Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Not So Typical Day in Kindergarten

Ever had a day that you just knew was going to be a bit rough? Well, today was that day for me. Normally I pride myself on having very positive interactions with parents, but this year, I have a parent of one of my students, who, for some reason, has decided not to like me. In a BIG way!
The student is a bright freckle faced 5 year old who often seems to need more attention than that of her classmates. Shouting out during circle time, wandering around the class when others are seated quietly, refusing to do her work, writing on my things with a permanent marker, not sharing supplies with others, whispering not so sweet somethings into the ears of her peers," If you don't do this, I am not going to be your friend," are just a few of the behaviors we work to curtail and replace with more positive behaviors on a daily basis.
In an effort to reinforce and increase those positive moments, this student and I decided to send a note home yesterday to tell her parents about the wonderful way she worked hard to pay attention, do her work, and get along with others. Today, when I saw her mom, I asked if she had received the note. Scowling at me, the mom stated that she did not want me to "focus so much" on her daughter. I was floored. I had been making so much effort trying to help this child learn and develop social skills and here was her mom telling me pretty much to not care. Or worse yet, implying that I had some interest other than the best interest of her child in mind. I looked at her and quietly said, "I am trying to help her." She bantered back, " I'm not so sure of that!" Quite calmly I assured her that I would be happy to set up a meeting with her to discuss any concerns. I told her to let me know when she would like to do this.
Of course I know that I am fallible. I make mistakes as a teacher, as a human being. But I do know one thing. I care intensely about the kids in my class. Although I am "just their teacher", I am with them a good portion of the day, helping them when they fall down, encouraging them to work hard when learning is a bit of a challenge, and most importantly, helping them understand that they are each very important beings with strengths and gifts to offer the world. Even on the toughest of days, I still love my job. Just not quite as much today.

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