even abuse. I have reported many cases of abuse and neglect while living in Las Vegas. If not done, maybe the “next” child will meet with a death or abduction. If you don’t know how to take care of “difficult” children then do something else. I’ve spent almost the last ten years taking care of children and the first things was the child is a priority and I look out for their best interests and safety. I could tell you stories that will make your arm hairs stand up. The parents of this child should be told, all what happened. Then pray because it is not in your control nor should it be a burden to you. My motto is “always do the right thing”. I’ll pray for you – that you will make the right decision concerning Son in taking him out or keeping him in for three more months. God Bless
March 25, 2009 at 5:28 am
Wow. I see your predicament.
I think that the first thing I would do is find the child’s parent and explain what you saw. Other than that I would hold off until the end of term.
March 25, 2009 at 9:28 am
I agree. You need to somehow find the parent and tell her what you saw. I once watched another teacher raise a child’s arm up over his head and then yank it down to the ground. I’m still surprised she didn’t dislocate his shoulder. I followed the child around after school to see who would pick them up and then approached the child’s big sister (who was the one who picked him up). I told her what happened and asked her to relay the information to her parents. A couple of days later the girl found me, said her parents had called the school and the teacher had apologized for hurting their son. Not quite enough for me but I felt better for notifying the family because I did my part. A parent will stick up for the child in a way no administrator will.
March 25, 2009 at 9:28 am
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April 1, 2009 at 6:14 am
[…] week the theme of Kate’s informal weekly carnival is “Fools”. I could just link the posts I wrote about my experience with Son’s school last week and no one could blame […]