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Old 09-09-2009, 09:54 PM   #1
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spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

Brief synopsis:
My 5 yo started kindergarten almost 3 weeks ago. He was so excited. He had a wonderful first 4 days of school with excellent behavior (green every day). He loved his teacher and school and was happy to go! Then on day 5, without warning, he was farmed out with his classmates to other teachers because his teacher was being transferred to another campus and a different teacher from his school was being moved to his grade level. That was still a pretty good day, considering... no discipline problems and a tiny emotional breakdown. So that was week one. Then the next Monday, he was farmed out again because the new teacher had to set up her stuff in his classroom... and he had some small behavior problems (yellow). The next day (Tuesday) was his first day with the new teacher. He got a write-up in his rotation class (like electives) and was on blue. Same for the next 2 days - so really, really bad this week so far and on blue every day. I talked to his teacher on the phone and emailed her about everything, dh and I are totally wanting to support the teacher and encourage ds to behave/make good choices. I buy a power ranger toy as bribery. The next day (Friday) he is on green and has a good day. So he gets the power ranger. Then Labor Day weekend and no school Monday. Yesterday and today (Wed) he's back on yellow and the teacher is writing what he's doing in his folder. Playing instead of working, making noises, touching others' things, not following directions. Nothing positive at all, even though IMO yellow is better than blue so he's doing something better.

The discipline hierarchy is: green (great), yellow (warning), blue (multiple warnings), red (must come pick up child)

Ds has an auditory processing disorder where he doesn't "hear" you unless you physically touch him and remind him to make eye contact/focus on you. I have told her this, although he does still need to behave. Also, I have asked if we can break the day down into smaller chunks so he has "mini goals" and can he get a sticker for each portion (2-3 parts of the day total) until he adjusts to the color hierarchy. She isn't open to that. Also, once they move down a color that day, they cannot move back up - so if he hits yellow by lunch he has no motivation to make better choices because it's inevitable he'll screw up and hit blue by the end of the day anyway.

I don't know what to do. Grounding him to his room/making him sit out at recess/etc is not a punishment because he's happy playing with his fingers and using his imagination (seriously). Same with taking toys away - he'd just find something like his pillow and socks to play with. I have more bribes sitting on our mantle but that hasn't worked after the first time. I know my son isn't perfect - but he loved pre-K (different school) and loved his first week of school. Now he either doesn't want to go at all and cries or he seems withdrawn. This year will set the tone for his attitude toward school for many years to come. I really want him to have a successful year! This is breaking my heart. I taught school for 9 years so I get the teacher's frustration, but I also know she was put in a situation she didn't like by being forced down to kindergarten 4 days into school starting - but she's an adult and my son isn't. So I don't know if it is really all my son's fault or if it's partially a personality conflict. I'm at my wits.

Sorry this is so long, and if you read all the way through - Thank You! I am desperate for ideas. Homeschooling is not an option. A generous family member has offered to pay for private school - but with all the changes already I hate to do that.

Please share ANY ideas.

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Old 09-09-2009, 10:31 PM   #2
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Re: spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

If it were me and I know that i have tried talking with the teacher and offering my son rewards for good behavior and nothing was working I think I might call the school and request a conference with the principal. Discuss with him/her my concerns and explain that I want to work with the teacher but it doesn't seem as though she's willing to work with me/my son. Then present to the principal your suggestions and see if he/she is willing to help you out with some of it, or if maybe your child can be moved to another teacher more willing to work with you and your son because to me (and I'm just an outsider) it sounds like it's really a problem with the teacher either your son isn't liking her or you aren't but either way it's not going to be a good year if you aren't completely comfortable with the teacher and if he's not comfortable with the teacher.
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:54 AM   #3
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Re: spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

I agree with PP. It sounds like a problem with the teacher and your child being a good fit. I would request a conference with the principal and teacher too. The principal is there to be a communication go between for teacher and parents. It sounds like you haven't got through to the teacher alone. She needs to know you are serious about advocating for your child. Your little guy needs to be encouraged...instead of constantly pointing out what he's doing wrong. There's a lot of change going on for him and that may be a big cause of the problem. He's in kindergarten. I think a lot of this behavior is extremely normal. You need to hear what he's doing right so you can encourage it at home.

Welcome to school life with your child. My oldest is 13...it's always something.
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:34 AM   #4
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Re: spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

I agree. I think that there is a good chance he is just overwhelmed by all the change that has happened so quickly. Now, there is a good chance that he would get back up to green on his own as things settle, but you also need a teacher that is willing to work with you and your son. I realize that there is only so much a teacher can do with so many children in her room, but it sounds to me like she could be more flexible. Going to the principal could bring good results.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:06 AM   #5
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Re: spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

I tried to talk to the principal when the kids got farmed out the first day, and she literally blew me off. My position that day wasn't that they got farmed out, but that we weren't told and had no way to prep our kids - and some really freaked out! They told us the kids were getting a new teacher so why they couldn't tell us they'd be farmed out in the mean time is a mystery. So I'm not optimistic about talking to her. I have talked to the Asst. Principal and I may ask to meet with him. He seemed very reasonable and may have some good ideas. Also, I am thinking I might call the counselor as she might have some ideas too.
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:15 PM   #6
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Re: spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

had a blue day.
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:29 PM   #7
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Re: spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

I am so sorry! I was in your shoes to an extent, different situation. I am REALLY suprised kids weren't prepped for this! My son is 5 and in 1st grade now, but last year, when his teacher knew she wouldn't be there a day, or half of a day, she would let guardian/parent know, and the children. I couldn't imagine a K teacher up and leaving without telling them!

As much as you might think you are being a nag DO IT, to the teacher, principal, school psychologist, anyone.

My 5 year old is on the autism spectrum and has SPD, BUT in main stream, we delt with him shutting down, not acting out though. Before any diagnosis, they thought he had auditory processing disorder.

Keep trying to talk to teacher, if he doesn't start doing better with the new teacher, mayve he can switch teachers? a differnt K class? I know that would suck, being that he knows the kids in his class and so on.
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:35 PM   #8
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Re: spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

I agree with the pp that it sounds like an issue with the teacher or the major changes that happened in a VERY short amount of time. I don't however, agree that he needs a new teacher. Kindergarten is a fine time to realize that he will come across people that he doesn't get along with and he will have to deal with it. You won't be able to cater to moving him out of every situation that makes him upset (unfortunately, as parents it's something we wish we could do to protect our kids).

I'm curious to know why the teacher is not willing to compromise on his behaviour management. That sounds unreasonable and is only making HER life harder in the long run.

Have you sat down with your son and discussed WHY he is having such a hard time? Maybe if he can pin point a specific incident then you can work toward resolving the issue.

I hope that you can figure this one out. Kindergarten is an important year!!
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:40 PM   #9
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Re: spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

Have you tried requesting a planning conference with the teacher where you can sit down together at a time where she can focus (ie-not 5 minutes of planning left where she is trying to cram everything in) and brainstorm ideas for ways you can work together to support the child? Maybe have the counselor join in to figure out a plan? Then have the child step in for the part of the conference where he learns about the plan you have created and you both reinforce expectations?
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:52 PM   #10
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Re: spam me w/ advice - 5yo trouble in school (long)

Wow, I can't imagine a teacher being moved after the year has already started!!! Sounds like a really tough situation. I agree with continuing to try to talk to the asst. principal, counselor, and teacher. If your son has a learning disorder, have you looked more into working with that or doing some therapy outside of school? I really don't know much about that particular condition but I can see how it would be really hard for his teacher to always touch him specifically when giving any instruction.....I'm just trying to visualize how the teacher could do that all day every day. Perhaps if the teacher won't/can't work with the ideas you have already given him/her maybe the teacher will accept an idea presented on here or by someone else at the school. It is still early in the year; I'm not at all suggesting that this will blow over but rather that you do have time for your son to acclimate more and to work on some more ideas with the people who will help you.

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